DJ Hostettler
Cultural Zero

Your Band Will Never Be Your Job

By - Jul 13th, 2010 12:14 am

Summerfest–where local bands get the shaft?

A few weeks ago at the dawn of Summerfest 2010, the Shepherd Express’ Evan Rytlewski posted a blog saying he received a number of emails in response to his Cascio Groove Stage preview, complaining that the stage doesn’t pay its local lineup. He then posted a follow-up blog asking, “should Summerfest pay local bands more?” The comments (in which I voiced a couple quick opinions) ranged from “bands should get paid” to a few local musicians saying “we don’t care, we do it for fun,” to one commenter calling local bands “dummies” for agreeing to play for essentially free when Summerfest apparently paid local bands a decent amount 30 years ago.

One commenter claimed that Cascio Interstate pays Summerfest for the right to book the bands and have their name on the stage. “This is a PR opportunity for Cascio, as well as a chance to support their passion–local musicians. For Summerfest, it’s just another stage with naming rights to be sold–which is also a neutral thing–neither good nor bad, just a revenue opportunity for a great local event.”

I don’t know if that’s true (although it sounds plausible)—a MySpace message I dropped to the Cascio Stage’s account hasn’t been returned—but as the drummer of a band that played the Cascio stage this year, I can speak to our experience at the stage, which was nothing but positive. As soon as we arrived, we were greeted with a soundboard recording of our performance from the previous year, and from that point on, it was a love-fest. The crew and sound guys remembered our PA needs and were right on top of everything we needed, with grins and kind words to spare. Sure, at the end of the day, we were presented with a whopping four t-shirts and $100 in Cascio gift cards as thanks for playing, but whether or not Cascio was paying for the right to even bring us to Summerfest in the first place, it was obvious that we were all doing it for The Love of the Game.

So, if Cascio makes no money off its stage, that doesn’t really answer Evan’s question—should Summerfest pay local bands more? Less widely discussed were the local bands playing at other stages on the Summerfest grounds—like, say, Jaill’s July 1 set on Thecool TV Rock Stage. How much did one of the local bands actually deemed worthy of a direct Summerfest billing earn? I sent Jaill’s drummer, Austin Dutmer, a message asking him about his experience on the stage and what they were paid (because I’m rude and willing to ask my Summerfest co-workers how much they make).

“Boy, I hate answering this question,” Dutmer said, “but if I had a dollar for every time I was asked it, and you wanted to ask me the same amount of times concurrent to dollars we got paid, you would have to ask me two hundred times.” So, two hundred bones for the new local buzz band on the big indie label. Not bad, at least compared to what local bands usually make around here. But is it a fair rate by Summerfest standards, especially if the commenters on Rytlewski’s blog post claim that the Big Gig used to pay locals a lot more? After all, Jaill are on Sub Pop! Nirvana’s label, maaaan! Two hundred measly bucks?!?

It’s really part of a bigger question: should local bands get paid more, period? Anyone who plays in a local original band (and the word “original” cannot be stressed enough here) knows that playing original music in Milwaukee isn’t a lucrative enterprise. After the sound guy gets paid, that $7-$8 cover (still less than a night at the movies!) gets split between three or four bands of three to 13 members each. Not exactly “quit your job” numbers. Think this reflects badly on Milwaukee’s support of local music? Then you haven’t gone on tour recently, because things are tough all over. Just be glad bars in Milwaukee haven’t adopted New York City’s insane and offensive “tally sheet” practice, where they ask every paying customer which band they are there to see, then divide up the door money accordingly. If you’re on tour and lucky enough to have a pair of friends in town who came out to see you, congratulations! You get their five-spots, while the local band who doesn’t need the gas money gets to clean up (comparatively). Awesome.

Make the argument that original music is undervalued, and I’ll agree, but it’s based more on the principle that the act of creation should be commended and supported instead of the act of aping what sells via cover songs and variety bands. The truth, though, is that we don’t live in a world that appreciates artistic creation—we appreciate mass appeal and lowest common denominators.

So what should be done? That commenter over on the Shepherd’s site who thinks we unpaid musicians are “dummies” is convinced that “people who play gigs for free are morons that perpetuate increasing arrogance by Summerfest talent finders, local talent agencies, and club owners.” Ah! So all we have to do is unite and demand our fair paycheck from the club owners, right? Hey, fellow locals, let’s go on strike! No more performances until every band is guaranteed $100 per band member per show. How fast do you think it will take for local shows to completely dry up? Bye-bye local music scene. It’s not that I think the clubs wouldn’t love to pay bands that much—I just don’t think the money’s there.

So, any ideas? How do we get local bands more money?

How about we limit the number of shows at clubs? Let’s only have shows on the weekends, and only book the bands that are good enough to draw the number of people necessary to cough up the scratch for the musicians. The local musicians with less mass appeal will be shut out, but hey, that’s capitalism, right? Survival of the marketable. Completely setting aside the idea that art is subjective and marketability shouldn’t be prioritized over originality (and face it—originality will never be marketable), a system like that would kill Milwaukee as a destination for touring bands (and in turn kill the ability of Milwaukee bands to get shows in other towns).

So much for the Cactus Club hosting the next White Stripes on a Tuesday night.

The only real solution I’ve come up with is to not worry about it. Local original bands will always be paid like shit. It’s not going to change. So why fret? If you’re in a band because you’re looking for a paycheck or to get “signed,” you’re setting yourself up for disappointment and your music probably sucks anyway (because if you’re writing your songs by giving too much priority to mass appeal, rather than speaking from the heart, chances are your music is formulaic bullshit).

This isn’t to say that bands shouldn’t work hard. Bands should practice their asses off, listen to other bands, exchange ideas, listen to constructive criticism, and strive to improve. But do it out of a sense of self-respect, a desire to be the best artist you can be, and because you enjoy it, not because you think maybe you’ll get a paycheck someday. The music industry is collapsing, y’all—we have no idea how much money we’ll ever see from this stuff. So why do it? Because working hard at something you love to do is its own reward.

By the way, Austin, how was that two-hundred-dollar Summerfest experience?

It was “memorable,” Dutmer said. “The staff were not dicks–they were all very friendly, but fairly lazy. For instance we asked how we could get some water when we were loading in, and a staffer said he would make sure to have it in ‘dressing room 2’, which would be OUR dressing room for the afternoon. We walked around Summerfest for a while and about an hour later when we walked into our dressing room for the first time, there was a dude crashed out in it! We told someone and instead of moving the dude, they moved the number on the door so now room 2 was room 1 and vice versa. Room 1, our new room, had no water, no anything. And when we saw the door open to our former dressing room, dude had like a whole cooler of red bull and a pile of water. Thanks, stage guy, for your initiative to correct the problem, but I wants me some water!!”

Not a terrible experience, and definitely a good story. But next year, give me the Cascio stage where the pay is scarce but the staff really cares. Not that we’ll have a choice in the matter, but hey. All in good fun.

44 thoughts on “Cultural Zero: Your Band Will Never Be Your Job”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Nice, DJ. Getting paid locally is a rare treat indeed. Taking care of the touring band is the number one priority. It should be all across America.

  2. Anonymous says:

    how do we get local bands more money? by being willing to go see them play and by and buying their shirts/records/etc. it’s very simple. the (active) audience for local shows seems to be made up of about 400 total people in this town, which to me is atrocious. especially considering that there is clearly a larger number of at least somewhat-interested-in-non-102.1-music residents since bon iver, animal collective, new pornographers, and a slew of other acts can do well at venues as large as the riverside and pabst theater. why are these people not going to see jaill? or call me lightning? or collections of colonies of bees? or any of the other genuinely amazing (and not just in the “local” sense) bands that live here? to me the question is less “how do we make bands more money?” and more “how do we, as fans and musicians, tap into the larger milwaukee fanbase? how do we convince everyone who went to see animal collective (for example) to give a local show a chance once in a while?”

  3. Anonymous says:

    As I stumbled by the Cascio Groove Stage, I noticed a marquee boasting “local music.” Then I heard the Hannah Ford Band announce that they were from Chicago.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Great take and great question, Nick. Any ideas? To me, Verge was a great opportunity to show casual music fans here in town that our locals can stand up to the national acts that Verge brought out (and i felt they did). How much of that isn’t translating to regular attendance at local shows because of the all-ages factor? How much of that is some sort of perception that local bands aren’t as worth following as the nationals? I’d love to know people’s thoughts.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I agree with the assessment that there is a relatively small, and loyal, core crowd that makes up a good portion of the audience for a lot of the shows I go to. Many of them are friends of the bands (and musicians themselves) and therefore have a better handle on what’s going on in the Milwaukee music scene – who is in what band, what group they used to be in that played at the Vault all the time five years ago, what they’re likely to sound like, etc. If they really like the band, they’ve probably already bought the album or the t-shirt.

    Having only started navigating the music scene here a few years ago, I was absolutely overwhelmed at first. Not a complaint! But I spent hours spent trawling through club listings, MySpace band pages, reviews and trying to keep all the names straight, and still ended up at some meh-to-me shows before I found some local bands that I really love. Through them, in turn, I’ve gotten exposed to various out of town bands that they’ve played with, and I have a much better sense of what I’m looking for when I’m in the mood to go out to a show. But it *was* work, and I did it because live music is important to me, which isn’t true of everyone. That’s cool. I passively enjoy artwork, but I can’t remember the last time I was at an art museum or gallery.

    Opening acts not going on until 10pm is another impediment to getting people in the door, at least on weeknights. If it’s a group I really want to see and know won’t be back anytime soon, I’ll suck it up and resign myself to zombiedom the next day. But those are usually the ones I end up going to alone, because my friends with 9-5 jobs are generally more responsible (and wussy) than I am.

    As for merch sales, I try to buy CD’s from the bands I really like, at the show, when I can afford it. But since I’m already blowing almost $20 per show on the cover and drinks, and since I’ve got a pretty long list of albums I want by non-local bands, it doesn’t happen all that often.

  6. Anonymous says:

    i think you have to get written up on Pitchfork for anyone outside the 400 people to give a shit, just like in any other city.

  7. Anonymous says:

    yup, people are sheep for the most part.

  8. Anonymous says:

    it should be like that across this somewhat-great land of ours, but milwaukee’s one of those rare ‘big cities’ where it’s the norm to take care of the touring band first and foremost.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Anyone in this city that thinks they should be paid, or are owed payment, for playing music is naive and/or vain. If making money is your goal, try going to business school. In my experience, playing in a band is like throwing money down a hole. a really fun, rewarding hole.

  10. Anonymous says:

    No offense, Luke, but I find this kind of thinking pretty obnoxious. Yes, one should be realistic–playing the kind of music people like us play, you’re not going to be quitting your day job any time soon. But to say that those who feel they deserve to be paid for their craft are naive or vain is pretty offensive. You don’t tell carpenters complaining of a lack of work to suck it up and build shit just for the love of the game. No, making money probably shouldn’t be the goal, but it’s not absurd to want to be paid for doing what you love, whether it’s music, writing, art, whatever.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I think that music is not such a big priority for a lot of people, so they’re not necessarily going to take the time to hunt down music that’s not as readily accessible. It’s not that they’re all stupid or lazy, just that their time and energy and money is being spent on other activities, for the most part. That said, I am really grateful that there are as many people as there are in this town – all of you commenters, for example – who are doing so much to make this a good town for music.

  12. Anonymous says:

    And I mean, I rather doubt you take the same line if a promoter or a venue screws you out of your money. Or if, say, someone were to steal a bunch of your merch. It’s all the same, and if your line is that a band shouldn’t even expect payment, then I at least hope you’re consistent.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I completely agree, JW–the “casual music fan” isn’t taking the time to hunt down local bands. And that’s neither a good nor a bad thing–music just isn’t as important to some people, and that’s fine. Hell, i’d wager some of those 400 people we keep referencing only follow the local bands that their friends are in (i’m guilty of that myself sometimes). That’s not necessarily a complaint; it’s just the way people are.

    That’s why things like Verge and the Cascio Stage, if they keep up and get better every year, are important–they get hard-working local bands in front of people who wouldn’t normally come to them.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I wanted to comment on a specific part of the article that refers to the ‘tally sheet’ concept.

    The author makes the statement that the tally sheet is an insane and offensive practice. I wholeheartedly disagree with this assertion.

    Having played in a bands that have played locally and toured around the U.S., I’ve found that the tally sheet is the great equalizer and I wish it was a part of the Milwaukee music landscape as it is here in Chicago.

    My reasoning is this:
    I’ve played many a 3-4 band local show where one (my band), and if you’re lucky two bands have a solid draw that makes the night. Then you have the other bands who did a piss poor job at promoting their gig or simply haven’t worked to build a fan base at all. So you’re saying that my hard work to get paying heads into my gig should go to line the pockets of the lazy fellows who thought posting the gig on Myspace or Facebook constitutes proper promo? I call B*llsh*t on that line of thought.

    We spend countless hours and money on flier design, printing costs, social media promotion, contacting press and bloggers, soliciting radio both internet and terrestrial, etc. I not comfortable with handing over an equal slice of the $$$ that me and my mates hard work earned to some band that only managed to get 5-10 people in the door.

    I’ve found through personal experience that the tally sheet is a SUPERIOR MOTIVATOR for bands in getting their crowd out to a gig. If a band knows their pay is predicated on getting people to a show, they tend to be far more proactive in assuring a good turnout on their part. Simply put, if you don’t work hard to get people out to see your band, don’t you dare expect to reach into my pocket to cover your lazy arse. Tally sheets are also respectful of the venue in that the venue is taking a gamble that all the bands they booked will bring in a crowd that will buy drinks. If they book 3-4 bands and only one or two do a respectable draw, the venue takes a hit to their bottom line. If the venues do poorly often enough booking shows, they’ll simply stop. (Chicago is also a major tally sheet city)

    As far as the tally sheet pertains to out of town touring bands, I will agree fully that they are a terrible gamble for the out of town band, however, there are a few important points on this:

    1. The out of town touring band that books the show has the power to request a fair booking fee. If it’s booked directly with the venue, it’s up to the touring band to request this. Not all clubs will comply. If not, move on and find a club that will pay a small guarantee, or work with the bands you’re playing with to secure a ‘travel’ guarantee. (Gas/Food/Whatever)

    2. If you’re a touring band and you’re playing in a city you’ve never been to, keep in mind that you’re touring to build a fan base in a new areas. You should realize that touring is throwing money away for fun in the beginning and that you will usually draw poorly to start, but if you work actively at PR and connect with similarly styled musical acts in the area, you can gain new fans and leverage that for future shows.

    It’s called life in the trenches and if you think you should be paid out just because you’re from out of town, you’re wrong. Do your time in the trenches, lose money, and work your arse off to get new fans so next time you hit that city again, you can have something to show for it. Success in the ‘band business’ is based is IMHO directly proportional to how hard a band works at what they do. Whilst I agree that in a perfect world, out of town touring bands should be well compensated, it’s rarely economically feasible nor fair to the venue or opening act artists who lose out on money for a touring band who doesn’t draw.

    Moral of the story? Draw. Draw. Draw. Create a strategy to build a draw live and you will succeed.

    Expecting handouts and crying when reputable venues laugh at a guarantee request for a band they/nobody in their area is ever heard of is a recipe for failure. Get out there and create a buzz for yourself.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Um, there are no carpenters that ‘carpent’ as a hobby, but ‘musicians’ are a dime a dozen, and that’s outrageously expensive for some of them around here. Maybe in a perfect world musicians would get paid better here in Milwaukee, but in a perfect world more people would go see Goodnight Loving over whatever blog darlings are moping their way across the stage at the Pabst. Do what you love, but don’t expect any form of compensation from the cretins around you.

  16. Anonymous says:

    That’s a ridiculous comparison. Your talking about outright theft, I’m talking about not enough people here or anywhere caring about truly unique, well crafted music to make it economically worthwhile. Sure, if you’re fucking Lady Gaga (or Alice Cooper in future drag, as I like to call herm) you’ll be a millionaire, but if you’re in a band with your buddies, practicing in a basement, saving up for recording and car repairs, spending what little you earn at shows on strings, cords, and the like, don’t get your hopes up that you’ll even break even. That shit is coming out of your pocket… I’d bet that even the band Jaill is in debt to it’s members, and they’re on Sub Pop.

  17. Anonymous says:

    This all sounds perfectly logical, but it also speaks to a competitive nature (i.e. “don’t pull money out of MY pocket”) that i’ve never really been down with. My band has no problem tossing our money to the touring band when they come through our town, and historically, they’ve always returned the favor. Just feels a lot more friendly and a lot less competitive.
    And yeah, i know Chicago is becoming a tally sheet town, and it’s gross. But at least venues like the Beat Kitchen and Quenchers take their tally sheets and work them out to a prorated percentage among the bands instead of making it a hardline “you only get the money from those who came to see you” sort of thing. Sorry, if you’re all about competing with other bands and trying to make money, i suppose that sounds logical, but the point of this article is that worrying about money takes a lot of the fun out of this whole rock and roll thing. Good luck with your band!

  18. Anonymous says:

    We do 90% our own original music every year when we play the Summerfest side stages (not Cascio), get treated very well, and the pay is good. We make as much or more playing for an hour and a half at SF as we do playing four killer sets at bars. No complaints here!!

  19. Anonymous says:

    Getting paid is a nice perk when it happens, but if you plan to pay the rent playing music you’d be wise to call the landlord now.

    There are folks around town who have been playing for 20-30 years who still remain vital and intersting. Maybe never made a “career” of it but they will be remembered as musician and not wage slave.

    Folks who want to play you will find a way to make it happen one way or another.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Spoken like a true Chicagoan. Let’s get rid of Illinois.

  21. Anonymous says:

    “There are folks around town who have been playing for 20-30 years who still remain vital and intersting. Maybe never made a “career” of it but they will be remembered as musician and not wage slave.”

    Well said!

  22. Anonymous says:

    …and yet it took almost no effort to find pitchfork write ups of each band i mentioned:


    call me lightning:

    collections of colonies of bees:

    the problem to me doesn’t always seem to be promotion. fan belt, av club, the shepherd, muzzle of bees, seizure chicken and tons of national publications and blogs all write about pretty much every record that a milwaukee band releases with national distribution. i’m not saying poor promotion isn’t a factor (since it often is), but there’s some other critical mass thing that just isn’t happening.
    i guess i also just feel like saying “well, if pitchfork doesn’t write it up then no one will care” can be a self fulfilling prophecy. the more we all believe that a greater number of milwaukeeans caring about music is impossible, then the less we try to get them to care, and the less they ultimately notice what’s going on. i hate to sound like the inspirational character in a disney movie (homeward bound) but we have to KNOW and SHOW PEOPLE there’s something worth caring about here, or no one else will take the time to look.
    sorry for the rant.

  23. Anonymous says:

    i don’t often disagree with ol’ puke drunk, but i feel the need to reply here as well.
    i’m not saying there’s no truth to what you’re saying. i agree that first and foremost a musician’s motivation should be playing. absolutely. what i take issue with is the mindset that musicians don’t DESERVE payment for what they do. the more people that think like that the less bands there will be. not because so many musicians are greedy shoulda-gone-to-business-school types, but because EXISTING AS A HUMAN REQUIRES MONEY and BEING IN A BAND IS EXPENSIVE (both financially and time-wise). at a certain level of band-dom you NEED to be getting paid in order to maintain the ability to be in said band. i think the attitude that music should always be free (or, more specifically, that no one deserves compensation for it) is a shitty attitude, and is contagious. also it sounds a little too hippy/patchwork-pants/dorm-room-political-discussion-y to be coming from you, did wavy gravy hack your account? somebody give luke a call and make sure he’s ok.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Let me put it this way. The bands that draw at Pabst-Turner-Riverside are the bands that Pitchfork shoves down the mass’s collective throat, not the bands they write up once and give 5.2 ratings to. Let me put it another way, I admire your optimism but I cannot match it.

  25. Anonymous says:

    my experience with booking local openers has been nothing but great. Everyone always seems to have the touring bands $$ as a priority. They’re happy with a lil scratch and the chance to play.

    Promoters really fall in line with the, “if your looking to get rich, get bent” mentality as well. There are going to be shows that you lose money on. people aren’t out here making a killing bringing in club shows. ultimately there is only X amount of dollars too work with.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Okay, maybe the wording’s off, what I meant is this attitude of entitlement, like “I play music, where’s my fucking cash?” is absurd. This attitude has been taking off lately, not so much locally yet, but there’s a whole slew of new and up-and-coming bands that haven’t toured, don’t have a record out, and yet still demand a $300 guarantee, which is ridiculous. Of course decent musicians/artists/creators DESERVE payment, but they’re not entitled to it per se. Also, I think digital music should be free, but people should have to pay for the artifact, like vinyl or cds. Before any of you futurists out there start yammering about how the trend is towards purely digital music without physical form, I’m going to go ahead and tell you you’re wrong. Prince has got my back on this one.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Okay, maybe the wording’s off, what I meant is this attitude of entitlement, like “I play music, where’s my fucking cash?” is absurd. This attitude has been taking off lately, not so much locally yet, but there’s a whole slew of new and up-and-coming bands that haven’t toured, don’t have a record out, and yet still demand a $300 guarantee, which is ridiculous. Of course decent musicians/artists/creators DESERVE payment, but they’re not entitled to it per se. Also, I think digital music should be free, but people should have to pay for the artifact, like vinyl or cds. Before any of you futurists out there start yammering about how the trend is towards purely digital music without physical form, I’m going to go ahead and tell you you’re wrong. Prince has got my back on this one

  28. Anonymous says:

    Pitchfork is like Freddy Krueger: it only has power over us if we all believe in it.

  29. Anonymous says:

    ah, see? i knew something was off. i agree with every point you just made.
    (singing): “ree-united and it feeeels so goooood…”

  30. Anonymous says:

    i said this above, but again: we’re fully on the same page here. aces.

  31. Anonymous says:

    they definitely shouldn’t be giving their NEW album a 5.2, which i believe you are putting out. at least be optimistic about the possibilities with that particular amazing record garnering good press. i hear you, though.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Also, watch out for knife gloves and if you’re in some creepy school basement, you’re fucked.

  33. Anonymous says:

    While musicians are certianly in a subclass of their own they are still entertainers and as such should be compensated accordingly. This mentality of working for free or at a loss is exactly why there is so little money to be had. After all why should I pay band A when band B will work for next to nothing if not less. Sure no one should get into it expecting to get rich but being compensated for the level of entertainment given (and the size of the venue performed in)should not be out of the question. For the truly dedicated (and talented) it should be possible to at least scrape by without splitting your time on a more mundane job. Sadly it’s the lowest common denominator that’s hurting the rest, raise the bar make it harder to get the gigs and everyone (except those that don’t really belong on stage anyway) wins. Doing it for the “Art” while sounding very noble, is really just an excuse for either underselling yourself or admitting that you can’t justify a decent rate. Seriously does anyone really need another garage band that can’t keep 30 people most of which are friends in front of their stage at an event like Summerfest. The reality is, Music is a bussiness and like any other bussiness, if your operating at a loss for too long you’re doing something wrong.

  34. Anonymous says:

    T’m speechless (for once). No offense (seriously) but I hope to Christ I’m never in a band that takes such a business-major attitude to playing.
    I’d be interested to know if you’ve been on the receiving end of this particular tactic in a city where you DON’T live. Needless to say, doing promo in your hometown is easy, but doing it from 500-1000 miles away is considerably more difficult, no matter how many “press and bloggers” you solicit.
    I agree with the “get out and build a fan base” part of your argument; my band did that in the early ’80’s. Fact is, though, there are many, many more bands around now, and at most an equal amount of clubs. Most of these clubs will, naturally, choose to go with the least costly option (ie: the band that lives down the street). If you and your bandmates want to play with the same 6 bands until the end of time, that’s fine. However, if you want to open up your local scene (as well as your minds) you have to make some sacrifices as well.
    The bottom line for me is that the tally sheet philosophy is the musical equivalent of being prom king (or queen) – a popularity contest. It’s obviously weighted against out-of-town bands, due to the fact that the local band’s friends will naturally want to skew the pay scale in their favor. Come on up here and play in that forum, and we’ll see how down with it you are.

  35. Anonymous says:

    In other words, appeal to as many people as possible and sacrifice originality in order to make a buck.
    “For the truly dedicated (and talented) it should be possible to at least scrape by without splitting your time on a more mundane job.”
    Here’s the reality–that doesn’t fucking happen except for about 1% of all bands. An example i often cite is The Dismemberment Plan. By the time they broke up (about 10 years after they formed) they had finally gotten to the point (after nonstop touring, like, *months* out of the year away from home) where each band member was making about $24K per year, according to their lead singer. Even 10 years ago, that wasn’t a hell of a lot. And for every ONE Dismemberment Plan, there are hundreds of original bands that don’t get close to a sniff of THAT kind of fat cash.
    You wanna make money playing music? Start a cover band.

  36. Anonymous says:

    Not only that, but Chumley contradicts himself in his logic:
    “why should I pay band A when band B will work for next to nothing if not less,” which is sort of the equivalent to hiring scabs, which doesn’t work because, as he’s points out, there are differing levels of talent and dedication. Most decent promoters around here aren’t thinking economics when they’re booking a band, so they’re not going for the cheapest band possible to open a show. That’s not how the “bussiness” works.
    And nice shot at “garage bands,” as if there were any local “garage bands” (outside of Jaill, who I don not consider to be a garage act) playing Summerfest this or any other year. “The reality is, Music is a bussiness and like any other bussiness, if your operating at a loss for too long you’re doing something wrong.” Tell that to the Stooges.

  37. Anonymous says:

    Wow. Barf. Barfaroni, even.

  38. Anonymous says:

    BTW, Barfaroni is NOT GOOD.

  39. Anonymous says:

    You’re arguing with strawmen, though. No one is actually making the arguments you are arguing against.

  40. Anonymous says:

    Who? Who is doing that?

  41. Anonymous says:

    I wouldn’t name names, but believe me, it’s becoming more and more of the norm, sadly. I think it’s because blogs that try to be “cutting edge” need to find fresh, new, ‘exciting’ acts to stay relevant, and are hyping bands that aren’t ready to live up to it. They get their asses kissed in every city they play and start to believe all the hype themselves. This leads to an attitude of entitlement, and it sucks because, beyond the obvious reasons, it ultimately shortchanges the band themselves (many of which are talented)as they are deprived of the experiences that make a band grow and mature. Jesus, I’m sounding more like a Guidance Counselor every day…

  42. Anonymous says:

    How so and which reply? I believe I addressed each of your arguments directly, but it’s possible I went off on a tangent. Please tell me which point you believe to be a ‘strawman’ and I will hopefully clear the confusion.

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us