One of the most important things to have when you play in a live band is places to play. Without having a club or venue to play in we couldn’t really call our band a “live band”. It would just be a band that gets together to play for each other and although that’s fun for a while, the real fun is playing in front of an audience at a venue.
I’m sure you know there is a lot of competition between bands to get into the places that feature live music. Even if you have a regular gig you can rest assured that there’s another band ready to step in and take that gig if your band can’t fulfill it. Most clubs have several bands on a regular rotation and there are many other bands trying to get their foot in the door and get booked too. Today I’m going to talk about a very simple way to set your band apart from the other bands that are playing in the same clubs as you.
Most clubs will have a different band in every weekend with bands being on a four to six week rotation. What you need to remember is that the people who work at the club full time get to see every band that comes through the place. I’m talking about the door personnel, bartenders, bouncers and waitresses. These people are there every night and get to watch all the bands as well as see how the audience reacts to the bands.
This puts them in a very powerful position with management because they have firsthand knowledge of how well each band is doing in the club. If management wants to know how the weekend went, they’re not going to ask the band, they’re going to ask the bartenders and waitresses. These are the people that the management trusts for opinions and their opinion can go a long way toward your band keeping a gig and getting re-booked.
Which brings me to this crucial point, it’s in your best interest to slip some cash to the bartenders and waitresses in all the clubs you play. In the clubs where I play, the band always gets free drinks. These drinks are either served by the bartender or one of the waitresses. It’s going to build a lot of good will with these people if you slip them a few bucks for their effort. Believe me, most bands are far too cheap to do this simple gesture. I can tell you, if you tip your bartenders and waitresses they will remember it and they’ll remember your band!
It’s just good business on your band’s part to slip a little something to the people working in the club while your band plays. If you have a tip jar and it’s a good night, slip some tip money to the bartenders and waitresses and let them know it was a good night. If you spread the wealth around they’re going to want your band back and that means steady gigs for your live band. When management asks how the night went, the bartenders and waitresses are going to let them know your band did well.
I know it’s tough playing in a band and making hardly any money at all but remember that everyone around you is struggling too. Give a little money to the people that are working around your band and it will help take your band farther than the bands that aren’t doing this. Good luck out there, and keep rockin’!