Back at the first of the year when I took over booking the band, I knew that John and Michael wanted to play every weekend. And, I felt compelled to make that happen. John also told me that I would learn more and faster if we were playing a lot. So, it seems like our music went on “fast forward” and just stayed there. I can remember wondering to myself if this was what “I” wanted.
Did I want to never, ever have a weekend free to do other things? Yes, I did turn down a few spontaneous things along the way, but nothing major. I did take a weekend to spend with my Mother in Law to take her to her 64th High School Reunion, but the band played without me.
Now that I have had a weekend “off” and this weekend too, I know the answer for myself. I also want to play every weekend. I just miss it. John always says “I'd rather be playing” and now I know for sure that I feel the same way.
So...I'm digging in and working on getting our schedule full again. December only has one Saturday open, so that's good. November has openings, but it's hard to fill dates that are close. Most places book off in to the future. And, booking is a time consuming treasure hunt. I call and call. I email and email. I send out press kits and cds. I talk to some people who are nice and some people who are not. Many places only book people they already know. Even having a referral doesn't work in a lot of cases. Like all treasure hunts it all seems worth it when you find the one booking that works out and we end up playing for and having such a great time. The very best bookings are the ones that ask us to come back. It's validation for our band and our music and it is what makes it all worth it!
We get a few requests to play for free or for very little money. This is difficult in many ways. First, our band is a business. We all invest our time and we invest our money in equipment and gas etc. Even when we get paid our asking price, it's not really all that much after you figure in all the time you put in. It's a labor of love for sure. But, we do want to make money. So, if we play for free then it's costing us money. We are literally “paying” to play. And, if we play for less than our asking price, is that fair to those who pay the full price? It's a dilema. And, at the same time, we know that times are hard and we want to work with people to fit their budget.
We find ways to save money, like not hiring a drummer and using the drum machine. All of us prefer having a live drummer. But, it's an easy way to save the customer money. Many times we end up paying our drummer more than any of the rest of us, just to have a live drummer. I always think it's worth it, I love the sound of a live drummer. And , the drummers that we play with are really great guys. Because they are not always available, we are always on the look out for more! On the other hand we have played many shows with the drum machine and no one even noticed. I remember one time when a drummer was in our audience and HE didn't notice. That was interesting!
I know that the opportunities are out there for us and I will find them! And when I do, I will share them with you! In the meantime, here is another weekend without music. I'm going to find some fun things to do and I'm going to enjoy the time off, because if I have my way weekends without shows will be rare if not non existent in the future.