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ROCK ON! This Week's Sound Bites...10/2/14

By Danny Coleman

originally published: 10/02/2014
Recently, tales of woe and thievery have arisen concerning unscrupulous promoters, venue owners and pay to play antics; all designed to take advantage of musicians.

Yes (gasp), can one imagine that? Can you also imagine going to work for five or six hours (not including the time you spend working at home) and not being compensated properly; or at all? How about being asked to take a pay cut because you didn't perform (a.k.a draw) as well this time as you did last; when you know darn well that you did your very best and worked no differently? These are the things that musicians, solo artists and performers are dealing with on an ever increasing basis and it is a true travesty.

Now, if this piece seems familiar; it is because a similar one was run months back. The level of unacceptable injustices has reached near pandemic; OK, perhaps not that bad but you get the point.

Reports of musicians and bands being asked to take a less than agreed upon amount are surfacing with frequency. Can you imagine going into these same venues, clubs and or restaurants and saying, "Your beer isn't as cold as it was last week, the food wasn't as good or the wait staff was rude; so I am paying you less than what you are asking," can you? The manager would call his bouncer or the police and the patron attempting this would be forced to pay or face the possibility of being arrested. This is what the entertainment is facing on an increasingly regular basis and it is truly appalling.

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We all have good and bad days at our vocations and if we have a bad day; generally the employer doesn't fold or go out of business. A musician or band who consistently performs or draws poorly does not deserve to be compensated at the same level of those who do not. That said, if a promoter or venue owner has an agreed rate; they should honor that rate, then think twice before hiring that particular act for a return engagement. The other side of that coin is, if the entertainment exceeds the expected draw; should they be entitled to additional compensation? The answer is a resounding NO! A deal is a deal. Shall the payer feel generous and willingly give the act additional compensation, that is one thing but to feel entitled to it is not acceptable. Shall the acts feel they are worth more, then that needs to be addressed at, or before the next booking; then the steady work versus more pay debate comes into play. However, under no circumstances, shall the entertainment ever agree to take less than the agreed upon amount. Perhaps the old school method of a signed contract as opposed to a handshake agreement needs to be brought back into the exchange? Whatever the choice; this extortion of funds needs to stop.

There are plenty of solutions to this issue and all of them lie solely with the musicians themselves. Here is a list of suggestions, that if even loosely adhered to will protect a musician from some of these situations:

1) The Goldilocks Method: Do not overestimate your worth. Do not go into a venue and demand the cash equivalent of a sold out 20,000 seat concert arena if you only draw 20 people and 15 are friends and family. Do not underestimate yourself. Shall you provide a great nights entertainment, with a nice consistent following; request compensation that reflects that. Set a price that is comfortable for both parties and honor it. This also allows room for a pay increase and return dates. Make sure the demands are just right. Remember, where you play is your choice but set a fair price and remain consistent, then back it up with your performance.

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2) Respect The Art: Do not lose sight of the product that you are providing. Whether there are 10 or 10,000 people in attendance; the show must be conducted at the same level of intensity. The people are paying to be entertained and that should never be compromised.

3) Lose The Attitude: Nobody likes cocky and/or arrogant. Cover bands need to realize that they are recreating, not creating and shouldn't strut around like they are the original writer or performer. Original acts need to realize that if you are not selling out venues with any regularity, then you have nowhere to go but up and shouldn't act like you are the next coming of Christ.

4) Be Professional: If you are the entertainment; then act, look, dress and conduct yourself as such. Dress the part. An entertainer or band should be recognizable upon entering the room. He/she should look and act the part at all times. When did it become acceptable to wear worn out T-shirts and work boots with faded jeans to anywhere other than rehearsal? Ladies, go for whatever you wish but frumpy jeans and baggie tops are better served for lounging at home than the stage. Create a presence for yourself. Once at the venue; be professional. A smile goes a long way. You are selling yourself well before the first note is ever played. Many a talented musician has nary a following because they do not conduct themselves properly both on and/or off the stage. People will stay and return in the future if they like you as a person or act and not solely based on music. The most useful 20 minutes of your night should be your breaks. This is when networking, thank you and feedback can be achieved; always have business cards with you. Speaking of breaks, keep them to no longer than 20/25 minutes. Nobody likes an act whose breaks are of equal length to or longer than their sets. Finally, someone once said, "Never lower yourself to an opponents level." Do not engage hecklers, venue management or detractors in public.

5) Shameless Self Promotion: If you do not promote yourself; who will? Do not spam people but do engage your fan base. Create a Facebook event and invite everyone once; then share it to your wall at various times with a link to your other web sites on a daily basis. Post the event link to the venue page and web site. Come up with a unique photo or catch phrase that makes people take notice. Respect the fact that not everyone shares your values, morals or lack there of and try to create a generic promotion that makes everyone want to check out your talents. The only true thing to transcend political, religious and racial or ethnic lines is music. Please consider this when showcasing your talents.

6) Respect: Have it! Treat others as you wish to be treated, refuse to be taken advantage of and stand up for your rights, talents and band mates. Shall musicians continue to allow themselves to be used and underpaid, the trend will go on and on. Command respect and you will earn respect.

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7) Little Red Riding Hood: Beware of the wolves in sheep's clothing. People who talk big are usually just that; all talk. Trust your instincts and always keep the first impression in your mind. The only person that you can trust completely is yourself.

These are tips and not guidelines which have been garnered based on experiences and nothing more. Musicians and entertainers are offering a service, one which should be compensated fairly at all times. How long would one keep there job if every day the pay rate was different? How long would anyone want a job if one had to pay their employer to work there; or sell tickets to receive compensation? Would you ask a professional plumber or landscaper to come do work for you for six hours on a Saturday and do so for free or below their going rate? My guess is not very long and not at all. Allow oneself to be treated poorly and one shall always be treated poorly; as todays favor is tomorrow's expectation. Words of wisdom? You tell me....

That's it for this week! Please continue to support live and original music and until next week....ROCK ON!


Alchemist & Barrister

28 Witherspoon Street Princeton
(609) 924-5555

Thurs. 10 p.m. Einstein's Alley Music Collaborative

Sun. 9 p.m. Princeton Area Blue Grass Jam

Wed. 10 p.m. Open mic. night

All shows 21+

Amalfi's Restaurant

146 Lawrenceville-Pennington Rd. Lawrenceville

(609) 912-1599

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Fri. 8:30 p.m. F2 and The Anchovy Brothers

Sat. 8:30 p.m. The Aldrich Brothers Band

Amarones Windsor Inn

29 Church St. Windsor

(609) 448-7144

Thurs. 6:30 p.m. Scott Gager & Debbie

Fri. 8 p.m. Rick & Kenny

Sat. 8 p.m. Meg Hanson Band w/ Billy Hill

Tues. 7:30 p.m. Texas Hold'em

Wed. 7 p.m. FREE Salsa Lessons

Big Shots Bar and Grill/Hebe Music Lounge

835 E Rte. 130 South, Burlington

(609) 267-1200

Fri. 7 p.m. Hambone Relay, Charles Laurita & The Mischief

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Sat. 7 p.m. Deuteronomy, Sinister Sons

Wed. 7 p.m. Open Mic.

Blend Bar & Bistro

911 Highway 33, Hamilton

(609) 245-8887

Tues. 8 p.m. Triviajam

Wed. 9 p.m. Open Mic. Night w/ Shaun Ruymen

Candlelight Lounge
24 Passaic St. Trenton
(609) 695-9612

Sat. 3 p.m. Carrie Jackson & Todd Bashore Quartet. (No cover-$10 minimum)

Chambers Walk Cafe
2667 Main St. Lawrenceville
(609) 896-5995

Fri./Sat. 6 p.m. Dick Gratton

The Backstage at Championship Bar
931 Chambers St. Trenton

Fri. 6 p.m. Julius Seizure, Another Vendetta, Modern Titan, Paradigms. All ages, $15

Sat. 7 p.m. Fight On Fire, Vague Advice, Brock Landers, Signs. All ages, $10

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Wed. 4 p.m. Beyond The Shore, Illuminate Me, Every Passing Dream, (TBA), All ages, $10/$12

Chickie's & Pete's

183 US Highway 130 North Bordentown

(609) 298-9182

Tues. 8 p.m. Acoustic Music Night feat. The Dawgs

Dubh Linn Square
167 Rte. 130 North Bordentown
(609) 298-7100

Sat. 9 p.m. Matt & Rachel Duo

Sun. 4 p.m.Billy O'neal

Tues. 9 p.m. Open Mic. Night hosted by Shaun Ruymen

Wed. 9 p.m. Trivia Night

Fran's Pub

116 S. Main St. New Hope, Pa.


Fri. 8 p.m. Polish Nannies

Sat. 8 p.m. The Blue Meanies (Beatles Tribute)

Sun. 3 p.m. Little Red Rooster

Mon. 8 p.m. Open Mic Blues Jam hosted by Jimmy Pritchard

All shows 21+

Havana New Hope
105 S. Main St. New Hope, Pa.
(215) 862-9897

Thurs. Beat the Clock College Night DJ Dance Party

Fri. 8:30 p.m. Kharma Train

Sat. 8 p.m. Philly Rock & Soul

Sun. 2 p.m. Midnight Sun Orchestra

Mon. 10 p.m. Karaoke in the Bar w/ DJ Ron Sherr and Bridget

Wed. 8 p.m. Pat Foran and Friends

All shows 21+

Ivy Tavern
3108 S. Broad Street, Hamilton
(609) 888-1435

Fri. 10 p.m. Ernie White Band

Sat. 10 p.m. Infinite Bandwidth
All shows 21+

John & Peter's
96 S. Main St. New Hope, Pa.
(215) 862-5981

Fri. 9 p.m. Rainbow Fresh

Sat. (3 p.m.) Kalen & The Sky Thieves (9 p.m.) Dinosaur Eyelids

Sun. (3 p.m.) Toot Sweet (7 p.m.) "The Mayor, Music and Mountains" Jim Woolsey Memorial Concert

Mon. 9 p.m. Open Mic. Night w/ Chris

Wed. The Invitational (Featuring John & Peter's House Band)
All shows 21+

JoJo's Tavern

2677 Nottingham Way Hamilton

(609) 586-2678

Sat. 10 p.m. Trenton Makes Band

Wed. 10 p.m. Karaoke

McGuinn's Place

1781 Brunswick Ave. Lawrenceville

(609) 954-9320

Fri. 9:30 p.m. Out of The Red

Sat. 9 p.m. The Drunk Monkeys

Palermo's Of Hamilton
310 Klockner Rd. Hamilton
(609) 838-7979

Thurs. 9 p.m. Karaoke

All shows 21+

Patriot's Crossing

1339 River Rd. Titusville

(609) 737-2780

Sat. 7:30 p.m. Kevin Toft & The All Star Band

Pete's Steak House
523 Whitehorse Ave. Hamilton
(609) 585-8008

Fri. 9:30 p.m. Mercer County Pour

Sat. 9:30 p.m. Kindred Spirit

RHO Waterfront

50 Riverview Plaza Trenton

(609) 393-7300

Thurs. 9 p.m. College Night "Welcome Back Rider and TCNJ w/ DJ Jeff Scott

Fri. 8:30 p.m. No Way Out w/ DJ Frank Olivetti

Sat. 9 p.m. Freestyle Concert feat. Noel, Peter Fontaine, Kym D and DJs Billy Gray, Frank Di Re, Jimmie Palumbo

All Shows 21+

Sunsets at Cream Ridge

181 Rte. 539 Cream Ridge

(609) 208-2500

Fri. (6 p.m.) John Patrick Bastiani (9:30 p.m.) Melanie & Sonny

Sat. 9:30 p.m. That Acoustic '80's Band

Tavern On The Lake

101 Main St. Hightstown
(609) 426-9345

Fri. 7 p.m. Jazz Night

Wed. 8 p.m. Karaoke Night

The Ivy Inn

248 Nassau St. Princeton

(609) 921-8555

Thurs. 10 p.m. Karaoke w/ Ron Sherr

Fri. 10 p.m. River Dogs

Sat. 10 p.m. DJ Darius

Tues. 8 p.m. Quizzo w/ Bob E Luv

Wed. 10 p.m. Karaoke w/ Ron Sherr

The Record Collector

358 Farnsworth Ave. Bordentown

(609) 324-0880

Fri. 8 p.m. The Billy Hector Band. All ages, doors at 7:30 p.m., $15(advance)

Sun. 11 a.m. "Cranberry Festival" Live music all day feat. FLINTface, Crash Gordon & Debra Dynamite, Jamais Vu, Frank Viele Band, One Punch Mickey.

The Sticky Wicket
2465 South Broad St. Hamilton
(609) 439-0007

Fri. 9 p.m. (TBA)

Sat. 9 p.m. (TBA)

All shows 21+

The Sun National Bank Center
81 Hamilton Ave. Trenton
(609) 656-3200

Check web site for upcoming events

Tir Na Nog
1324 Hamilton Ave. Trenton
(609) 392-2554

Fri. (5 p.m.) Tommy Glover (9 p.m.) Bill Shannon

Sat. 9 p.m. Michael Nabinger

Sun. 3 p.m. Irish Sessions

Tues. 9 p.m. Paul Weise

All shows 21+

Trenton Social

449 South Broad Street Trenton

(609) 989-7777

Thurs. 8 p.m. Cinema Thursdays Presents: Birdemic: The Double Feature!

Fri. 10 p.m. Friday night w/ Jay Kountree & Jaxx

Mon. 10 p.m. Service Industry Night w/ DJ-Jay Kountree

Triumph Brewing Company (New Hope, Pa. Location)
400 Union Square New Hope, Pa.
(215) 862-8300

Fri. 10 p.m. The Lawsuits. $5 (cover charge)

Sat. 12 p.m. Oktoberfest

Sun. 7 p.m. Open Jam Night

Tues. 9 p.m. Acoustic Grateful Dead feat. members of Splintered Sunlight

All shows 21+

Wildflowers Inn

2572 Pennington Rd. Pennington

Sat. 9 p.m. Live Acoustic Rock
Mon. 9 p.m. Karaoke

All shows 21+

Danny Coleman is a veteran musician and writer from central New Jersey. He hosts a weekly radio program entitled “Rock On Radio” airing Sunday evenings at 7:000pm EST on multiple internet radio outlets where he features indie/original bands and solo artists.



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