This Town is a Sealed Tunafish Sandwich
Dear Poppa Chris
How can I get a gig in this town that pays?
I go for auditions and do the "hang-out with other muso's type
networking routine", what else can I do here to attempt to make
some money from playing music in Melbourne?
Jim ....... Melbourne, by all accounts is the live music capital of
Australia, but that doesn't make it right!
The fact that it is relatively easy to get a door-take gig and almost
impossible to get a pub gig that pays something close to a standard
award rate is a reflection of a few things ............
That the standard "door-take pub-gig scam" is alive and well and until
the musicians in this town pull together some kind of camaraderie to
do something about it, it will stay that way.
THE DOOR-TAKE SCAM
..... You get a pub to give you a gig, you get your mates to turn up
and support you, they buy the pub's beer, the publican smiles, mates
can't keep turning up gig after gig so after the 3rd or 4th gig where
you get 10 punters or less, the pub fucks you off and gives the next
band the same treatment, you only get the money from the door, all
the mates want to be on the door-list and get in for free, the band is
lucky to get petrol money, the mixer always charges a flat $50 rate
with access to your band-rider of 6 beers, sometimes you have to
hire your own P.A. ..., the pub does not pay for anything and so it
goes .......... IT'S FUCKED!
Musical cliques are everywhere but none more so than here, notice
that the same 4 or 5 faces keep popping up on session credits and TV
..... notice that all the jazz combos that get work are really about a
dozen jazz policemen in disguise ..... the same band with a different
The "(place drummer's name here)" quartet .........
The "(piano player's)" trio ......
(trio because sax player is off doing I.M.T.)
meanwhile the audience that they are playing to, get bored with the
same licks, so their chatter gets louder during the 257th
performance of "My Funny Valentine"
..... etc .... ad nauseum
So ....... what happens is that these freelance/jazz/session dudes get
better and better at what they do and the rest of us stay home and
teach, drink, smoke, become embittered and dis-enfranchised .........
finally giving it away to go into retail.
The referall ...............
..... if you want a paid gig as distinct from an original band door-take
type gig, Jim, start your own clique or somehow join one!
Some of the more popular ones .......
.... for jazz gigs .... get into the V.C.A.
.... for reception gigs, buy drumsticks in Northcote
.... for cover band gigs, buy drumsticks in Flemington
.... for fusion gigs, hmmmmm you did say you wanted to get paid?