Monday, April 27, 2009

Life in Music- Subbing Out

I've had to sub out of a few gigs as of late.

I hate having to sub out.

For those of you who are not down with the music biz jargon (and that's all it is, believe me,) "subbing out" means that you can't make a gig you agreed to do, for some reason or another, and someone else gets the call and does the gig in your place.

They also cash the check in your place. Grrr.

Subbing out is part of the deal of being pro. If you are fortunate enough to have a steady gig with steady work, like the Lonnie Brooks Band affords me, then you don't have to deal with it too much.

Why, you ask? Because I'm not taking a lot of gigs from other people, so I rarely have to sub out of something in order to do a Brooks gig.

But I do have to sub out of certain gigs to some extent. Even though the gig with Brooks is a very good gig, it only goes so far. I've been in the group for 8 years, now, but I'm still just a sideman, not the boss. This means that the gig will come to an end at some point (all gigs come to an end.) Which means that I can't just rest on my laurels. I've got to have other work (all working players work with several people.)

So I take a few side jobs. I make calls to people seeing if there's anything out there. People will also (hopefully) call me.

I've even got my own group (so as not to have to rely on the phone ringing my ENTIRE career.)
Between that and the random side work, some of those dates will, undoubtedly, clash with the Brooks band schedule.

Which means that I sub out when I need to, and someone else ends up getting my dough.

Of course, when you sub out, there's always a risk you run: losing the gig to someone else (meaning you won't necessarily get another call for another day.) If you can't make the gig, someone else will (obviously). If they are better than you are, or more reliable, or more likable, or more punctual, or more whatever than you are, then you might fall down a few spots on the call list.

Another revenue stream dries up.

For now anyways. Sideman gigs always seem find their way back to you.


That's how it goes. Not having your phone ring can be a harsh reality. Let's face it, the main reason why you're having to sub out is because someone else is offering better dough for the same day, and since you're just a mercenary (like the rest of us...)

Which means, of course, that we bring our misfortunes on ourselves, searching for that elusive gig that actually IS going to pay you what you think you're worth.

It's not like the guy/gal hiring you is concerned about your finances. They've got their own fish to fry. You're just an interchangeable cog in their (not your own) enterprise.

I'm in a pretty fortunate situation, though, because I'm generally only subbing out of a gig that is mine. Meaning I'm not a sideman in this group, I'm an owner.

I don't have to worry about losing that gig to someone else.

I still hate subbing out.

So it goes...

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