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Author Topic:  Whats the average pay for steel player
Kevin Fix


From:
Michigan, USA
Post  Posted 14 Jan 2018 4:53 pm    
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No Bars and clubs for this guy. Best of all no loud drunks and smoke or fights!! County Fairs and Festivals are the best, lots of fun. Staying dry and avoiding a heat stroke!!! Gatorade is a lifesaver!!! I bring a large enough tarp to cover all my gear, set up. If it comes up to fast to get off stage I have climbed under the tarp with my gear until the storm was over. Having a roof over the stage just keeps the sun off you sometimes. When the rain blows in your going to get a damp ass no questions asked!!!!
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b0b


From:
Cloverdale, Northern California
Post  Posted 14 Jan 2018 5:59 pm    
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The advantage of playing wineries is that people try to hide the fact that they're drunk, as opposed to bars where people try to show off how drunk they are.
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Kevin Fix


From:
Michigan, USA
Post  Posted 14 Jan 2018 8:22 pm     Drunks
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Good one b0b!!! That's a fact!!!!
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 14 Jan 2018 8:34 pm    
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Kevin, was the $170 a fee to the Fair Commission for auditioning? Or was it gas, food, and lodging for the trip? Either way, this doesn’t qualify as “pay to play”, IMO.

Last edited by Fred Treece on 15 Jan 2018 11:40 am; edited 1 time in total
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Damir Besic


From:
Nashville,TN.
Post  Posted 14 Jan 2018 9:32 pm    
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my favorite jobs were casinos, great rooms, food, drinks, they want you to play with low volume not to distract people from gambling, and we could play all the traditional country we wanted... nice stage, sound man etc... yes, casinos were my favorite....
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Michael Hartz


From:
Decorah, Iowa, USA
Post  Posted 15 Jan 2018 11:22 am    
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Up until our 6 piece band semi retired at the beginning of last year we each probably made around 10 to 12k per year playing weekends. That averaged to about $180 a piece per night during the winter months with casinos paying $400 for the weekend. The real money was during the summer and fall when local town celebrations and fireman’s dances would pay anywhere from $275 to $500 a piece per night. I kinda miss that extra money right now but don’t miss leaving the house at 5:00 pm on Saturday and not getting home until 3:30 to 5:30 in the morning on Sundays and having to schedule everything including family vacations around band schedules. Love having my weekends back.
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Barry Blackwood


Post  Posted 15 Jan 2018 11:39 am    
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Quote:
What is the definition of "Pay to Play"?

We drove 200 miles one way last Thursday to play for 15 minutes (for free). It cost us $170.00 just to be able to do the show.
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Bill Sinclair


From:
Hagerstown, Maryland, USA
Post  Posted 15 Jan 2018 12:20 pm    
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Barry Blackwood wrote:
Quote:
What is the definition of "Pay to Play"?

We drove 200 miles one way last Thursday to play for 15 minutes (for free). It cost us $170.00 just to be able to do the show.


I don't know, Barry. By that definition, every musician or actor that has ever paid gas money to an audition is "paying to play". Isn't that pretty much every musician that has ever worked? Yeah, $170 is a bit more than the usual cab ride uptown but it sounds like it paid off for Kevin.

Now, if you're talking about an entry fee by the county fair commission to audition or the club owner that wants you to "audition" this Saturday night at his bar from 9PM-1AM, then I'm with you 100%. Reprehensible practices. I'm pretty sure Kevin was talking about travel expense, though.
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Barry Blackwood


Post  Posted 15 Jan 2018 1:19 pm    
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Details aside, my point was you are not getting paid by anyone to play. If you are footing the bill for expenses, etc. then you are paying to play, no? Confused
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Earnest Bovine


From:
Los Angeles CA USA
Post  Posted 15 Jan 2018 2:19 pm    
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Barry Blackwood wrote:
If you are footing the bill for expenses, etc. then you are paying to play, no? Confused


You would be footing the bill to promote yourself (advertising expense), or to indulge your vanity.
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Kevin Fix


From:
Michigan, USA
Post  Posted 15 Jan 2018 2:26 pm     $170.00
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Fred, The $170.00 is what we paid just for the 15 minute slot. We sell band T shirts and bottle water during the year. Works out Ok for small expences during the year. Our traveling, room and board was above that. My wife and I made it a 3 day get away. The love of playing music!!!!!
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Bill Sinclair


From:
Hagerstown, Maryland, USA
Post  Posted 15 Jan 2018 2:59 pm     Re: $170.00
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Kevin Fix wrote:
Fred, The $170.00 is what we paid just for the 15 minute slot.


Yikes. I stand corrected. That seems like a bit of a racket.
I'm really glad it worked out for you guys but what a bummer for the bands that didn't get hired. Hopefully you won't have to audition next year.
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Brett Lanier


From:
Vermont
Post  Posted 15 Jan 2018 3:18 pm    
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To me this is an infinitely complex issue. Depends what you want to do and what kind of career you're hoping to have. I remember a while back thinking about adding some live sound engineer jobs to my routine when I'm off the road to help out with money. I went out and did it a couple times, realized I didn't love it and thought to myself, "I'd rather be playing better gigs, with better musicians, in bigger rooms and for more money". It wasn't long after that that it started happening. Maybe it's purely coincidence, but I tend to believe that having that realization was the first step towards doing it.
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Barry Blackwood


Post  Posted 18 Jan 2018 11:33 am    
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Quote:
You would be footing the bill to promote yourself (advertising expense), or to indulge your vanity.

The latter, methinks...
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David Mitchell


From:
Texas, USA
Post  Posted 18 Jan 2018 8:24 pm    
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To show the monetary difference in local players and big league players in 1975 I was playing steel 6 nights a week in a club near Athens, Tx. for $50.00 a night. Back in them days Willie and Waylon would play the Blackeyed Pea festival every year in Athens, Tx. That year Jody Payne (Willie's guitar player)and Bobby Wayne came out to our club and set in with us. One of the guys in the band asked Jody what Willie payed him per show. He said $750.00. That was in 1975. There use to be a lot of 6 figures a year players but not so many anymore now that the 4, 5 and 6 piece recording bands are gone. They lost something when they went to 200 plus tracks productions. Star players slid into the background with touring bands.
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Mick Kollins


From:
Virgin Islands, USA
Post  Posted 22 Jan 2018 12:40 pm     Caribbean Pay Scale
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The first radio stations heard here in the Caribbean (AM only) were broadcasting straight C&W out of South Florida in the 50's and it was all Hank and Lefty and Patsy and Earnest and Roy and Kitty and Ray etc. SO...local West Indian folks have a real affinity for old school country..from St. Lucia to Dominica and here in the Virgin Islands. They love it and sing along with every old classic.

I play out 3 nights a week for $75-$100 per. 4 in the band..and I'm the only steel player gigging in the USVI. But not every gig is country. The most popular is a beach bar where all we do is 100% originals. (we add a sax on this night) The genre is..a mashup of reggae meets country meets smooth jazz? Go figure!
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George Redmon


Post  Posted 31 Jan 2018 4:14 pm    
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Brooks Montgomery


From:
Idaho, USA
Post  Posted 31 Jan 2018 5:52 pm    
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How do you do those polls? I'll bet a huge percentage of the forum members just laughed out loud and cut-and-pasted this to their band mates! Laughing
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W. Van Horn


From:
Houston, texas
Post  Posted 5 Feb 2018 9:15 am    
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I've heard rumors that Jonny Lam pays Spencer Cullum Jr to ghost write all of his steel parts. So that's gotta pay pretty low - I'm thinking like $5/hr.
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Tommy Shown


From:
Denham Springs, La.
Post  Posted 8 Feb 2018 8:41 pm    
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A lot of it has to do with venue. Some club owners will pay well while others will pay crap. No matter how far away you are from the venue. Say if I have a gig in New Orleans which about 70 to 80 miles away, one way. The pay is $100.oo per man.Tomorrow night I am playing in St. francisvile, La. which is about 50 miles away the place will pay the band $100.00 a man.Not to bad fro three hours work..Saturday night I will be playing at a local venue in town where every man will make $60.00 for three hours work.
Just depends on the club owner of the vvenue in how much he willing to pay for the live entertainment. Though I have not encountered it. I have heard where some clubs owner's have eliminated paying the band at the end of the night and just pay then what they had made in the cover charge.
This in my humble opine SUCKS, because of the fact, say you have only four or five people comein that night, and the owner had $5.00 cover . Your band has 5 pieces. that means,you and the and your comprades make 20 to $25.00 that night.

And then you have the Karaoke night, the club owner makes a killing because he does not have the headache in hiring a band. He has FREE ENTERTAINMENT for the night.
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Niels Andrews


From:
Salinas, California, USA
Post  Posted 9 Feb 2018 9:59 am    
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Interesting but I see very little about retirement and health benefits? Let alone guaranteed employment. I agree with Damir. Laughing
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 10 Feb 2018 10:21 am    
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Niels Andrews wrote:
Interesting but I see very little about retirement and health benefits? Let alone guaranteed employment. I agree with Damir. Laughing

Good chuckle, Niels Smile

I agree with Brett Lanier’s comment. If you have the talent and drive to seek out the type of situation he describes, then you have to decide if whatever is holding you back is worth while.

It is a very complex issue, even for the target audience here which I believe is the weekend warrior type steel player. Most of us are probably doing this more for the love of music than as a sole means of support for ourselves and families. $100 per gig is a nice little bump up in household income, as long as it doesn’t all go into the gas tank getting to the gig. And if your day job doesn’t impede on keeping your chops up and you can hold your relationships together, more power to you.

The retirement plan? If you are lucky, you never retire from playing music.
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Ben Waligoske


From:
Denver, CO
Post  Posted 10 Feb 2018 11:42 am    
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Will Van Horn wrote:
I've heard rumors that Jonny Lam pays Spencer Cullum Jr to ghost write all of his steel parts. So that's gotta pay pretty low - I'm thinking like $5/hr.


Laughing Stirring the pot...
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Steve Spitz


From:
New Orleans, LA, USA
Post  Posted 24 Mar 2018 6:40 pm    
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I’m not sure I’d say the expense of getting to an audition is a pay to play situation .

Maybe pay to audition ? An incidental expense, related to the cost of doing business.

I would be less likely to drive for hours to audition for a gig. It would have to be a life changing gig.

I’d have a problem with paying expenses if the venue was making money, but not the band.
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Don R Brown


From:
Rochester, New York, USA
Post  Posted 24 Mar 2018 6:59 pm    
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Steve Spitz wrote:
I’m not sure I’d say the expense of getting to an audition is a pay to play situation .

Maybe pay to audition ? An incidental expense, related to the cost of doing business.



To put the above in the context of a more traditional business, I'd equate an audition to advertising. Yes, it costs you something up front, but the intent is it will generate a desire for your product or service which will more than offset the initial outlay. In a highly successful event, it can bring returns for many years if all goes well.
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