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Discussion Starter #1
I'm trying to get into playing more for private functions and not just my usual fairs and fetes. I'm negotiating a gig (solo to backing tracks) to play during the meal at a wedding reception and not sure what to make of this, which is the deal breaker:

'... if you can assure us of a flawless performance, then we can proceed to start talking about specifics'.

Do I just say 'I promise' or should the artist in me take umbrage? I understand that of course one wants everything to go flawlessly for their big day.
 

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Forum Contributor 2008/Distinguished SOTW Member
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You could always tell them that you would no more expect that your performance to be anymore flawless than their marriage.
 

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Saxplayer67 said:
'... if you can assure us of a flawless performance, then we can proceed to start talking about specifics'.

Do I just say 'I promise' or should the artist in me take umbrage? I understand that of course one wants everything to go flawlessly for their big day.
I don't want to put you off, Saxplayer, but this is my honest reaction:

Honestly, i would be concerned about getting paid at the end of the day, unless the above remark was light-hearted. If they really want to make a "flawless performance" (as defined by themselves) a condition of employing you for a wedding gig then i'd be concerned about what kind of people I was dealing with. The "start talking" doesn't inspire great confidence either. It makes it sound like you're going to have to enter on a lengthy negotiation about the set list!! IMHO. All the best. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Guys, thanks for the swift responses. Rooty, I do have some qualms as mentioned by you (I never give anything less than my best performance, be it for charity, friends or any events such as those types mentioned above but I'll be playing whilst their chimp's tea party - sorry, reception meal - is going on). Moneywise, they'd better pay up, as I'm travelling a good eighty miles round trip and taking a day's holiday from work. How about this response, based on Swamp's post too:-

'I promise my performance will be as flawless as your client's son's wedding day. Please advise me of music required and I shall see if I have access to backing tracks for required tunes. As mentioned previously, my representative set list is available at www.myspace.com/kentishsax'.
 

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I think they need to define "flawless performance." Does that mean you show up, play as planned and don't hit on the waitresses? or does it mean you better not miss a note that is on the popular recorded version of the songs? Are they looking to hire a live player or a jukebox? if the latter they would be better served with a DJ, but then again, that performance may not be flawless.

IMHO, you should draw up a letter of agreement, spelling out what you will do, how much and when you will be paid (50% up front, the rest at the gig {the start would be good since they will most likely leave before anyone else}) and any other caveats you want to insert, and present it to them.

You have already "started talking" once they entertained the idea of hiring you, now the ball is in your court so to speak, to tell them what you offer, the price and other information.

That's exactly what I have done when hired to produce corporate videos, an informational meeting to find out in basic terms what they want, then I create a proposal and submit it as a letter of agreement, which they sign. (letter of agreement sounds less intimidating than contract)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Bill, your words are sound. Maybe I should stay in fetes and fairs land - they may not all be paid gigs (some are) but it's safer! I intend to follow your sage advice. It's not just the client who has to be protected, it's the performer too. After all, how would I handle 'Baker Street wasn't exactly like the record' or 'you sound nuthin' like Kenny G' - no pay for you!'?
 

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Personally, if it were me I'd prefer to tell them to 'p*ss up a rope' based on their 'requirement'...but I guess I would 'politely decline' at this point instead.

I got no 'guarantees' for anybody...what an asinine thing to ask of someone.
 

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If they have not heard you play, include a sample of your performance or direct them to your myspace page. You could suggest to them that this is an example of what to expect should they hire you.

Also, check your PM

Ernie
 

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I`d tell them its not worth your while and politely decline. Takes all the fun out of it being dictated to and demeaned like that. For my first wedding gig, I was offered money but agreed on a tip jar instead so the audience could pay what they thought I was worth. I got more than if Id been paid.
 

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Tell them 1 special request free, the 2nd is 50, the 3rd is 75 and up and up each fee on top of the previous + subcontractor fees. Time being what it is, the more requests they make the more time required from your other duties and subcontractors are not a cheap hire for arranging these tunes.

Whenever I get these sorts of gigs that I really do not want to do, I get VERY expensive to hire. If they go away then great, if they hire me, then I hold my nose all the way to the bank.
 

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Saxplayer67 said:
I'm trying to get into playing more for private functions and not just my usual fairs and fetes. I'm negotiating a gig (solo to backing tracks) to play during the meal at a wedding reception and not sure what to make of this, which is the deal breaker:

'... if you can assure us of a flawless performance, then we can proceed to start talking about specifics'.

Do I just say 'I promise' or should the artist in me take umbrage? I understand that of course one wants everything to go flawlessly for their big day.
Have any of us anytime ever delivered a "flawless performance?" And who gets to decide what constitutes a flawless performance? Frankly, I think you should take considerable umbrage, and unless you really need/want the gig, offer this arrogant twit a little bit of "education" about how to deal courteously and effectively with musicians.

(Rooty, trying here to live up to the Grumpessa appellation, as it pleases you so when I do. I'd enjoy meeting you and Mrs Rooty---I admire her forthrightness)
 

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1)There is no such thing as a flawless performance. The highest of the high level pros screw up all the time. They just know how to play it off like no one notices.

2)A lot of the time, you can screw up and non-musicians won't have any idea. To them, you're performance was "flawless".

3)If they're worried about quality, direct them to your MySpace. Say "This is how I sound. If it sounds good to you then lets do this."
 

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AltoRuth said:
(Rooty, trying here to live up to the Grumpessa appellation, as it pleases you so when I do. I'd enjoy meeting you and Mrs Rooty---I admire her forthrightness)
"FORTHRIGHTNESS"!!!!! Now that's a word that's rarely used in relation to a man, isn't it?! Bit like "feisty", eh, Grumpessa!! :D :)
 

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Weddings come with their own breed of stress. Your client-to-be sounds like a Bridezilla in the making.

I like playing jazz gigs as much as anyone else, but I'm not sure there's any amount of money that will make the gig you're describing sound attractive...
 

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bari_sax_diva said:
Weddings come with their own breed of stress. Your client-to-be sounds like a Bridezilla in the making.

I like playing jazz gigs as much as anyone else, but I'm not sure there's any amount of money that will make the gig you're describing sound attractive...
What if they throw in a drunk bridesmaid?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Wow guys, thanks for all the support! I have previously directed them to my site and also the youtube clip (now I've also found a way to add it to myspace) but have had zero feedback. I know I have no professionally recorded full performances but at least they're a representation of a 'live sound'.

I have gone back to them with my reply as above, about being as flawless as the wedding day, we'll see what I get back. If I had any sense, I'd say forget it already! I know I can play sax and people love my playing (my cat doesn't though!) and my students respond to me well, I have nowt to prove (except to learn to have more self esteem, I've been told my my fiance!) so it's their call...
 

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playitfunky said:
What if they throw in a drunk bridesmaid?
Hang on a minute. Saxplayer never mentioned that part (the crafty swine!!). I'm going to have to reconsider my advice now. [polishes whiskers] :twisted: ;)
 

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Point them to this thread for some additional perspective.
This was posted once before, but it may agin provide some entertainment value as well as a warning..
----------------------------------
Dear Mr. Fat Frank:

My wife and I look forward to you providing music at our daughter's
wedding at the Taylor County Country Club this Saturday evening. We
have just been very busy and simply forgotten to provide you with a
list of songs you need to perform. Here is what we need from you.

Most any Chick Corea composition would be great, but do need you to
play "The Three Quartets, No. 1" as the guests walk in. For the
bride's mother, please go right into the piano intro to "Quartet No.
2." Keep playing it till she gets up to the altar. Also, it is a must
that you have it arranged for the full ensemble. Don't play any of the
"Electric Band" songs and make sure the drummer uses "Evans" drum
heads so his drums sound like Steve Gadd, our favorite drummer.

Now, when I walk in, please play "Birdland" (but it must be the
version from "Live"). My wife and I were at that show, and we
particularly like that version. Then you can play "Sister Cheryl" from
"Tony Williams Live in Tokyo." Now, for the song in the middle of the
Mass during the communion, we want the singer to sing Alan
Holdsworth's "Against the Clock" from his "Wardenclyffe Tower" CD. We
love this song and especially the drum solo by Vinnie Colaiuta. We
think that it's his greatest solo, although some will argue against
this. Keep repeating the drum solo till the priest tells you to stop.
However, the drummer needs to play this with brushes and no bass drum.

Next, any of John Coltrane's duets w/Pharaoh Sanders would be grand. I
understand that their use of atonality is not everyone's cup of tea,
but all of our guests LOVE high register tenor saxes. I'm sure your
trumpet player can double for one of the sax parts and save us the
expense of having two sax players.

We also thought a little Stravinsky right after the toast would be
nice. We particularly like the "Infernal Dance. . ." or whatever it's
called, from the Rite of Spring (second version c. 1932). If you want
to use the sheet music, that's OK. We like a tempo of about note=93
(Ozawa). A bit faster be is okay but do not play it too slow. That
would ruin it.

Next, for the "life candle" lighting ceremony, please play Frank
Zappa's "The Black Page." I know that you'll want to play it in the
original key of Bb minor, because, but my cousin Janine would like to
sing it, so you may have to play that part in another key (she majored
in voice at UCLA) on the spot. Just be prepared.

During the cocktail hour, we want some nice Keith Jarrett tunes from
his "Standards Vol. 1 and 2" and nothing else.

Now when my daughter throws the garter, could you play just a little
of Varese's "Ionization"? It's such a cool piece. We think it would go
over really well. It's much better than "The Stripper" which we
frankly find a bit too vulgar anyway.

Now, for the bride and groom's first dance, please slow things down a
bit by doing Barber's "Adagio for Strings." It's so much better than
"We've Only just Begun" or "The Anniversary Waltz." When my wife and I
join in the first dance, could you please segue to Thelonious Monk's
"Ruby, My Dear?" That's in honor of my wife's grandmother, whose name
was Ruby. It would mean so much to the family. Then, we would like to
hear some nice Mexican music while we eat dinner. We love the sound of
Los Ponchos, so any of their hits would be great. Of course, you'll
have figure a way to cover all of the percussion parts, but I'm sure
you can handle that little detail without my assistance.

Oh yes, thanks very much for all your understanding in this. We'll
certainly be happy to recommend your band to all of our friends. We
thought that $50.00 per man for 4 hours would be sufficient. So that's
$350.00 for the entire group. If you get our guests dancing, I will
even consider throwing in an extra $50.00. So, hey there's some
incentive to get 'em dancing.

Now, we want you to be set up TWO HOURS before your scheduled start
time @ 5:00 pm., and absolutely do not be late. We don't want to see
any cases, bags, coats, boxes, cables, wires, or any of that tacky
tacky and such unnecessary clutter on the stage or within view of the
guests. Play 1 1/2 hours and then take a break of no more than 10
minutes, but don't forget, to leave the guitar player or the piano
player playing while the rest of the band breaks. We just can't stop
the mood can we?

Also, absolutely no drinking! In fact, we don't even want to see the
musicians near the bar or food tables. Also, NO TALKING ON STAGE!! Go
outside quietly where no one can see you. Of course, no smoking
anywhere inside or outside. Someone will be watching you on your
breaks to make sure you don't consume any alcohol. oh and before you
leave on your break, make sure to talk to the caterer about a band tab
for any sodas if you can take outside with you during your break. You
can settle up with him in cash at the conclusion of the evening. I
believe the sodas are only $3-$4 plus the tax.

Oh, and one more thing.... and this is very important. In between
songs, we don't want to hear any of the musicians talking or making
eye contact with the guests. I don't know what you people like to call
it that, it is terribly rude and unprofessional. Actually, I strongly
feel that it is very unprofessional. You don't see the members of the
Berlin Philharmonic doing that. . . .right?

We look forward to hearing you play. Mail us your bill the week after
wedding and we'll have our accountant prepare you a check within 45
days. Thanks for taking care of these last minute finishing touches
and don't disappoint us.

Sincerely,

Mr. and Mrs. Nathan Fitzgerald Chadwick
Parents of the Bride
 

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Saxplayer67 said:
Do I just say 'I promise' or should the artist in me take umbrage? I understand that of course one wants everything to go flawlessly for their big day.
A final thought, Saxplayer67. In the event that you do decide to take umbrage (and I think you have every reason to so do), please be sure to exit the scene in high dudgeon ;)

Ruth (aka Grumpessa)
 
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