Topic: From Club Band to Corporate Band  (Read 2814 times)

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sidereal

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From Club Band to Corporate Band
« on: March 25, 2002, 10:01 AM »
My cover band has been getting tired lately of the BS that happens on the club circuit. (I could tell you a recent horror story, but that's a whole other topic altogether.) Anyway, we've been talking seriously about changing our business plan, and I'm looking for a bit of advice.

We're currently a male-singer-fronted 4-piece band that plays modern rock, funk, disco, etc for the clubs and occasional bars in the San Fran bay area. We're thinking of adding a female singer, a sax player, and a keyboard player and trying to break into high-paying corporate, wedding, and special event gigs.

So the recent thinking is to have two bands at the same time: A 4-piece band (lead male vox, guitar, bass, drums) for all the club gigs, and a 7-piece band (lead male vox, lead female vox, sax, keyboards, guitar, bass, drums) for all the higher-paying special event gigs. We've already got the additional players in mind who are willing to join up.

My questions are: a) does this sound like a good plan? b) I've done some corporate/wedding work, but not regularly. what are people looking for in booking such bands? c) how should we adapt our set list for the 7-piece? more motown, disco, etc? d) does the 7-piece configuration I mentioned look about right in terms of instrumentation?

Sorry... I know there's a lot there. :) But any help you can offer would be appreciated.

irishthump

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Re: From Club Band to Corporate Band
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2002, 11:15 PM »
Hi there, some advice for you!

a) - This is a good idea! The only thing to be wary of is that these additional players understand fully that there will be some gigs that won't include them. In my experience this arrangement can work out fine. I once played with a tribute artist who used a full band for large, corporate gigs and for smaller gigs he only used the keyboard player and backing tracks, it was no problem. As I said just make sure everyone is clear about the arrangements.

b) - I'm from Ireland, I'm not sure if it's the same in America, but for wedding work a good mix of material is essential, you've got literally every age bracket so you have to be versitile. Corporate gigs can vary, some may ask for a specific "theme" for the night i.e. 60s or 70s music only, so you have to be ready for that. Remember that for a corporate gig they're going to be paying through the nose (hopefully!) , so you've got to keep them happy!


c) It would be a good idea. You don't want the sax player standing there twiddling his thumbs for a half a dozen songs! That's an exaggeration, but you know what I mean. Also, if the sax player has a good voice, let him sing backing vocals, only if you're playing a song with no sax parts of course!


d) It sounds like an excellent set-up. My current band recruited a keyboard player a couple of months back, and the difference is huge. As well as filling out the sound of the group, it opens up a whole new range of material. Qite frankly, we could'nt get by without him!
The sax player would also add something visual to the group.

Anyway, sorry it's so long winded! Hope it works out.

Bye.

sidereal

  • Guest
Re: From Club Band to Corporate Band
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2002, 11:23 AM »
Quote
Anyway, sorry it's so long winded!

Not at all! :) That was great information. Thanks for the help!

BAnimalG

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Re:From Club Band to Corporate Band
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2002, 12:41 PM »
Sidereal, I think it sounds like a dream gig.  Hell, it is very possible for you to have a gig for the rest of your days as a working drummer!  Lucky you!  I do, however agree with Irish, in that you need to make sure the "optional" members know that they are just that, "optional."  I hate to make them sound like bench warmers, but in essence, that's waht they will be.  hope I could help and best of luck to you!

Offline Matt Self (Gaddabout)

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Re:From Club Band to Corporate Band
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2002, 08:14 AM »
Hey Side, I'm late to the party on this one, but what you're talking about is fairly common -- and good business practice since you live in a convention town (I guess all the West Coast towns are).

I've got a friend in a corporate band that comes in two sizes. The big band works for a booking agency and plays large conferences and the occasional large club or casino (we're surrounded on all corners by enterprising Indian reservations here). It's a 10-piece band that covers just about every popular song (rock, pop and country) since 1963 to circa 1987, so they can move in and out of different venues without a big hang up. I once witnessed them get the crowd going at Cooperstown with a string of 80s hits; Cooperstown is Alice Cooper's (yes, that Alice Cooper) sports bar in downtown Phoenix. Pretty funny.

The smaller band is a modern cover group (90s to current rock and pop hits) sponsored by both Budweiser and Miller Lite. They've always got gigs. The beer companies book them as part of their promotion. I used to think it must be a drag to play in that band, because they play a lot of dives, until I learned how much they make. Wow! I could make a good living just playing in that band every Friday and Saturday night. It works out to about $2,500 a month for 8 - 12 hours a week.

The biggest downside to being in a corporate band is you don't get to turn down a gig. You're employed by the corporation that sponsors you. You better have a well-heeled sub who knows the music waiting in the wings if you do this work, because there are times when it's non-stop for a month. Other times you're wondering if you'll ever work for them again, start booking other things, then they call you for something at the last minute when you're already got something else scheduled. It can be a scheduling nightmare.

I'd love to hear what you guys end up doing ....
Odd meter isn't broken. It doesn't need to be fixed. - David Crigger

sidereal

  • Guest
Re:From Club Band to Corporate Band
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2002, 03:18 PM »
Thanks Gaddabout. It's always nice to see what others are doing and that their plans are working.

(side note) Hey Felix... remember the good old days of the Cafe when you and I were considered the abrasive personalities? We've been outdone. But at least we had a point... and a sense of humor. ;)

 

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