Jobbers, Hired Guns, Mercs, Your Experiences With Stand-ins?

NotScott

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2012
Messages
4,445
Reaction score
12,657
I am kind of surprised by the amount of guys here doing the jobber thing. I was expecting to hear more from guys in bands that hired jobbers. I think Defcrew made some good observations about the current reality of the music biz. The music industry is changing and what worked in the past and put dinner on the table may not work today.

As for my gig last night, the drummer did well. He is a much better drummer than the last guy we used. We definitely could have used a rehearsal with him as we blew some intros and endings but, we made them work and actually turned a couple of them into features not bugs. To the "popcorn munchers", I think our drummer made as much difference as my choice of tone caps in my guitars.:naughty: Regardless, the venue owner loved us and is bringing us back.

As for us in the band, I am not sure this drummer wants to be a full-time member, so we are going to audition a few more drummers this week. Times may be changing, but as long as this doesn't turn into work and I am still having fun playing out, I will keep doing it. :dude:
 

NotScott

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2012
Messages
4,445
Reaction score
12,657
I honestly thought this was military related....:laugh2:
Never called any of the guys “Mercs” back when I was still playing out. We called them “ guests “.....
Nothing to add here,just basically typing because I made the coffee too strong :headbanger::laugh2::headbanger:

Mercs was a term we used for guys who only cared about getting paid and had no loyalty to anyone but dead presidents on green paper and would dump you the night before a gig if a better paying gig popped up.

I only worked with one such character. In my last band, we finally scored a gig at a place that we had been trying to get into for months. They had one date open and our singer took it without hesitation. However, our regular drummer had to back out on us the week before the gig.

Since we didn't want to cancel, the singer found a guy on CL who advertised himself as a fill-in. He had a good resume and was willing to rehearse with us before the gig. We agreed to a rate, had an excellent practice with the guy and were all ready to go. The day before the gig, he tells us all in an email that he didn't realize how long of a drive he had for this gig and that he would need to get paid double to cover his extra time and gas! :mad2:

I was ready to cancel the gig last minute and not tell this clown but our singer really wanted to play this venue and so we all agreed to chip in and pay this guy his extortion fee.

We all get to the gig and the guy brings his wife. She was a bit aloof and sat away from the other wives. Then I find out why. While we were setting up, the wives ordered snacks and drinks. This guy's wife orders the most expensive dinner on the menu and a bottle of wine! Needless to say, when the wives saw this after we told them about his demand for more cash, nobody was very happy that night.
 

bulletproof

aka tarddoggy
V.I.P. Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2011
Messages
13,017
Reaction score
33,724
Mercs was a term we used for guys who only cared about getting paid and had no loyalty to anyone but dead presidents on green paper and would dump you the night before a gig if a better paying gig popped up.

I only worked with one such character. In my last band, we finally scored a gig at a place that we had been trying to get into for months. They had one date open and our singer took it without hesitation. However, our regular drummer had to back out on us the week before the gig.

Since we didn't want to cancel, the singer found a guy on CL who advertised himself as a fill-in. He had a good resume and was willing to rehearse with us before the gig. We agreed to a rate, had an excellent practice with the guy and were all ready to go. The day before the gig, he tells us all in an email that he didn't realize how long of a drive he had for this gig and that he would need to get paid double to cover his extra time and gas! :mad2:

I was ready to cancel the gig last minute and not tell this clown but our singer really wanted to play this venue and so we all agreed to chip in and pay this guy his extortion fee.

We all get to the gig and the guy brings his wife. She was a bit aloof and sat away from the other wives. Then I find out why. While we were setting up, the wives ordered snacks and drinks. This guy's wife orders the most expensive dinner on the menu and a bottle of wine! Needless to say, when the wives saw this after we told them about his demand for more cash, nobody was very happy that night.
Yaaaa man,back in the day,when we were all a lot younger? That ole boy would have been bounced on his ass afterwards:laugh2:
 

Thumpalumpacus

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 28, 2010
Messages
76,199
Reaction score
187,684
This! It is not as noticeable doing most pop and rock tunes but any music that requires any kind of subtlety and/or attention to fine details just seems to homogenize into Muzak rather than something special.

It's not just that, though -- much of the magic onstage is simply personal energy.

I did an open-mic one time where the bassist and drummer were in their own band, and played a lot of Rush. I'd never played with them before that night. Kyle asks, "So, whaddya know?" I answer, "Rush, Sabbath, Jimi". He calls out "La Villa Strangiato".

I shrugged and dug into the beginning Cadd9 arpeggio to some funny looks from them; I'd only learnt the song two months before so while it was fresh in my head my fingers still worried me. And sure enough, I flubbed a couple of parts, and improvised the C-F# solo without much excitement or trainwreck. Once they realized I knew the song and wasn't going to drag it south, like any good rhythm section they kicked into gear.

We got lucky that night, having had no chemistry at all beforehand, but we had a cluster sitting in front of the stage, agape, at the end of it all.
 
Last edited:

brianbzed

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 13, 2008
Messages
2,834
Reaction score
2,043
The hired gun thing comes and goes for me. When I stopped playing full time, I got occasional calls to "come and play lead". Even took a gig on bass, but warned the bandleader that I'm a guitar guy and only screw around on bass. I made know that I would probably sound more like Geddy Lee than James Jamerson. The gig went fine, the leader dug my "lead bass guitar stuff". Been a band leader too and called hired guns- with GREAT results.
Part 2 of the previous post: If you're the bandleader, hire the best guys available. I hired guys that were better players than myself. With no rehearsal, I said "just play all the lead and do what you do best." I lucked out with one guy who had played in Greg Allman's solo band. The man KILLED it ( and still does!).
 

Neffco

Silver Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 22, 2013
Messages
4,085
Reaction score
9,778
I’m playing with 5 different bands next week. Whore!
 

NotScott

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2012
Messages
4,445
Reaction score
12,657
As an update to my original post, we auditioned another hired gun drummer last night. The first guy is not available for our next two gigs. This second guy is and is really good but all he does is fill in from band to band. He is not interested in being a full-time member with rehearsals. Honestly, he doesn't need rehearsals for this type of material, but he still needs to know how we start and end tunes. He is scheduled to fill in for us the next two gigs but our singer is getting cranky about resolving our drummer issue permanently.

A funny aside about being a hired gun vs. hiring them, after our last gig with the first fill-in drummer, I received a call from a friend of his. Apparently our first fill-in drummer was talking me up and recommended me for an open spot in his friend's band. Sunday I have an audition with them. The next few weeks should be very busy and very interesting. ;)
 

freebyrd 69

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2011
Messages
13,212
Reaction score
24,936
As an update to my original post, we auditioned another hired gun drummer last night. The first guy is not available for our next two gigs. This second guy is and is really good but all he does is fill in from band to band. He is not interested in being a full-time member with rehearsals. Honestly, he doesn't need rehearsals for this type of material, but he still needs to know how we start and end tunes. He is scheduled to fill in for us the next two gigs but our singer is getting cranky about resolving our drummer issue permanently.

A funny aside about being a hired gun vs. hiring them, after our last gig with the first fill-in drummer, I received a call from a friend of his. Apparently our first fill-in drummer was talking me up and recommended me for an open spot in his friend's band. Sunday I have an audition with them. The next few weeks should be very busy and very interesting. ;)

I have been on both ends. Fill in gigs are fun to do, I think, with the right people. I have a pretty good core group of people that I can source for fill in's for us, although with this project, parts are a bit more specific than other bands I've been in.

One thing I can tell you @NotScott .....the most important part of any band are the bassist and the drummer. They HAVE to gel...so I would give your bass player priority when it comes to a final say in the drummer. If those two are gelling, all of the other stuff should fall into place.
 

NotScott

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2012
Messages
4,445
Reaction score
12,657
I have been on both ends. Fill in gigs are fun to do, I think, with the right people. I have a pretty good core group of people that I can source for fill in's for us, although with this project, parts are a bit more specific than other bands I've been in.

One thing I can tell you @NotScott .....the most important part of any band are the bassist and the drummer. They HAVE to gel...so I would give your bass player priority when it comes to a final say in the drummer. If those two are gelling, all of the other stuff should fall into place.

Trust me. I know all too well how important a good rhythm section is and how they can transform any band. That is why I want to resolve this ASAP.
 

MikeyTheCat

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2014
Messages
25,680
Reaction score
53,009
The best gigs I think I had were all hired-gun positions. Often when starting a band you need to work out what’s going to be played, ho is the leader and getting gigs, all things that weren’t issues when being hired to back someone.
The three main jobs that went that way had great leaders who if he liked what someone did would make changes to add that in. One job was backing a folkie but turned into a weird sort of folk-prog-Jazz group. Another was a country band that added Punk flavors to the sound.
 
Last edited:

Neffco

Silver Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 22, 2013
Messages
4,085
Reaction score
9,778
One show down. Opened for Ned ledux last night. Had to bust our hump to get an hr set put together but we pulled it off.

Ned and his band were awesome. Nice guys too.
 

Latest Threads



Top