we’re looking for professional-ish horns and strings for EVERY CITY to hop up on stage with us for a couple of tunes.
we need a COUPLE of horns (trumpet! bari! sax! trombone! all need apply!!!) to join in the blasting with Ronald Reagan, our sax duo who’ll be joining the Grand Theft Orchestra every night.
and we need enough strings to make up QUARTET (pre-made quartets WELCOME) to join us for a couple tunes….and to act at the string quartet for jherek bischoff’s beautiful music (basically, you get to BE the opening ACT!).
you’d need to show up for a quickie rehearsal (the parts are pretty simple) in the afternoon, then come back around for the show!
we will feed you beer, hug/high-five you up and down (pick your poison), give you merch, and thank you mightily for adding to the big noise we are planning to make.
CHAD is going to be in charge of sorting the horns, JHEREK is going to be in charge of gathering the strings, and
they’ll also be CONDUCTING you on stage.
you need to know how to ACTUALLY, REALLY PLAY YOUR INSTRUMENT! lessons in fifth grade do not count, so please include in your email some proof of that (a link to you playing on a real stage would be great, or a resume will
do. just don’t LIE…you’ll be embarrassed if you show up for rehearsal and everyone’s looking at you wondering why you can’t actually play the trombone.)
we’ve had a blast putting people together this past summer….COME JOIN THE FUCKING ORCHESTRA.
it’s almost as good as the circus.
Except, again, she's insisting that the people who do this have quasi-professional-level skills, that they essentially audition for the parts, that they show up for a rehearsal before the show, that they provide the opening act music etc. etc.
(basically, you get to BE the opening ACT!)
Question: When did "know how to actually play your instrument" get elevated to "quasi-professional skills"?
Seconding lodurr: there's a huge gulf between "competent" and "quasi-professional".
we’re looking for professional-ish horns and strings for EVERY CITY to hop up on stage with us for a couple of tunes.
But the value of a musician's time and talent is not objectively fixed, and the very act of requesting it for free in a highly-visible way has the effect of decreasing it.
I'm struggling to find the place where Palmer used the term "quasi-professional." As far as I can see, that term was used first in this form, as a way to jack up the insult-level on what Palmer is requesting.
so please include in your email some proof of that (a link to you playing on a real stage would be great, or a resume will do.
more local musicians who volunteer can say to the next club owner "I played with Amanda Palmer when she came through last month," which might increase their chances of getting booked. In fact, when playing with her they might be inside a venue they couldn't get in before, and get to meet the booking agent, and get new fans/Twitter followers they would never get before.
And, finally, the real problem here is not with the individual musicians whose enthusiasm is being exploited. The problem is with the continuing degradation of the idea that playing music is genuine work that should be compensated. It doesn't matter that all the musicians are doing it willingly; what matters is that they are participating in a practice that devalues the entire profession. If getting up on stage to perform comes to seem like something people do just for the fun of it it gets harder and harder to persuade people that it is something they should pay for. Every union in the world knows that there are plenty of workers our there who will take the job for less pay and be happy to have it. That doesn't mean that they're not fighting exploitation of workers when they call those people scabs and fight for a contract that prevents the boss from making that deal.
So what? If someone offers you a deal that's not worth taking, you could always, you know, not take it! If people are taking the deal, that means they feel they benefit more from taking the deal than not taking it.
Anyway, I think she was asking for a cool million.
Regardless of the discussion being had, "Kickstarter is basicly pre-ordering" is a dangerous misconception that should get corrected wherever it crops up.
koeselitz - have you ever seen any live recordings of her? "generally it'll be a mess" is what she actively goes for. i actually think that's the part that keeps getting skimmed over - she wants it to be rough. she wants it to not be together. she wants it to be out of control and drunken and maybe fall apart mid way through. that's the sort of show she goes for even before volunteer horns.
Open Source Software is generally free. Amanda Palmer is getting paid to perform.
there were cities like new york where jherek – and everyone in the band – really wanted to make sure we had a 100% tried-and-true string corps. he didn’t want to bank on possibly risky volunteers that night. chad raines, my guitarist, who’s also in charge of wrangling the horns, agreed on that front as well. so we called our more professional horns and strings friends in new york, and we freed up the budget to pay them. we’re doing that in some cities, and in some cities it’s a total grab-bag of strangers on stage.
it’s very important to me that we clarify that – not everything you see on stage is black and white, and those specific musicians in new york (and in some other cities) who got paid shouldn’t be put in the same category as the volunteers. WE called THEM personally because we had lots of experience with them and knew what we were gonna get.
That you pay in some cities and not others is an easy out and suggests you think some fans are more deserving of a more polished show than others. Thats contemptuous, and to post about it and still expect players or cooks to bend to your will without compensation other than your own mythos/brand is narcissistic.
its narcissistic because it all revolves around You. Your call for free players requires I accept the rule that The Glory/Fun/Privilege/Experience/Hang With AFP is of more value than the skill set I bring to help make the musical moment work, or the say $150 or so that could feed my family.
But to establish Your Presence as the compensation for the gig is arrogant. It says that 20 minutes Of You should be worth more to me than paying rent. Of course , it may be for some, and that's fine. And Im also free not to take the gig. Its the inherent assumption that you set up that I find distasteful, and the cynical calculation that you've figured people will do it. To bet and plan on people making that choice is taking that arrogance a step further.
we constantly crowdsource food. across the world, our fans volunteer to spend a whole day, sometimes more, cooking and arranging to get warm food to the venue: it’s a truly magical feast sometimes. and it’s a simple exchange: we ask them to volunteer, they volunteer joyfully.
these people (some of whom are real-life professional chefs) have to actually lay down money, sometimes hundreds of dollars, for all the food they cook and bring us. they choose to spend their talent, time, (and money) cooking for the band. then they come eat with us. our gratitude is huge. we don’t have to order take-out from the falafel joint next to the venue, we get to meet cool people instead. i’ve made some great new friends like that. it all works out pretty great.
is it always perfect? hell no. do we sometimes end up with a five-course gourmet feast one night, and a sad/bland potato salad the next? hell yeah. is it worth it, and do we eat our sad potato salad with a smile? you bet we fucking do.
i’ve never come under fire for crowdsourcing food…but can you see the parallel? you could call us out for not putting our money to the local falafel joint, or for not hiring a cook for the tour. but that’s not the way we see it. we just see the joy around the table backstage as the rider wine flows and everybody involved has a good hang.
No, avoid saying things that strongly imply that people who want artists to be paid are venal, greedy, joyless, only care about money and not about art, etc. etc. etc.
we re getting slammed nightly and are rather light on staff. anybody want to volunteer being a floor person during our dinnner rush tonight, tomorrow, saturday or sunday? clean up. food running. positive energy. free pizza and drank.
Aha! Cello Contest
Each night on my tour I would really love one of you to come up and play the slightly mad cello part for Aha! with us on stage. We'll go through it once or twice at soundcheck to make sure you/we can hear everything OK.
Download the 'Aha!' cello sheet music in PDF format here.
Auditions will be held online in the comfort of your own home/space via Vokle by me 2 to 3 days prior to the gig in your area. They will be live and public! Please set up a speaker to be playing Aha! in the background while you play along.
We'll let you know the same night if you're playing with us at the gig of your choice.
Good luck! Lots of love xxx
Having taken part in two (ish) of these things as an unpaid musician ,im probably in a good position to comment!
Crowd-sourcing fan-musicians is all well and good to promote an awesome feeling of inclusion - i volunteered as an open suggestion to play back in 2009, way before any of the grand theft stuff and (as i put on twitter earlier today) i honestly had the time of my life! I got to share a stage with my idol and i will NEVER forget it!
Fast forward to 2011 and i applied once again and was accepted to play as part of a show. £100 in travel costs and a VERY short runthrough later and we're told we're being replaced by a different horn section. Ouch.
Yes it was a huge show, yes there was a lot at stake but i will never forget that show for the sad reason that we werent deemed good enough. My point? If you want Real Professionals (which i believe is the familiar point made in the blog), pay for them.
Im glad the chance to get this off my chest came up, its been breaking my heart for a year. Yes i funded the kickstarter, i will always admire you and follow you, but as for seeing another live gig, i cant. Havent played trumpet since.
sometimes it’s a lot of work. and every night, we work with who and what we’ve got. and it’s a risk, a game we love playing. it isn’t always easy, but it’s always worth it. and i wouldn’t have it any other way. i’ve met some fantastic people through it.
and honestly: i’d take a less experienced horn player who was overjoyed to be on stage for the fun and experience over the pro who’s clocking in to get paid and doesn’t care about me or my band any night of the week."
a lot of musicians really don’t know where their next paychecks are going to be coming from.
and everyone has a different approach.
this is the nerve we’ve struck.
i promise i won’t feed the trolls.
for better or for worse, this whole kerfuffle has meant i’ve spent the past week thinking hard about this, listening to what everyone was saying and discussing. i hear you. i see your points. me and my band have discussed it at length. and we have decided we should pay all of our guest musicians. we have the power to do it, and we’re going to do it. (in fact, we started doing it three shows ago.)
my management team tweaked and reconfigured financials, pulling money from this and that other budget (mostly video) and moving it to the tour budget.
all of the money we took out of those budgets is going to the crowd-sourced musicians fund. we are going to pay the volunteer musicians every night. even though they volunteered their time for beer, hugs, merch, free tickets, and love: we’ll now also hand them cash.
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