KBA= Keeping a Blues Musician alive

Steve Edmonson edmoblues@comcast.net
Sun Sep 12 16:43:23 EDT 2004

C'mon Larry, be honest...If I thought that Chicago clubs were actually
paying these amounts, I'd be packing right now.  Currently, _*NONE*_ of
our SF Bay Area clubs that book mainly local  acts are paying more than
$600.00, and that's for a weekend night.  It does make it tough for a
six-piece band like ours (We would really be an eight piece band, but we
usually can't afford the last two guys.)  As I said in another recent
post, many national/international artists that live locally are waiting
in line to get these gigs!  The Boom Boom Room in SF offered us $500.00
for a weekend night, but would only give us the gig if we refused all
other work in the area for a month, what a joke!  Some of the local
clubs that book national talent will pay up to $1200.00 to $1500.00, but
the guarantee is usually much lower, and you only get above $1,000.00 if
you get a percentage of the door and have a good night attendance-wise.

When we are traveling, we do, out of necessity get more money, but there
is a lot of overhead on the road.

If Larry is actually getting paid these amounts, he is doing much better
than most of the well known, established blues artists with a lifetime
of performing under their belts.  I doubt that there are many bands out
there with more experienced players than ours, and their skill at
playing "real-deal" blues, soul, and R&B is unsurpassed. Between us,
we've played with (not opened for):

T-Bone Walker, Johnny Clyde Copeland, Clarence Hollimon, Albert Collins,
Pee Wee Crayton, Otis Redding, Gatemouth Brown, Lowell Fulson, Buddy
Ace, Freddy King, Gladys Knight, Etta James, Otis Redding, Rufus & Carla
Thomas, Johnny Otis, James Cotton, Luther Tucker, Syl Johnson, Sir Mack
Rice, Van Morrison, Maria Muldaur, Luther Ingram, Fontella Bass, Jimmy
McCracklin, Jimmy Witherspoon, Big Mama Thornton, ZZ Hill, Sonny Rhodes,
Ike Turner, B. B. King, Etta James, Clarence Carter, Sugar Pie DeSanto,
Buddy Ace, Buddy Guy, Charlie Musselwhite, Little Jimmy King, Lafayette
"Thing" Thomas, Frankie Lee, Pine Top Perkins, Carey Bell, Roy Gaines,
Steve Freund, Chuck Berry, Snooky Pryor, Jimmy Rogers, Steve Freund, The
Dynatones, Paris Slim, and Rusty Zinn, to name a few.

As far as his heritage somehow entitling him to some special treatment,
Larry will have to stand in a very long line.  Our drummer's dad is the
legendary Johnny Otis, but he's never suggested that he should be paid
more because of it.  (BTW, I left out drummer, Nicky Otis' resume,
because after playing with his dad's orchestra all of these years, let
it suffice to say that he has played with everybody.) Oh yeah, BTW, we
pay all of the band members the same, regardless of race, which should
be irrelevant.

I agree that we are all grossly underpaid, but let's be honest about the
money.  We all deserve the kind of money that Larry is talking about,
and more, but if he is really pulling down that kind of bread in
Chicago, he needs to stay right where he is, he is already doing far
better than the national average (sad, but true.)

Steve Edmonson
The Jackie Payne-Steve Edmonson Band

Bonni McKeown wrote:

> Here is a letter from Larry Taylor.
> What's the real blues worth? For myself,  I ask my band to be paid in
> the range of  $900-1000 for Chicago clubs,  $1800-2500 for regional club
> gigs, and for festivals $3500-6000,  plus expenses including hotel and
> travel.  Overseas. I would ask  $3500 plus expenses per concert as an
> individual, or $10-15,000 plus expenses with my band; that's because of
> the risks of international travel. Advance deposits will be negotiated
> individually. There is no reason, given my skill and heritage, why I
> should not be making this money.   I know that some entertainers get
> more than $25,000 for a concert. Some of these high paid artists are
> white; and I feel like we are just getting the scraps.

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