What's the Real Blues Worth?

Chris Gillock clgillock@yahoo.com
Wed Sep 15 01:11:16 EDT 2004

"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
> gigs, and for festivals $3500-6000,  plus expenses
including hotel
> 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
> the risks of international travel. Advance deposits
will be
> 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

I love Larry Taylor and Barrelhouse Bonni, but there
is no money in the blues.  There has never been much
and now there is less.  The pickins are slim across
most genres - the jazz guys in Chicago are jealous of
all the money the blues players make!

I know a little about blues clubs - I have a small
investment in one in Evanston IL.  It is heartbreaking
to show up to hear Lurrie Bell, Michael Coleman, even
Eddy Clearwater play to skimpy crowds.  The club
owners get their throats cut when this happens,
believe me, even at the relatively paltrey wages they
pay the bands.  Unless you are a pretty big name
playing Saturday night in a tourist-oriented venue
(Legends, Kingston Mines, etc.), it is hard to come
anywhere close to Larry's numbers.  That's the
hard-ass truth.  Most of my outstanding blues-playing
friends have day jobs.

Mr. G

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