White Collar Criminals

SEBASTIAN BACH DOESN’T WANT TO PAY YOU

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Bazneeds$I imagine that when the members of, say, Daath get together for rehearsal, no one expects to be paid for said rehearsal. They’re all dudes who are friends – some of them even grew up together, if I’m not mistaken – and it’s not like they’re making squillions of dollars playing metal. Rehearsal, then, has to be viewed as an investment – get better as a band, put on a good show for the crowd, and, knock on wood, your band will get bigger and the money will come.

I also imagine it’s different being in someone’s solo band. If your boss is Ozzy Osbourne or Axl Rose or Dave Mustaine or Trent Reznor, there’s going to be a lot of money involved, and your creative input is going to be somewhat limited (I imagine). I know for a fact that the members of nu-GN’R are paid an annual retainer, just in case they’re needed; I assume members of certain other solo bands are given a similar (if perhaps less lucrative) deal. And actors definitely get paid to rehearse; granted, the rehearsal rate is less than the performance rate, but the unions insist that if you want an actor there for rehearsals, he or she must be compensated.

Now. Sebastian Bach’s record sales obviously are not what they used to be. But the guy still opens for arena bands, routinely plays large festivals, and, by his own admission, gets paid very large sums of money to appear on crappy reality shows. Doing something like, say, paying for his band’s member’s gas so they can get to rehearsal seems reasonable, especially when you’re talking about dudes like Metal Mike Chlasciak, who, even if he’s not exactly Zakk Wylde, has played with dudes like Halford, and is definitely a “known entity.”

Well, Baz disagrees. He’s looking for a new guitarist and a new bassist, and, more specifically, he’s looking for someone to do it for bubcus. Check out this statement from the Old Dude Gone Wild:

“The reason Skid Row and Slave To The Grind… came out great because we were together all the time, playing, rehearsing, writing, all the time, every day.. not because we wanted to. Because we needed to. Not because we were getting paid, because we weren’t. We played music for one simple reason: Playing music was (and is) our life…

“I can remember being in Velvet Revolver for about 15 minutes or so (about three weeks, actually) and the thing I loved about that experience… is that those guys had at least 30-40 songs on the demo CD Duff [McKagan] gave me, and all of us had one goal in mind: creating some great music. That’s it. We rehearsed at Mates for five hours at a time. No one asked, ‘How much am I getting paid to rehearse?’ ‘Who’s paying my gas money to write this song?’ etc. The subject of money never came up. We rehearsed, wrote songs and hung out together because we loved playing more than anything else, and are happier playing music than doing anything else.

“Since then, the guys I have had in my band have seemed to have gone on their own separate ways. I was forced to turn down five shows this summer: Gods Of Metal, Sweden Rock, Metalway in Spain, and two shows in Quebec, Canada with my heroes KISS. The unbelievable reason I had to turn down these killer shows was simple: I could not get ahold of all my band members, or I could not afford financially to pay my band to rehearse and do the shows. This situation can never happen again…

“I am looking for musicians who love to play and create new music. Who need to play music. Who live to play music. I cannot make a good album when I have to pay all the band members to rehearse. I simply cannot afford to pay a musician to sit down and write a song with me. I myself have never once been paid to rehearse, or write a song. I do it because I love it. I do not understand the mentality of some of the musicians I have worked with, who demand payment to rehearse, to get better, to sharpen their craft in order to destroy the whole world on big stages and in the studio. In my mind, a good musician, a true musician, LOVES to rehearse, plays all the time, because they want to get better. Not individually. As a BAND.”

That’s idealistic talk, and if you read this site regularly, you know we’re all for artistic idealism – fuck, that’s half of the appeal of metal in the first place. So maybe I’m just picking on Baz ’cause he’s Baz and I know he’s a douche.

But like I said – clearly, Baz is in pretty good shape for someone whose heyday is over, and it seems to me that springing for gas money – especially when you’re not really a member of a band, but, rather, the boss – is pretty reasonable. If Chlasciak was asking for an exorbitant sum, that might be one thing, but who knows.

Someone will take this gig on Baz’s terms – hell, he might even be talented. The job will provide him with a certain amount of exposure he’d never receive otherwise, and hopefully he can parlay that into some kind of post-Bach career. So maybe it’s worth it. Personally, I think this sounds like one of those terrible American Idol deals you hear about – where the performer does all the work and is contracted for X number of years while being paid peanuts all the while and someone else owns everything said performer does during that time period – but I guess we’ll see how it plays out.

I’m curious to hear what you guys think – especially those of you who are either working musicians or aspiring musicians. Is Baz right, or is he, as is so often the case, being a dick?

-AR

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