Sunday, October 19, 2008

What does pay it forward mean, anyway?

Seriously, some please explain it to me.

Last night, I paid a musician money out of my own pocket because she did her best to promoter her performance, she drew the most people and she was nowhere near meeting our overhead requirements for bands to get paid. Why else did I pay her? Well, for starters, she had to take off work in order to play her slot, and as such, she now has her budget compromised. And I've been in situations where Darth Vato brings a certain amount of people and then gets paid a fraction of what our draw merited, and I know how much that blows.

But here's the thing:

Because I paid her (and one of the other bands, who came from out of town), I basically ended up working for free last night.

Never mind that I will probably have to buy an alternator this week.

Never mind that I am trying save money.

Never mind that I will probably have to buy a new car.

I guess that makes me a nice guy, right--a paladin among promoters. A guy who puts himself in someone else's shoes, who puts other people first, even if it means personal inconvenience. Someone who really cares.

Well, that would all be true if I had opened my wallet with a kind heart. But I didn't. I wanted to say, "Yeah, it sucks not getting paid when you did your part to get people in the door. It sucks to get put on a difficult bill. Sometimes it sucks to be a musician. You know what you should do? BE SOMETHING ELSE." I wanted to tell her that you either have a solid back up plan or you learn to eat shit if you want to make your living from making art. I wanted to tell her tough fucking luck.

But I didn't. I didn't tell her any of those things, and she was grateful and thanked me and I appreciated it, and I felt like a total jerk for having those feelings. At the same time, I felt like a chump, because why does she get paid and I don't? I am supposed to collect 10% from the door, yet somehow, I ended up paying 5%. She made $30 for strumming a guitar for 50 minutes. I made zero for standing behind a bar for 5 hours.

And after being mad about feeling like a chump, I felt bad for getting mad. So what if I lost $50 last night--I have other avenues of income, soI don't need that extra money. And sometimes it sucks to be a bartender or a promoter or an astronaut or whatever and not make any money. You know what I should do?


I'm trying man, I'm trying.