"Dear Contractors and Agent People,
I assume you expect me to show up on time to your job, correct? I also assume you expect me to be dressed as you specify, correct? I also assume you expect me to play appropriately, not get drunk on the job, not eat the buffet, not bring my girlfriend, you know, act like a professional? Then why the fuck can't you get the check to me on time?
Sound familiar? I seem to be running into more and more contractors lately who expect perfection out of a musician and yet expect the musician to be understanding when it comes time to get (or not to get) paid.
It used to be that when the gig is over, the checks get distributed, regardless of whether or not the client has paid yet. A good contractor has enough in the bank to cover the musicians they hire. It still is this way with many reputable contractors (an oxymoron I know). The trend lately is that agent/contractors only do their payroll once a week, or twice a month. This is ok if you let me know BEFORE the gig. Many contractors won't tell you about your check coming next week until you're actually at the gig. Why? They're afraid (and rightfully so) that good, steadily working players won't take the job. The payroll thing doesn't bother me as long as you actually stick to it. I've done some work for a guy who says payroll is every Fri, but when the check doesn't come I get " Oh yeah, my wife didn't get to it yet....we've been busy...yada yada." But boy does he freak out if someone is 30 seconds late to a load-in! It's even more fun to get an email saying "oops, we accidentally sent out checks from the wrong account, they're going to bounce!"
I tried this on my mortgage company once. You can imagine how it went over!
I used feel like the asshole for asking how much a gig pays, when we get paid, is there overtime etc ... but somebody has to and if we as hired musicians don't, you can bet someone will find (yet another) way to take advantage of us! As much as we love to make music for it's own sake, this is still a business.
Be the asshole! Be the asshole!