deps in brass bands

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by el_blasto, Nov 5, 2007.

  1. el_blasto

    el_blasto Member

    Whilst deps are wonderful and help struggling bands take part in engagements and contests that they couldn't otherwise partake in, from time to time players can charge bands for poor service... from personal experience would you charge bands for your services? and without naming anyone of course, it would be interesting to hear of some situations with bad deps that other musicians have encountered

    this is an attempt at rephrasing a previous post that didn't seem to go down too well :oops: whilst the previous title was a bit tongue in cheek, it wasn't my intention to start a naming and shaming session, as that would obviously be childish and nasty :)
  2. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    Yes, I would agree that, without deps, bands would turn out under strength or cancel the job altogether. I have also been on the receiving end of deps charging too much and playing badly. I suppose the trick is for bands to try and build up a list of players whom they can trust to do a good job and will charge a reasonable fee/expenses. I have also known great players who are happy to turn up and play for the love of it.

    When I conducted Soham Comrades for a while, I was lucky enough to engage both David Read and Trevor Groom to dep with the band and I don't think either of them charged anything. And when it comes to quality deps, you really can't get much better than David and Trevor!

    As a working professional player, I have no difficulty in separating work and banding, and frequently help local bands out for nothing. On occasions when a band has engaged me as a professional, I have charged the amount that I have lost in turning pro work down, which I think is fair.

    When I hear how much some 'big names' in the banding world charge, I am amazed at hearing such bland and uninteresting playing. A top section band I know brought in a top name player for a contest a few years back and he made a right pig's ear of it whilst charging a four-figure sum.

    Just by contrast, I have a pay slip in front of me from the London Symphony Orchestra. Two rehearsals, one concert = just over £300, and the LSO is generally considered to be the best orchestra in the UK, so quite how people in the banding world can charge four figure sums and then play like a **** could almost be considered fraud.

    Sorry, rant over....
  3. dyl

    dyl Active Member

    As you are all aware we locked a previous attempt at this subject, and we will not hesitate to jump in and delete any posts in this one if we deem such action necessary. Can we remind everyone of our Rules - and if any naming and shaming is done in this thread then it will be locked! We are watching...................... ;)
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2007
  4. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    Sorry if I overstepped any mark there. I agree this can be a touchy subject, but I think it is a very viable subject for discussion, as long as we all consider confidentiality!
  5. Bones

    Bones Member

    I'll speak from personal experience. I charge what it costs me to do the job. Often I won't charge at all. What I do expect is that the Band has the courtesy to ask me if I want anything. Then I politely refuse if I am able to without damaging my wallet.

    I did have one instance of a Band in the North East I won't name them, but their name rhymes with Veg Rardy. I was asked at short notice to help at one of their concerts. At the end of it I was dutifully asked how much I wanted I quoted an amount. The startled Band Manager told me to stop being a soft B***er and upped the amount, saying I couldn't do it for that amount. The job was in Durham, I live in Nottingham. The end result, is a tremendous amount of goodwill and a Band I really enjoy playing for when the opportunity arises.

    If you feel dep fees are a touchy subject, then speak to the person who books you and be open about it. It then saves any embarrasment at the gig, which noone wants.

    Duncan's right though. I've heard some so called big hitters (money terms) not cover themselves in glory and expect to clear the national debt of Burundi. Know what you are letting yourself in for before you do a job or book a dep. No problem then.
  6. bertiebass

    bertiebass New Member

    I personally wouldn't charge for my services, probably because I'm not that great as a player, but especially as a bass player, you never know when you need you return the favour, fortunatly for myself its not that often. Brass banding is a hobby and if I didn't enjoy it, I wouldn't bother with it. In my opinion and its not in my interest to offend anyone, any band whos that desperate to take on dep and be charged for there services need there head examined, I don't care who it is. I rather cancel the gig. When you have to pay out there fees the band have earned, there is little point turning up. I just couldn't sleep at night knowing I've charged a band struggling for players and cash. Again its only my opinion.
  7. brittm

    brittm Member

    I think the pay slip's more a reflection of the state of the profession... (the value rather than the fact that you were playing for them!)

    Also a comparrison between apples and pears(?)
  8. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    This problem of getting value for money for deps has probably been with every team-based organisation since day one, not just brass bands. Ideally there should be a 'reserve' (dep) list of available players and associated fees (based on ability & location) held at local and national levels. Unfortunately because of many changes seen now in personal circumstances (e.g., leisure time related to jobs, family etc.) there is probably a big pool of potential players who cannot commit to regular rehearsals and competitions/concerts and are currently bandless. It might be that they can make themselves available for some of the jobs required by other bands when they are short. It might also be the case that basic expenses might be the only costs involved for most in this 'pool'. I think it could be a solution for the long-term if band membership continues to fall and mergers are out of the question. My tuppence worth!
  9. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    I'm SURE you're worth more than that as a dep, BN!
  10. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    - I've never charged for playing, oddly enough! I got enough expenses as a kid and student player years ago as part of the band's policy. I have been out of pocket on many occasions though. Taking time off work with holidays, losing out on overtime and all those bus, train & social (meal/drinks) costs (... I don't drive). I don't regret doing it either!
  11. Blagger

    Blagger Member

    I don't have the time these days to help out many bands but tend to charge just petrol - then again when Freck ring up I do it for a beer - it depends on how well you know the band I guess.That said - I must say that most bands I've depped for insist that you take something ... :)
  12. TubaPete

    TubaPete Member

    It's a difficult one when you're asked to dep, knowing what is an appropriate charge. I tend to ask the band what their standard rate is - I've never feel the need to haggle upwards and have been known to offer all or part of it back as a donation to band funds. I tend to take into account:

    * cost to me of travelling to the rehearsal/gig
    * time commitment (I was a dep for one gig which required leaving home at 1pm, meeting a coach 40 miles away, getting bused to the job (another 180 miles away) and back to the car, eventually arriving home at 4am)
    * how much I enjoy it (not necessarily the same as how good the band is)

    For what it's worth, as an orchestral tuba player with a half decent local reputation, I'm always offered more for amateur orchestra jobs than I am as a dep for band jobs. I apply the same princiapl as I do with bands - if it's no hassle and I enjoy it, they generally get most or all of the fee back as a donation.
  13. Seems only fair if a band contacts you to help out that they should at least offer fuel costs if its quite a distance travel. If you are a true bandsmen and play because you love it then you won't charge anything else. I help out every local band frequently without charging anything, regardless of standard. As long as they ask nicely!
  14. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    There has to be some exceptions to the rule of depping, circumstances permitting. For Montage at the areas, the band I played for required a sop. player and we recruited the principal trumpet (Sandy McGrattan) from the Scottish Ballet Orchestra, who was brought up with banding and a reputable piccolo player as well. He had to be compensated for loss of income and was paid matching fees plus expenses.
  15. I remember a few years back Soham Comrades brought in a top orchestral trumpet player on principle cornet for the areas - Must have cost nearly a grand if I heard correctly but then again the band was desperate and without him would have probably struggled. Its a sad case - when your desperate you have no other option but to pay for it
  16. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    Up until I did the area with Leyland in 2005, I'd made £10 out of Bands in over 20 years....and that was only because the Dep monitor shoved it in my pocket.

    The only reason I took £30 off Leyland was because I'd told my missus it wasn't going to cost me anything :hammer (it still did, though ;) ).....fabulous experience, though - it's the only time I've ever won the Area :biggrin:
  17. JDH

    JDH Member

    I don't generally charge. Only when either I have some distance to travel, in which cases I will hope for (but not demand) expenses; or if I know the band is getting a big fee, in which case some recompense seems quite reasonable.
  18. Baritonedeaf

    Baritonedeaf Member

    I have never taken a fee or expenses for depping (who would pay me?!) - in our locality the players who play for us as deps do not charge or take expenses, so the players in our band try to do the same for them when playing in their bands. Seems to work ok for us.
  19. a very flat b

    a very flat b Member


    I rarely do any deping. But if I do I don't ask for or accept any payment and I also attend some rehearsals as my sight reading is bad.
    If you charge you are putting a value on your ability and if you fail to meet the bands expectations then I think the band has every right to be annoyed.

    This year I was lucky enough to be able to dep at Whit Friday with a good band, I attended rehearsals, which were a fair distance away and payed for the hotel myself - because this was something I wanted to do. :clap:
  20. ploughboy

    ploughboy Active Member

    I played at the Open (several years since) there were three deps in my section. I played OK (ish) only one rehearsal and I think asked for £20, pertol for the rehearsal and the day. one of my section had a complete mare on stage and still asked for £175+ (ish?) and said in the bar, that was the worst he'd played on stage for years, when I questioned him about his fee he said "you'd still get paid behind a bar if you did a **** job".

    We're lucky at the Emley we have an excellent list of deps who never charge much at all -and we always ask, much nicer to ask and have people turn you down!

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