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Bowery Electric Categorically Deny "Pay To Play", Dahl Denies And Clarifies

Getting real paid

On Wednesday I wrote about Cheri Dahl’s claim that Bowery Electric attempted to extort $200 off her to open for Ellen Foley here. Clubs are like people, they have their own personalities, and while Mercury Lounge are nice guys, with the exception of the basement bartenders, Bowery Electric are unhelpful pricks to rock nyc and the story, to be blunt, far from surprised me.

But Charlie Roth, the Bowerytones bassist, took time from his current European tour playing with the Garland Jeffries Band, to comment “Not to defend or deride anyone in this thread or story….but…

“I’ ve played BE many times with The Liza Colby Sound, Jahn Xavier, and a few special events put up by the good folks at CBGB in Exile, and I’ve never had this experience. In Liza’s case, we’ve headlined and opened.


“Note that the source of the story has had some sort of career dealings with Jesse in the past. Tho I don’t know her, it seems just from her quotes that she has an ax to grind that surpasses this story.

“Again, YMMV, but this is my experience and this is what I got out of an objective reading of this story. If another band, NOT associated in any way with the club or its owners supports this, I’m all ears.”

So I asked Jahn for his experience and he told me he had never been asked to pay. So I went to Bowery Electric who were as pleasant as you’d expect but did say this: “Bowery Electric categorically deny charging bands to play. They cut a cut of the door, if they don’t bring in anybody, they don’t get paid anything.”

So I went back to Cheri: “$100 to sound and 100 door. n 200 covers . I never lie ,I just say what others will not. What the hell do I care .It is MY fkn city!! I was born n raised on Manhattan Island and I never gave a crap ,and never will what anyone thinks of me,why should I.

“Just said that was my experience…….maybe I am the only one. If I had not already played there 3 times b4 I would understand.But , it was a surprise .I thought we did well.But,I am not playing in a basement ever again, I hear it is bad for you.So no tears shed,believe me.I never had a following ,I had/have friends. I just do it to do it.Man.Sometimes they come, n sometimes not….that’s show biz.’.’..n, never sell ur self short’.I love my music and if others do yay,if not,….it is not my business.

There  are a lot of clubs out there and business is, of course, business. Here is the great singer songwriter Scott Severin’s comment: “With cd sales virtually gone, playing live is the only way to make money. If anybody (even Jesse Malin) asked me to pay him $200 to play his club, he had better make that demand while armed. Or, much bigger than Jesse himself.”

Stalking Christina bassist Marc Seligman had this to say: “It could have been a misunderstanding…say a guarantee of $200 at the door vs paid admissions. Pretty common. I’ve played at the Mercury Lounge. If there’s 4 bands, they make each band cover $37.50 at the door to make up for $150 in production costs. Tamanny Hall (through a promoter) has similar where we don’t get paid the first $100 but we keep 100% after that.

Marc, whose band  “Fools on Sunday” played at Mercury Lounge  and at Tammany Hall  played with “The Michael Collins Band.  Marc is bassist for both , also said: “As far as B.E. – I can understand guaranteeing ticket sales but literally pay to play? It doesn’t make sense.

Marc also said I could call him for clarification and I plan to do that as well as when I get the chance (or if I can’t hand it off to someone else) to call New York clubs and figure out exactly what the booking practice is. Aren’t there rules about this stuff? Where’s the Unions?

In the meantime, Ellen Foley played, Cheri Dahl didn’t, and the primary reason appears to be because Jesse was being greedy.

Or did I miss something?

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