Starting a band sucks, writing music sucks and getting your band's name out there sucks too. But what sucks most is dealing with incompetent club owners. This week, Rocks Off caught up with Chris Ginsbach, drummer for the Literary Greats
, who told us a tale of malfeasance and uncouth behavior in College Station.
"We'd been wanting to play there, as Brandon [Elam, the band's lead singer, guitarist and keyboardist] and I both went to school at A&M and were heavily involved in the music scene while students," Ginsbach said.
In April, The Literary Greats booked a show at a venue on Northgate, a strip of bars right next to the A&M campus. The group expected the gig to go off without a hitch, but unfortunately the bar's owner wouldn't return the band's phone calls, e-mails or texts, so the band drove all the way to Aggieland on hope and a prayer.
"We have a hard time nailing down details with the bar owner - PA availability, start time, cover, payout - though he does confirm the show, but still no details," Ginsbach said. "So I show up at the proper time, driving in from Houston, [and] the bar owner starts to explain how he doesn't have a PA for us to use, and we needed to bring our own."
Rocks Off has played a number of shows at venues that had little to no contact with us, so we feel the Greats' pain. Maybe the worst part of being in a band is hashing out specifics with proprietors who are just "too busy."
The Greats booked the show with Elkhart
, an indie-folk band that drove in from Dallas. Though it was obviously one-sided, a lot of time and effort had gone into the show, and it looked to be all but wasted.
"As we explained that we tried numerous times to confirm details with him, he sorta shakes his head and admits he's not that good at getting back to bands, [because] he's real busy running his bar and all."
Rocks Off does not see this as a legitimate excuse, buddy. If you're going to tout live music, put in the time and effort it requires.
"The kicker here," Ginbach added, "is that as he's detailing how inept he is at booking music and how most venues across the state require bands to bring their own PA, he's unloading his own personal PA that he uses as a side business for outdoor parties. He says he can't let use us this, as it is his and is too nice for some bar band to use.
"We couldn't believe our ears," Ginsbach continues. "We're clearly pissed, but bound and determined to play somewhere in College Station that night, just not at his bar."
So The Literary Greats moseyed on next door and proceeded to book a show there. Ginsbach called Elam, who turned around, sped back to Houston, picked up a PA and drove back to College Station. When he arrived, Elam found that his gas was wasted, though; the bar owner had called a local band who agreed to let the Greats borrow their PA.
"The show ended up being killer," Ginsbach said. "It's always easy to entertain drunk college kids, even with original music. But we wasted a lot of gas money for a show so close to Houston.
"And Elkhart drove in from Dallas!"