Fuck you Lizard Lounge NYC!

The Lizard Lounge, 240 West 54th Street, NYC

Appropriately named since a slimy ass lizard seems to book the entertainment there. This subhuman piece of crap had the audacity to not allow a band that I play in get on the stage because we didn’t bring 20 people down to their stinking(literally stinking like shit as if the towlet bowl overflowed in the place) club at 11pm on a Wednesday night. This fat fuck had the nerve to go on about how he did this or that successful thing at Le Bar Bat to which I say, yeah if you were so successful there you’d still be there and not trying to dick artists out of money and the opportunity to play. What this freak of nature fails to realize is that he should fucking be paying the artists. He’s got it all wrong. No the performers shouldn’t have to round up their friends and family to pay you for admission and drinks and you not pay the band anything. No fucking way. You Mr. club owner should be paying the band whether or not anyone shows up in the joint and if you can’t do that you have no fucking business being open, end of story!

Yep, that’s the New York rock and roll scene. I don’t think there’s a club in town that pays bands, at least unsigned and relatively unknown bands, and they all expect the band to supply the audience. That’s how it works. It’s never going to change.

If you want to make money playing music, study up, learn to read (music) and get a gig as a studio musician. Play in a wedding band. Teach.

If you want to be creative, and write your own music, which may or may not appeal to a wide audience, excellent, and I admire your commitment. Play the gigs wherever you can get them. Rehearse a lot. Write a lot. But you’re not getting paid by anyone until a club owner knows you’ll bring a big audience that will pay a cover and buy a bunch of booze.

Be glad you’re not a comedian. Lots of clubs in NYC (I’ve heard) require comedians to bring from 10-15 people in order to perform. At an open mic night. For no pay. And if you’re lucky, and the owner is in a good mood, you might get 7 minutes on stage, as opposed to 3-5.

It’s a crap roll of the dice, but sometimes you have to suck it up for exposure.

Ah yes, I’m very familiar with this rant. I played in a band for quite some time in NYC. Ironically the most we ever made was like $64 bucks at Nightengale’s (1st and 13th?), which was a tiny dump.

I feel for you.

I actually liked playing at Nightengale’s. It’s just a dive bar but there was something about the acoustics that really made it sound good - from where I was sitting anyway, which was behind a drum kit.

So, EasyPhil, did he book you guys and you showed up with all your gear and he wouldn’t let you onstage? That is exceptionally shitty behaviour.

Otherwise, what LMM described is the NY R&R scene. Take it or leave it. I took it than left it after about 3 years or so. I definitely had some good times.

You guys should try getting on a bill at CBGBs. Even if they never ask you back, it’s a hoot playing there.

Yeah, they booked us, we show up and as the band that was playing before was done we were told that we couldn’t perform because we didn’t bring the “required” number of people.


I do read music and I do get hired to play gigs. This isn’t a rant about getting paid it’s a rant about showing up at the gig with your gear and told that you can’t play because you didn’t bring them enough people to pay them money.

FYI: They totally redid Nightengales, total makeover.

I remember Nightingale’s quite well. I spent more time down the block at Dan Lynch’s, though. And the bands there used to actually pass the hat around to pick up a few bucks.

Nightingale’s would get good bands, but it seemed like every time I went there there was a fight going on, and sometimes it would end up spilling over onto me. So I stuck to Dan Lynch. Besides, one of my favorite bands of all time used to play there a lot. Anyone ever hear of the Holmes Brothers?

Is it feasible for you to play out of town? Pickin’s might be better further west. No way in hell you’d come as far west as Ohio, but we went out to upstate NY and landed a few decent gigs.

We had a stupid club here in town that paid us $1000 for a four hour set, there was one couple there, the bartenders, and us. We still got paid though. The kicker was that about a month later they asked us to do it again, for $1000. This time everyone there was being paid to be there for one reason or another. They were trying to be like a “trendy NY club” is what the owner said, some people just don’t know how to run a club I guess.

Am I to surmise that he didn’t inform you of the terms of the engagement at the time he made an agreement for you to perform? Indeed, that he didn’t do so right up until you arrived for the event? That is pretty dickish, not to mention stupid. How the hell can he expect you to round up 20 friends on zero notice?

So… most clubs in NY pay non-big-name bands and performers nothing, and force them to bring an audience to boot? Wow!~

Not exactly.

This is for if you’re playing your own music:

Most often a club will have maybe 3-5 bands on a given night. When someone comes in, the person taking the cover charge will ask which band they’re coming to see. Your band will get paid according to how many people came to see you. If a whole bunch of people come to see you, you make a whole bunch of money. If no one’s there but the bartender and sound man, you don’t make anything.

The real sticking point is that when you’re starting out you get really shitty slots, like midnight on a Tuesday. Who the hell’s going to come see you at midnight on a Tuesday?

Another way to make money is to get on a bill with a ‘name’ band or performer at one of the better clubs and the opening act will get a percentage of what’s collected at the door.

You’ll get one, maybe two shots at a club to bring in an audience. If you don’t, you’re history there. When you try to book there again, they’ll say no, or they just won’t return your calls. Fine.

What they usually don’t do, is book you, then not let you go onstage once they see you didn’t bring an audience, which is what happened with EasyPhil’s band. That’s bullshit.