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A Word With Willie

Welcome to Willie Oteri's Blog about his life and lessons as a musician. From here you can browse the full articles on each topic covered in this series.

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How Do You Get Paid Gigs

How Do You Get Paid Gigs?
Visual artist KD Neeley asks Willie Oteri, "How did you go about finding and landing paid gigs?" 

KD Neeley, "How did you go about finding and landing paid gigs?"

Willie Oteri:
I didn't ever do a lot of that then. The drummer in that band really hustled it. He was good at finding gigs, he was a talker. Johnny Rose, that's what we used to call him. John O'Neill is his real name. But, he would go out and find us gigs.

There were several clubs in Santa Cruz then to work at, and in those days it was really easy to- they paid-actually paid money- clubs paid musicians in those days, which is a rarity now. We could make- I was making maybe a hundred and twenty-five, or between a hundred and twenty-five and two or three hundred dollars a week in the mid seventies, which was like a lot of money. It was pretty good money. In 1978 or 79 I got to do a theme for a TV show called Fast Draw, which never made it, it was pulled off the air in two weeks but it was money. It was good money.

From there I went to do some recordings with Bob Seger. I recorded some pedal steel tracks that never ended up being used, but it wasn't because of what we recorded, it was because the producer decided to put out a live album because it was taking too long to get the studio album finished. So that stuff never reached it, it never got put out.

But don't expect to make a lot of money off gigs. One of the more famous Austin musicians, Willie Nelson, said, "If you're not willing to play for the door-" like what you get at the door, "- then you're in the wrong business." So that's pretty much it.

You have to promote yourself well enough to get people in the door who pay. And a lot of times you have to play for not very much money or no money just to promote your own product. And have your merch out to sell and your CDs, T-shirts, things like that. A lot of people do that. But we don't make a lot of money- Dave Laczko and I as WD-41, we don't play a lot of paid gigs in Austin. But, we do work with nonprofits and that helps promote other things down the road. And our CDs do pretty well. We've had some decent sales, considering- which is not in the thousands. We sell a few hundred CDs a year. And with everything else is just sort of adds up. And if you want to teach that's a good way to make money too. Teaching is a good way because you can get thirty dollars an hour teaching somebody just the fundamentals of guitar. If you have a good name around town, that's a good way to make money-is teaching.

Last modified onFriday, 11 December 2015 04:14
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Thanks to KD Neeley of ZiADiA for putting this series together!

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