I've played a few bars, and some bigger venues.
At the bars, you can usually negotiate to get the money from the door at least. Some will also throw in an extra $200 or so. Most we ever made was $1500, which was at a bar that held 300 people. The bar owner made $10,000 off us that night in drinks in food. Needless to say, they'd like to book us again. Again, this was playing cover songs, so different than an o.g. band.
When it comes down to it though, you have to look at it like the bar owner.... willl they make money off of you? If you get people in the door, you've done your job as a band.
Also, factor in other things, like sound and lights. If you have to bring your own sound or hire someone, demand more money to cover that part. If the club provides sound, you can take a little less and still come out ahead. The largest place I've played is called the Brat Stop in Kenosha, and they always provide sound. We never got paid there, but if we did and had to provide sound, we would have probably come out behind, since it's a pretty big place and sound would have cost you at least $1000.
I think the only bands that make money there are when Firehouse or Ratt roll into town. They love that stuff in WI.
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