Bands vs. Venues: Who promotes? Who makes money? Can everyone “win”?


Rick from the Fallout Shelter brought up a great discussion topic on Facebook, and it inspired me to blog about it.

That’s a private group on Facebook, so here’s what was said in case you’re not a member:

Rick D'Agostino Looking for some feedback from the music community out there. Do you think that the $5 cover charge keeps you or your friends from attending shows at the Fallout Shelter that they might otherwise attend to check out new bands? In other words, are folks only willing to pay a $5 cover to see bands that they already know? And as a band member, would you rather play to a larger crowd with a tip bucket or to just a few people and make some gas money? I am thinking of making some changes. you can reply here or message me if you want. thanks!

Rick D’Agostino is looking for some feedback from the music community out there..

Dig?  So now, you have the gist of it.  My blog may go on its own little tangent, you never really know with these things.  It’s certainly worth talking about.

First, it’s clear that I’ve never been in a band where making money is the ultimate goal.  I’m amazed over & over that venue owners let me come in, set up, and play in front of people.  Sometimes we get money from the door, sometimes we get money from tickets sold, sometimes we give it all to the touring band, sometimes it’s a charity gig, sometimes no one shows up to pay anyone, sometimes we get some gas money or a couple of bucks to dump back into merch or something.

This is how it’s worked nearly everywhere and every time I have played:  Most of the time, the cover is $3 to $5, unless we’re opening for a national act & it’s through a booker where we’re asked to sell tickets.  Some call the latter “pay to play“, and rail wholly against it.  Some people have no problem selling tickets.  Some bands like mine do, but we try anyway.  At bar gigs, the cover charge is usually $5.  Sometimes it all goes to the bands, especially if it’s a bar & if you provide your own door person.  Sometimes it pays for a sound guy (if there is one) & a cut goes to the bar, then the bands get paid.  Sometimes locals defer and let the out-of-town bands take the cash (if there is one).  Sometimes you can play for free at open stages, sometimes you pay to get in at open stages.  Sometimes no one comes out to see you, and no one gets paid.  Sometimes the band gets free or discounted drinks.  It’s generally a no pay or break even situation.  You hope to sell merchandise and/or CD‘s if you have them, and the bar hopes to sell drinks & food.  The bands should promote and the venues should promote.  Some venues think the bands should do it all, some bands think the venue should do it all.  Generally 3 or sometimes 4 bands are all on the same gig.  Sometimes, it all works out, sometimes… it doesn’t.  This is how bands who largely play their own music are forced to operate.

That’s only 1 way.  There are many other “scenes” here overlapping in the ‘Burgh.

Cover bands… or human jukebox bands, can generally charge a fee for playing a certain style, genre, or “songs that people know”.  This is to provide entertainment to drunken Yinzer patrons who want to yell out requests.  You probably usually play 3 sets, maybe 4… and you’re the only entertainment all night.  You’re probably playing pop country, classic rock, or a little mix of everything.  Professional singers/songwriters operate pretty much the same way as described above, but can get away with putting in more of their own material.

High-class…  I know a band that plays funk, and can get $5000 a gig at the least.  They put their twist on a bunch of songs, dress up, bring lights, and put on one hell of a show.  I’m pretty sure I could never command that much cash for what I do… but how is one less relevant or entertaining?  They do weddings, corporate parties, and “events”.

I’m sure there’s other stuff out there that I’m not even aware of.  I can’t really speak for any other parts of the scene than the one I’m in.

I’ve heard the argument that charging only $5 is devaluing our craft.  Bands should demand more to be heard live.  It worked for Yuengling.  They raised the price on their beer in the late 90s/early 00s and they took off ahead of the other “microbrews”.  Should we then put a higher value on ourselves & our art?  If we raise the price do we raise our expectations?  Do we raise our worth?  Do we raise the value of our music & entertainment?

I also see that a cover charge can make or break a show.  Times are changing.  People aren’t spending money on entertainment.  Music is seen like it’s all supposed to be free.  Why would someone pay for a live show?  To me, if you don’t have $5 on you for a show, maybe you shouldn’t be going to a bar in the 1st place.  $5 might get you 2 beers if you’re a butthole & don’t tip the bartender.  Then again, we hardly ever walk away with any money anyway (the Fallout Shelter is an exception here, we get paid well there, regardless of turnout), so why not let people in for free?

The tip bucket.  I’d play for one.  I have no doubt that we’re entertaining.  Why not, right?  Do all bands split the tip bucket?  Or go per performance?  That if the 1st band up gets all the cash & the “cleanup” band gets nothing simply because the patrons ran out of cash?  Are we nothing more than indoor buskers if we play for a tip jar?  Is it a better measurement of our entertainment value to work for tips?  Does it devalue our art to basically beg for donations to support the rock n’ roll cause?

I certainly don’t want to see my favorite venues close because they can’t afford to operate.  I like to play them, I like to see other bands in them… I want them to do well.  I want them to continue to host my band & other bands.  I even want them to make a buck so it’s all worth their while, and so they can do it to make a living.

I just want to play.  I don’t care where, or for how much.  I have fun doing it.  I think this is an important discussion to have, though.  What is the value of live rock n’ roll?

So…

  • Would you play for less of a cover charge?
  • Should we charge more for shows?
  • Should bands play for tips?
  • How should the tips be split?
  • How does the venue make money?
  • Who pays the sound guy?

Leave your opinions in the comments below!

Related Articles

You ought to come see some of these shows.


I’m sure you know I’m one of the Berts in Ernie and the Berts.  I’m sure you know we play shows.  I’m sure you’d have fun at one (or two or three or four).  Come rock out with us some time…

Tue. 06/05/2012 @ Altar Bar - Real McKenzies, Goddamn Gallows, Bloody Seamen, Ernie and the Berts

✟ The Real McKenzies ✟ The Goddamn Gallows ✟ The Bloody Seamen ✟ Ernie and the Berts ✟

Tuesday June 5th, 2012 at the Altar Bar (Also, win Ernie’s Pants!)

Fri. 06/22 @ Ozzie's - Nervous Aggression, Don't Wake the Dead, Ernie and the Berts

☠ Nervous Aggression ☠ Don’t Wake the Dead ☠ Ernie and the Berts ☠

Friday June 22nd, 2012 at Ozzie’s Bar & Grill

Fri. 06/23/2012 @ The Fallout Shelter: Ernie and the Berts, Johnnie Lee Jordan, Alex Payne, Joey Molinaro

☢ Ernie and the Berts ☢ Johnnie Lee Jordan ☢ Alex Payne ☢ Joey Molinaro ☢

Saturday June 23rd, 2012 at the Fallout Shelter

Fri. 07/20/2012 @ The Fallout Shelter: OTiS, Scratch n' Sniffs, Ernie and the Berts

☢ OTiS ☢ Scratch n’ Sniffs ☢ Ernie and the Berts ☢

Friday July 20th, 2012 at the Fallout Shelter

As you can see we have a bunch of stuff coming up.  We generally try to be all kinds of fun.  We’re playing with some exciting bands & artists.  We’re playing some new venues & some old favorites.  We’re playing with bands we love & bands we’ve never met.  Each show is an adventure.  Join us!

Gig Checklists


Jim Dunlop Tortex Fin PicksInspired by a post called Gig Preparation, I thought I’d make some checklists.  I think we’ll need one (and a half) for our stuff, one for setting up the gig, and one for doing stuff at the gig.  The lists would change depending on who’s working the gig or who set it up, but you should be able to help with the flow of things even if you’re not the organizer.  This is also from the point of view of a guitar player, because that’s all I’ve ever been.  I’m guessing it would be the same for a bass player & quite similar for a drummer.

Gig Checklists…

-·♠·-

Before the gig:

☐ Get all the details in order:

☐ The bands
☐ The place
☐ The time
☐ The price
☐ All ages or 21+
☐ Is it a benefit?
☐ Any specials if it’s a bar?
☐ Selling tickets?

.
Promote!

☐ …using social media – Link the crap out of details/event pages.
Flyers – Hang ’em up, pass ’em out.
☐ Word of mouth

.
☐ Communicate with the other bands…

☐ Sharing equipment? – Cut down on changeovers between bands.
☐ Playing order?

.
☐ Do you need your own door person?

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Stuff to take:

☐ Guitar – In a case or gig bag, I actually saw a guy use a bath-towel once.
☐ Backup guitar(s) – Don’t kill the show when you break a string.
☐ Amp head & cab (or combo)
☐ The merch box(es)
☐ Your gig backpack or briefcase. (“What’s that.” you ask? Keep reading!)

.

|·| |·| |·| |·| | |:|  |  | · |   | · |   | · |  | · |   |   |

.

An acoustic guitar string. 0.044-inch (1.117 m...I make sure to have my backpack full o’ stuff with me at every gig.  Over the years, every item in it has proved useful and one time or another.

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In The Gig Backpack or Briefcase:

☐ Tuner (Get a pedal one, so no one can hear you tune.)
Wireless system (Certainly not a necessity, but fun.)
9V battery (Are the lithium ones OK for pedals?)
☐ Guitar cables (1 more than you need)
☐ Speaker cables (1 more than you need)
Strings (At least a full set, …any leftovers you’ve got should be in there.)
☐ Extra power cord
Power Strip (w/ Circuit Breaker)
3-Prong to 2-Prong adapter (or 2)
Duct Tape or Gaff Tape (or both… Gaff doesn’t leave a mess.)
☐ Tablet (Setlists, Merch Prices, Boredom)
☐ A sharpie or 2 (Setlists, Rock Star Autographs)
☐ A Leatherman-type tool. (Crazy or not-so crazy.)
☐ Guitar picks (I use Jim Dunlop Fins.)
☐ An Extra Strap
☐ Flashlight (A really bright one helps)
☐ Extension Cord

[::( )::]

Stuff that I don’t have, but might be a good idea…

☐ Pedal(s) – Wah, Distortion, Foot Switch, Etc.
Mic clip(s)
String Winder
☐ Pick strip or holder
Slide / eBow / Capo
☐ Strap locks
Trem poker
☐ Ear plugs
☐ Nail clippers
☐ acetaminophen / ibuprofen / aspirin
☐ Band-aids
☐ Cloth or towel

.

\m/_(-_-)_\m/

At the gig:

☐ Set stuff on the stage for the 1st band & any bands sharing
Backline the “main” act if there is one & set up in front of them.
☐ Tune (Silently! – No one likes the tuning song! – Tune your backup guitar too.)
Let the Sound Technician do their job.
☐ Set up a Merch Table/Corner/Counter/Box.
☐ Put your door person at the door.
☐ Using a setlist? Reach into that backpack & get one made!
☐ Have a drink? Water, Beer, or something harder.
☐ Tune Again (Silently! – No one likes the tuning song!)
☐ Unless you’re awesome & have a tech, get a string-wingman.

.

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Danelectro Vintage Power Source A cool looking...

I’m sure there’s stuff I’m forgetting, but I think this is a pretty decent start.  What do you think I’m missing from the list?  Do you have an emergency gig kit?  What’s in it?

D'Andrea Gmk1 Guitar Cleaner Maintenance Kit

☘·☠·⚔·✪ Real McKenzies, Goddamn Gallows, The Bloody Seamen, Ernie and the Berts – Tue. Jun. 5th @ Altar Bar! ☘·☠·⚔·✪


That’s right, Ernie and the Berts are opening for Real McKenzies, Goddamn Gallows, & The Bloody Seamen on June 5th at the Altar Bar!

Hello faithful readers.  I’d like to sell mad tickets for this.  The Real McKenzies are right up my alley, these Goddamn Gallows cats look to be our kind of insane, & the Bloody Seamen remind of us our new bff‘s The Botched for some reason.

This is my personal plea to all of you to come out to this show & show us (Ernie and the Berts – the band, and the people) your support.  We’re selling the tickets for $12 a pop in advance, and we hope to sell out quick… so get a hold of me, or get a hold of Erin at ernie@ernieandtheberts.com to score your tix.

I know it’s a Tuesday, and I know it’s not a $5 bar show… but shows like this really help us get our music/name/faces out there.  Don’t you want more people to be aware of the nearly-controlled chaos that is Ernie and the Berts?

Drusky is getting warm to us, and it seems like the Altar Bar digs us… so we’d like to play more shows there more often.  The best way to do that is for us to convince your collective ass to come out to the shows, support national touring acts, local venues & entertainment companies, and local music…. and most of all to have a good time!

I mean, we like to be extra goofy, you never know what Ernie’s up to next.  The Seamen are just ridiculous and you have to see them live to believe it.  Look at the Gallow’s dudes photo & tell me they don’t like to party.  I hear that the Real McKenzies don’t wear anything under their kilts.  You have something going on a Tuesday night that can compare to that awesomeness?

Yeah, you have to get up for work the next day.  So do I.  So do most of the guys in the local bands.  You can deal with it.  Drink an extra coffee in the morning and man (or woman) up.

So, how many tickets do you want?

The Real McKenzies

The Real McKenzies

The Goddamn Gallows

The Goddamn Gallows

The Bloody Seamen

The Bloody Seamen

Ernie and the Berts

Ernie and the Berts

Here are all the details so far, I hope to make a flyer as soon as possible…

The Bands:

The Place:

The Details:

http://twitter.com/#!/AltarBar/status/172831020033388544

Here’s a taste of what you might get…

Impugnment & Embarrassment


Dormont Park Playground

Should this be the new municipal building?

I must admit, I don’t generally get all fired up about local politics… and I’m not involved much, so I guess I really have no big voice in complaining until I get off of my ass and vote next local election.  From what I read in the papers, the Patch, & the quarterly newsletter it’s all some sort of goofy circus in Dormont anyway.  (Does that quarterly thing live online anywhere?)  If you’ve read a paper (in print or online), I’m sure you’ve seen the chaos in the little borough on the hill just outside Pittsburgh proper.

It’s a very odd pissing contest between the mayor, the borough manager, the city employees, the police, and the counsel.  I’d love to know where/why/how it all started.  A comment on a recent article from the Dormont-Brookline Patch sparked local editor Erin Faulk to reply with some links to try & help me sort things out.

I’m going to try & ignore all of the comments, as they appear to be mostly inflammatory statements.  (The dates are article dates, not event dates.)  Let’s see if we can all follow along…

  • March 7th, 2011 – Dormont Counsel demotes the police chief Phil Ross to Sergeant without explanation.  Ross was on “sick leave” at the time.  Dormont mayor Thomas Lloyd publicly disagrees with the decision.  This is an alarming quote form the article: “Residents and business owners asked for an explanation, but got none.”  Perhaps some more insight is gained here:  “Fire Captain Bryan Taylor followed up, saying that since council did away with minimum shift requirements, two officers are tied up on each call.”  So, the counsel tightened the budget for the police?  Maybe this caused some tension.  How long had Ross been on sick leave at the time?
  • March 8th, 2011 – A “no-confidence letter” signed by 29 (if my math is right?) city employees is presented to counsel that calls for the resignation of Dormont Borough manager Gino Rizza.  This seems to be a theme already: “Several residents questioned Rizza’s experience during the public comment section, but got no answers.”
  • April 27th, 2011 – I wish I could, but really can’t say it any better than this:

    “If this were a case about whether or not Phil Ross is a nice guy or a good man or someone people like, we wouldn’t be here … But being chief of police is a big job,” he said.

    Within Ross’ first year as chief, he said, council began noticing problems.

    Testimony by Rizza, Assistant Manager Ian McMeans and council President Kim Lusardi painted a picture of man who didn’t have control of his department.

    Rizza testified that during a meeting with him and Lusardi in November 2010, Ross said he didn’t want to be chief, but others in the department wanted him to be.

    Ross, Rizza said, “felt they threw him under the bus” and wouldn’t listen to him.

    Lusardi testified Ross had told her his men wouldn’t listen to him and that he was unhappy.

    According to testimony:

    • Ross couldn’t control overtime, which exceeded the 2010 budget of $93,000 by about $50,000. This was in part because Ross would not use his ability to deny officers from taking comp time in some cases. At the time, the borough had a minimum shift requirement of a sergeant on all shifts and at least one officer.
    • Ross did not notify Rizza of an attempted child luring in October. Instead, Rizza said he learned several hours later from the school superintendent. The delay, he said, prevented prompt notification to borough residents using the borough’s reverse 911 system.
    • Rizza learned from another officer in November that police cars weren’t being well-maintained and that cameras in two of the cars hadn’t been working for about a year.
    • Officers were also not walking beats as required by borough code. In 2009, officers walked 126 foot patrols, and 83 in 2010 and one in the early part of 2011.

    Lautner also suggested the police may have had reasons for not coming forth with information about the attempted child luring. Rizza and McMeans said public safety should take precedence.

    Lautner also said vehicle maintenance wasn’t in Ross’ job description. And, he suggested, police were walking more beats than those that were logged.

    In his cross-examination, Lautner asked Rizza why he sought to demote Ross by holding a Loudermill hearing—essentially a due process hearing at which a public employee facing discipline can present his or her side—on Feb. 18, just six days after council had given Ross 60 days to comply with its latest directives.

    Rizza said that was because Ross’ reactions during the hearing indicated he had no intentions to following council’s instruction, saying “Bull—-. Council is not my boss.”

    At the end of the hearing, Rizza said, Ross complained of shortness of breath. He left the meeting and was taken by ambulance to the hospital and went out on sick leave until about early April.

    Gabriel characterized that as a “panic attack,” to audience groans. Lautner objected and was sustained.

    Heh, “under the bus” thing.

  • May 3rd, 2011 – Councilwoman Joan Hodson questions the intentions of Gino Rizza’s GPS unit monitoring, citing excessive time logged on to the system.
  • June 9th, 2011 – Dormont Borough Manager (apparently unaffected by letter from nearly all employees calling for his resignation in March) is cited for trespassing at the police station.  I believe that all borough offices are in the municipal building.  It seems that Rizza used a non-civilian entrance to the police station to go in & complain about a parking ticket.  Surprise!  Then Sgt. Phil Ross made the citation, apparently after several warnings to Mr. Rizza & his sidekick assistant manager, Ian McMeans, to not use that entrance.  Apparently Rizzo parked in a space set aside for LifeSpan (a company that serves senior citizens) to earn the ticket.  It is noted that Ross did not write the ticket or citation.  Really, at this point… everyone involved is starting to look like an ass.  Rizzo paid the $15 ticket and made this statement: “This unfortunate incident is an example of what the Borough Council and Administration have been trying to change: a Police Department that sees itself as unanswerable to the elected Borough Council and officers who are willing to go so far as to file inappropriate criminal charges to keep it that way.
  • June 10th, 2011 – Rizza calls the trespass charge “Utterly Ridiculous”.  Of course.  I can’t make this stuff any clearer/funnier:

    Ross said the area Rizza walked through contains sensitive police documents and file cabinets and also a juvenile holding cell.

    Ross denied that the citation and ticket were in retaliation for his demotion, which he is appealing.

    Sgt. Jim Burke, who issued the trespassing citation to Rizza, was placed on paid administrative leave for an unspecified amount of time Thursday afternoon by Assistant Borough Manager Ian McMeans, Ross said Friday.

    However, Mayor Tom Lloyd said he reinstated him.

    Asked if he had that power, Lloyd said, “I think I have more power to reinstate than the assistant manager had to suspend him.”

    Placing Burke on administrative leave was authorized by council.

    Ross said Burke was on his regular day off Friday.

    Really?

  • June 14th, 2011 – Sgt. Ross suspended.  Of course.  Still amidst his appeals of demotion from Police Chief, apparently.  The reason?  “…for directing officers to disable GPS units installed in patrol cars earlier this year.”  The article later refers to this as “The GPS incident”.  (Great name for a band.)  Ross ordered the disconnection of the units under the direction of Mayor Lloyd.  Can we see a Dormont flow-chart of the seats of power here?  Who’s in charge of who?  Apparently no one knows.  Again, I quote directly as this is unintentional comedic gold:

    Lloyd and others have suggested the GPS units were installed in the five cars so Rizza could spy on police.

    “They were installed for safety purposes and they were not used that way,” Lloyd said Tuesday. “The way I look at it is, (management has) abused the use of them.”

    Rizza has denied using the units to spy on police.

    Lloyd said as mayoy he is in charge of the police department and that the order to disconnect the units is within his powers.

    Rizza and council maintain that the police ultimately answer to them because they set policy. The struggle over who has authority over the police department has been ongoing.

    “They’re certainly not in charge of a lot of things they think they are,” Lloyd said of council and management.

    “I just believe they’ve gotten some bad advice,” Lloyd said. “I don’t know how it’s ever going to get resolved. But it’s got to because we’ve had an excellent department for years and years and years. And they’ve done everything they can to destroy (police) morale.”

    But Councilman Drew Lehman said Lloyd has been giving bad guidance and said ordering the GPS units to be disabled wasn’t the mayor’s call to make.

    These are grown-ass adults.  This is not a prime-time drama plot line.  The last line of the article makes me giggle; “Rizza contends he is entitled to use the door.”

  • July 6th, 2001 – Sgt. Burke (the guy who issued the citation to Rizza) is demoted to patrolman.  Counsel approves.  Lloyd annoyed.
  • July 6th, 2001 – Sgt. Ross (former police chief) also demoted to patrolman.  For real.  “The decision followed June hearings regarding the job performance of Ross, who has been on paid suspension since last month for previously telling officers to disconnect GPS units installed in patrol cars, according to previous reports. Ross said he gave the order at the direction of Mayor Tom Lloyd, who suggested the navigation devices were being used by borough Manager Gino Rizza to spy on police.”
  • July 6th, 2011 – Hey, where’d all our money go?  Apparently all of these demotions, hearings, legal proceedings, suspensions, etc. had fees, and in July Dormont was already $6000 over budget.  A quote from Mayor Lloyd: “All problems of this borough will go away the day council has enough nerve to terminate the borough manager.”  Rizza countered: “Council has the ultimate authority in the borough. Council does the hiring and firing.”  In other words, “nanny-nanny boo boo.”
  • June 21st, 2011 – Richard Dwyer hired as acting interim police chief, while he helps look for a new one.  Article tries to recap the insanity:

    Disagreements over who has ultimate control over the police department have festered for some time, with both Lloyd and Rizza—through council—claiming authority.

    Tensions escalated after Rizza was ticketed last month for parking in a spot at the borough building lot designated for another tenant.

    Officer James Burke issued the ticket. After getting the ticket, Rizza entered the police department through a door inside the building for which he has an electronic key pass, Burke cited him for defiant trespass.

    Ross contended Rizza wasn’t allowed to enter that way, saying sensitive materials were in the area and a juvenile holding cell was visible. Rizza should have waited for an officer to meet him at the door and escort him, according to Ross.

    Burke was suspended, then demoted to patrolman instead of being fired over the incident. The trespassing charge has also been dropped.

    Rizza said he needed to get to a meeting and all other spots were taken, and that he only intended to park there until another spot opened up. He has paid the parking ticket.

    A related statement signed Thursday by a police union representative and a police union attorney acknowledged Rizza is permitted to enter the station, the trespassing charge was inappropriate, and that council has the “ultimate authority to hire and discipline its police officers, subject only to the collective bargaining agreement and the Pennsylvania Borough Code.”

    The statement also acknowledged the mayor cannot direct police officers to disconnect or damage the GPS units or other equipment the borough owns.

    Dwyer will not have arrest powers, but can carry a gun.

    Heh.  Nice line there at the end.  It would look great on a movie poster.

  • July 27th, 2011 – Now the civil service commission is involved?  Wait, what the hell is the civil service commission?  At any rate, this 3-person commission decides to overturn the demotion of Phil Ross, but I’m unsure if that makes him a sergeant or the police chief.
  • July 28th, 2011 – Dormont borough (of course) appeals the commission’s ruling.  You knew it was coming, right?  The meat of this article:  “The appeal is the latest round in an ongoing battle over who has ultimate authority over the police department. Council claims it does, but Ross and Mayor Tom Lloyd say the mayor is in charge.”  Contains another quote from Ross pre-dating my fancy timeline: “But on Feb. 11, Ross told Rizza and Ian McMeans, the assistant borough manager, that ‘council is not my boss’,’ I don’t care who hired me, council can’t tell me what to do’ and ‘council can’t terminate me,’ according to the appeal.”
  • August 2nd, 2011 – The borough solicitor (whatever that is?) says Mayor Lloyd has no power to dismiss tickets.  (I see an article form January about it.)  The mayor says it’s tradition.  I don’t know if it has anything to do with the cops or the GPS units, but it certainly has to do with the chain on authority in Dormont…

    Lloyd provides no accounting to council of dismissals and and his reasons.

    “Nobody but except a few people here have even brought it up as a question,” he said of council members who’ve questioned the practice. “I’ve been doing it 18 years and most people have understood that process.”

    The issue has come up several times this year. In February, council said it was looking into the matter, and recently, acting Chief Richard Dwyer told officers that certain tickets should be issued as state violations, not borough violations.

    Lloyd defended his practice during Monday’s meeting when Manager Gino Rizza asked him how many tickets he thought he dismissed. More than 300, Rizza said.

    Lloyd pressed on with an example of tickets issued during street sweeping on July 11. During holidays, street sweeping is postponed. Lloyd said they shouldn’t have been written.

    “Now, if you come in here and say, ‘Look, I wasn’t around, I wasn’t aware of it.’ What would you do?” he said. “I’m not asking you to give me an answer, I’m saying, ‘What would you do?’”

    “We should be the protector of the residents,” he said after the meeting. “We should also be showing compassion to the residents.”

    Crazy.

  • August 4th, 2011 – Color me confused.  Did the commission’s ruling not stand?  Was it all for show?  These people call for a vote to overturn a ruling in favor of Ross.
  • August 23rd, 2011 – I’m sorry, you just have to read this one: “Mayor Tom Lloyd told Richard Dwyer on Monday that he was suspended for seven days without pay beginning at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday over the incident, though council quickly reinstated him as of 8:30 a.m.” should get you started.
  • August 30th, 2011 – Residents are wondering what exactly the new police chief is doing… and mentions that the Mayor suspended Dwyer for 7 days… on no authority?  Wait, what was the the new guy suspended for?
  • November 1st, 2011 – Phil Ross is suing the already over-budget Dormont.  For obvious reasons, I guess.
  • November 16th, 2011(Acting) Chief Dwyer reflects on his accomplishments.  This poor bastard just seems like he was trying to do his job despite the pee flying in at all angles.

    Despite the numerous issues swirling in the borough, Dwyer has tried to stay focused on his mission of improving the police department.

    “He has exceeded all of the goals we set when he was originally hired, and he helped to implement and correct many things we were told were lacking in our police department,” council Vice President Laurie Malka wrote in an email to Patch on Tuesday.

    Dwyer detailed some of those changes he feels have benefitted the borough.

    Walking the beat

    In an effort to make officers more responsive to community needs, Dwyer has instituted walking patrols.

    “I’ve got them out of the cars, walking in the business district,” he said. “The average officer probably walks two times on each shift. It gives you an increased feeling of security when police are visible in the community.”

    In addition, the officers check on bars at closing time and, when pharmacies in Castle Shannon and Mt. Lebanon were hit by robberies, Dwyer asked them to talk to Dormont pharmacy managers to let them know there would be additional patrols.

    Police cars

    Dwyer said to make Dormont’s patrol cars more visible to the community, he changed the color on three of the five vehicles to a classic black-and-white paint job. He also has put a new police car in next year’s budget as two of the cars are “in bad shape.”

    Cutting overtime

    Dwyer said, upon his arrival, police overtime pay was “out of control.”

    In an effort to cut those costs, which have resulted in some officers having annual incomes of more than $100,000, Dwyer implemented a 12-hour schedule. He has the officers split into three-man platoons working the 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. shift or 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift.

    Within a 14-day period, the 12 officers will work seven days and have off seven days and the shift length results in less overtime pay. The average officer has 182.5 pass days and, with sick and vacation time added in, that adds up to about 208 days a year.

    “Every second weekend, you have a three-day weekend,” Dwyer explained. “What this tends to do is cause less sick time abuse.”

    He had told police that if the new scheduling didn’t work out, they could switch back. Since the new schedule has been in effect, a few officers who were turned down for overtime have filed grievances, Dwyer said.

    But when he sent an email to officers last week asking if they want to return to the old schedule, half replied that they want to keep the 12-hour schedule, he said.

    ID cards

    Officers carried their weapons certification cards with them, but Dwyer felt that police should have a Dormont Police Department identification card.

    “All public employees should have ID cards,” Dwyer said, including school and hospital staffs and all borough employees.

    Though the cost is generally about $35 a card, Dwyer was able to have cards made at the county police academy at no cost to the borough.

    Tickets

    Council voted on Monday to overturn Lloyd’s veto of the new parking ticket ordinance. Dwyer said he discovered that citations for state violations were being written up as borough tickets so the borough obtained the revenue. He accused Lloyd of supporting the practice.

    Equipment

    Early on, Dwyer was shocked to open the trunk of a police car and find it empty, devoid of safety equipment he said should be standard in all police vehicles—flares, fire extinguishers, gas masks, helmets and safety vests.

    “I’m not faulting previous people, but that’s what you’re supposed to have,” Dwyer said. “You’ve got to be prepared.”

    Since then, the department received a federal grant to purchase all new bulletproof vests for each officer.

    “Nobody was worried where the safety equipment was in the police car,” Dwyer said. “But they were worried about badges?”

    The future

    While no one knows the outcomes of Ross’ suit against council or the final ruling on his civil service case in Common Pleas Court, Dwyer has his future planned.

    Because his wife still works, he’ll go from being interim chief to the “house guy.” But he plans to spend more time fishing, meeting up with friends and spending time with his grandchildren, who range in age from 2 to 21.

    And while he might have taken the heat in Dormont, it won’t deter him from vacationing in tropical Jamaica next year.

    For real.  So he expects Chief Ross to be reinstated?

  • December 12th, 2011 – James Burke is now also suing the borough.  Clearly, this will drag on to the end of time.

I’m not picking any sides…  I just would really like to know the whole story.  I’m sure most residents would.  The whole ordeal seems like a waste of time & resources for everyone involved, the losers ultimately being Dormont residents & business owners.  I also find it odd that a police blotter isn’t published regularly with easy access & complete information for all citizens.

Sadly, to me, all involved look like fools at this point.  It appears that no one involved has taken the high road, and any further defense of their position will just sound more ridiculous.  I’m amazed that there is no clear-cut chain of command outlined anywhere for the local government.

I don’t like parking tickets.  (On-street parking is such a royal pain.)

I do like the strong visible police presence in the neighborhood.  It makes me feel safe, & like there will be a very quick response should I ever need them.

I don’t care if the cars have GPS units.  Isn’t Dormont less than square mile?  What reason other than monitoring the cars would they have for installation?

I do care that Dormont is wasting money on these counsel meetings, demotions, appeals, and comparing pee-pee sizes.  I’m sure the money could be better used elsewhere.  (Almost anywhere else – like defining — in writing — a clear Borough chain of command.)

Am I missing anything?  Is this the whole ordeal?

Can someone make an info-graphic or Lifetime movie about this, please?

It would be beyond super-awesome…


Cover of "Don't Make Me Wait"

Don't Make Me Wait

It would be beyond super-awesome if you could come out to this show. Why? Ernie worked hard to bring Locksley to town.  They just got back from Japan, and they’re rocking selected cities around the U.S. You can’t deny their incredibly poppy sound & we can tell you that they put on one hell of a show.  Go to their site, check out the free EP, look ’em up on YouTube, hear ’em on TV, then come see ’em live next week with us at the Smiling Moose.

Original post here: I’ll take Locksley for $10, Alex!

Reposting below:

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You’ve heard their songs. You know Locksley even if you don’t know it. They’re the next big thing, and you have the chance to see them now! Ernie and one of the Berts saw them open for Fountains of Wayne in Philadelphia, and they dug it so much that Ernie decided to set up a show to bring these guys to the ‘Burgh!

Locksley

From Wikipedia:

Television, Press and Placements

Locksley performed “Don’t Make Me Wait”, “Let Me Know” and “She Does” on Jimmy Kimmel Live! March 2, 2007. They performed “Let Me Know” on Late Night With Conan O’Brien on August 13, 2007. MTV made Locksley their “Featured Artist of the Week” for two weeks straight on September 8–22, 2008.

After the release of Don’t Make Me Wait, Locksley were featured in multiple magazine spreads, notably SPIN Magazine’s “Breaking Out”, Rolling Stone‘s “6 Breakout Bands to Watch”, Alternative Press‘s “100 Bands You Need To Know” and in ELLE Magazine with an 8 page fashion spread in their March 2007 issue.

Many of the songs off of Don’t Make Me Wait were licensed for TV, commercials and movies, notably: “She Does” as the theme to HLN‘s Morning Express with Robin Meade, placement in the Friday the 13th remake, “Don’t Make Me Wait” as the trailer music to the Paul Rudd and Eva Longoria movie Over Her Dead Body and “My Kind of Lover” in the J.J. Abrams-produced Cloverfield.

On August 24, 2008, “All Over Again,” “Don’t Make Me Wait,” and “She Does” were made available as downloadable content for the popular Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 game series Rock Band. The songs have been downloaded over 60,000 times to date. Locksley credits licenses with keeping the band going.[3]

Locksley wrote the song “Slink (A Hymn)” for use as the theme song to FOX’s TV show The Good Guys.

The ECHL hockey team the Toledo Walleye plays the chorus of “The Whip” whenever the team scores a goal at home.

Owens Community College uses “The Whip” in a number of radio and TV commercials. “The Whip” is also used in an American Family Insurance commercial, and has been used by the Columbus Blue Jackets, Detroit Red Wings, Vancouver Canucks, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Dallas Stars as their goal song since 2011-12.

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You can buy your tickets now to make sure you get them in your music-loving hands in time for the show. You can also buy at the door. Really though… It’s 2011. Try buying something online. It’s quick. Convenient. Easy.

❧ LOCKSLEY w/ Ernie and the Berts & The Mondaze - Tue. Nov. 15th 2011 @ The Smiling Moose (Pittsburgh, PA - South Side)

❧ LOCKSLEY w/ Ernie and the Berts & The Mondaze - Tue. Nov. 15th 2011 @ The Smiling Moose (Pittsburgh, PA - South Side)

Here are the show details, stay tuned for videos after the details:

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The Bands:

The Venue:

The Details:

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http://twitter.com/#!/LocksleyMusic/status/128484733981179904

http://twitter.com/#!/LocksleyMusic/status/131161295209775104

http://twitter.com/#!/LocksleyMusic/status/131144967140814849

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EatB in the Pgh CP


I found this rather amusing:

Pittsburgh City Paper - 11/02/2011

We're famous!

Ernie and the Berts – November Shows


We have some shows coming up.  You ought to attend.  We’re a good time.  I promise.

The Punk Rock Sock Hop Invades Pittsburgh! Sat.11/05/2011

The Punk Rock Sock Hop Invades Pittsburgh! Sat.11/05/2011

This is going to be one crazy show… bands, magic, a DJ spinning 50’s tunes, zombies, contests, prizes, and probably even drunk chicks.  You can get free admission and some other goodies from Pittsburgh Punk Rock with very minimal effort (if he extends the contest).  This benefits Free Ride Pittsburgh, and is a Pittsburgh City Paper Critic’s Pick for this weekend!  Click the flyer for details, links to all the other bands & entertainment!

Locksley, Ernie and the Berts, & The Mondze! 11/15/2011 @ The Smiling Moose!

Locksley, Ernie and the Berts, & The Mondze! 11/15/2011 @ The Smiling Moose!

Click the flyer for details, to see videos from all 3 bands, the link to buy tickets, and check the comments for the link to a free EP called Ghosts from Locksley with a fun Halloween theme!  Erin saw these guys in concert, and wanted to bring ’em here to the ‘Burgh.  You’ve heard the song “The Whip”.  Lets show them some love!  Help spread the word.

Mellon Arena – Ticket Sales FAIL.


From: Eric Carroll me@myemailaddre.ss
To: Customer Service Mellon Arena info@mellonarena.com
Sent: Mon, November 30, 2009
Subject: Horrible seats for Star Wars: In Concert

Hello Mellon Arena Customer Service & Ticket Sales,

I am taking the time to write to you this evening to express my disappointment in the sale of our seats for yesterday’s Star Wars: In Concert event at the Mellon Arena.

While I understand that we purchased the “cheap” $33 seats (two of which somehow magically totaled $93.40 instead of $66.00 for various dubious Ticket Master fees — including a “printing fee” in which I used my own paper & ink — which are not your fault), I feel that your integrity is to be called into question when considering the vantage-point from exactly where we were expected to sit throughout the show.

I would think that you would be familiar enough with your own venue to know that the seats in section E13, row M are blocked from seeing anything above a certain height at the other end of the house thanks to the lower edge of section F hanging directly above us (and directly in our field of vision). I would also think that you would know what this height is, and that the screen coming in for this particular show was being touted as “a three-story-tall, high-definition LED super-screen — one of the largest ever put on tour.

Apparently I am quite wrong, my friends.

Please see the attached image from my cell phone so you can fully appreciate the vantage point from which we were expected to view the “live music and film elements … synchronized in order to create a full multi-media, one-of-kind Star Wars experience.” You’ll note the bluish-white line behind the orchestra that is the very bottom of the giant partially-visible screen where the movie clips played.

I can tell you that the ushers in our area got an ear-full from several other angry concert-goers (including my wife who had purchased the tickets for me as an early Christmas present). Our row had cleared out of all but 4 people by the time the 2nd song had started. I would have left also, but the concert had started, and I wasn’t about to miss any of what I could actually see by running around like a madman trying to find a seat.

I did notice several rows almost empty down to the right of the floor, while seats to the back & sides were full… surely this is a commentary on the outrageous prices charged for the show? It only made it all the more infuriating that a seat with a better vantage point sat empty during the performance.

In lieu of trying to “sneak down” into the “better” seats, at intermission, we made the trek down & back up to section F and asked an usher there for permission to sit in any unoccupied seats. We were pointed to some open seats, and several others filtered in around us with the same idea as the show came closer to starting again.

From this height, the speaker array on the right still blocked a good portion of the screen, but at least it wasn’t cut in half… and from here, we could actually see the “laser show” being projected on to the ceiling.

While I found the concert itself and exhibits throughout the arena to be an exhilarating experience, the full multimedia-experience in the arena was sadly stained by the poor choice of Mellon Arena to sell seats with a substandard view of the main event.

I have been to countless events over the years at the Mellon (& formerly the Civic) Arena — from concerts, to Penguins Games, to circuses, to I think even a truck & tractor pull with Bigfoot & USA-1 when I was a tiny young lad. They have all been great memories… and this is the only time that I have felt wronged by the venue.

I hope that you take these thoughts into consideration when selling seats for the remainder of shows throughout the last standing days of the arena. You’re making memories for people, please try to make sure that they’re positive ones, and that they’re not marred by poor logistics. I’d ask for our money (or half of our money) back if I thought it would get me anywhere, but I am more concerned about the experience than the money.

Thank you for your time, I hope that this is passed on to the appropriate parties, and I do look forward to a response.

Regards,
-Eric Carroll
me@myemailaddre.ss