We Play For Cash (WP4$) is a six-piece show band that plays "Classic Rock for the New Millennium.” The band is based in Atascadero, California, USA.
This outfit operates differently from nearly every other unsigned band in that, oddly, they do not play for cash! Instead, WP4$ has a list of contractual requirements--call them demands, stipulations, whatever--that must be satisfied in order to book a gig. These essential components include, but are not limited to: A suitable "stage" area; a Green Room with food and beverages; enough electricity to power the band for the duration of the concert; access to clean restrooms; and an appreciative audience. Also, they don't do requests (unless host clears songs well in advance). WP4$ is a show band, not a jukebox or a bunch of desperate-to-please hacks. This band pleases its own members first, and if you don't like that, you can order off the menu of competitive local bands who will cater to your country-music-dance-band-instrumental-wall-paper caprice. But perhaps the most important WP4$ demand that a host must understand is this: WP4$ has two volumes -- ON and OFF -- and if you don't like one, you certainly won't like the other one, dig?
So here’s the thing about the music industry today: Most unsigned bands barely make minimum wage for their work at the going rate of $50-$75 per musician per gig. WP4$ handles this issue in a unique manner. Even though the band initially charges $1,000 per musician per gig in order to make a fair profit (think time in terms of equipment purchase/care/packing/set-up/breakdown, travel, rehearsals, administrative costs, promotion, and, hey, how about the thousands of hours of study and playing it takes to become a skilled musician?), the fulfillment of each contractual requirement reduces that initial $1K rate. Have a big stage? Knock off $250/musician. Does it have a ramp? Just saved yourself another $75. Built-in audience that loves live concert-style rock music? Take off another $250. Green Room is enclosed, adjacent to stage, and filled with the band's faves? Shave off an additional $150. Get the picture? When all of the band’s needs are satisfied, they are ready to sign the contract for whatever the host can pay, even if that is zero dollars. Yes, zero. If the host or guests want to arrange to pay the band, WP4$ will gladly accept gift certificates for fancy hotel rooms, round-trip plane tickets to France, cases of good wine, and other luxury items, including money in US dollars.
See? That’s different from not charging, because WP4$ receives valuable services, scenarios, and stuff that together provide for the best possible music performing experience—not just standing on a stage in a bar for four hours to collect sixty or seventy bucks and then spend most of it on drinks and food in the venue. They're talking about being understood and fully appreciated for the product that they so generously create and deliver, with persistence, passion, and party-atmosphere pleasure.
This is it: WP4$ members aren't trying to be rock stars--they ARE rock stars, just not rich and famous rock stars (yet). To boot, they have complete creative control and touring schedule freedom, unlike every other rock star still beholden to the bottom line needs and production whims of the outdated music business model. And when you think about it, what band besides WP4$ has an over-the-top-hilarious 17-page contract rider that serves as the basis for their 2015 hit, “Skull Song”?! None other.
And THAT is how WP4$ differs from every other unsigned band. WP4$ has established an entirely new league of entertainers, who, by the way, will absolutely rock your world. ____________________________________________________________
We Play for Cash (WP4$) is:
Lef D. Troyt (guitar, vocals, harmonica) Tryxxie Pyxis (keyboard, vocals, guitar, flute, percussion, theremin) Phil Durt (bass, vocals) Bam-Bam (drums, vocals) Waverunner (guitar) - currently on hiatus Okie Wolf (guitar, vocals) - currently on hiatus