If you play big time gigs, like “The Tonight Show” or the Opry or union sessions or with an artist who has, or ever had, some hits you probably get paid with a check, and you might even have direct deposit. But when you’re playing a club or a little beer joint you typically get paid in cash, and it might come from anyone – the bartender, the club owner, the chick singer, the bandleader. And then there’s the tip jar to consider – who divvies that up? A night of beer drinking isn’t conducive to accurate math, and sometimes – God forbid – the drummer might get more than you.
I get asked about once a year by whoever paid me how much I got as I’m about to drive off. Then there’s a band meeting in the parking lot and it’s Show and Tell – everybody has to dig out their pay and count it and see if someone got shorted. If you put your pay in your wallet you might have a hard time proving just how much you got. Which is why I always put mine in an empty pocket, separate from all the Ben Franklins in my wallet, so I, and everyone else, can see just what I got.