Performers have to work a little harder these days, according to Jackson Rohm.
He remembers pumping gas for four times less in 1994 than what he pays to fill the van he takes from state to state today.
In a time when some bar owners and music fans alike struggle to make ends meet, musicians' salaries aren't exactly going through the roof. They're actually trending downward, according to Rohm.
Metal fans enjoy the sounds of Water Torture during a show at Galactic Systems Headquarters in downt
"The gigs are getting a little less lucrative," he said. "The 1990s were a better time for playing in bars. People still love live music, and they'll come out to the free shows. They just don't want to pay a cover."
Rohm believes the new generation of music fans sometimes prefers DJs over live performers.
Life on the road might not be quite as good as it was in the 1990s, but it's not all bad for Rohm, who released an album earlier this year and will return to Lakewood for a gig next month.
Metal fans enjoy the sounds of Water Torture during a show at Galactic Systems Headquarters in downtown Jamestown on Thursday night.
P-J photo by Dave Emke
"It's tough, but I still enjoy doing it," he said, noting audiences can actually see better live music than they did in previous years. "It's supply and demand. You've got less venues. You've got to be at the top of your game to get those gigs."
According to John Streed of Blue Moon Management, once a band lands a gig, one thing is certain: money will exchange hands.
"It just depends on whether it ends up in the musicians' hands or not," he said. "It all comes down to one thing: if the product is good enough, the money will be there."
Jeff Erickson and his Zeta Cauliflower bandmates learned how to make money playing throughout the northeast from 1992-2002. They got paid off cover charges and put one of their own people at the door.
"I think musicians are a little more business-savvy now," Erickson said.
Many musicians make the same amount they did 25 years ago, according to Sandy Raynor of Amplified Management. They work day jobs and perform for their love of music.
Mike Ball, promoter for Create.Evolve Productions, said local musicians can't focus on the money. Considering the economic climate, it's difficult for fans to buy CDs, merchandise or even pay covers.
"Let the passion be your drive, and see if the economic opportunities come to you. ... Some of those bands can make that break and play every night for a guarantee and make enough to live on the road," he said. "It isn't a very easy road as a musician or a promoter. You don't see much money unless you're extremely big. In some cases, you see none."