Ever been fired on stage?

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by dallasblues, Dec 8, 2016.

  1. dallasblues

    dallasblues Member

    Dec 12, 2008
    Dallas, TX
    Anyone ever get fired, fired someone, or seen it happen at a gig in front of an audience?

    Stories about bandleaders like Buddy Rich or Albert King are often legendary. Some of it might be more myth than fact. However, I'm certain that musicians DO tend to get fired onstage from time to time. I happened to see it once, myself, with a bassist and our boss while on tour in Wisconsin many years ago. Total train wreck!
  2. lp_bruce

    lp_bruce Member

    Jun 7, 2007
    Metro Detroit
    It's never happened to me (in fact, I've never been fired from a band), but I saw it happen in a band I was running sound for. The guitarist for the band was so drunk he could barely stand up. He fought his way through about a song and a half and then proceeded to butcher everything. Lead singer (and band leader) just kept getting hotter and hotter. Finally he left the stage, told me they were done, and walked back and fired the guy. He seemed too drunk to care. I suspect this wasn't his first time. He was about five years younger than me but I would have put him at 20 years older. He'd definitely had some hard years. I felt sorry for him.

    sixstringfuel and derekd like this.
  3. guitarspaz

    guitarspaz Member

    Apr 11, 2010
    the Social Justice League
    My first band. I am the guitarist

    firstlightxo, crambone, Tony and 14 others like this.
  4. televisual

    televisual Supporting Member

    Dec 9, 2007
    Not fired but I've seen someone quit mid-set. I was filling in for a friend who was gonna miss the first 2 sets of a 4 set night (house band gig) at a fairly well-known and liked venue near Lexington KY. Only fault of the entire situation was the front guy...bad on booze, coke, whatever. I do my 2 sets and the frontman is pounding shots that people bring him and then disappearing during breaks to do whatever else. I hang around for the first set my buddy's there to play and frontman is in rare form (evidently) and decides it's necessary to sit indian style on the stage to sing the rest of "Old Violin" by Johnny Paycheck that they're in the middle of...I won't mention what it sounded like.

    As soon as they finish I watched the bass player take a few steps toward the other band guys, mouth some words, points at the frontman, then unplugs his bass...cool as a cucumber too, didn't look angry at all. He proceeds to turn off his amp head, starts packing up his gear. The most hilarious and awe-inspiring moment of my formative years in the gigging life.
  5. oldtelefart

    oldtelefart Member

    Aug 10, 2009
    Tropical Oz
    OP mentioned Albert King. We opened for him on his last Australian tour. I was talking with Manuel Gales (RIP) at sound check, and he told me that Albert had been picking on the bass player all tour. At one show he called a roadie onstage during a song.
    "Have you got some sidecutters?"
    "Yes Albert".
    "Well go over and cut that mother&^%$ing bass player's cord in half!"
    The roadie did as Albert ordered.
    Worse than being fired I think.

    Old friend of mine was doing his first gig with a new band.
    Halfway through the first set, the first big guitar solo.
    My buddy steps forward and gives it his all.
    The singer comes up and says "Stop showing off, I'm the front man here!"
    Buddy puts his guitar down, switches his amp off, starts packing while the band finishes the song.
    He was out of there in 5 minutes.
    crambone, Prof.Fuzz, pomfret and 5 others like this.
  6. xjojox

    xjojox Tardis-dwelling wanker Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2009
    Fired up, yes.

    Fired... no.

    But I do think one band decided on the "other guy" while I was onstage. A member (who had introduced himself as the leader but really wasn't) auditioned two of us together, claiming both current guitarists were leaving the band. As a result I learned a coupla hours of music. Then he tells us to show up and that we'd be sitting in at the show. Turns out only one guitarist was leaving, the rest of the band had no idea what he was up to, he stuck us up there together like some kind of death match from The Voice, we played one or two songs, and the rest of the band were startled and had to play catch-up with what was going on. Eventually they picked the other guy, who was admittedly younger, better looking, had great hair, and was as good or better a guitarist than me. (OK dammit, he was better than me, but not that much better. And I was a much better singer. But he did have great hair and it was a very visual band). Fun ending: after a very short stint, the new guitarist bailed for an offer with a signed band, they called me back, I told them to bite me, and they fell apart LOL.
    jpervin, crambone, Wrmbrnr and 2 others like this.
  7. Nevets

    Nevets Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2014
    Vancouver, BC
    Saw an onstage meltdown once that resulted in the bassist throwing his bass at the amp, kicking the drums over then storming out of the venue. I have no idea what set him off.
    dallasblues and Killed_by_Death like this.
  8. jimijimmyjeffy

    jimijimmyjeffy Member

    Nov 16, 2015
    I wish I had fired someone onstage. I chickened out. But never called them again. They were arrogant and negative, and I was paying them, as it was my gig. You throw people work...
    jpervin and derekd like this.
  9. Multicellular

    Multicellular Supporting Member

    May 29, 2013
    Washington, D.C.
    Not me, but I saw it happen to someone once.

    We were playing this goth Halloween party and one of the opening acts was an acoustic solo guy. He was complaining about the monitor mix and started cursing the soundman loudly. Sound guy was being quite reasonable, like, 'lets adjust where you are standing because I'm getting feedback if I bring it up.' Angled the monitor differently, etc. But we were loading to behind the curtain, it was loud as hell on stage in the monitors; dude's acoustic was resonating loud. It was total meltdown by the time the organizer came from the green room as was looking on. Told him to get off stage and the guy kicked over a merch table on the way out. Ugly...I don't know what was really going on, but I was worried about that guy.
  10. Blackmore's Hat

    Blackmore's Hat Member

    Jul 23, 2012
    I saw George Jones fire a sound guy from the stage once.
    shane8 and 27sauce like this.
  11. Hallogallo

    Hallogallo Member

    Sep 25, 2009
    Fernando Poo

    C'mon, we need a story!
  12. Jonny Hotnuts

    Jonny Hotnuts Member

    Apr 6, 2014

    I witnessed that wildly drunk POS Jones berate and fire his guitar player at the Neshoba County Fair (Philadelphia MS) in 98 (or so). It may of been his sound guy....I was not paying much attention and was a little drunk myself.

  13. Blackmore's Hat

    Blackmore's Hat Member

    Jul 23, 2012
  14. Amplifier Owner

    Amplifier Owner Member

    Feb 28, 2014
    elsewhere on this site I wrote about a new band member leaving after the first set of our first gig together because his ex-wife showed up and was flirting with a guy at the bar. we finished the set as a 3 piece, that's what we were before he joined, and we stayed that way until breaking up a few years later.

    I saw a local blues legend (Big Jack Reynolds was his name) berating his drummer at a show. He eventually chased him from the stage and started playing the drums himself. he wasn't as good as they guy who left, but he played drums the rest of the night.
  15. wrong_note_rod

    wrong_note_rod Member

    Apr 20, 2009
    A band I was in had a very large bass player who was a control freak and could get very aggressive when not on his meds. We also had a keyboard player who liked to indulge a bit too much and then get deep into his "bud powell" mode... in a rock context which often led him to performing brilliantly in the wrong key.

    These two guys were not a great combination of personalities.

    One night the keyboard player went out between sets and did his thing and then the next set he was deep into his left-field-outer space-my-god-what-is-he-playing-now mode.

    The bass player became enraged and said, with a loud voice, right into the PA:

    "If you dont stop that sh*t right now I'm going to come over there and kick your ass". And he looked like meant it.

    The keyboard player finished the set, then packed up and went home. We finished without him.
    BadHat likes this.
  16. DustyRhodesJr

    DustyRhodesJr Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2011

    You are a masterful soloist.
  17. JMC

    JMC Member

    May 19, 2006
    Not fired, and not me, but we were playing a private party, 3-4 of us shared the lead vocal duties on different songs. One guy was what I'll call a part time sorta member of the band. Came time for one of his songs, he never came in at the right time, forgot and made up lyrics. After the song the lead player whispered in his ear that he'd butchered the song. He walked off stage, put on his coat and walked out the door. We didn't see or hear from him again until we were playing a house party outside on a back porch. He happened to be in attendance and jumped up on stage and grabbed a mic and started singing (more like hollering really), uninvited...
  18. wstsidela

    wstsidela I'm bonafied Gold Supporting Member

    May 11, 2005
    Temecula, CA
    About 10 years ago, I saw Chuck Berry fire his piano player on stage. It was awesome.
    Cropduster likes this.
  19. sausagefingers

    sausagefingers Supporting Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    'Neath the shade of an old walnut tree
    Isn't there a vid of Kelly Clarkson firing her guitar player on stage? Pretty sure I saw that here.

    Edit: here it is. Hard for me to really see what happened.
    stratocat63 likes this.
  20. Dickey

    Dickey Member

    Jul 8, 2015
    That's the nice thing about being a pedal steel player. We never get fired; we get our butts KISSED 'cause there ain't too many of us, and even crappy ones get work.

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