Rites of Passage: worst nightmares on stage...

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by Johnny Ninefingers, Sep 16, 2019.

  1. Johnny Ninefingers

    Johnny Ninefingers Member

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    After an aside to the thread:

    https://www.thegearpage.net/board/index.php?threads/the-audience-cant-tell-the-difference.2080278/

    I realised that some things which we older players take for granted are just glossed over by the younger generation. This isn't quite an old man ranting at clouds or all young folk are rubbish sort of post, as there are young players out there who can and do play rings around me. Nor am I talking about entitlement. For goodness' sake, we all stand on the shoulders of giants, and take those giants' contributions for granted.

    But there is a disconnect between some of my generation and some younger players, and not just in our musical tastes. So I wanted a thread where old guys could go full "Four Yorkshiremen" sketch about their bowel-loosening moments onstage: so really, what is the worst musical performance disaster to have befallen you? Small gigs, big gigs, auditions, TV appearances, etc. It doesn't have to be in front of a television audience of 8 million, it can be in the old 12 Bar club (or equivalent) that held 60 at a push.
     
  2. makeitstop

    makeitstop Member

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    An earlier incarnation of my band was a five-piece, and at one point we all got bit by the modeling bug. Myself, the rhythm guitar player and bass player all went out and got Variaxes and Pod XT Lives, and we were the coolest because we could pretty much change up the entire sound of the band just by hitting a couple of foot switches. It really set us apart from all the other bands in terms of going soft-loud or having acoustic sounds at our disposal.

    Until we played that pool party...

    It was a big party, a couple hundred people in attendance. There was a pig roasting on a spit, the party was going full on, and we set up to play. We weren't near the pool, we set up on the driveway. It was an older house, so the electric service was not, umm, optimal. We had to plug everything - PA, all the guitar amps - into one extension cord. Great.

    Anyone familiar with the earlier Line 6 stuff can tell you that they're extremely voltage-finicky. We got ready to go, hit the first chord of the first song, and the power didn't go out, it just flickered for a second...

    And all of our Pods reset to first bank, first patch, and the guitars reset to default. We started again, same thing. So much for technology.

    Luckily, the neighbors on both sides were at the party, and we were able to string enough extension cords together to be able to run on three lines and we got through the gig.

    We stopped using the Line 6 setups shortly afterwards.
     
  3. teleman1

    teleman1 Supporting Member

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    Honestly, I have had few gigs in my life. But, my first one, had a modeling show. Someone with authority came up to me and said we need to turn it down. Quite the opposite I was thinking. We did not heed. And they pulled the plug mid song. 1969.
     
  4. sonofspy

    sonofspy Member

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    Playing in front of several hundred at Mt Holyoke College. Had a different vocalist for
    a song with a complicated lead intro. We'd changed the key for the new vocalist. I remembered
    it, the lead guitarist didn't, WE BOTH SWITCHED for the 2nd try. Train Wreck. So shattered that we could barely play the first song we'd learned for the band.
     
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  5. rickt

    rickt Gold Supporting Member

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    We had a gig where the singer got so drunk he forgot the words to the songs. One of the comments shouted from the back of the room "Tell your singer to learn the lyrics"

    The specific song we were playing was The Immigrant Song by Led Zeppelin. We start the song and are playing the intro when the singer comes over and says "What are the words"? There aren't any words to the vocal intro, and then he says "We need to start over" and I reply "No way man". He starts singing and totally messes up the lyrics.

    After the show and we are done putting our stuff in the vehicles, we noticed the singer was in his car, while it was running, and passed out behind the steering wheel. It was all I could do to prevent the drummer from pushing the singer's car into the middle of the road.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2019
  6. RhytmEarl

    RhytmEarl Member

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    Mine should be coming right up. We're a rock band booked into a frou frou pizza joint. I predict we'll get fired after the second song.

    The keys player insists that there's been punky/thrashy bands there before and we'll be just fine. Of course it was he who booked the gig.

    I am too old and jaded to give a sh!t. My only bitch will be having to move gear for nothing.
     
  7. Johnny Ninefingers

    Johnny Ninefingers Member

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    It was the suits getting back at you for Woodstock. :)
     
  8. Kentano2000

    Kentano2000 Member

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    Your singer was David Lee Roth?
     
  9. Johnny Ninefingers

    Johnny Ninefingers Member

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    We had a vocalist in a function band I played in. He partied very large. Alcohol was only the beginning of it, if you see what I mean. He had a tendency to substitute bawdy lyrics in place of the real ones. "Purple Vein" will live long in my memory. He had the whole band corpsing and collapsing in fits of laughter while attempting to keep a professional mien; a bit like trying not to snigger in church. I'm willing to bet he spent hours working out the rude versions.
     
  10. sleewell

    sleewell Member

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    i had a gig that was going great until my grolsch style strap lock gave way and my guitar hit the floor. changed strap locking methods after that.

    another gig at a state fair that was pretty big. sound check went great. when it was our time to play i walked up and did not have any power on my side of the stage. the worthless sound guy only offered me blank stares so with about 1,000 people staring at me i had to move my amp to the other side of the stage. i was pretty pissed off at that point.
     
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  11. melondaoust

    melondaoust Member

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    In-town variety show gig - entire power section of Peavey Classic 30 dies mid-song. Tubes are unlit. Nothing... We just stopped our slot.
    Learned a valuable lesson about bringing a backup amp (when possible) for such occasions.
     
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  12. Jeff Gehring

    Jeff Gehring Silver Supporting Member

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    That would be the gig where a guy at the bar broke a beer bottle and stuck it into another guy's neck. Or the gig where the entire bar simultaneously became more interested in beating the snot out of every other person in the place. Someone exited through the (closed) glass front door that night. Thank goodness for a solid defensive perimeter of floor monitors plus tactical application of mike stands.

    For sustained suckiness: band travels from upper midwest to Houston for a 'showcase' plus weeklong club gig at agent's urging. Absolute last on at the showcase, no one there anymore. Club gig cancelled after the first night, plus 100% non-payment. Drummer wrecks equipment van going home.
     
  13. Johnny Ninefingers

    Johnny Ninefingers Member

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    That's what children/grandchildren are for. I plan to go straight from my bathchair (pushed by a nurse in a white, starched uniform) to my stool onstage, have my guitar handed to me by a minion, and have my foot switches operated by a family roadie on my command. Or I'll finally understand I can't prise them from the X-Box and accept my equipment carrying lumbar injuries are my own fault. Whichever seems more likely.
     
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  14. doghouseman

    doghouseman Member

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    Jim Morrison... the whole "drunk lead singer thing" seemed to work OK for the Doors.
     
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  15. Johnny Ninefingers

    Johnny Ninefingers Member

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    Do you play the "Titty Twister" often? That is a trifle reminiscent of "From Dusk till Dawn". o_O
     
  16. T Dizz

    T Dizz Member

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    subscribed.. although I can't think of anything at the moment.
     
  17. doghouseman

    doghouseman Member

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    We had a fight at a gig. However, the bouncer at the club threw out the wrong guy, not the guy who started the fight. So the guy who started the fight was still there, with a bloody nose, dancing right in front of me. He eventually fell into the mic stand, smashed the mic stand into the ground, scattering blood and bits of mic stand all over the stage.

    Since my hands were busy playing guitar, I had to kick him off the stage, while playing a solo...

    good times.....
     
  18. Johnny Ninefingers

    Johnny Ninefingers Member

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    Keef taking out a stage crasher with his Tele springs to mind.
     
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  19. Johnny Ninefingers

    Johnny Ninefingers Member

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    Something a bit like that happened to me when I was doing a Top Gear thingy for charity in 2007:

    We were doing a version of 'Red Light Spells Danger' by Billy Ocean for Comic relief. Going out on TV to a nationwide audience on BBC1 primetime. Band was as follows:
    Guitar: Self
    Keys: Simon (from the function band and the Nashville Teens)
    Keys: James May (Who did a degree at the Royal Northern College of Music - Piano his instrument)
    Bass: Richard Hammond (Who was actually V.Good and played in bands at school etc)
    Drums: Jeremy Clarkson (Who had seven lessons at the time)
    Vocals: Justin Hawkins (of the Darkness, who's a surprisingly good bloke, and plays Drums, Keys, Bass etc - bleeding sickening)
    + three serious good, pro backing singers.

    In rehearsal the song slowed down and dragged, JC missed all the fills and sometimes the bass drum wasn't quite in time. To his credit JC having realised how difficult a task he had ahead, at least tried v hard.
    It was looking like a major disaster - which is what made it fun. Very Rock 'n' Roll vibe. After fifteen renditions of the song, we got it sounding all right, really. Ish.

    And as for the TV recording itself... Talk about heaping disasters upon disasters: I haven't had such fun since Grandma died, and Aunt Mabel caught her...(I needn't finish the quote, so I shan't.) Almost everything that could go wrong went wrong: we were running hours late; my GNX3 malfunctioned (it was actually one of my cables - one of the problems when you've got to break your rig down after soundcheck so that the next bands can get their kit onstage to perform theirs): I had to go direct through the amp with no set up or tweaking. As an aside, for this gig I used my little Fender Blues Deluxe as a powered cab - going straight into the power amp from my Digitech GNX3. The pre-amp controls were zeroed. So I just dialed in a tone and ran with it. Then I had to Remember Jeremy's cues, Ergo: I was playing and conducting. JC did OK I suppose. I'm sure I fluffed the odd bit myself so... just offbeat chord stabs and arm-waving (not drowning), bugger that.

    So there I was, doing a demented head-banging muppet impersonation to keep Clarkson in time live on telly. With a truly crap tone and a disastrous general performance. But the rest of them were so bad no-one noticed.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2019
  20. T Dizz

    T Dizz Member

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    You got to play with Justin Hawkins,, therefore you are my hero.
     

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