What was your worst gig?

Ed Storer

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The band's lead guitarist arranged a gig with his across-street neighbor to play for the neighbor's birthday.

We show up to set up and find out that our stage is the lawn in the back yard. It's February in Seattle. Cold, but fortunately not raining. We run off some extension cords from the garden shed. We had expected to be playing in a heated, dry space.

The party is inside with some action on the deck - with infrared heaters. We're standing on the lawn with no heaters in 38-degree weather and there's dew forming on the instruments. We had, at most, an audience of 5 at any time from the deck. We got to go inside between sets and barely got enough time to get our fingers back to operating temperature. We played the agreed-upon 3 sets and packed our gear back across the street.

None of us had thought that we'd be playing outside mid-winter. We all wished the lead guitarist had asked the right questions before agreeing to play.
 

nickmsmith

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I forgot to mention the gig where a presumably homeless man who was very drunk kept yelling “DON’T STOP!!” In a very agitated voice, after we finished our songs.

He ended up stumbling to my car and tried to get into it. Not break in.. just tried to get in. It was locked. He eventually left without any more problems.
 

CV Jee Beez

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I have bad memories ( early 1990's) of a local DC-Area booking agent...

( who NEVER came out to hear us!-just listened to a demo Cassette)

... of booking our '60's-'70's Classic Rock/Blues band into pretty hardcore Country roadhouse type bars, where we had NO business being there! They wanted Country! (duh)
Sometimes for both Friday and Saturday nights...

The management did not like us, the patrons did not like us, and we really ( then) did not know any Country music!

No one threw anything at us, at best we were tolerated, or ignored,

But sometimes really bitter, rude folks would pass by stage area, repeatedly, give us a 'thumbs down', the finger, or yell " Play some Country!" Or " That ain't Country!" It was miserable- sometimes we did not come back tte 2nd night.

What's worse is my buddy ( fellow guitar player/lead singer) who booked us, would get calls from booking agent the following week:
" I heard you guys didn't do so good, they didn't like the music..."
And we'd be like, " You booked a Rock/blues band at a Country bar!!"
A real no-win situation.

Years later, I would actually play lead Tele in a Classic Country band ( 10 years), in Country bars.
Better, but at some joints, folks wanted to hear New Country, which we did not play.

All much better now with current R&R bands, acoustic duos
- frequent Winery/ brewpub gigs, and folks really like us, wherever

Should've done what Jake and Elwood did and play Rawhide.
 

CV Jee Beez

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Mine would be the one where the dive bar had no idea they booked us. They let us go through their equipment and then play. A buddy of mine and four or five patrons that kept their backs turned and played video poker) were our audience.

I guess not much different than our other shows LOL.
 

StoneH

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. . . Jake and Elwood . . .

Found this pic when digging up a photo for another thread. This is a random Caddy we saw at a Norwegian Air Force base. It actually had fake bullet holes down its side.

upload_2021-10-27_19-28-21.png
 

Clive Hugh

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This happened to a friends band and I’ve heard it from all of them so know it’s true.They were playing at a private club, their singer was very good and entertaining and the crowds loved him. He had a radio mic which he wore and it had a battery pack that he clipped on his belt. The band started playing the intro to a song when he had a violent stomach contraction and knew instantly he had to bolt or crap himself. He raced across the dance floor into the mens where he found the cubicle was occupied, forgetting that his mic was still on and transmitting he banged on the door and shouted “ hurry up before I **** in the hand basin” all of which was over the PA, they instantly turned off the PA but the damage was done. Fortunately the crowd found it as funny as the band did, especially when he came out having found the thing was on when he dropped his trousers.
 

Tsteleplayer

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The worst was in Harlem Montana 3rd or 4th of july street dance just off highway2 playing on a gooseneck trailer. About the 3rd break someone jumps off the trailer and my tele bounces out of its stand neck first into the pavement breaking little e tuner off so I played a 5 string tele but was playing steel also so not too bad. Then close to the end of the night a guy with a white shirt goes running across parking lot and picks a fight in the crowd. Up til then there were many law enforcement around but none at all when fight started. The fight turned into a major deal with close to 60 men and women fighting and beer bottles being broke and cutting. The bass player and I would kick people down when the neared the trailer. So fight goes on maybe 15 minutes or so then cops showed up. The guy who started the whole thing was on the bottom of a pile and his white shirt was totally red blood soaked. I guess he survived as I never heard of any deaths in the news. I have many more worse gig stories.
 

dogmeat

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long ago... Fairbanks AK. 55 below zero. I drove from Anch (360 miles)in the van with a bad heater, 4 guys and gear. we get there, play one night out of 3 or 4 booked and the next morning wake up to the FBI. the club owner had provided a house to stay in but his nephew had robbed a bank a couple days earlier and the cops thought this was the stash house. they didn't find the money but did find a bunch of dope (not ours). they harassed us for the better part of the day trying to figure out how we were involved (we weren't), anyway... club guy cancels the gig and stiffs us and we get to drive back home

actually... there is more than that. the other highlight to that trip is the other guitar player (Tim) wigged out on LSD and I had to drive him around in the middle of the night to keep him from going insane. the truck had frozen up in the (maybe) 60-65 below that night and started spewing. I stopped to figure out what is going on... a cop stopped by to check us out.... Tim is talking nonsense... it's pitch black... 60 below... the truck is oozing and blowing steam. the officer says... take a seat... in the back of the cruiser. it's a first for me and I realize... there are no door handles... no cuffs (it was 1969) but we are stuck here. Tim is blabbering... it is obvious he is forked up big time. the cop is looking at us in the mirror. Tim is yammering. the coherent stuff is things like... who is this guy? will he hurt us? will he take us where it's warm? but mostly other intelligible yabber. now heres the cool part... after a while the cop looked at me and says "can you handle him?"... I said yes. he took us to a gas station and let us go... in the custody of the attendant, who helped get he truck going again (and back to the stash house).

btw... Tim later played in and toured with 2 bands you have all heard, or at least heard of. a good player but totally nutbag. heard he's still around but I haven't seen him in 50 years
 
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Greg70

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I forgot to mention the gig where a presumably homeless man who was very drunk kept yelling “DON’T STOP!!” In a very agitated voice, after we finished our songs.

He ended up stumbling to my car and tried to get into it. Not break in.. just tried to get in. It was locked. He eventually left without any more problems.

Are you sure he wasn't just trying to request a Journey or a Fleetwood Mac tune? :lol:
 

FMA

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Oh,, I looked it up...

It's just a modern, sped-up version of what used to be described as, 'windshield wipers'.

:):p:rolleyes::lol::lol::lol:

Cheers, RM


Sorry about the confusion. I did mean "motor boat."

Just recalled another story: We were playing a backyard party/barbecue gig when a guy walks up to me and says we have to stop playing because he was trying to sleep and if he has to come back, he's bringing his gun. I stop mid-song and inform the bandleader, who informs the homeowner, who calls the cops. Cop shows up and it's a guy I know.

Turns out the guy threatening with a gun was a next-door neighbor. Funny thing was, his wife was at the party and was pissed off at him because she was having a good time.

And forgot to mention, at the start of the gig, my pedalboard power supply decided, at that moment, not to work.
 
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mfguitar

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Love these stories!
I have had my fair share but here are a few.

Traditional country band, we were hired for a church show, simple I thought. We show up and I see our name on the marque "Band Name" Gospel Show... Oh Oh, we don't do gospel music. I think we did Amazing Grace 5 or 6 times. We lived to tell about it.

Modern Country Act, we were hired to do a major event at the Niagara Falls Convention Center. The promoter kept telling us how great this was going to be. I remember killing the first song and hearing the lonely sound of one person clapping, no one showed.

Current band, we were hired by a local BBQ joint. Everyone was sick as a dog but the show must go on, it was pouring out and we had to wait for them to clear tables so that we had room to set up and they kept setting customers where we were supposed to play. We finally got set up and the night was dreadful and they bitched because we started late.
 

brookdalebill

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I was doing a one off/sub gig with a young country singer, about 35-odd years ago.
Alas, I cannot remember his name.
We were playing a south Austin neighborhood bar called Sam’s Town Point.
A young woman asked to sit in.
When she did, she actually didn’t know the lyrics to the tune she asked to sing, Delta Dawn.
I, being helpful, leaned over, and told her the lyrics.
He much older boyfriend (who looked like country singer Ray Price) thought I was whispering sweet nothings in her ear.
On the break, boyfriend Ray walked up to be, and hit me on the side of the head with a mostly full aluminum Budweiser can.
He didn’t hurt me, though he got beer on me.
I did not retaliate in kind, I’m semi large, and was much younger, and not that upset about it.
I asked/told the bartender to get him out of there, which he dutifully did.
In close to 50 years of bar gigging, I’ve only been hit once.
 

Weazel

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Mid 90's when I was the guitarist in a decent bluesrockband, regularly playing local pubs and bikers parties.

Halfway through our second set after finishing some standards I looked over to the bassist across the stage to start a synchronized intro riff to one of our original tunes.

He had a weird look on his face, and stood in a frozen straight up position and by the expression on his face and the look he gave me I went over to him.

As I approached him I became aware of a rather unpleasant scent in the air around him.

Turned out he had sharted himself.

Needless to say, I had the singer announce for a short technical break.
 

mindlobster

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I had flu coming on. The gig was in a really bad pub, everywhere you looked there were posters warning about theft. Before anybody started playing, sound man announced he was tired and went home. Minor sound issues during my set, then somebody from the other act tries to help and causes multiple outages during my set. Harsh words are exchanged. Throughout all of this the promoter is in the room, staring at her laptop, makes no effort to help, doesn't even look at us. This was one gig I was grateful for such a small audience.
 

Al Coda

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UK
Was helping a band with their sound at a gig. They want to set up their backline. Gig starts. Sound dies one or two songs in. Turns out the neatly coiled extension cord/lead driving the Marshall stacks has turned into a molten mound of metal and plastic. Inconvenient at the best of times. Scary when you're at a biker gig and you're the one standing by the soundboard.
 




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