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Worst Gigging Experience

Discussion in 'Band Wagon' started by teleblueman, Jun 9, 2016.

  1. Knowcaster

    Knowcaster Tele-Holic

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    I though maybe that was the "good news" you referred to earlier in your post!
     
  2. Henfield Tele

    Henfield Tele Tele-Holic

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    Oh dear, that’s taken me back to a community centre nursing home gig about 25 years ago.
    Couldn’t have been any worse as our bass player used to conquer his nerves with alcohol and anything else he could get his hands on, and half way through the set collapses to the floor with his Burns Bison on top of him.
    No problem, we think his son might know enough to fill in until the end, except the kid wasn’t big enough for the full scale bass and could hold the thing!!
    Final straw was when I stared the intro for Money for Nothing and an old lady came flying off her chair for a dance but misjudged her step tripped and flew head first past me into the drum kit, probably the best solo of the night. So bad it was funny [emoji16]
    Evening prematurely ended at that point!!
     
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  3. scottser

    scottser Friend of Leo's

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    This thread would make a bestseller of a book ;)

    I got married last month and the three bands i play in all provided music for various parts of the day. The guys doing the ceremony started bob marleys 'wait in vain' as my wife to be was outside waiting to come down the aisle when she had a dress disaster. The guys played that song for 35 minutes!
    Then my irish trad band were told they could only play for 30 minutes. I had expected, and rehearsed them for an hour plus, me and my wife were going to join in on a few tunes as well. So the venue manager, mary starts clanging this bigarsed bell in front of the banjo players face trying to get the lads to shut up and get in for the meal. There were words exchanged. Our newest song is called 'mary's bell'..

    Then the main band did a brilliant gig with a drummer mate of mine depping for me. While i was off on honeymoon they did a gig in a pub with a different dep drummer and a new dep bass player, the worst gig they ever played, and to nobody. I think the singer is depressed after it cos he hasnt picked up the phone since..
    Bad gigs but great stories. Keep them coming..
     
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  4. beyer160

    beyer160 Friend of Leo's

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    I got a ton of 'em, but the first one that springs to mind wasn't even my gig.

    I was working a corporate event, and the organizers had hired a comedian for dinner entertainment. This was all well and good, the only problem was the date-

    September 11, 2001.

    The guy told the organizers he'd perform if they wanted him to, but it wasn't really a good night for comedy. They paid him and told him he could go home. In the end we put TVs tuned to CNN around the room.
     
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  5. 4pickupguy

    4pickupguy Doctor of Teleocity

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    Sting recorded a live album in a medium sized jazz club in NY on 9/11. It’s a disaster.
     
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  6. Slowpoke

    Slowpoke Tele-Afflicted

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    I was booked to play a wedding and was asked to play quiet music while the wedding party was eating, this I did. The Bride and Groom cut the wedding cake and then did the Bridal Waltz and after a minute or so was joined on the floor by other couples. Suddenly there was a fight going on and the group of flailing arms and fists was getting bigger and bigger. At this point the bride somehow quickly removed her dress and with only her bra and knickers and her headress on proceeded to tear into the fighting mob and flooring them one by one. Her new husband just stood there amazed as she ended up being the last one standing.
    I learned afterwards she was an ex Aussie Army fitness instructor who was very proficient at kick boxing and the man in me recognized that she had a perfect body and looked absolutely gorgeous stood there in her undies and high heels. Anyway her Dad paid me my full fee and thanked me for my music. So I packed and loaded my gear and drove home with visions of this gorgeous young lady flooring around 6 to 8 guests all on her own.. S
     
  7. Oldgitplayer

    Oldgitplayer Tele-Holic

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    ^^^
    Great story - makes a man proud to live in Oz
     
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  8. RoyalBaby

    RoyalBaby Tele-Afflicted

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    Lots of gigs that had problems of one sort or another like arguments over pay or just horrible places. But I think I'll go with this:
    About sixteen years ago I started a blues band with a drummer friend. We found a cool bassist and a tone deaf singer who was willing to give it a go. The singer used to get nervous and when he got nervous he drank. His wife also used to come to gigs with him (as his drinking buddy as much as anything); her father was a semi pro guitarist which seemed to give her permission to be critical of everything I did so I avoided her as much as possible.
    We got invited to play a big biker charity gig. I don't know the numbers but easily the biggest gig I've ever played. We got there early afternoon to be told the line up had changed and we'd been moved from late afternoon to evening headliners.*
    We had hours to hang around,I could avoid the singer and his wife which was fine but by showtime he was truly inebriated. We hit the first number without a problem but then our singer started talking and wouldn't shut up. Shouted insults at audience members, generally talked rubbish. He'd been speaking to someone earlier who apparently played blues harmonica and got him on stage and he was terrible. Hundreds of people walked out on us.
    That band with that singer is still going. I left shortly after the biker gig though.

    * Sidenote to this is, as I understand it, the original headliners pulled out in order to play a better paid gig. The bikers threatened to disrupt all their future gigs and that band broke up as a result. We were truly awful but at least we turned up!
     
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  9. outbreak

    outbreak Tele-Afflicted

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    Not as crazy as some stories, my worst was probably my first show with a band way back when. Our bass player didn't turn up so we had someone from the other band playing who had never heard our songs so i was trying to show him before the songs/during the songs and our singer was singing for the first time and had stage fright so he sung facing the drummer and just mumbling no one could hear him at all. It was a total mess and the place was packed.
     
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  10. studio1087

    studio1087 Telefied Silver Supporter

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    Summer of 1982. We played a high school graduation and we received an extra $100 to rent a bring a generator. The party was going to be outside. We thought it was a barn or farm party. We got to the farm and the mom directed us to a boat landing nearby. The party was on an island on a big lake. The mom said that several bass boats were at the landing to move our gear.

    Extremely hammered boaters moved our gear (the drinking age in WI as 18 then). Kids were barfing in bushes before the sun set. We had 4 par 64 lights pointed at us on the beach on this island and the lights drew mosquitos. We were eaten alive by bugs while kids got in fights and barfed. It was a real bash. The same kids were obliterated at midnight when they boated our amps and drums and some of our PA back to the dock where our bus was parked.

    I think the boats and booze freaked me out. I was completely covered in mosquito bites. My face and legs were all red and chewed up. Rock and Roll!!!
     
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  11. 4pickupguy

    4pickupguy Doctor of Teleocity

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    Ok, resurecting this most excellent of all Band Wagon threads with this tasty morsel. One of the biggest gaffs on record. Posting this as a reference to what some of the stories in this thread may have sounded like live as they happened.




    Sent from my iPad using TDPRI forum mobile app
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2018
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  12. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Poster Extraordinaire

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    It was going ok, then he fell asleep and his face hit the keys...
     
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  13. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    a couple years ago, outdoor gig in full sun, you could feel the light burning your forehead like a heat lamp, and the soundcheck took over an hour

    I’ve been lucky


    Sent from my iPhone using TDPRI forum mobile app
     
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  14. the embezzler

    the embezzler Tele-Holic

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    Originals band I was in about 20 years ago got booked to play an outdoors gig at a small satellite town in the middle of winter. There was a man made snow half-pipe and a snow boarding competition during the first half of the evening and then the idea was that our band would play after the competition to close out the evening.
    Once the sun goes down it’s bitterly cold and we are struggling to keep instruments in tune or get our fingers moving. The competition ends and the 150 strong crowd vanishes save for about 6 people and we play to a huge empty parking lot on the back of a truck. It was so cold that the drummers crash cymbal had frozen solid before we even started.
     
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  15. Paul in Colorado

    Paul in Colorado Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Maybe not the worst, but this one comes to mind. Sometime in the late '80's the band I was in was asked to play The Tucson Hot Air Balloon Festival. It was kind of a big deal, we got a lot of publicity before the event in the local media. We had to get there before dawn as they launched while the air was still cool. So we got there, set up (bringing our keyboardist's real Hammond B3 and Leslie) and waited. As soon as it was light they fired up the balloons and they rose into the sky. As soon as they launched, we started playing. The problem was, that no one wanted to hang around after they launched, so we played to tens of people. I think we got paid.
     
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  16. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Poster Extraordinaire

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    I’m sorry if we aren’t supposed to resurrect Zombie Threads...but a few more disasters:


    We were playing at a bar that had an open-air patio directly beside a busy four-lane road. Two songs into a gig, the other guitarist’s signal starts fizzling out. His guitar sounds like a bad AM radio signal right at the end of the radio station’s range.

    He first assumes it’s his guitar, so he switches to his backup...then when it happens again, he assumes it’s his pedalboard, so he plugs directly into his amp...the when it happens again, he assumes it’s his amp, so I quickly hand my Line 6 POD (mounted on a mic stand next to my amp and running into the PA) to him. He finally realizes it’s his guitar lead/cord.

    This particular guitarist (who notoriously mistreats all his gear except his guitars) got mad at the cord, whips out a Crocodile Dundee knife, cuts the end off the cord, impales that end onto the center of the stage, and throws the rest of the cord into the street.

    All this at an all-ages venue that caters to families.

    I let him use my backup cables for the rest of the gig.

    ——————
    Same guitarist developed the habit of drinking more and more each gig. What started out as a minor party trick was turning into a major drinking problem.

    At the penultimate gig he played with us, he got blitzed enough that he couldn’t read the set list, so I’d have to holler out the song and the key, as well as start taking more solos because he couldn’t remember when to come in.

    The last gig he played with us, he showed up late...as in “we started the gig without you because we were supposed to start playing 30 minutes ago” late...we were three songs into the first set (of four sets) when he saunters in and starts trying to set up his amp. He’s upset because the sound guy refuses to mic him up in the middle of the set.

    He also shows up drunk...so to remedy his irritation at the sound guy, he cracks open a bottle of Evan Williams, and fills his big insulated “Bubba” cup with half-whiskey and half Coca Cola, then wanders off to the open keg the party planner set up (this was a company party for a construction company).

    He makes his triumphant return at the end of our first set (we played that set as a trio), with two Solo cups of beer and says, “Man, that was rude—y’all didn’t wait for me!”

    I prevented the bassist from planting his foot into the guitarist’s posterior, and said, “We got three more sets to play. Get with it...”

    Next set was kinda shaky due to his drunkenness...third set, we took his guitar signal out of the mains and left them only in his monitor...fourth set, I had turned his amp down all the way, so if he looked at it, he’d see the indicator light and assume it was still on.

    At the end of the gig, I poured him into his car (his wife was mortified and drove him home). I called the next day and gave him the choice to either show up on time and sober and stay sober, or he was out.

    He chose the latter, because, “I wasn’t that drunk and y’all suck and all you play is simple three- or four-chord songs and you won’t be nothin’ without me anyway...”

    We played another 4-set gig with his replacement two weeks later...and he was right, we weren’t nothin’ without him...of course, we weren’t nothin’ with him, either, so, no great loss.

    ————————
    A friend throws a small outdoor festival on his rural 5-acre property every year on the day we set our clocks back (“Fall Back Festival”) every year.

    In 2018, I put together a band, and four songs in, I felt a drop of water on my arm. I glanced at the bassist, who looked at the sky and shook his head, “Nope!”

    We barely got all our equipment and instruments off the stage (as well as the festival coordinator’s PA) before the heavens opened up, and water flowed like a bull pissin’ on a flat rock for the next 45 minutes...we left almost immediately, but some people who stuck around literally stuck around, because the “parking lot” turned to mud.

    —————————
    2019 Fall Back Fest...

    No rain in the forecast, beautiful clear skies...

    And colder than a banker’s heart...

    This time, the festival organizer put my band as the headliner (because his band didn’t even get to play the previous year, due to the rain).

    We hit stage at 9:00PM, and it was a balmy 38F...outdoors...and windy...

    We soldiered on, sounded pretty good, had a great time...and finally thawed out two days later.
     
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  17. harpdog

    harpdog Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Played regularly at a Tapas/Bar and the owner seemed to love us and pay cash. Then we learned he was paying from house tips. That did not sit well. Poor guy died from booze not long after.
     
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  18. srblue5

    srblue5 Tele-Meister

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    Man, reading some of these stories actually makes me grateful for my worst gig experiences.

    Most of my worst gig experiences had to do with obnoxious audience members, shady or obnoxious organizers/hirers, egotistical and/or inebriated band members, or myself being distracted or just not at all in the zone.

    I posted in another thread about a groom who tried to stiff my band and I after we set up and sound checked at his wedding reception, complaining about him being poor and needing us to do it as a favour to him. In a pretty fancy venue with lots of gaudy jewelry and decorations kicking around, I may add.

    Audience members can sometimes be really annoying, either unintentionally or on purpose. One guy was kind of a careerist and came up to my band playing at a holiday event for work to ask me questions about job opportunities. When I gently asked him if we could talk after my band finished playing that set, he shot back, "You can just multi-task" and continued blathering away. Another time, an audience member kept coming up to me during the soundcheck shouting requests about a foot from my face at the top of his lungs and telling me our choice of songs was inappropriate ("Sunshine of Your Love", "Mrs. Robinson"...really?).

    Another time, an organizer kept coming up to my amp and twiddling random knobs while I was playing. He complained it was too overdriven and thought turning the trem and reverb knobs would solve the problem (spoiler alert: he did not know what he was doing). He wouldn't stop when I told him off so I ended up putting a strip of masking tape across my knobs to solve the problem.

    Having not played a gig in over 365 days, however, I'd gladly suffer through some of these headaches (keyword: some) in order to experience the joy of playing live again. :(
     
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  19. ping-ping-clicka

    ping-ping-clicka Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    playing with friend that couldn't decide what they wanted my micro moog to sound on an on going basis
    bass player: no, no, no ,that's not it,
    guitarist:: yeah, right there, right there,
    the drummer rolls his eyes at me as if to say, "oh brother these guys, are so so full of it!".
    " I won't walk off stage and out the back door and head for the bar room across the alley"
    " I won't walk off stage and out the back door and head for the bar room across the alley"
    " I won't walk off stage and out the back door and head for the bar room across the alley"
    " I won't walk off stage and out the back door and head for the bar room across the alley"
     
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  20. McGlamRock

    McGlamRock Poster Extraordinaire

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    Definitely the one where, in the middle of a song, the drummer threw up and then immediately passed out.
    We finished the song, without the drummer.
     
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