|El Raro ||10-27-2013 08:53 PM |
Trainwreck to end all trainwrecks (Lengthy post!)
Last Friday, one of my bands were asked to fill-in for a band who pulled out of a gig at the very last minute supporting a local band who I happen to be a fan of. We took the gig and sped off to the venue unrehearsed and unprepared but excited nevertheless. Because my guitarist lives in a completely different city, he ended up arriving about 20 minutes after we were scheduled to start. The organiser was really helpful and understanding so he bargained with us - we'd cut out set 10 minutes shorter so we were given 20 minutes to play. Fair enough.
The drummer and I set everything up and just wait for the guitarist to arrive. He finally bursts through the backstage door, sweating and huffing, hauling his guitars and loose cables dragging across the floor. We quickly help him load all his gear on stage and proceed to sound check. He plugs his amp in and I immediately notice his amp is crackling and dropping in clean signal while his distortion is simply too thin and screechy. He left all his effects at home. Whatever, we'll just wing it with what we've got. How bad can it go?
First song in, he opens the set with some clean strumming - nothing but crackle and drop outs. Decides to "compensates" by engaging the distortion...completely kills the song from the onset. Worst of all, as soon as we kicked in together, I noticed his guitar was in a completely different tuning. Did he fix it for the next song? Nope...kept it the same. I later find out he "couldn't hear himself" and "didn't think it was THAT out" despite playing in C when the songs were in D.
So I tried my hardest to transpose the notes and get them to match his mis-matched tuning. For the most part, I was able to nail it since the songs aren't particularly difficult but I did stuff up more than I would have enjoyed. As the set progressed, the guitarist's form seemed to get progressively worse. He'd start mumbling the lyrics, off key of course, and then, out of nowhere, start yelling obnoxiously close to the mic - probably peaking the FOH. I noticed a few winced faces in the crowd with some even resorting to stepping outside. If that wasn't bad enough, the drummer started losing time and forgeting some of the songs because the guitarist decided to play our WIP songs rather than the material we're comfortable with all for the sake of "keeping within our time limit".
To end our miserable performance, the guitarist suddenly decided to change our closer...to a song we had only just started working on the night before...THAT was the cherry on the crap cake. I didn't know the majority of my parts, neither did the drummer and the guitarist literally just playing whatever he felt like. It was a complete mess. I looked back at the drummer several times with a "***" face and was at least glad he felt the same way. The guitarist ended the set by rubbing his guitar against his cab, effectively breaking every string on the guitar and releasing a world of ugly noises through the FOH PA. I'm all for rock n roll stage antics but not when its followed by a truly abysmal set.
The real sting of the evening came afterwards when I read a comment on Facebook by one of the band members of the band we were supporting (the bass player, actually) essentially comparing the guitarist to an "Unfathomably less talented Kurt Cobain doppleganger" and saying we were "Genuinely the worst band I've ever had to share the stage with. Who invited these guys?". Ouch.
I made my feelings known to the band, particularly the guitarist. This isn't the first time he pulls this sort of thing. He really has a complete disregard for musicianship and tone all because he wants to be as "raw" as possible. He likens his style to Nirvana, At The Drive In and other punk/hardcore bands of the 90's. The thing is, these guys at least had method to their madness. He doesn't. The worst thing is, he refuses to upgrade any of his gear or give his cheap guitars set ups because its either too expensive or because "They do the job anyway".
Its annoying and I don't like how his attitude is directly affecting our performances. He's a good friend and he's a lot of fun to be around...but he's just a terrible musician. If it keeps going this way, which I have all the reason in the world to believe it will, I'm gonna have to bail on this project. The guitarist is simply too stubborn to see otherwise.