Worst band you've ever seen?
I work as a sound technician, and a few weeks ago a friend of mine held a gig at my school. I had heard him play guitar, and he was awesome so I imediatly signed up to work that day at the bar. Before sound check I went to greet the band and talked to the bassist a bit. He seemed to know his stuff, and so did the rest of the band. So I assumed they all played well. We were behind schedule, so we couldn't sound check them. Immediatly as they start playing, the following things happen:
-The bassist was playing all notes wrong. I have no clue if his bass was ultra untuned or he was just playing it completely wrong, but he was on tempo but wrong notes.
-drummer was always off tempo.
-singer forgot the lyrics half way...
My friend was the only one playing right, and he quit the band after that. Now we have a running joke in the band:
No matter how bad we play, we will never be Elevendust.
I've walked out of venues with bad bands before and for different reasons. One band was so loud my ears hurt and I was wearing earplugs. Bad singers are probably the #1 reason for me to walk out on a band; it doesn't matter how good the band is if the singer sounds like arse. I went to see a popular band playing at a festival and they were sharing the marquee with a puppet show, when they came out they were announcing the rebirth or some nonsense of the band and started playing some strange freestyle crap. It was sad.
I've never gone to a show expecting to see a great band and gotten a poor band instead. I've gone to shows at hard-to-get-into rooms and left wondering how the band got in, but they were marginally competent. I couldn't take witnessing what the OP describes: a band with totally wayward pitch, meter, and lyrics. That's something that typically comes from grade-school players and rank beginners.
Something I can commiserate with, however, is being pitted with players that aren't quite as on the music as you are. It's a very humbling experience, because you can never sound better than the rest of them, even if you play your part perfectly. Moreover, they might think they are absolutely tearing it up. It can ruin friendships if you're not careful.
But a band CAN be less than the sum of its parts. Playing as an ensemble is a distinct craft within music performance.
Will never forget being subjected to Thelonious Monster in an L,A, club years back, WORST musicians I've ever heard, to the point they should've been disallowed to own instruments. How they got to make albums I'll never know.
There are definitely some BAD bands out there. Hell, I know my first couple were pretty awful as we were all just learning to play. It's all in good fun alot of the time. Sometimes though you have to wonder, do these people not hear what they are playing? The most off-putting elements of a "bad" band are a singer who can't sing and a drummer who is off.
I will say this though, if people want to play and have a good time, then I'm all for that whether they are talented or not. If they are enjoying it and having fun, good for them.
Think about this though... if we are all talking about bad bands... at some point, wouldn't SOME of us have to be in one of those bands? :mindblown:
I've seen lots of crappy bands at local venues but because they can bring in all of their friends and family to spend $$ at the bar, they get welcomed back.
And THAT is what is completly f'd up about the whole scene.
Oh, I was thinking ou were asking about national acts as I was going to say that I saw Buck Cherry last year. They were TERRIBLE. As far a local bands, shoot to many to many over the years to count. I think I was in one of them at one time. :D
I am sure it will be blasphemous to some, but I am going to list the Police here. I saw them on their final tour back in the 80's. Their sound was horrible. They rushed through every song at a much faster bpm rate than the albums. No jams or extended song. They looked like they hated each other and the audience. Turned me off to them for good.
On a bad night the Grateful Dead could sound pretty crappy too.
As far as national acts go I'm a Seether fan, but when I saw them it sounded pretty terrible. It wasn't really the band, but the sound was cringe-worthy. The guitars were so loud it was uncomfortable.
I saw limp bizkit open for primus.
The worst was a tie ...
At the weekly Saturday night street festival in Winston-Salem, NC ... a guy doing the worst Stevie Ray Vaughn impression you can imagine with a backing band that was obviously embarassed to be associating with him in public. He literally never sung a note on key, played SRV like Vernon Reid on crack, and danced around like he had fire ants in his undies. He thought he was a blues guitar God. We (and his backing band) thought he needed medication.
On a Thursday night at the Cat's Cradle in Chapel Hill ... two young kids, one on drums and one with a guitar and a mic. The drummer played what sounded like 'Wipe Out' for an hour straight with no intermission, while the kid with the untuned guitar just beat the hell out of while placing his hand/fingers randomly all over the fretboard, with zero attempt to form a chord, and screaming random sentences into the mic.
I must admit, the last one did have a sort of quaint charm after a while. But the Stevie Ray on PCP guy should be locked up so he can never assault anyone else with his sonic awesomeness again.
Worst national act ... The Black Crows first time thru Chapel Hill. I thought "My God! They get paid?!" Sloppiest off key crap I ever heard. The whole band must have been shooting up Mexico's finest back stage. I heard they got better though, when a local boy took over on guitar (Audley).
A large proportion of my gigging experience has been turning up to play 30 or 45-minute sets on a bill with three or four - or possibly more - bands. So I've seen some bands who were excellent, and some who were just crap. I've seen plenty who were just non-descript; the difference is that you don't remember them.
The one Truly Awful Band that stick in my memory were late to arrive, poorly equipped, juvenile in temperament and just diabolical musically. Most of these nights, the promoter must expect at least one band to not be able to arrive for soundchecks (day jobs, etc) but you can usually expect the bands to arrive in time for the gig to begin.
Not these guys; they turned up about ten minutes before their stage time. I could have believed that they'd been delayed by some factor outside of their control...had they not immediately decided that their priority was to get to the bar. By the time the previous band had cleared the stage, their singer/rhythm guitarist was asking around for a guitar strap (he'd forgotten his) and the drummer was the only one on stage. He sat there looking stroppy and occasionally playing something very noisy on the kit. We know you're up there, pal, no need to remind us...
When the rest of the band finally got up, it became apparent that the lead guitarist's instrument didn't work properly. The drummer yelled abuse at the guitarist while the latter fiddled around to try and get a sound out of the guitar. They were already running behind schedule by this point, so the now frustrated sound engineer wandered up to the stage. He asked them to get a move on and the drummer yelled abuse at him. "He's f*%^ing fixing the guitar" and so on and so forth. The engineer countered by saying if they didn't get their act together now, they wouldn't play at all. At least that shut the gobby drummer up.
Overdue, and having already pissed off as many people in the room as they could, they finally started. And they had absolutely nothing going for them. Their music was just as loud and obnoxious as they were. Pity they weren't even a punk band, but had pretensions of being some vaguely musical indie post-rock type of nonsense. And they couldn't even play that competently.
Many years ago I went to see Dire Straits at an auditorium in Montreal. They had what I consider to this day the crappiest band in God's creation open for them, a band called the Barooga Bandits. Now, it's been over 30 years since i saw them, so my memory is a tad fuzzy, but I do remember people yelling out insults at them between every song, and if they had had tomatoes they surely would have thrown them at them. The guitar player's strap broke off halfway through a song, and his attempt to play on regardless was comic relief in an otherwise dismal performance!
The Dire Straits sounded fantastic by comparison. To this day I wonder if they actually hired this band to be their opening act just to make themselves look even better (as if they weren't already). I'm not that cynical, am I?
On a similar note to the above post. I can remember Peter Tosh opening for the Stones in Cleveland back in the late 70's. They got booed off the stage.. Can't remember if their playing sucked or people just wanted the Stones to come on.
A few years ago, I was playing lead guitar in a band that covered 80s-90s rock. At our first show, a guy who looked like he was trying to be Captain Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean came up to me, smiled, winked, and said "If you ever want guitar lessons, let me know." I'm certainly no virtuoso, but I've played guitar for almost 30 years and can hold my own. I also ran into another guitarist of my acquaintance who knew him. When I told her what he'd said, she informed me that it was his version of a pickup line. Sounds like someone needs to work on the way he approaches women. Still, I wondered if he was actually any good in the guitar department.
A couple months later, my band's drummer and I went out bar-hopping one night and found the Captain's band performing at a local dive. After about 30 minutes, we bailed even though I normally stick around longer if I've paid a cover charge. Those guys sounded like they had never played together before as they hacked their way through overplayed classic rock songs with off-key vocals, nonexistent stage presence, bad tempo, and inept guitar solos courtesy of the Captain himself. Embarrassing.
Frequently I get roped into "jamming" with some friends that have a studio and all the top gear you can think of. They are hobbyists but have great aspirations to play out at clubs.
We will run through a few songs and they are God awful bad. Herky-jerky, out of meter, dropped notes, wrong notes, wrong tempo, missed stops, and on and on........
At the end, they are high five-ing each other and gushing with excitement how awesome that just sounded.
I just bite my tongue and politely smile.
Some people and bands truly have no idea and I am sure there are similar bands and they are playing out.
Worst band I ever saw was The Doors at the Auditorium Theater in Chicago in 1970.
There were two shows that night. I went to the later one. They were simply too drunk to play. They crawled around the stage on their hands and knees, occasionaly getting another beer from a large tub in the center of the stage.
Amazingly, most of the audience seemed to find the whole thing charming.
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