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2 Gig Disasters in One Day :/

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by JJThunder, Jul 28, 2012.

  1. JJThunder


    Jan 8, 2012
    So yeah, I suppose this is venting but i know that getting it out will help me and there are lessons to be learnt from this story that may benefit somone.

    Im in a 4 peice rock band called Interception (Theres a badly posted hyperlink to our Facebook page below, make your own judgements, We are all under 18 so we still have lots to learn gigwise).

    From this experience i have learnt several lessons...

    First gig, A reasonably sized music festival near Stafford.

    Lesson 1. After driving for half a hour to a gig that is almost certainly going to be poor, with a small audience and without getting payed is a pointless experience

    Lesson 2. Vocalists must always warm up. Both guitarists and the drummer were forgetting words and breaking voices, which is really not a great thing to have happening.

    Lesson 3. Check the gear your given. We were told not to bring a backline or a drumkit. The guitarists were allright but i was only able to get a mushy sound out of a fossilised Trace Elliot combo (Which is impressive for a P bass with two 500k pots and a Seymour Duncan Quarter Pounder) and the drummer was landed with a cheap made in China kit with one leg missing. We had to nail wood into the floor of the trailer we were playing in to stop it tipping, even then it carried on sliding forward through the gig.

    Lesson 4. Check your own gear. My P bass suffered a major earthing problem in the E/A Pickups and our Lead Guitarist's pedal decided to jump channels randomly a couple of times. Its always worth trying to solve any problems that come up or that you know might come up before the gig or during the soundcheck

    Lesson 5. Talk to the soundman. Half the Trace Elliot sounding Mushy could of been solved if i had only of plucked up the courage to talk to him and ask him if he could turn the treble up a tad. Although, admitedly, he was pretty clueless.

    Lesson 6. Engage the Audience. After fumbling with words, Dropping notes left right and center, and sounding like crap, we were too scared to move, Moving is good because it gives the audience something to look at, Even if your scared, Nothing can hurt you. You are whoever you want to be onstage, Just Imagine that your Frank Bello and your set. Also, Make sure that the singer doesnt faff with words. Its a sure fire way to end up with atleast a minute of dead air in the set. Any dead air is too much dead air.

    Lesson 7. Make sure you plan your set and make sure you know how long the set is before you do so. We were told 4 days before the gig and because our drummer was still in Secondary School at the time, We had to balance practice time around him. As a result, we had one practice to sort things out and that was a day before we even knew the set was 30 minutes, not the 45 we planned on. So we found ourselves being cut short with 3 more songs to spare, Forcing us to end on a painful cover of Toxicity by System of a Down.

    Lesson 8. Straplocks. Nuff said.

    After the gig

    Lesson 9. Do not Shout, Say, Mutter, Mumble or even Whisper any Obscenities near two high gain microphones. Knowing we sounded bad and knowing about a potential second gig that our guitarist might feel unsure about i decided to let out a little bit by muttering the phrase "For F***s sake". Our manager said that apparently he heard it as he was returning from the toilet. Which was even worse when i looked out and saw the audience was made up mostly of familys with small children. (About 3 familys i guess)

    Lesson 10. Do not take your anger out on objects. I kicked a half empty bottle of pepsi max into orbit and it almost came down directly on top of somone. Also do not take anger out on instruments, the drummer kicked a bag of spares and accidently bent the spare rod that is used to operate the high hat. Doing such things is generally not advisable.

    Lesson 11. Being stressed and angry to the point of kicking bottles of Pepsi Max solves nothing. It just annoys bandmates and everyone else. Even if the band is as stressed and as angry as you.

    Before i carry on i must explain about gig number 2. There is a place in Stoke, near to where i live called "The Rigger". Its a brilliant venue for Rock and we had been asked to fill a gap on Saturday night. We would be the only band playing. We can play well (Check the facebook and check out the EP track) apparently and after listening to the EP they wanted to see us however, because everyone else had pulled out we were all that was left and we were the last choice because they have a policy of no under 18's. Inculding under 18 bands (Fair enough really). We were dropped in it the day before the gig and at the time we were all up for it apart from our Rythmn guitarist/Vocalist. We said that if we felt better after the gig maybe we would do it. Obviously things werent better...

    Lesson 12. Do not act pissed around the guitarist who has forced us out of a good gig because he just doesnt feel that he is up to it. It might make them feel alienated and make them feel that they do not want to do it anymore.

    Lesson 13. Being stressed and Angry to the point of shouting at parents, pushing away bandmates, tearing at hair, swearing at full whack is not worth it over a gig. Like lesson 11, Stress is not good. Like lesson 11 only you just look more like an idiot when you do it. Its safe to say that, we are never, not a chance in hell, Ever gonna get the oppertunity to play such a gig so because the guitarist just doesnt feel like it is a valid reason to get stressed. However getting it out like that doesnt do you or anyone else (Especially if you are a bottle of Pepsi Max) any good.

    Lesson 14. Getting stressed when the Guitarist is oblivious to how the other band are feeling is a valid reason to get stressed, but not great if you are trying to avoid it.

    Lesson 15. Let the closest people to band members do the talking. "Ol, we need to talk to you. We feel that we need to talk to you about this as friends and as bandmates". Is useless in our situation. In a real band situation as adults, maybe. But when your only 16 and you mum, who also feels the same feelings about the gig as everyone else (Albeit no way near as furious i was) is on hand to offer advice and sympathy, we do not stand a chance, considering he has known her from birth and us for less than 3 years.

    Lesson 16. It is impossible to talk somone with a one track mind out of a descision. After almost a day of talks it was impossible to convince him that we should do the gig.

    Lesson 17. Give and take is the key. Sometimes, descisions can go the opposite way to how we want them to go, even when the band calls a vote and your out voted by X to 1. Having Empathy is the key and understanding the descisions of fellow band mates is the way to get far. It ensures a broader spectrum of music, with nobody holding anyone back. The only issue is that it can also lead to instability in smaller bands, especially when two Egos collide. (I am fortunate to be in this band where there are no Egocentrics, thankfully).

    Lesson 18. Empathy. We must also empathise with him, even though it is his fault and he is an idiot for letting such an amazing oppertunity pass us by. But, we must try to understand our bandmates.

    Lesson 19. Talk to your bandmates. We have had this before, Yet another gig. Keele University is one hell of a venue and is one of the best venues a small band in the area can play, We missed this because he didnt feel like playing it. I honestly dont get him sometimes.

    Thats everything. I have learnt my lessons well from today. I just hope we get another chance to play the Rigger, and i hope that we can avoid another gig that turns out like this. I also hope that maybe somone will take something out of this, i know, some of these things are obvious but to young musicians like me, You never know.
  2. Betrayer_Bass

    Betrayer_Bass Profanity Fish.

    Sep 24, 2011
    Oslo, Norway
    Endorsing: Spector basses, Winspear Picks, Spector Formula 603 strings
    There are some (if repeated) good points here. Obviously you should practice a set list and know which songs to cut out if you're told to play a shorter set. Print out set lists, have it by your feet. Everyone does it.

    Anger and frustration come with the territory when you've played a "bad show" or having a bad time, kicking stuff is fun at the time but ultimately not worth it. Buit you're still young and you'll grow out of that eventually. Don't beat yourself up about it :)

    As far as the guitarist goes, I say kick him out. If he's going to be that selfish and hold the band back from two (and possibly more in the future) good gigs, then he's not worth keeping around. Guitarists are a dime a dozen, you can find one real fast :)

    Good luck, keep your chin up and keep on pounding the low end! :)
  3. sobie18


    May 5, 2002
    Shaw AFB, SC
    Wow. Lots of lessons there...
  4. 73jbass

    73jbass Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2004
    Sounds like you guys need to get youselves together musically,and mentally. I'd take a few months to rehearse a lot before going out again.
  5. 20. Don't play with people who don't want to gig.
  6. SoVeryTired

    SoVeryTired Endorsing nothing, recommending much

    Jul 2, 2011
    Milton Keynes, UK
    21. If there are too many lessons you'll struggle to remember and learn any of them. ;)
  7. Klonk


    Apr 28, 2011
    Lesson no 20 is the most important ;)
  8. Violen

    Violen Instructor in the Vance/Rabbath Method Banned

    Apr 19, 2004
    Kansas City Metro Area
    Endorsing Artist: Conklin Guitars (Basses)
    Want to know the most important Lesson?

    1. Stop playing for attention. Most of your problems were derived from if enough people were paying attention to you and your music, be them the right people or not.

    Just play. Music isnt about winning, it's about music. You can win at it later.
  9. JJThunder


    Jan 8, 2012
    Thanks Everyone :). Everything you say helps me to get what just happened into a better perspective. Its safe to say ive learnt my lesson (Lessons) well. :bassist:

    As for the guitarist part its not that simple. Me, the rest of the band and "Management" are going to sit down today and have a chat about what went wrong anyway, The most likley option is to go out and find us a singer rarther than have him sing because its obvious he isnt enjoying doing both, and he isnt doing such a great job as frontmen go. He is an amazing guitarist, despite all the issues, and it would be a shame to loose him.
  10. randysmojo


    Jan 14, 2008
    Austin, TX
    As far as the Trace Elliott Sounding bad, unless they specifically say you are not allowed to touch the preamp setting because it's so and so's rig and preset for them, go ahead and adjust so you don't sound bad. That is what back line is for. If there is any doubt, I will make minor adjustments and put it back when we are done with sound check, and do the same for our set.
  11. fenderhutz

    fenderhutz Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2007
    Harpers Ferry WV
    A Trace Elliot can sound really bad, because it is versatile. You have to have the shape buttons and EQ set to your liking. It is not a plug and play amp, takes a good couple minutes of knob noodling to get the good Trace tone out of it. Just letting you know in case you get a similar amp again.
  12. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett Customs...........www.rickettcustomguitars.com
    Lesson 22: If you make mountains out of molehills, you will make a very stressful situation.
    Make the best of what you have of any given situation. It will make most of the other lessons null, that are listed above. :)

    Plus, you'll appreciate it, when you get better gigs.
  13. BelleNoireBass


    Apr 18, 2012
    Bay Area
    "Lesson 1. After driving for half a hour to a gig that is almost certainly going to be poor, with a small audience and without getting payed is a pointless experience"

    Wow! This is such a bad attitude, especially since you are calling it a lesson. You are all under 18 with obviously very little experience playing out. Where do you expect to start? It definitely isn't pointless to start gigging anywhere when you are just starting.
  14. JJThunder


    Jan 8, 2012
    By this i mean, a bad stage with bad equipment provided with a non existant audience and rubbish soundman. Yeah i know we arent exactly going to be playing the O2 Arena but seeing as we had to drive halfway to Birmingham to do this gig while their are plenty of other bad gigs where we live to play at.

    I admit i was still pretty angry when i wrote this, Sorry.
  15. Just bear in mind everyone has experiences like this at some point.

    Look at it this way: You've gotten those rotten experiences done and out of the way early.
    Now you can look forward to good gigs.
  16. Factor88


    Jun 21, 2011
    Is traveling a half hour really that much of a hassle? I know you are not in the US but is it really that different there?

    If you stay in this business long enough you will play MANY gigs that you look back on and say "it wasn't worth it". I know I have. But the driving or travelling a half hour would never be the reason why I would say a gig wasn't worth it.
  17. randysmojo


    Jan 14, 2008
    Austin, TX
    I used to live at a place where you had to drive a half hour just to see another human! Really though, I consider anything 30 - 45 minutes away a local gig for me. Being in Austin, if I want to play in town, I would have to take a major cut in pay. I played a gig last Tuesday with Trent Willmon who is a well known Nashille singer/songwriter and the back lined bass rig was an older Ampeg 410, not the HLF, with a Peavey 1980's mark 4 head. Made due and had a good show! There's ya a lesson. No matter what happens or how off the gear is, play like it's Madison Square Garden and the best rig you ever had!!! Even if it's for 20 people. You can either alienate 20 people, or make 20 more fans!
  18. JaamE

    JaamE Owner of the GK Angry Bird amp

    Apr 13, 2011
    Olympia, WA
    Meh, i drove over 1/2hr to play at a swapmeet, where i think only my mom stayed for our whole set... both my spouse and at least one of my kids wandered off.

    We had no soundman, until my 18yo took over the board.

    We didn't get paid at all...but we had fun
    And our #1 rule is 'If we're not having fun, we're doing something wrong."
  19. bassfran


    Mar 1, 2012
    Endorsing artist: Lakland basses
    Lessons/mistakes are of use when you learn from them, so you're on the right track.

    As for the list of problems you had, "Murphy's Law" was in full force and indeed affects all of us whether young or old. Sometimes nothing seems to go right- all you can do is laugh and try to make the best of it. It's not the end of the world. No one died (I hope).

    Lousy gigs = great stories.


    NEVER throw a fit at the venue or in front of an audience unless it's a part of the act. There'll be plenty of chances to kick soda bottles and drum hardware (or each other) when you're back at your practice room.
    (Don't kick each other, I'm only kidding.)

    Make sure to post an update after the band meeting.
    Best of luck to you.
  20. BelleNoireBass


    Apr 18, 2012
    Bay Area

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