Anyone Remember Their 1st Gig?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by musicman5string, Mar 4, 2006.

  1. musicman5string

    musicman5string Banned

    Jan 17, 2006
    I thought this might be a fun thread. Mine went something like this:
    When I was in High School, I had just begun to get into Jazz. One day I was at my local music stores trying out an electric bass and playing some funk stuff. A drummer walks in and says "Yeah man, that sounds great. Can you do a gig on Friday? We'll play some standards and some funk stuff." Now, I had NO buisness to be doing a gig playing standards, and said so: "Well, that would be great, but I just started learning some standards and I don't think I'd be able to keep up." Drummer: "Nah man, I hear your funk, I'm sure you're burnin on standards".:rolleyes: Me: "Ummmmm.......well, ok....I guess". Drummer: "Ok, great. It's at such and such at this time".
    So I show up for the gig, set up, meet the keyboardist and guitarist for the 1st time, who are all much older, and off we go. Here I am reading tunes out of the Real Book and getting horribly lost. :bassist: :crying: I mean, just right out of the gate. So the 1st set ends and the drummer says to me "Hey man, maybe it would be better if you sat the next set out". Well, I couldn't agree more. The embarressing part was that about 10 of mine friends showed up for the 2nd set and were like " come you're not playing?":bag:
    Needless to say, I didn't get paid the $50 either. I didn't do another gig playing standards for another year or two, and by then I was alittle better. What an experience.

    Anyone got a good 1st gig story?
  2. B. Graham

    B. Graham Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    My first gig was at The Drumstick in Lincoln, NE. It was a chicken place during the day, and THE hangout for UNL students interested in alternative (then called punk rock, new wave, cow punk, etc.) music.

    Folks who used to come through Nebraska played The Drumstick, or in Omaha, and that was basically all Nebraska had. R.E.M., Joan Jett, Snake Finger, Jason & The Scorchers, Rank & File, more of that vain.

    I was 14, it was 1980, and I had a little punk rock (British, not L.A.) trio (ala The Jam) going. We opened for the guitarists older brothers band. I was playing a P-Bass through a Bassman 135 head with a 2-15" cabinet. It was awesome, and horrifying at the same time. The soundman was a ****head and ran the monitors so loud my right ear bled. I was too scared to say anything about it. The bar owner to us "If I catch you little ****ers trying to drink, I will kick your mother******* asses.

    Mom and Dad dropped me off and picked me up.

    I've never been the same since.
  3. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Sadly, no, I don't remember my first gig. I started out pretty early with a lot of my dad's bandmates, playing swing and jazz stuff. I do remember that they kept asking him to bring me along...."that kid can really walk"...

    I have really only one regret in my musical life; that I didn't start a journal from Day One. It would be fun to go back and look over that stuff now. I guess I didn't figure I'd still be doing it now, years later.
  4. Wow. good story. Good ol' dropoff pick up.
  5. AxtoOx


    Nov 12, 2005
    Duncan, Okla.
    Yeah a Party down in IB in San Diego, things were going fine, had a girl I just met all over me.
    Half way through the set, some guy comes up and insists on singing, he's drunk as a skunk and we say no. He pulls out a .38 Revolver and says yes. He sang for the rest of the night. No problem.
  6. Tbeers


    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    Spring of my freshman year in high school... I played at a charity event outside a local barber shop. None of us knew much. I remember one rudimentary tune we performed from an Aebersold book, called "Mr. Super Hip." How embarassing! I had no pickup or amplifier and didn't believe in having one. So much has changed!
  7. AxtoOx


    Nov 12, 2005
    Duncan, Okla.
    Just noticed this was DB, you guys deal with less armed people in the crowd.
  8. I was in the 8th grade in Winston-Salem, North Carolina - I was 14 in the spring of 1959 - it was when my former elementary band teacher Chick Shelton (I switched from clarinet to double bass in the seventh grade) called my mother to ask if he could take me with him on a gig with The Bill Lowder Orchestra. It turned out that their regular bass player had a serious drinking problem and I ended up the regular bass player through high school.

    Anyway, we drove two hours to the job. I had no trouble reading the two-beat (you know, play only on the 1st and 3rd beats) charts. It was an incredible rush to play with those older, very experienced musicians AND to have them apparently like the way I played!

    On the way home, as was always the case with these guys, the radio was playing jazz from Chicago or New Orleans and the men talked about their days playing with some of the great big bands of the 30's and 40's. It was one of the most formative moments of my life and probably tied the rudder down on my ship of fate that was carrying me toward a career in music. The ten bucks I got at the end of the evening didn't hurt either.

    And remember, don't b-sharp, don't b-flat, b-natural!
  9. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    My first gig will always be my favourite. It was right at that awesome time of summer when it's warm, the trees are gorgeous, but it's not too hot or dry like it gets in August. The gig itself was at this gorgeous house in a rather secluded retirement section outside of town. I guess there was a handful of house in this small forest, but I only saw one other house on the (rather lengthy) drive through narrow trails to get to the house.

    It was a fundraiser, and our group -- then an unnamed quartet -- had formed and started practicing literally three days before. We had had three rehearssals -- two without the drummer. We all showed up in a friend's van, and it was easily the most beautiful house/lot I've ever seen. It was right on the river, and we were playing as the sun was hanging in the west (but not setting, just reflecting in just the right movie-esque manner off the water.) We played a bunch of standards and got a lot of compliments, as well as another gig. The entire thing was just awesome. It was unpaid, but I could spend the rest of my life playing there unpaid and not be upset -- that's how gorgeous this place was.

    The event itself was a fundraiser for the local yuk-yuks. Food was awesome, people were great, and the organizer was a very nice woman who seemed to really know her jazz.
  10. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Tell that to Lee Morgan. Or Eddie Jefferson.
  11. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Yikes! That title was out when I was in high school. On vinyl, or was it clay tablets?
  12. My first real paying professional gig was at the beginning of my jr. year in high school. It was with the local college jazz sax teacher, a guitarist, drummer, and vocalist. At the time I had experiance reading leadsheets and had played with everyone there quite a bit so it was looking like it would be a nice first gig. The only problem or what turned out to be the problem was that the gig itself was for a 70's class reunion. So I don't have to say it but they really didn't want to hear what we had to say lol so every tune they would say, "Hey do you know any _______?" Then it comes to break time and its all good cus it's your first real gig and it doesn't matter how bad you play or what it's just a cool feeling. While we are sittin down talking and drinking and whatever we notice they are all starting to leave but no cars are leaving. Get's our curiosity up so we go walking out there and it turns out that someone drove their big ol' van onto the sidewalk, opened the doors, and was playing Styx lol. But it was cool cus it was the first gig and we still got paid so it was good.
  13. Mike Goodbar

    Mike Goodbar Supporting Member

    Jun 6, 2001
    Charlotte, NC
    I didn't join my first band until freshman year of college, combo of guys my age trying to do straight-ahead and some Weather Report, etc. (and we really, REALLY sucked at it).

    The guitar player is all excited at a rehearsal (this is when I used to rehearse), he'd booked us our first gig, an outdoor festival during the day, at such-and-such park, etc.

    I pulled up and found that my bandmates and I were the only white guys in the entire place. It was a Juneteenth Day festival. Me, being from Lilywhite, U.S.A., was scared ****less.

    My fears were unwarranted, of course. We were treated great, got fed some great food, and the crowd put up with our playing without complaint. A fun gig to look back on.
  14. abaguer


    Nov 27, 2001
    Milford, NJ
    First gig ever was opening up for DR Jimmy and the Who show, a Who tribute band in late 70s. It was cool because we used all their gear and PA and they used to have a huge built in crowd. A good opening experience.
  15. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    My first gig was a party being held at a local rod and gun club. Someone rented out the place and was charging a cover at the gate (free BBQ and keg beer).

    The piano player booked the gig but never showed up (he was bipolar and had just been released from the hospital :help:). When we arrived at the gate they wouldn't let us in without paying the cover (!!!) .

    At one point a couple had sexual intercourse right in front of us while we played :bag: When we took our first break we found out all the food was already gone, luckily there was still beer.

    At the end of the night the guys running the party refused to give us any money back saying they had never made a deal with the missing pianist. We had rented a PA for $75 so were out about $150 in all.
  16. Tbeers


    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    That is one of the 5 most absurd stories I have ever heard!
  17. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Please post the other 4 :hyper:
  18. Justin K-ski

    Justin K-ski

    May 13, 2005
    Beers, didn't something like this happen during a PUO concert? :p
  19. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    I was doing the Rocky Horror show once, when two extremely hot babes stripped naked and started making out right in front of the band stage. The band sort focus for awhile. I though I was going to have to roll up a newspaper to swat the guitarist with.
  20. villakid 93

    villakid 93 Guest

    Dec 27, 2005
    Swayfield, Grantham
    :crying: That truly got to me Musicman