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Band implodes onstage !

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by sturoc, Jun 6, 2011.

  1. sturoc


    Dec 12, 2009
    After reading thru alot of these posts, recalled a situation I was in years ago in NYC:

    I had auditioned for and joined an original group w/ a female vocalist who seemed to be the driving force along with... Yep you guessed it...her Lead guitarist boyfriend.
    Rest of band was rhythm guitar, sax, keys, drums, Myself on my beloved Wal fretless one of the reasons won the audition "that sound !" they said.

    For the time period they actually had some very good songs with good hooks and very hip aka good airwaves tracks. Everything was written in charts -which I could barely get thru as am more of a by-ear player. But had no fear of them just something else to learn how to do.

    We had a showcase in NYC in 10 days. A bit tight for me to learn 7 songs let alone rehearse them. Pressure sure but i gave it my best.

    The club was in the Village. A popular place and it was a friday Showcase night, rare in the city for that.
    Pretty excited that record company reps would be there.
    We loaded in waited for our set time and then had at it.

    We start, the first number not so bad then launch into the 2nd and after ad-libing a few lines the singer spins around and throws her tambourine down thrust her arms up shouts something then storms off the stage her Guitarist boyfriend unplugs, jets after her.
    HOLY **** ! Me, sax player and drummer kept playing other band members completely stunned comped right along and got back into the song's groove. Thinking 'Wow what a save !' All was not lost...Yet.
    We figured we'd have a minute when we ended to sort this out.

    Showcasing is like riding a Swiss train.Your start stop time is set, no breaks, no 'let's try that one again'. There are no second chances.
    If the train derails your done.
    Quickly into a dressing room we tried to sort it out.
    She was ranting... more like yelling... "it's not right. your playing this way, he's playing that way, oh my god! " At that point we were doomed.
    One look at my buddy, a guitarist /songwriter who had come along for moral support now in wide eyed shock. I said 'We're getting outta here right now' Packed up said bye to the Sax player who was a good guy Me and my buddy took off out the back door hoping no one would see me and remember "ohh the bass player from that band that imploded "etc etc

    Maybe I should have stayed and sorted out what her problems were but being embarrassed onstage like that basically killed any thought of being in this band -if it even stayed together.

    Moral of the story:
    Be careful who you audition for and accept a position with. Get to know their personalities, quirks. This band was on a fast track but they never caught their breath and tried to grasp too soon the glory deal.
    When auditioning if the band's goals, type of music sounded good or if we were auditioning for players we would always first try to meet in a casual bar setting for a few brews and just chat to see if we were all on the same page etc. That technique worked well almost every time. One can usually get a feel for a person after some conversation.
    Anyhow how a great evening / day.And Good Luck out there.
  2. Not in anyway the same league of distress but I just bailed home after open mic went south. The acoustic guitar got turned way up in the bass so loud it was distorting and I could barely hear myself. Not like I ever get more than a couple of free beers so I was out of there, but man what a fuss. You'd think I was under contract to lug my rig in there.
  3. bmc


    Nov 15, 2003
    About fifteen years ago, I picked up a CD at a country fair outside of Calgary. Original tunes by a folk artist. Her husband was a doctor and he paid a handsome amount for a very well produced CD.

    So I give the CD a listen at her booth and then offer my services as a bass player. A couple of weeks later, she called and asked if I'd like to do a coffee house gig with her. I had her cd. Wouldn't take too long to figure out her tunes, so I accepted.

    Now, I should mention that non of her songs had standard chord progressions.

    Anyhow, we never were able to find a convenient time to run through her songs, but, knowing her material, I was willing to take a chance.


    First, she had never played with another musician "live" before. So, my interpretation of her songs, while really not far off (at all) from her music, threw her off a bit.

    The first set was ok. We got through it. We started the second set, where she announces that she'll be playing songs from her yet to be released upcoming CD. No charts for me. No warning. NUTTIN.

    An aural abortion.

    Never saw or spoke to her again. Truly an educational experience on so many levels.
  4. Altitude

    Altitude An ounce of perception, a pound of obscure. Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2005
    Denver, nee Austin
    Sounds like the pressure got the best of her. Some people thrive on performing in important, no second chance situations, others wilt. It's not a thing you can teach, usually; it just is what it is.
  5. Spinal Tapper

    Spinal Tapper

    Nov 15, 2007
    Whoa. So...what happened? I'm a little lost between when she threw her arms up in the air onstage, and the shouting match in the dressing room...someone played some wrong notes or something? Geez. How much of the set did you guys play without the rest of the band?

    One time I saw some wasted horrible synth-pop-autotune band opening up for Kill Hannah here in Chicago (who's a legit act, performing in their home town).

    These opening band idiots were all wasted - at least the singer was...the keyboardist couldn't get his Mac laptop to turn on after they made it through about 2 songs - ended up slamming it shut, chucked his Keytar into the audience (some girl caught it). Smashes a light fixture or something and storms offstage.

    It was pretty epic - and it wasn't over...

    The "manager" (the singers drinkin buddy?) comes out and starts freestyling horribly to the drums because they were the only piece of equipment that was still working. God-awful and a complete TRAINWRECK. I couldn't look away.

    I ran into the bassist from Kill Hannah a couple weeks ago actually and brought that story up. He laughed and said that band literally broke up that night.

    There's short clip from the night here...u can see the dude storm off stage and break some stuff
  6. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

    Sep 10, 2008
    Pomona, SoCal
    Last week my band played a gig with a friend of mine who is our temporary (sub) drummer for the summer while our actual drummer is away for work. We had just gotten back from a trip to Texas to pick up his drums. So we're putting them together, listening to the songs so he can take them in. I give him the CD to listen to and off he goes. The gig is the next night and we dont have time for a rehearsal. Out of 6 songs, he nailed 5 of them. The one he didnt I was able to adapt, and became the glue between him & the guitarists. So yesterday we practiced for 2 gigs we have this week, and spent most of our time learning the one he didnt have down already. I feel tonights gig should go well.
  7. People who are used to performing solo very often have trouble when another musician joins them. They know the songs only a certain way and, unless they've got a lot of experience, the differences throw them right off.....
  8. delta7fred


    Jul 3, 2007
    When I was a kid (a long time ago) I was browsing round a music shop (wasting my time and theirs) when a guy comes in looking for a bassist. The sales assistant knowing I played bass pointed me out. He wanted me to audition that night (Saturday), I agreed and was given the address of a hall in a pretty rough part of town.

    I took a good friend of mine along and found out when I got to the audition that it was actually a gig. Not to worry, it was all standard stuff they played and as long as they called the keys I was good.

    All of a sudden an almighty fight broke out on the dance floor. One guy smashed a wooden chair over another's head and the recipient just sank to his knees and fell forwards, unlike the movies. I was still playing of course but noticed that my amp had gone strangely quiet. My buddy had got the covers on and was dragging it off stage, I rapidly followed.

    As we were driving away the Police were stopping all vehicle movement in or out. They stopped us and asked where we thought we were going. "As far away from here as possible" was my response and I explained that I was auditioning for the band and was not staying around to see if I got the gig, and they let us go. I still shudder when I pass that way even 40 years later.

    You could say the band imploded on stage but I was not there to witness it.
  9. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    No you absolutely did the right thing by bailing on the scene ASAP. For exactly the reason you stated. Guilty by association is real and the last thing you want is to be linked to an epic onstage disaster and especially at a high-profile gig like that with industry decision-makers in attendance. Admittedly the meltdown was beyond your control and not your fault, but people aren't always going to take that into account.

    This is another reason to take the absolute minimum of personal gear... as well as your own transportation... on sub gigs or any other gig you have any reason to have a weird feeling about. A small combo amp, one bass, and whatever effects you use -- period. If things go south you want to be able to get your s**t out of the venue in a hurry (ideally in one trip), and on your terms.
  10. Thor

    Thor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I have run into this over and over at open mikes over the years.

    'Joe only plays by himself' usually means Joe is incapable of playing effectively with others, is always off time, doesn't listen real well, starts a song without calling the song or the key it is in, can't call any changes on the fly and sometimes has difficulty keeping the intrument in tune, usually because the strings are never changed or he won't invest in a 20 dollar tuner. But he can slog through 'Sweet Caroline' painfully with the best of them.
  11. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Agreed. "Solo acoustic" artists are absolutely the WORST to follow (this means keys players too, not just gui****s).

    I pretty much decline any invitation to play with those people anymore... it's way too hard of work for way too little pay.
  12. Rick Auricchio

    Rick Auricchio Registered Bass Offender

    And if he counts it off, he simply counts "1-2-3-4" without actually doing so in proper time, as if he's just proving he can count to four!
  13. sturoc


    Dec 12, 2009
    Hey Spinal Tapper,
    We sure didn't finish our set !
    More like finished the song that she had her meltdown in, took a quik break to the dressing room But by then the boat had sunk !
    Funny afterward the Sax player in our brief goodbye we had said "well at least we played 2 songs !"
    So at that point me and my buddy busted outta there.
  14. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    Or just as often, Joe is gifted soloist who can write, play, and sing. His songs are well-crafted and well rehearsed. Joe cares about what his audience hears. The open mic house "band" are a bunch of wankers who drink all night, are stage-struck wannabe's whose only concern is that they can be heard over the featured performer. ... Yes, Joe only plays by himself.
  15. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

    Sep 10, 2008
    Pomona, SoCal
    Theyre also often the worst to listen too...
  16. Nothing like a little "Angst in A minor"....
  17. Medford Bassman

    Medford Bassman Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2007
    Medford, Wisconsin
    Are you sure you're not performing in my neck of the woods? That sure sounds like what goes on here at "open mic"/"open jams". Hence, the main reason I avoid them like the plague.
  18. Thor

    Thor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I used to go when I was getting back on the scene and reacquainted with the locals. Haven't been much in the last
    few years for those reasons I noted. There were a small percentage that fit RustyAxe's description, but far and away that was the vast minority.
  19. SaucyJackBass

    SaucyJackBass Supporting Member

    May 6, 2009
    It's few and far between but when an open mic is run by a good group of guys and build a rep with other musicians they can be great. There is a good one here in St Louis that I really enjoy. I get to play songs I never would on a normal show night.
  20. RedsFan75


    Apr 26, 2007
    The Solo artist sounds a lot like a 'group' I've been trying to play for.

    Got his own originals in some pretty odd chord progressions, He's got a conga drummer and they've played together since high school which was over 30 yrs ago. So we have a couple hour rehearsal then play at a coffee house, and it all changes, on the fly. Nothing like we went over at rehearsal, next rehearsal more like the 1st rehearsal, then next 'free' gig and it changes again as we're trying to play. He even says, here's one you guys haven't heard, the band hasn't heard it either... (band being me and the conga guy) Conga guy just shrugs and starts playing, and I'm standing there looking lost. Makes me question whether I want to keep trying with them...

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