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did you ever play a gig while you were sick?

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by nonsqtr, Apr 10, 2005.

  1. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Hi all, here's a funny story that some of you might be able to relate to. Last night we played a gig at a local club, one of our favorite hangouts ('cause we always draw a large and appreciative crowd there). The difference (for me) between this gig, and others of the same type, was that I had an IV butterfly sticking out of my arm all night.

    Hey man, the gig's the thing, right? We were forced to cancel several gigs during the past couple of months, because I've been in and out of the hospital for some pretty serious patch-up work. Well, I finally got pissed, at least enough to take the risk of playing a gig in marginal physical condition. (That probably means I'm getting better). :)

    I don't know about y'all, but for me music is like nourishment. If a doctor tells me I can't play, it's like telling someone they can't eat, and have to starve themselves for a while.

    The gig went fine, everyone seemed to have a good time, and there were several twenties in the tip jar at the end of the night. Maybe some of that was a "sympathy vote", who knows. We could play that card again sometime, maybe take it to the next level. The roadies could wheel us out in gurneys and we could all play the first song lying down, looking up at the ceiling. :D
  2. Dude! I salute thy effort!
  3. xshawnxearthx


    Aug 23, 2004
    new jersey
    i played while sick with mono when i was 18. ugh, i hate playing sick, because i have a lot of back up parts to do, and usually by the end of the set, if i could speak before, i cant after. but, once i get moving around and sweat, it usually clears up in the next few days.

    its the weeks where you have gigs thur-sun, and you are sick as a dog on the monday before. hell, it made me quit smoking.
  4. (pardon me for stating the obvious, but...)

    You are the man!!!

    :bassist: :cool:
  5. barebones

    barebones Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2005
    Denver, CO
    It's been many years, but I had two situation, both in the same band:

    I was playing in this cheeseball--but pretty damn fun, really--casino band. We did a lot of graveyards shifts. You know, where you show up at midnight and play until 5:30 a.m. Anyway, I had one episode where I had some kind of stomach virus, and we had to cut two out of four or five sets short so that I could literally drop my bass on the stage and run to the bathroom to relieve myself. There is nothing worse than trying to play "Play That Funky Music, White Boy" or Stevie Wonder's "I Wish" while simultaneously squeezing your butt cheeks together in the vain hope that you won't spontaneously mess your slacks on stage in front of a festival crowd.

    The second situation was actually worse in a lot of ways. I was, musically speaking, in the midst of "the honeymoon," loving having my first "professional" gig without having to work a day job to support my obsession with playing music. The way I saw it, I had it made: I'd play those graveyard shifts, head back to my hotel room at six or six-thirty in the morning and crawl into bed for about five hours. Then I'd get up and go hike the mountains outside of Reno while my bandmates wasted the day away sleeping in.


    Anyway, one afternoon/early evening I came back from my hike, exhausted but coming off a pleasant endorphin rush, and ready to chow down on a big dinner, have a couple of beers and head for the casino around the time Cinderella's carriage was turning into a pumpkin. As I undressed in my room I noticed that I had this little red bump on my leg that looked like a spider's bite. I had never had poison oak before, and therefore did not make a proper diagnosis of the situation. Then I did the worst thing you can possibly do when you've been unwittingly exposed to that sinister little plant--I got into the bathtub to soothe my aching, over-hiked muscles.

    It all seemed so innocent.

    Well, within a day or two, I broke out in a horrible rash, or rather, a multitude or horrible rashes, all over my body. Yes, even "down there." (I don't mind the swelling, Doc, but I hate the itching!)

    My entire being itched so badly that it actually hurt. I got a really high fever, which is not uncommon in cases of severe poison ivy/oak/sumac cases. And, to top it off, I looked hideous. Not generally considered a good thing for a performer. (Unless of course you happen to be in the Ramones.) At one point, the singer in my band actually said, "Jesus, Matt, you look like a goddamn burn victim."

    He was not exaggerating.

    What you need to understand here is that we were on a two week stint at one of the clubs in town, and I had acquired my little affliction during the first week. This meant that I had to endure a whole week or more--the precise chronology of events is a little fuzzy after all these years--of playing bass in some garish, bells-and-whistles gambling joint, on the graveyard shift, and unable to pause during our lengthy and "funked up" version of George Michael's "I Want Your Sex."

    Good God.

    I fantasized about some merciful soul stepping on stage with a gun and putting me out of my misery. Where the heck is a Pantera "fan" when you need one anyway?

    Also, at the insistence of my bandmates, because of my leper-like appearance, I began wearing long sleeve shirts with gauze bandages wrapped around my arms and torso underneath to absorb the puss from my oozing alergic reaction to what I had come to think of as "the Devil's weed." Between the sweat, the puss, and the tears I had more fluids flowing from my body than the Toxic Avenger, and a hair-trigger temper to boot.

    "What the hell do you mean we're switching 'Purple Rain' with 'Takin' Care Of Business?!" I remember shouting at some point in my delirium. "Are you guys out of your freaking minds?!"

    "Uh, no dude. You are," came the response.

    After that, my "ideal, easy job" did not seem so ideal anymore. Better than flippin' burgers, sure, but not quite as glamorous as I had always dreamed it would be. There's a lot to be said for being a mindless drone in an office cubicle somewhere, knowing that if you need to call in for whatever reason there will be a dozen other mindless drones to cover for you.

    Most of my adult life has been spent with the acute awareness that if I call in sick now there will be a tinny, grooveless sounding band on stage somewhere, the members of which are probably smiling brightly at the audience while composing a "Bass Player Wanted" ad in their heads.

    Nice work if you can get it!


    P.S. Whenever I hear someone say, "musicians are flaky," I always ask them how ill they really were the last time they called in sick to work.
  6. DaveDeVille

    DaveDeVille ... you talkin' to me ?? Supporting Member

    Great News !!

    glad to hear your'e feeling well enough to start playing again ,
    just be sure to at least follow some of the doctor's orders !!

    best wishes and good health ...
  7. secretdonkey


    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Yeah, good to hear you're back up to speed enough for a gig!

    How about a good thread whacking, as I share the story of last night's gig: Playing a black tie frat function, small gig with all sound being run from stage. The singer had a stomach bug of some sort (no he wasn't drinking that night), and the need to vomit became urgent in the middle of a song. I saw his cheeks bulge as he stopped singing and put his hand to his mouth. He would have been able to put his acoustic guitar down and run to the bathroom, except that when he put down the guitar, wild feedback insued. He fumbled around for a few seconds and bursts of howling feedback on my side of the stage before losing the contents of his mouth all over my stand. Nothing a few paper towels couldn't fix, fortunately! He finished the night out like a pro after that with no further incident.
  8. barebones

    barebones Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2005
    Denver, CO
    Yikes! I admire him finishing things out, though.

    Your story reminded me of when I was playing a country gig in some small town in Georgia, and the guitarist was passing a kidney stone.

    On stage.

    For like a week!

    (Yes, it can take that long to work its way out.)

    I'd look over at the poor guy while we were playing, and he looked like someone was sticking a knife in his side with every chickin' pickin' good lick he played. In between sets he would simply lie down behind the mains and moan.

    Seeing as how I once knew a woman who had both borne children and passed a kidney stone (not at the same time, thank God) and who told me that the pain from the kidney stone was the worse of the two experiences, that guitarist pretty much became my hero for life.

    The not-so-precious stones--that's right, stones, not stone--finally exited his weary body on the bus ride back to Colorado. I was not present on that ride, but I was told he passed them in three large and jagged chunks in the broken toilet at the back of the bus, screaming his poor head off as the band hurtled down the highway, moritfied and completely helpless to do anything other than let him--ahem--work it out on his own.

    Lay off the soda and drink plenty of water, that's all I have to say.

  9. Gregory Bruce Campbell

    Gregory Bruce Campbell

    Apr 14, 2002
    Helena, MT U.S.A 59602
    BEE basses, Morley pedals
    The day I had my wisdom teeth removed...

    I had to keep rolls of gauze where they once were...

    It was a cover band and we played the Montana bar in deerlodge Montana...

    I don't know how or why I thought of what happened next...

    The dentist said take it easy... and don’t do anything with your mouth…

    As some of you mentioned before, doctor’s orders just never seem to apply to music when you are young and crazy!

    Back then I was a drinker... so I started drinking beers, which were thinning my blood making me bleed more...

    Singing throughout the night (I was also the lead vocalist in this band) eventually my mouth was draining slow steady thin watered down blood...

    And finally, the kiss medley!

    As the guitarist and I traded lines in clod gin I did the weakest gene Simmons impression you will have ever seen...

    From 3 feet away anyone who did not know my condition that night would have though I was just slobbering down my shirt...

    I had to explain it a hundred times, and it definitely did not go over as I had hopped...
  10. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Here's a story from the "have you crapped yourself on stage thread". Haven't told this story in a while......

    This is a story of from a band I was in called Smokin Tweed. We were playing once in Breckenridge Colorado, during their pub crawl on Saint Patty's day. The bar we were playing in was the last bar on the pub crawl, so needless to say, we had a bunch of blitzed people.
    We got a free meal that day, and i got some nasty nachos that disagreed with me. During the middle of a set, I felt a rumbling in my bowels. I tried to hold, but couldn't. I was getting sick. I looked at the guitar player, put my bass down and went toward the bathroom. The men's room was occupied, so I went into the ladies room and dropped a load like nobody's business. I was in there for a while, and I heard some girls pounding on the door saying "This is the ladies room!" I didn't care, I had important business to do. However, I did feel sorry for the gal that came in after me (the bathroom had no windows or ventilation ).
    After I was done, I walked out and got back on stage midsong. I was wiped and I had to sit on a stool to finish the tune. The crowd cheered me as a got back on stage. I guess the guitar player told them I was partying to hard (much nicer thing to say, than I got sick on the food and had to take a dump). The crowd tought I was puking in the bathroom and they were cheering me on for getting back on stage and playing.

    Needless to say, these stories and all the others make real the phrase "The show must go on".
  11. barebones

    barebones Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2005
    Denver, CO

    Man, at least with that puking perception that the crowd had you managed to get back on stage looking like a rock star! Except to that girl who had to follow you into the bathroom I imagine. Wonder if she told anyone else...

    Anyway, when that same sort of thing happened to me, I think the singer in the band actually told the audience I had to go take a dump. Decidedly uncool.

  12. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    You know I used to think I was a cool, hardcore, super dedicated musician...however since NONE of these things has ever happened to me I suppose I'm not as bada$$ as I thought...

    I have played gigs sick before though (actually quite frequently), once with a fever so high I was delerious and couldn't even figure out how to take down my rig after the show. My guitarist had to ride home with me and help my GF carry my amp up into our apartment.

    Apparently I sang and played better than usual though...I'm not sure that's a compliment.

    Nothing beats having an IV drip in your arm on stage though, that gets you some major street cred! :)
  13. HamOnTheCob

    HamOnTheCob Jacob Moore Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2004
    Cambridge, Ohio, USA
    Endorsing Artist for Warwick Basses, Mesa Engineering, Joyo Technology, Dr. J Pedals, and Levy's Leathers
    Wow. Mods?

  14. bill_banwell

    bill_banwell Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2002
    Ive played a gig with the flu once.. that wasnt nice, i had a thumping headache, felt sick, nose was running, throat was pinching sore.. but i played it anyway, and threw up a couple of times in the toilet before..it was horrible.. lets hope it never happens again..

    I hadnt had the flu in 8 months or so.. and the day i get it back i have a gig! always at the wrong time!
  15. Funky Doctor

    Funky Doctor

    Aug 28, 2003
    I've played with the flu/cold. Snot went all over my babies.
  16. jiant.


    Jul 3, 2004
    Fort Mill, SC
    Not as bad as the other stories but....
    Friday I went to sleep after I finished recording some bass/ vocal tracks on a new song at 1:30 am. I woke up at 4:00am having trouble breathing(severe allergies + high pollen and spring in general= not good) and did not go back to sleep. I stayed awake all of Saturday, still not being able to breathe through my nose at all, and played a gig at a really hot, really small place with a few more kids packed in then should of been there and it was nuts. I made it through the set alright and got home around 12 and tried to sleep that night, but didn't have much success. Anyway, I finally got a Dr. appt. on Wednesday, so I'll be glad to get this crap taken care of.
  17. Ben Clarke

    Ben Clarke Liquidating to fund a new business. Buy My Gear!

    Jan 6, 2005
    Western NY
    I got my wisdom teeth pulled a week prior to a 12-day tour with the big band in college. Got infected, and the tour was a Keflex and Codiene addled blur. Still carried my own upright, though.
  18. Stephen S

    Stephen S Member

    Apr 10, 2002
    San Bernardino, CA
    I have played alot of shows sick but I'd have to say the most memorable one was the night after we were in the studio all night. My guitarist was working on guitar tracks all night and I was helping him, I got home about 3 having not eaten in about 7 hours. Then I slept for about 3 hours got up for school, got out of school having not eaten at about 2:35 and went right back to the studio, didn't eat the whole time there, left for gig at 7, went on stage at 9 Haven't eaten or really drank anything for over 24 hours. Most of the set went fine went through about 9 songs, then it came time for our cover of "Rebel Yell" which is totally within my vocal range but I always strain my vocals to give it a raspy Billy Idol tone. Well after about the first chorus I got this horrible headach and starting feeling really dizzy, during the guitarist solo I asked for a pitcher of water, it never showed up. Well I finished out two more songs before I got so dizzy I couldn't stand and I called it a night. I left right after that got myself a huge Jack in the box meal and drank about 2 pitchers of water. Fast food never tasted so good.
  19. Arthur U. Poon

    Arthur U. Poon

    Jan 30, 2004
    SLC, Utah -USA-
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Basses
    Never with an I.V. sticking out of my arm; you're a trooper! ;)

    I played a gig last winter with what I thought was the flu or a bad cold. As the night wore on I was feeling so bad that I just wanted to lay down. It was murder moving our gear out of the club into the freezing night air. I was aching all over. The next day I was running a temperature close to 104 degrees. I went to the doc, he took one look at my throat, stepped back and said: "You've got strep!". I haven't had strep throat since I was a kid.

    I two have little kids in daycare which means I catch a lot of different cold and flu bugs. As a matter of fact, I've come down with something today. I've warned the singers to stay away from me at tomorrrow's rehearsal. Unless a miracle happens, I'll be playing this weekend's gig sick.

    But my ailments pale in comparison after reading your post!

    Best wishes to you for a fast and full recovery.
    Take care, - Art
  20. All_¥our_Bass


    Dec 26, 2004
    I've had similar situations where I end up not eating for a long ass time and then start feeling dizzy and unable ot think straight, it's not fun. However I played my bass only a few days ago and I've got some sorta cold/throat thing going on, not a gig, just jammin w/ my uncle who's a guitarist in a band and I'm feel like "ugh I can't play for s*** today"