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Do you remember your first gig?

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by casualmadness, May 24, 2020.

  1. casualmadness

    casualmadness Man About Town Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2005
    Just curious about first gig stories. I’ll begin with my first.
    I was 12 and a drummer. I didn’t discover bass until I was 13. My grandparents got me one of those children’s drum sets when I was 6. To the shock of my parents, I actually tried to play by setting a stereo up with the speakers right behind the drums. Everyday after school I would turn the radio on to the local top 40 station and just try to keep a beat with whatever songs were played. After a few years and piecing together random drums to form a real drum set, my grandmother decided I needed lessons. So she took me to the local music store and signed me up. I think I was 9 when I started taking lessons. Every Saturday morning I had a two hour lesson.
    My mom was friends with a guy who played bass in a southern rock band. They had a gig at a park one night and for whatever reason the drummer didn’t show. So my moms friend asked her to ask me to fill in. I said “sure!”
    So mom took me to the gig and even though I didn’t know any of the songs, I had been taking lessons and playing long enough that I was able to keep a beat in time.
    The gig went well. Everything sounded great and the guys in the band were happy.
    The following Monday at school I spent the day telling my friends stories about my professional gig and how I wowed the audience with my drumming prowess.
    A year later I sold my drums and bought a Charvel 4 string and a peavey TNT 130 and I never looked back.
    So that’s my first gig (they gave me $20) What was your first gig?
  2. Irene Z. Dunstan Junior High School in Lakewood, Colorado, 1976. School talent show. Our little band of 14 year olds was going to play Stairway to Heaven. We didn't have a singer, so were going to do it instrumental--except for the last part ("And as we wind on down the road...") which I volunteered to sing. I practiced and practiced singing and playing it on bass. The talent show was in the evening and the gym was packed with students, teachers and parents. When it was our turn to play, we made it through the slow part of Stairway and segued into the fast part. When it was time to sing, I stepped up to the microphone: "And as..." It was super loud and squealed with feedback. "Oh sh*t!" I said aloud, which reverberated throughout the gym. I didn't sing any further. In fact it was a couple of years before I would attempt to sing again.
  3. 4 Strings Good

    4 Strings Good

    Mar 6, 2014
    Kind of hard to forget. 1987...
  4. filmtex

    filmtex Commercial User

    May 29, 2011
    S. Texas Hill Country
    Annsman Pro Audio Dealer
    Yep. A biker party in Bell, CA. They were a bunch of real partyers and ended up in a huge fight with the LA County Sheriffs out in the street during a break. I guess somebody broke a beer bottle over an officers arm...or something By the time the police got back to the garages where we were set up, they were less than pleased. Gave us 15 minutes to pack up and get out. I'll never forget the scene as I backed down the driveway between the apartments.
    mikewalker, Robert B and Adjectives like this.
  5. I was playing guitar in my first band, a folk rock outfit doing covers of Bob Dylan, Tom Rush, Doc Watson, Johnny Rivers, etc. Our most recent material was a Dire Straits tune. The BL booked us into a hall in a small town. I had never played in front of an audience before. The stage was set up by the back door. I remember thinking that if things went bad, I could just disappear out the back door. I think I played the whole gig staring at my feet, or possibly with my back to the audience. But we got through it and I was hooked on show business.
  6. Biggbass


    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    yep...it was in 1965. A battle of the bands at the local community center. My band, if you could call it that, rehearsed for weeks to play one song..."house of the rising sun".
    We lost to a country band of old timers who played traditional country covers.

    Ironically, 4 years later I ended up playing bass in the country band we lost to.
  7. bolophonic

    bolophonic Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    Me and my two friends played a graduation party around this time of year in 1989.
    SWRnut, Robert B and zontar like this.
  8. John M Ewers

    John M Ewers Supporting Member

    Oct 17, 2018
    Forsyth, IL
    This was at a graduation party in May of 1969. I’m on the right, playing my new SG-style Gibson Melody Maker through my Gibson Scout amp. We had no bass player. The other guitarist was also the lead singer. His guitar was a Blackstone. The organist is playing a Tieschord organ. The vocals, rhythm guitar, and organ were all plugged into a giant Montgomery Wards amp with a 6-10 cab. You can’t see our drummer, who played a double-bass kit from Sears (comprised of two identical kits). My dad roadied for me and told me on the way home we did a real fine job.
    Last edited: May 24, 2020
    The Owl, SWRnut, jtrom and 24 others like this.
  9. reverendboom


    Dec 10, 2019
    Sonora CA
    It was fifth or sixth grade talent show sang "They call the wind Mariah" solo with my Baritone guitar. First in a group, 8th grade talent show. Me on the bari, a young lady on the flute (both of us doing vocals) and a guy on the drums. That lead to my first paying gig, solo doing folk songs at a women's luncheon.
    SWRnut, Robert B and John M Ewers like this.
  10. Yes, it was ridiculous. Late 1964 in my drummer's basement for his sister's 14th birthday party. We took the hardware off of his drums and re-covered the shells in psychedelic fabric. My grandma made us all matching shirts. What a hoot!
    SWRnut, janesaid, mikewalker and 3 others like this.
  11. Beez 1966 Cleveland. Repaired..jpg One of my first. I don't remember much of it.
    SWRnut, janesaid, mikewalker and 11 others like this.
  12. wishforbass


    Jun 23, 2016
    I was playing bass for 6 months when I joined my first band and we got chance to play in open mic.
    It was fun experience.
    Actually,I found out later that I was playing one step above of the band .
    We had 30 min of the open mic and people were supportive .But I was super bad bass player .
    The gig helped me enter music school big band later .

  13. Low Down Brown

    Low Down Brown

    Jan 8, 2018
    Wow...this was a fun one to think back on.

    I was 14 and everyone else was in their 30's and early 40's. I'd been playing since I was 12, but only seriously working at it for about a year. The guitarist from my brothers band needed someone to fill in for his side project (cover band) for a while and convinced me I was good enough to do it. So every weekend I would end up sneaking out of town to a city about an hour away to play til midnight then haul ass back home in time to be grounded for breaking curfew. Was actually a pretty decent gig. I got to enjoy some awesome Cajun food, $75 cash, and the venue ALWAYS had a cooler packed to the top with ice cold beer...and maybe a few sodas.
    SWRnut, mikewalker and Adjectives like this.
  14. Frunobulax


    Apr 21, 2020
    My first gig was about 13 years ago.
    It was a 50th birthday at a local lawn bowls club.
    Never even picked up a bass guitar and didn't know what I was doing, so there was another bass guitarist there too.
    I'd bought an Ibanez gsr100ex. Behringer cab and Ashton head, just so I could hear myself.
    After just 3 weeks of rehearsal and being familiar with Pink Floyd and Doors songs, accompanied with my own musical notes, I got up on stage and played 2 sets before the lead singer realised it was me up there.
    What a buzz.
    SWRnut and Adjectives like this.
  15. I was in an original band from about age 19-22.. a friend of mine played guitar and sang original stuff,. me on bass and we used an old Casio keyboard that had 6-10? built in drum patterns as a drummer (we eventually did get a 'real' drummer) we had about 20 songs and played at my friends 20th birthday.
    His older brother played in a covers band and they were the 'main act', so we were the warm up - complete with the Casio keyboard as our trusty drummer! (I still have that keyboard actually) I think we played about 6 songs? and someone took a photo of me playing the bass and my friend actually gave it to me framed a year later as a 21st present.
    Next 2 gigs were with a real drummer at 2 different 'battle of the bands' competitions.... band split up soon after.

    I joined a covers band a few months later and for our first gig we got paid 2 pizzas and a bottle of Jim Beam (between 4 of us) and that was my first introduction to Bourbon..... the next gig we got $100 ($25 each) and I thought I was rich! mind you I was 22-23.
    SWRnut and Adjectives like this.
  16. Oddly


    Jan 17, 2014
    Dublin, Ireland.
    Sixth Year Graduation Concert. (That's high-school graduation for you folks in the States...we didn't have prom here then)

    Two guitarists/singers, a drummer, and myself on bass all complete beginners. (The drummer had never even sat behind a real kit, and I'd been playing about 2 months)
    I know we played Day Tripper, Ruby Tuesday, Johnny B Goode. We may have also done Paranoid, and some Rory Gallagher or Thin Lizzy, but none of us remember for certain.
    38 years later, we all still play a little, but none of us as a career. Myself and the drummer played with several bands for nearly 10 years since that first show, sometimes with the guitarists, sometimes with others.
    In fact, just before the whole Covid19 lockdown, we'd been planning on getting back out there, with him on guitar now.
    SWRnut, JRA, Wisebass and 1 other person like this.
  17. deste


    Sep 14, 2009
    Bologna, Italy, Europe
    Endorsing Artist: GullanskyLab pickups
    1984: my absolutely first "gig" was playing two songs as an added member to a band from my high school, playing additional synth parts to reinforce the arrangements.
    After that, some gigs with my own band: always in high school shows organized by the youth organization of a political party, many bands playing 3-4 songs each. Me as lead singer and bassist (switching on keyboards, until we traded the second guitarist for a real keyboardist), repertoire slowly moving from classic 70's rock, U2, Spencer Davis Group, to Style Council, Al Jarreau and instrumental fusion-like originals.

    My first real gig, the first "paid" one, turned out to be a non-paid gig, and it wasn't fun at all... But this should be told in the thread "Your first paid gig".
    SWRnut, mikewalker and Adjectives like this.
  18. Ibanez GSR200 and the School Of Rock Ampeg B210.
    SWRnut likes this.
  19. DrThumpenstein

    DrThumpenstein Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2015
    St Louis, MO
    1978, summer after graduating from HS, some classmates and I formed a band. I played rhythm guitar on a cheap strat copy and sang mostly backup, lead on a cover of Youngblood by Bad Co. Mostly covers and a few originals by our seriously talented pianist. First gig: a factory company picnic for a hundred bucks split 5 ways. We played a few parties over that summer for fun and girls, then went our separate ways for college. I switched to bass in college.

    Watching people dance to our music was life-changing! It's always been one of my favorite things. I took too many years off to raise my daughter and tend to my career. I wish I had kept my skills up; it took me a while to get them back.
  20. emblymouse

    emblymouse exempt Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2006
    1975 Pool party. I had my brand new Carvin and used the guitarists blue tuck and roll Kustom amp w 2 15’s and chrome ports in front. On top of the world, ma!

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