Drunken singer...

Discussion in 'Off Topic [DB]' started by Danny Adair, Feb 4, 2002.

  1. Just gotta vent and see what you folks have to say.

    Last week, my jazz group, Swingset, had an opportunity to play for a great gig. The longtime host of a fun little local children's TV program had his 75th birthday last week. That host's son is Gibby Haynes, who happens to be the lead singer for the Butthole Surfers. Given his son's notoriety in the local music scene, his dad's birthday is a semi-big deal and a nice benefit show for diabetes research. Some pretty big local acts with rabid followers (e.g., Reverend Horton Heat - big psychobilly band around here) were slated to play later, and Swingset would open the evening.

    This gig was a great opportunity to play well for an attentive, open-eared audience that included other local musicians and the club owners. The band was focused and we played well. Sound was good, time was good, solos were strong. What went wrong? Our damn singer.

    When she started drinking is anybody's guess, and I certainly hope she stopped shortly after the gig, because she got PLASTERED! Speech too slurred to handle faster tempi, slouching all over her stool (she was sitting on a stool - she didn't get that drunk - that I know of :D), replacing entire verses with unintelligable and atonal mumblings... you get the point.

    This is a part of a disturbing new trend with her, and I am obviously not cool with it at all, and neither are my other band mates. Ironically, this trend emerges just as our trumpeter has really cut back on his drinking and started really playing well.

    I'm all for having fun and having a couple of drinks at a gig, but it has to be within reason! If anything, I feel that if you find you've had one too many, focus as much as possible and don't use that as the opportunity to try out some exotic and challenging new technique (e.g., scat singing), learn your lesson, and try not to do it again.

    With one established and successful gig and another very promising new gig, I have a very tough time hanging on to this band...

    Sorry for the incoherent rant. Any thoughts?
  2. Humm,
    Well I have run into the same but... It was the Drummer. I played for a Hell Hole Bar House Band for sometime. Hated it!! All was good until the 3rd set. By this time the Drummer was Hammered. If your TOO DRUNK to drive a car you CANNOT play the Drums. He was dropping beats, sticks, forgeting intros, count offs...you get it. A Band "any band" is only as good as their Bass Player...BUT...A Bass Player is only as good as his/her Drummer. I got feed up and gave my notice.
    If your Bandmates or Bandmate does not have enough respect for the Band, the music, "herself" to control herself I`d say somebody has got to go. If the rest of the Band feels the same as you....the answer is easy, but if not... Good Bass players are always wanted. It wont be hard for you to find another Band or....Start your own. Good luck.


    If the world didn`t suck we would all fall off......
  3. Monte


    Jan 9, 2001
    New Albany, MS
    This kind of behavior has led to a few clubs instituting a policy of no alcoholic drinks to the band at all; everything else is free. Too many people are tired of paying for a band and having it suck because someone isn't mature enough to be a professional and do their job. In some musician circles it used to (and still is) a badge of honor to get through a gig completely three sheets to the wind. That kind of ruins it for a guy like me who likes an occasional good German brew or a white Russian and knows when to quit. The whole idea of trying to play (or sing) drunk is ridiculous and shows a disrespect for the rest of the band and more importantly the audience. When this happens too often we get replaced by a dj.........

  4. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    See, that's the thing: She sucks wind, and YOUR name is on it.

    I play with people who are on all different levels. Sometimes I'm the weak link -- hopefully not too weak. Sometimes I'm the peer and sometimes I'm the ace. If somebody's nice, listens and swings, I don't care if they're not The Hottest Thing. After all, sometimes people improve (and you'll be glad you treated them right), and besides, you can never tell when you'll draw your last (and you'll be glad you treated them right).

    But if somebody doesn't listen or is to inebriated to listen, I move on, no matter how skilled they be. "Talent is cheap, and many talents treat themselves cheaply." -- Bill Evans.
  5. Damn right. As much as I was embarassed for her, I was not too happy about being on that stage with that crap going on.
    At this point in my development, I'm usually on the weaker side of the equation - I like to think that is due to me being fortunate enough to score some good gigs and not having to muddle through too much juvenile stuff. I actually like being the slightly weak link - not to the point that my shortcoming impedes the band's ability to play well, mind you. It keeps me honest and hungry. As I've improved I've been loyal to those that allowed me to improve, and it's worked out well for everyone.
    Wow. Great words from Mr. Evans. Now comes the fun time of figuring out when and how I can amicably remove myself from that gig without burning bridges with friends (one of whom happens to be a great guitarist) ...

    Thanks for the input, folks! Keep it coming! :)
  6. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    Ditch the female canine creature.
  7. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Is this the first time that this has happened with this singer? If so, maybe she overmedicated for a case of nerves. If she's someone you care about on a personal level, you need to bust her for it. Usually, the kind of performance that you described comes from a person who is "new" to drinking. Ever notice how people who drink regularly can do it all day long without having any real effect on them? Often, they carry out their work just fine, because they do this EVERY DAY. Trust me, that is not a road that anyone wants to go down. Talk to the girl.
  8. Thanks for all the input! I knew I could count on the TBers to put things in perspective!

    As mad as I was after the infamous gig in question, I knew that the next gig would probably go very well and the real turmoil would begin. Sure enough, that is what happened.

    Played at the same club on Wednesday, and everything went smoothly. No drunken bandmates, good playing, and a decent crowd (for a cold Wednesday night).

    I didn’t talk much to the singer, but I spoke with the guitarist (who is kind of the de facto singer ambassador for the rest of the band). He said that she was so drunk that she didn’t even remember singing! Apparently she was so nervous and scared about opening for the Reverend Horton Heat that she just kept drinking and drinking and drinking … Granted, RHH is a pretty big deal here in Dallas (and his crowd WILL turn on you quickly if they don’t like you), but it’s not like she was warming up for Ella or Billie, fer chrissakes!

    I’m still a bit torn on what to do with this band, but the answer is becoming clearer and clearer. I do hate to leave them high and dry without a bassist because they will have a serious problem in snagging a bassist who is even remotely decent who will put up with the alcohol issues. Then again, with a 8-5 day gig, a serious girlfriend, and two other solid, professional, busy, and fun bands, I need to do some time prioritization…
  9. lermgalieu

    lermgalieu Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Not necessarily. Some people who have alcoholic tendencies will seem extremely inebriated even after only a few drinks. I've seen it from several people. Having people on stage with you who are visibly inebriated or have their skills and actions diminished as a result of drinking or drugs sucks. I've never gotten *that* drunk (though on occasion I have one or two more than I really should while playing) while playing. It truley is a difficult thing to confront someone about if you are close to them.
  10. Nick Gann

    Nick Gann Talkbass' Tubist in Residence

    Mar 24, 2002
    Silver Spring, MD
    Sounds like the band is soing well, and you all work well together.

    I'm with Chris Fitzgerald... Ditch the singer.
  11. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    Is this still a problem 9 months down the road?
  12. Q-Phonix


    Sep 28, 2002
    Tampa, FL
    I'm a huge butthole surfers fan. That sounds like a great gig( Except for your singer getting loaded).
    Chances are people in the crowd thought it was part of your act. If you plan on staying with the band , you should talk to the singer about her drinking.Tell her to wait until after your performance to get wasted.
    Good luck!