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Ever been afraid for your life at a gig?

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by Mike JV, Mar 22, 2019.

  1. Mike JV

    Mike JV

    Mar 19, 2019
    I played some fantastic gigs way back when I played full time. But we spent one week playing at a particular bar that I was ever so glad to leave. It was back in '79 in Detroit at a biker bar somewhere around 6 Mile and Gratiot. We played biker bars before and always got along with them. But the gang in this bar was bad news. You could feel it in the air.

    On the 4th of 5 nights in between songs one of the bikers said something pretty derogatory to us and our singer immediately had a comeback. (Uh-oh.) I'll never forget this biker as he strutted up to the stage with a cue stick on his shoulder. Pointed it right in our singers face and said "one more word out of you and you're a m***** f****** ghost." Thank God that our singer kept his mouth shut.

    On our last night there they shot some guy outside the bar. We never player there again.
  2. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    Yep. My first dozen or so gigs were terrifying. Always a brawl or some form of fisticuffs in the audience. I’ve seen two stabbings, ears lopped off, people getting beat senseless for everything from defending the honor of their girlfriend, to brushing up against someone. Several times the band itself was threatened. One memorable moment was playing the middle of a cornfield at a kegger atop a hay wagon. The host had told all the attendees prior that we were a rap band. Imagine how we were recieved. Ever play The Chance in Poughkeepsie during the late 90’s/early 00’s?

    My earliest gigs were like every “band” stereotype come to life. Fun times!
  3. Datsgor

    Datsgor Supporting Member

    Jul 29, 2000
    I've never been afraid for my life per se, but I have wondered how much damage the bullet would do to my body if it went through my bass first.
  4. bobomatic


    Jan 15, 2018
    Never played the Chance but caught a LOT of shows there around then. My drummer plays there now with his other band... hmmm makes me wonder if I was ever at one of your shows!!!???
    merseymale and petrus61 like this.
  5. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    If you were ever there on a night when Bent Brother, Danzig, or Malomar (?) were playing, it’s a possibility lol. It could have been one of a few multi band deals that nobody went to also. The scary part was security (moonlighting PD) and the hobo’s in the parking lot offering to “watch the gear” from municipal parking when we had to run back and forth during loadout. I’m sure it’s different now :)
  6. filmtex

    filmtex Commercial User

    May 29, 2011
    Annsman Pro Audio Dealer
    My first gig involved the well known rough town of Bell, CA., about 100 bikers, the LA country Sheriffs dept, an officers broken arm, riot and a fifteen minute time limit for us to get our gear and ourselves the he11 out’a there. Never had so much fun, been doing it ever since.
    (Anybody here ever play the Canyon Inn. Up in Azusa Canyon. @BassCliff ?)
  7. Basshappi


    Feb 12, 2007
    No, but I have been rather concerned a few times.
    wmhill and brbadg like this.
  8. Mike JV

    Mike JV

    Mar 19, 2019
    Like a lot of you folks I've also seen my fair share of fights that were downright brutal. I remember at another bar when one guy got stabbed on the dance floor 3 feet in front of me! Talk about a fight erupting! The Stein House II in Pontiac, Michigan was probably the worst fight I've ever seen. Savage is putting it mildly. It's scary how ugly some people can get.

    I'm not saying I've seen the worst of the worst, but I've seen my share.
    petrus61 likes this.
  9. thewildest


    May 25, 2011
    I had; back then I played guitar and had a Boss pedal called “Digital Metalizer”, which to this day is one of the best distortion pedals I ever had.

    During a gig, the pedal came handy getting in contact with a drunk idiot’s skull who tried to interact phisically with the band. I thought, back then, that the pedal was a better choice than my Gibson as a way to “make a point”. Once the dust settled, I was pretty relieved afterwards....

    .... the pedal kept working just fine. Boss really rocks.
  10. oldrocker


    Feb 13, 2005
    Long Island, NY
    Why would you go back for the 5th night after that?
  11. AboutSweetSue


    Sep 29, 2018
    Lebanon, TN
    When I was in college. Some drunk dude was feeling like I was hitting on his girlfriend (I had no idea who this guy or his chick were). I didn't really fear for my life, but I definitely felt that he and his drunk friends were going to be waiting for me outside. It was slightly uncomfortable with him drunk-edly staring at me for most of the night, I can say that much.
    Bass1969, Mr_Moo and petrus61 like this.
  12. Played contract gigs at a club way back in the 5/6 nites/wk days for monster money....
    After we had rotated out for a few weeks on the circuit, came back in, and found there had been a bad incident while we were gone...as bad as it gets... Normally, we had a crowd every night. First night two tables of folks extremely inconsistent to our normal crowd, remainder of that gig, I had my 639 gaffer taped to the underside of my Rhodes. We never went back.... Hell naw, Rusty...
  13. dan1952

    dan1952 Commercial User

    Jun 27, 2012
    Anderson IN
    Artist Endorsement with Supro Huntington Basses / Owner, Dan's Music, Inc..
    Never felt afraid for my life. Pretty stupid on my part, in retrospect...
  14. Spent


    May 15, 2011
    Upstate NY
    I've played the Chance a few of times. I was pretty psyched the first time, I had seen so many great bands on that stage. The charm wore off pretty quickly, right after we went upstairs to the "green room." I have no desire to ever play there again. The one positive was the sound, it was spot on both times. I've also played Orange County Choppers, one of the best staged I've been on. I'd play there again in a heartbeat. Played Mahoney's a few times, that's a great venue and a better crowd. I've played a few venues in the vicinity of the Chance, it's a scary part of town after dark. There was one club, had a large outdoor bar area where the band set up. I forgot the name of the place, but we'd play to packed houses. Took me an entire break to make it to the restroom and back one night, they definitely violated the fire code. As we were loading out I watched a bunch of drunk college girls, dressed to kill, stumble out of the place and down one of the dark streets. They were way braver than I would have been. One band member was a cop and I'm pretty sure he was always armed. It's the only thing that made me feel safe on some of those gigs. The pay was pretty good as well.
    brbadg, Jimmy4string and petrus61 like this.
  15. Um... I pulled a thumb muscle, and I think someone gave me a glare (unless it was someone behind me). That's gotta count, right?

    ...I'll show myself out.
  16. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I had 2 gigs where I seriously feared for my life, and 1 where I was certain someone else was going to die.

    I'm not a hockey fan. But we had a gig for the Islanders, at a pre game party in this outdoor party space they had on the day of the big Islander/Rangers game. It was a great gig that a guitarist I know got as a last minute thing, and he just scrambled to get whoever he could that knew a few sets of the same music. The singer was a guy we didn't know too well.

    Anyhoo... There were a few super sexy girls in Ranger jerseys that wanted to come up on the stage and sing with the singer, and he let them.

    They started screaming into the mic, "GO RANGERS, GO RANGERS, GO RANGERS!!!!" and all I can say is, holy crap.

    Hockey fans take that kind of thing seriously, and well... considering the Islanders paid for the party, the fans were FUMING mad. They were screaming at us... We somehow managed to squeeze out a few more songs, but we were done. We got paid, but the bookers weren't happy at all and that was the end of what could have been a great ongoing gig.

    Don't feel like telling the others now. That was longer than I thought it would be :).
  17. Never really felt like I would be shot or stabbed or anything like that. There has been plenty of times where there was fear of being electrocuted, fear of falling off certain stages, and fear of falling through raggity stages.
  18. BOOG

    BOOG Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 2016
    Cleveland, Ohio
    “Secondary projectiles”, not pretty.
    Pink mist. Trust.
    Datsgor and Mr_Moo like this.
  19. QweziRider

    QweziRider Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2008
    Northern Nevada, U.S.
    Holy cow, I know the area and the era! We lived about 16 Mile and Schoenherr, moved to another state in November of the same year (as a kid). You were, indeed, in a combat zone.
  20. QweziRider

    QweziRider Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2008
    Northern Nevada, U.S.
    Never quite feared for my life, but I've never been fond of the late night load-out on Fremont Street in Vegas. Always went armed and quickly.
    JaseyT and nbsipics like this.

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