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Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by Stinsok, Apr 8, 2003.
You show up and they are expecting music alot different than what you normally play?
I was in a butt rock band once and somehow we got a gig at a local "hard rock night". The worst part was the guitarist/singer thought we were actually hard rock, even though he played an acoustic guitar. Imagine a really bad version of Dave Matthews who tries (and fails miserably) to sound like Scott Stapp and this was the guitar player. I left the band soon after that gig.
We had it happen to us twice. Both gigs we show up and were expected to be a 50's and 60's group. This is when we used a really bad booking agency in our area. The only 60's song we knew was "Gloria."
Our bands been chuggin' along for 10 years, so there have been a few off nights where we wonder what in the hell people were thinking when they booked us. Our expression for those nights is "Turd in a punchbowl" - cause that's how well we'll go over. Of course there have been a few where we thought that was the case, and they turned out to be great gigs.
"Say what kind of music do you folks have in here?"
"Oh we have both kinds -- Country AND Western."
A couple of times we were out of our element, one with good results and another not so good.
About 15 years ago, I was in a British Invasion band. We did the skinny tie, collarless jacket, Herman's Hermits/Gerry and the Pacemaker's thing. An agent booked us in a Heavy Metal Bar. After the first set, the bar owner politely asked us to leave without pay. We had to take it up with our agent. The agent told us we should have played loud and fast.
A couple of years later, I was in a new wave band. It was more in the Elvis Costello meets the Ramones thing. We played around the Chicago circuit quite a bit and met a lot of bands. One day, a Metal band we knew called and asked us to open for them. A European magazine gave good reviews to their new album and would be out to see them. They were hoping to have record sales in Europe. But their back-up band cancelled. We gave it a shot, they needed someone and we had nothing to lose. The gig went great. We got to use their equipment. I think I was playing out of some sort of Marshall Bass stack. It was a hoot. We also got a lot of fans who went to our subsequent shows. I think it benefited the headlining band also.
Or where you show up to sub for a band and the original bass player is setting up his stuff..what the?...
"Oh, I thought I told you SATURDAY night instead of Friday"...was the excuse...
We were booked at a club once, forget the name. But they thought we were a cover band. The flipped out when we heard we are all original. We pulled out a few covers like "Want a new Drug" by Huey & "LA Woman." Whatever
One time my band The Lava Rats was booked for a gig and we showed up to see that all the posters and flyers had been printed with "The Java Ratz"!
Way back in the age of the dinosaurs, our agent at that time, booked us a gig about 10 hours away (we played all over the country back then).
We were playing Led Zeppelin, Rush, Jeff Beck, Pat Travers, Foghat, Aerosmith ,Yes, etc. We owned a massive outdoor concert PA system.
The club we played at was a straight "old" country bar...with very little room.
Think of the Blues Brothers in the movie, behind chicken wire...but without the chicken wire.
Needless to say we were not well recieved. But we figured, what the hell, were never going to play here again anyway...so, we cranked our huge PA and rocked the house down (almost literally). Glasses were vibrating off the tables, pictures and bar mirrors fell off the walls.
Amazingly, the country crowd left and some of the people in there really liked our music and went to tell their friends and before the last set, the whole bar was packed and the owner never made so much money. We never did play there again...but it was a helluva lot of fun!!!
Someone had to say it....
One band I was in got booked for southern rock night at a local bar. I guess the name "Whiskey Richard" threw the club owners off. They were pretty shocked when we started playing Pearl Jam, STP, etc.........
We changed the name of the band shortly after that.
We reformed last year due to "popular" demand for the 25th Anniversary of NWOBHM in England. Towards the end of the Tour, we travelled for over 9 hours to a Holiday Camp on the South Coast. While the Road Crew were unloading the Gear, we noticed people wearing glitter wigs and platform shoes walking into the Auditorium. Imagine our surprise (and theirs) when we found out 5000 people were expecting a 70's Glam-Rock night! When we approached the Management, their attitude was "Ther will be no problem, all you Rock Bands sound the same", so we were left to play a two hour set in front of a fairly hostile crowd, dodging the odd thrown glass and bottle, and getting out as quickly as possible. As it turned out, no-one was injured, we got paid the full fee, and quite a few people came back to the Chalets, where it turned into an all-night Party. Something to tell the Grandkids, but not an experience we'd like to repeat.
My last band www.worthycausemusic.com I was the drummer. We played Dave Matthews, Phish, Dead, all jam type/acoustic stuff. Our booking agent CONSTANTLY booked us at these dive bars where we were expected to play classic rock and metal all night and when we didn't the people/owners got really mad at us. We kept telling our agent about it and she never figured out what the problem was, so we ended up leaving her even though she was one of the few booking agents in our area.
This isn't exactly what we're talking about but it's sort of the opposite. Our band was to play a club and they advertised us as "chick rock". Which is exactly what we are. We play songs by Goo Goo Dolls, Jewel, Morrisette, Vertical Horizon, Natelie Merchant... (We have a chick singer in the band) Well, when the other guys (and gal) saw the ad, they were outraged that we were labeled chick rock. I thought they were joking at first but they weren't. So, I tactfully explained to them that we are in fact chick rock and they weren't happy with that but I guess it opened their eyes. They keep insisting that were "modern rock" which is true also, but it still gets me they don't think we're chick rock. Oh well, I just play bass.
Does booking a gig then not being able to get all the musicians you need to play said gig count as booking one wrong?
I've always said book the gig first then worry about the band. Nothing gets people ready quicker than a gig deadline...
I was doing a new wave cover gig back in the day at an L.A. club called, of all things, 'The Flamingo Lounge" (should have been a tip off) anyway the place is real dead. One of those gig's where the band outnumbers the "crowd". Anyway all night this older guy drinking at the bar keeps yelling "Foxy Lady, Play Foxy Lady" We politly tell him it's not on our playlist that we're doing "New" stuff ala New Wave.
Well he keeps drinking and keeps yelling "Foxy Lady" louder and louder until at one point he stands up looks around and sez "Play F'in Foxy Lady boy's cause I'm the only MF'er in the goddamn room!" We look around and Damn if he aint just about the only cat in the room. Needless to say we launced into a Jimi medley!
Another story.. I was playing in a band 'Fusician" a pop progressive rock band in the vein of Styx or Journey. We're booked at the Bla Bla Cafe in Studio City, ca around '81
Opening the show is Shelby Flynt (still fairly unknown)Well she absolutly kills the house, slays 'em. Cheering, stomping of the feet, etc. Packed house. She does her last encore and our crew starts to set the stage. 30 minutes later the room, which was SRO, is now completly empty!
It's things like that, that make you seasoned!
Last band I was in (1996), the lead singer used to tell anyone who asked what kind of music we did, "We do Negro spirituals and wailing music."
I'm a freelancer ...
Two years ago I get a call on a thrusday night from a fellow bass player: "Can you replace me next saturday in a '70ies revival cover rockband? The pay isn't very much (50$) because it's a promo gig, but I'll put the partitions in the mail and will add another 50$." Sure, ok, I accept.
I arrive in the club and see the guitar player (who's not unknown in my country), go up to him and say "Hi, I'm Herwig, your bass player for tonight"....
<-- his face goes a little like this. "Waddayamean, where's our regular bass player ??? We rehearsed yesterday and he said he would be here!!"
Long story short: we rehearsed almost all tunes during soundcheck (luckily, because the sheets were bad) and all things went ok.
Well, like some of you, I stopped playing out a while back.
A few years ago, I'm talking with me ex-guitar palyer, and they are closing out the summer season at a pretty decent place in Newport RI, and he invites me to a party in the place, 'kind of open mike', and he twists my arm to come on down. My old lady is out of town I figure what the heck, I've played with him before, it will be just fine. I get there, his current singer, the jerk who is breaking up his band, is running the thing. There are 3 bass players, the house lady, the singer's friend and me. The singers friend, a local military guy, gets the handle after 2 songs, the babe is off to work the crowd and he proceeds to play for 2+ hours.
At this point I'm steamed and getting ready to leave, my ex-guitar guy is nowhere to be found, and the singer comes up to me and says' "This is your lucky day!" I'm ready to clobber him, there was no set list, no sign ups, nothing to work from. 'Ok, you're up' he says. and starts mumbling something I can't hear, I assume it's the song title to the guitarist.
I holler over, what song is this [ THAT WAS PROFESSIONAL! ] and he mentions a complex blues/jazz arrangement I haven't heard of in 30 years. Where do you want to start it [ I know if it was in the key of G, he would tell me it was in D ...], he says D and it was in the Key of G.
So here I am soldiering into a song I don't know with NO advance prep, no music, no chart, no chance to pick the riff off the guitar player on the far end of the stage. The singer hot dogs the whole thing through and says, give it up for Thor That's all I got and that's how I was treated.
I promised myself that would never happen to me again. I faulted my ex-gman for not organizing at all, and I could have worked it if I had music, charts or even intermission to talk to for 30 secs with someone who knew the song and the changes... I sounded okay, I should have and could have sounded great.