How do you deal with a bad gig Part II

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by Fretless Friday, Mar 12, 2001.

  1. Well, here we all are again.

    The guitarist I usually play with on Wednesday nights is also a member of a band in which he plays bass an handles lead vocals. Last wednesday, he asked me to handle bass for him in the band, so he could concentrate on singing, and also to add some new dynamics to the band.

    Of course I agreed.

    Saturday night rolls around, equipment is set up, discussion between myself and the band proceed well, sound checks are done, tweaks are made. Everything is good.

    Now this club we were playing has a very tiny stage. It's great for us on Wednesday nights, just big enough for the two of us. But once a drum kit was set up on it, there was just enough room for the bass and guitar amps.

    Myself, the singer and the guitarist all stand on the dance floor in front of the stage. We don't really take up much more room. The stage is only raised about 6 inches above the dance floor.

    Show time rolls around. We discuss amongst ourselves for a minute. We're going to start simple. We break into Crackers Euro-Trash Girl.

    It's going really well. The drummer and I are totally locked. The guitarist has a huge smile on his face as he rides around on our groove. The singer, the only member of the band I've played with before, is having a great time. He can move around and enjoy himself a bit without worrying about holding the bottom end down.

    For anyone who knows the song, its about 8 minutes long. We were into it about 30 seconds before people started dancing in front of us, which was fantastic. After all, there's mic stands and monitors in between us and the dancers.

    At about 5 minutes into the song, this incredibly drunk woman (and I use that term loosely) stumbles backward and teeters over the monitor in front of me. all my instincts told me to keep playing, even as she went completely *ss over tea-kettle and landed on me, knocking me over the lip of the stage.

    To keep from going backward into the drum kit, I swiveled and put my left hand down to break my fall.I'm down, the bouncers are rushing over to pull the drunken woman off me. All of this is happening in super slow motion.

    I hear my bass, my beautiful, wonderful, magical frettless Jazz hit the floor, headstock first. The bass whines like a dying animal.

    It was about this point I felt the pain in my arm.

    Time went back to normal. I've never seen a crowd of 400 silenced that quickly or completely before. The woman, along with her drunken companion, are ejected from the bar.

    The singer announces we are taking a 5 minute break, and helps me get up.

    Luckily, I didn't break my arm, but I really did some amazingly painful damage to my wrist. The bass, likewise, suffered no real damage, but still, nobody likes to hear their bass make the death groan like it did.

    The singer ran to the car after making sure I was okay, got his bass, and plugged into my setup after that. He played the rest of the night, but it wasn't the same, and you could hear it.

    I'm feeling pretty crappy right now. I can't play much because it hurts, and I have a doctors appointment tonight to see if I cracked any of the small bones in my wrist.

    How would you deal with this situation?

  2. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    Almost the same thing happened to my guitarist at a gig we did at a mental hospital. One of the patients fell on him and went into seizures. It was really weird - after they took the woman away they told us to continue. Everyone in the place was heavily medicated with Thorazine, so nobody except for us and a staff member missed a beat at all. We did the best we could after that - tried to push out the past, and move on with the present.

    If you couldn't play anymore after going down there's not much really you could have done, lest swallow hard and do your best to accept it. If my doctor bills were high, I might consider suing - but I really don't like all the negativity around that stuff. Friends I know who have sued often stayed injured a lot longer. I think it becomes a psychological reality - knowing on some level that the worse off one is the more money one gets.
  3. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Drunks that mess with the band are one of the historic pitfalls of playing the party animal clubs, no doubt. Too bad you didn't get the name of the person who may have caused you physical damage.

    A band I used to be in a hundred years ago was playing this dive and this drunk gets up during break and would not go away, raving about how he used to play with Elvis and how he wanted to sit in for a song. We thought he was full of it, until he pulls this picture out of Elvis and sure enough, it's him on guitar, (the red hair was the clincher). Anyway, he gets up on stage and straps on our guitarist's new Gibson. Afterwards, our guitarist discovers the guy's cowboy belt buckle had carved up the back of the instrument badly. So, you might have been able to do what our guitarist did - get the person's info and sue their ass.

    I know the US is entirely too much of a litigious society, but in your case, I think you have/had good cause. Right off the bat, you have pain and suffering, not to mention any physical damage you will find out you had done. What if your bass is a neck through and was broken? No more bass!

    If that's all water under the bridge, just know that no one in the audience perceived the problem as your fault. If anything, the club owner ought to invest in the paltry investment for a decent stage. It would make a big difference acoustically, too.
  4. The good news is, I didn't break my wrist. No actual bad damage. A mild sprain. This I can deal with.

    Unfortunately, in Canada, I wouldn't have really been able to sue anyway. Press charges, yes, but not sue. I can't be bothered to press charges. Maybe, just maybe I might have been able to pull a lost-wages suit (I won't be able to play my regular Wednesday show this week), but like I said, I can't really be bothered for something this minor.

    The club owner (a really great guy), was really very upset about the whole thing, and is looking into making some changes in the stage area. They've never had anything like this happen before, and he wants to make sure it doesn't happen again.

    I took a solid look at my bass last night. It's in fine shape, though there is a nice dent in the headstock. Nobody would notice it except me. The neck may have shifted slightly, so I am taking it to my guy tonight to get set up again. I will bill the club owner for this.

    This club is like the best of times and the worst of times for me lately. Best place to play in town, fantastic crowd, but that's two less-than-perfect gigs in the same club.

  5. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    All told, it sounds like you made out allright. You have only minor injuries, and your bass will be fixed up and paid for. Not much else you could have done under the circumstances. Be glad you have some reflexes, and you had a little warning and a place to dive to. I could imagine a lot worse - like flying implements with no place to hide.
  6. NJXT


    Jan 9, 2001
    Lyon, FRANCE
    Somehow, FF, it's been a bad experience but it could have been a lot worse isn't it ?
    But I can feel your angst about your bass, man ...
  7. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

  8. CS


    Dec 11, 1999

    Let me explain some things before I give you my advice for dealing with these situations.

    I can tell you the size and location of every ding on my four instruments. I can also tell you who did them and how.

    Two weeks ago metal pan fell off the cooker and cracked me on the wrist. I once fell down the stairs holding a Trace Elliot V4 (it wasn't damaged, it landed on my thumb). Both of these incidents happened just before playing.

    So bearing in mind that I empathise with you, my advice?


  9. I have realized that I tend to take bad incidents as evidence that some higher power doesn't like me very much or something.

    Your advice is sound and wise, o great sage one.

  10. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    Not wise just someone who has had a lot of s*** happen to them.

    Glad I could help
  11. :eek:-are you serious? I thought I'd played gigs in some odd places...
    an ex-guitarist of the covers band I play in got the neck on his strat broken when a drunk knocked a PA speaker over- the venue paid for new neck (the bouncers took all the drunk's jewellery).

    that's why I often use my cheap Hohner B2A headless at covers gigs- no headstock to break off, it cost me only £120, and as it's shaped like a cricket bat it would make a good weapon (not used it in such a way yet though).
  12. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    Just glad to hear that your wrist is a minor injury. Even though i don't like Fenders, happy to hear it's fine as well!!!! ;)