how many mistakes do you typically make at a gig?

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by nonsqtr, Oct 31, 2004.

  1. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    There's mistakes, and then there's mistakes. The little ones are when someone misses a note, or drops a note or two while they're adjusting the controls on their instrument. The big ones can be pretty funny, like when the whole band forgets what song they're playing all at once, or each member starts playing a different part of the song, in a different key, while the singer's vamping 'cause she forgot the words. Sometimes there are technical factors that contribute to mistakes, like not being able to hear yourself on stage. Other times it's just.... Doh!

    My question is, how many mistakes do you (or does your band) make during a typical gig? Are they typically little ones, or do you get in one or two major flubbers during each performance?

    Usually, I'll do a few minor skip-notes during the early part of a club gig (when no one's there anyway), while trying to get the sound I want. My cover band probably manages one or two major flubs a year, usually it's because one person goes off and the rest start following. We've been playing together a while, which is both a blessing and a curse. We're so tuned in to what we usually expect from each other that when one person loses the groove, we sometimes assume that he knows what he's doing, and go along with it. :D
  2. Yeah, guilty of the note missing and timing too, and of accidentally muting my strings occasionally. If it helps, my guitarist recently went through half a song not realising his jack fell out cause he didn't loop it around his strap. Does that count too?
  3. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    It's been a while since I played a gig, but I've played about 25 of them with a rock cover band I was in back in the day. I don't think I myself ever played any major clams or caused any screw-ups (save for that New Year's Eve party where we had the brilliant idea of doing an encore after six beers a head :rolleyes: ). I always rehearsed my stuff well and played things "safe" when on stage, mostly out of necessity: we had such a flimsy drummer somebody else had to be the "foundation" of the band.
    I couldn't avoid the minor mistakes though, they were all over the place, mainly in the form of skipped notes in fast runs. But since I played the bass, nobody noticed anyway. :meh:
  4. my band faustus recently played our first gig at this rock nite in devon, it was a disaster and a half. we only got a singer 1 day before the gig and he didn't have a clue. we were playin this slayer tune and i was headbangin with the lead guitarist and ran across the stage to the other guitarist and i realised he was playin abt 2 bars ahead of everyone!! all our drummer could hear was my amp there were no monitors no soundcheck nothin
    no amount of posing could save us
  5. lump


    Jan 17, 2000
    St. Neots, UK
    Interesting concept for a thread. This is something I've thought about myself. I don't have the luxury of playing the same set list a gajillion times; I play a lot of unfamiliar stuff or even sight read live, and so make the occasional mistake. The stakes are pretty low though (church), so if I end up throwing a brick here or there, no one's gonna die. Clams used to bug me a lot, but I've learned that they're just part of the territory for a guy doubling piano lines. I rarely make big, "Hi, mom" mistakes though, and then it's usually on something simple because I let my mind wander. :rolleyes:

    Personally, I'd rather hear a guy who pushes himself and makes the occasional flub than a guy who plays it safe and nails every note. I heard Geddy get a little tangled up in YYZ live once. It happens. :cool:
  6. Thee


    Feb 11, 2004
    San Luis Obispo, CA
    I was moving too much, lost my balance and fell down backwards once. Slammed my head into an instrument stand, which slammed it back into the table. The guitars were fine.

    Plus, it wasn't a mistake, since everyone thought it was part of the show, though on the way down I missed a couple notes.

    The only other major mistake in recent memory was when the singer going into the second verse, forgot the words to the song, and he just stopped it.
  7. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    i probably manage a minor mistake or 2 a show, usually if i become interested in something happening and let my mind slip. Nothing major. Probably once a month i let out a wrong note in a noticable part of the song. :p Teh drummers i usually play with are so good that when they screw up i laugh at them and giev them a wink. My singer/guitar player makes a larger #, usually timing related when singing and playing. I can't really fault him too much, i don't do both.
  8. I'm usually pretty gauranteed of a minor stuff up, like a wrong note, I'm a big mind wanderer. It just sucks when you're real confident about what you should be coming into and its not what everybody else is going for. Luckily nobody other the rest of the band, one of the drummers and the other bass player can tell.

    As a band we had an absolute corker last Sunday night: the guitarist started off the song with a crazy wierd and slow timing, so we followed the first time until the leader stoppped us. We give it another stab and he comes in exactly the same, so the keyboardist, soundchick and I are laughing our heads off, vocalist isn't. This goes until a bar or two before the words come in, then I decide I can work it back and lay down the actual rhythm, drummer (just a young fella) follows and everything works out sweet. Nobody realises it was me that instigated the change.

    Josh D
  9. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I make a couple of little ones on EVERY gig. I sometimes wonder if it's possible to make NONE.
  10. Mel Monihan

    Mel Monihan

    Mar 30, 2004
    I like Abraham LaBoriel's explanation of the situation.He says that since chords are spelled from the bass note up, the bass player never makes a mistake, he just changes the name of the chord.
    That having been said,I play alot of very interesting chord forms during the course of any performance.
  11. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    Minor flubs - about 1 or 2 per set. Around 6 on a really bad night.

    Major flubs - about 2 per year.

    100% perfect set - about 10 per year.

    It wasn't always like that.
    I play about 100 gigs a year.
  12. DaveDeVille

    DaveDeVille ... you talkin' to me ?? Supporting Member

    i practice our set lists { by myself } three or four nights a week , two to three hours at a time ... my mistakes are usually minor, thank goodness !
    for example , changing a walking line a little , or maybe miss an occasional accent . our songs have a lot of dynamics , so accents and pauses are huge !

    our singer /harmonica player probably makes the most mistakes . sometimes he grabs the wrong harp out of his case , or forgets the vocals .
    his mistakes are much more noticeable , but also forgivable .
    i can't complain too much , he does all the lead vocals and plays harmonica and rhythm guitar .

    i do get a little bent at the drummer for starting some songs at the wrong tempo , or forgetting the endings of certain songs ... which seems to happen at almost every gig . oh well ...
  13. Feda

    Feda Screwed up pitch

    Jan 12, 2004
    Bergen, Norway
    Mostly minor ones. It's almost always due to some hot chick walking by the stage or sitting in front of the stage, makes both my eyes and mind wander:)
  14. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta / Macon (sigh)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    I hit about 2 clams a night, although sometimes, I don't hit any, but those nights are few. I had to go wireless, because one of our idiot lead singers kept stepping on my chord. Once, our guitarist, against my advice, changed strings about 2 minutes before a gig. :scowl: He struggled that night!
  15. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    I'm not gonna speak for my band mates, but for myself, I make far less errors in the studio than live. Maybe it has to do with the costs of studio time, the environment, etc but most of the time I'll do my part in 1 or 2 takes.

    As far as live, I make minor flubs all the time. As far as major trainwrecks are concerned, maybe 2-3 a year? I'm not sure exactly. Either I forget about the bad trainwrecks, or I'm trying to be modest about my playing, but I can't say for sure. I don't like to dwell on mistakes.
  16. Humblerumble


    Feb 22, 2004
    Good thread :) I usually make a small slip once or twice a gig, the kind of stuff that no one else knows is a mistake but me. Every once in a while I will as my drummer says "wrap it around the axle". This is usually not alone, but when the entire band gets out of whack. It happened this Sunday as we were playing for a Church function. We played some praise music which went fine, but then we did a CC rock song and the singer didn't come in after the break and we all floundered around trying to get back in sync. No one I talked to afterwards knew what happened but our sound man who commented that we "held it together pretty well". Sure didn't feel like it though :oops:
  17. CJK84


    Jan 22, 2004
    Maria Stein, OH
    I make quite a few minor flubs - things that I recover from quickly (within 2 beats) and are probably not discernible to most of the audience.

    I used to dwell on the mistakes a lot. Now, I try to laugh and move on.

    The success of a live performance is heavily dependent on the performers' demeanor, so the impact of musical mistakes can be minimized with an appropriate reaction.

    Forgive yourself and move on!
  18. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member

    Depends on the situation. With the jazz group, I misread a few bars here and there, but usually nobody but me knows that. Solos are all improvised, so mistakes are moot, for the most part. Most of the noticeable mistakes involve miscounting, and it can be hard to apportion blame in that case. I usually try to stay with the keys, but he seems to space out the most often, maybe because he hates working off the charts.

    My duo is a constant train wreck, by design. I like to see people sweat on the bandstand, and push the envelope. It took a long time to cultivate an audience for that, and it certainly isn't appropriate for, say, a cover band. Playing with only a drummer builds in a lot of forgiveness, I reckon. :eyebrow:
  19. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    as many as the bandleader will let me get away with, anymore than that is just money.
  20. One time, the singer forgot to come in with her vocal track. We didn't know what to do, but we had more brains than her though 'cos she just started doing this stupid ho-down dance. After about thirty seconds of that she just walked off, all the while with the band behind her. The guitarist and I just laughed our @$$es off, it was the funniest thing... then we got cut to a commercial.