I would like to hear your stories of the rough "early days" of your band

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by Hamlet7768, Mar 15, 2014.

  1. Hamlet7768

    Hamlet7768 Here to chew gum and rock. Still have gum.

    Jun 5, 2011
    First a story, so you know why I want these stories.

    I've told before some of the minor conflicts the band has had. Today we had a bit of a red-letter day. Today we were going to do some more writing and record a demo. I texted the drummer about it, and he dropped the bombshell. He quit. I refuse to hold that against him, because there's been a lot preceding it, including his needing to relearn the drums due to a...disability, and the demands of his academics as a music major. The departure's amicable. We're still friends.

    But we don't have a drummer.

    We still managed to record the demo anyway. You can find it in the Recordings Forum.

    I post this because I want your stories of these early days, before you got a solid lineup in your band. I wouldn't say I'm discouraged, but I'm interested in hearing how much worse it could be going for us, I guess.

    EDIT: It would be nice to have stories with somewhat happy endings.
  2. Hmm, you may get more stories over on the band story forum. Anyway, bummer and I hope you find a new drummer soon.


  3. Hamlet7768

    Hamlet7768 Here to chew gum and rock. Still have gum.

    Jun 5, 2011
    There's a "Band Stories" forum? You mean the "Bass Humor and Gig Stories"? I wasn't sure if it ought to go here or there.

    I'll leave it up to the admins/moderators.
  4. Yeah, or maybe the miscellaneous forum.

    Okay, but if you don't get a lot of stories here, you may want/need to ask them to move it - just saying.

    Have a great weekend, and best wishes finding a new drummer.
  5. Winfred


    Oct 21, 2011
    Dude. The horror stories from bands could keep this thread going for years. :)

    Here are a couple of mine, each from different bands. Short and sweet. Enjoy!

    Lead guitar player got caught sleeping with 2nd guitarist's wife. End of band

    Police showed up at our rehearsal with the guitarist in the back seat of their cruiser. Walked up, arrested the drummer, put him in a second car, and took him away. Both were selling coke. Never saw either again. Guitarist ratted out the drummer. End of band.

    Lead singer got drunk, depressed over a break up with his girlfriend, drank a 12-pack on his front porch, went and got his .38, put it in his mouth, pulled the trigger. Band over.

    Guitarist got drunk, drove his car into the singer's house. Right through the front porch, into the den. Singer wasn't home. Guitarist tried to say he didn't do it. Police said otherwise. Guitarist and singer never spoke again. Guitarist bummed rides for two years. End of band.

    Isn't music fun?
  6. Hamlet7768

    Hamlet7768 Here to chew gum and rock. Still have gum.

    Jun 5, 2011
    Well ****.

    I was hoping for slightly less depressing stories?
  7. Okay, I'll play.

    I took professional lessons for years and practiced constantly. Eventually I found my way into garage bands and jam bands, mostly because I had some ability. None of them went anywhere.....plagued by drunks, crazy people, and poorly motived ex-pros who just wanted to jam.

    Then my first "pro" gig. A local country and southern rock band that booked frequently and seemed legit. I found out later I was hired because I was decent looking, relatively young, and was able to move equipment.

    And so began about a year of turmoil and hell. What I didn't know was this band had a long history of a musician "revolving door". It was mostly due to an insane BL, who seemed nice at first, but over time showed he was a demanding, untalented, ex-military crazy who thrived on chaos and worked daily to dominate and control all of the players who came into the band. In my time there, I saw so many players who came and went, all while I stayed and played gigs.

    A brief list, and this was in a year;

    Lead Vocals....three. One I still play sub gigs with.
    Drummers....two. One is in my current band.
    Lead Guitarists....Four. One is in my current band.
    Keyboard Player....Three.
    Rhythm Guitarist.....Four.
    Pedal Steel Guitarist..One. They're hard to get.
    Female Backup singer.....Two.
    Banjo/Dobro player....Two

    And in this time I was the only bassist.

    The crapshow of having to play so many songs so many different ways, along with the BL insanity finally drove me to pack my stuff and leave. It was the hardest year of my musical career. That band still frequently gigs, with nobody I know. And I have sub gigs for them coming up this spring, ironically.

    But, you know what? I wouldn't change it. It gave me a lot of experience in a short time and it gave me a lot of contacts in the music business. I wouldn't change it.
  8. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    My current band started out as a five piece Ska/Funk band with me on bass and backup vocals. The guitar player/vocalist I recruited flaked out, and I moved to guitar. Trombone player got tired of the drive, and found another. Tried out a couple of bass players singers, and it didn't work out. Got a drummer, and the drummer moved to bass, and I took over lead vocal duties. Drummer moved on, bassist switched back to drums and found a bass player. Trombone player disappeared, found another.

    For one well paying out of town gig, the bassist and the trombone player couldn't make it. Trombone player lined up a sub, and I found a drummer and the drummer moved to bass. Trombone player and drummer didn't work out, so drummer went back to drums and recommended someone to play bass. Sax player found a trumpet player to fill in. Bass player came to rehearsal unprepared. Found another bass player a day before the gig, and went over the material with him the day of the show. This all happened in in a span of less than 2 weeks.

    FWIW, here's feedback we received from that gig.
    "XXX here, artistic director at xxx. I spoke to you for two seconds while you were waiting for your parking voucher at Saturday night... Just want to tell you, and the whole band, how much we appreciated your being here. People LOVED YOUR WORK. I'm still hearing from partiers about what a great time they had, how the band rocked, that they loved your sound, your energy, your style. So BIG THANKS for being here. We know you did a major thing to come to Charlottesville and we are truly grateful. Please pass this on to the whole band, as it probably took a whole lot of good vibes from many sources to do this gig.
    All the best to you and your King Comfy comrades,
  9. Hamlet7768

    Hamlet7768 Here to chew gum and rock. Still have gum.

    Jun 5, 2011
    ^^^^ This is a great story! Glad to hear it turned out well for you guys.
  10. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris Frat-Pack Sympathizer

    Aug 11, 2012
    Upstate NY, USA
    This could get lengthy, but I'll play.

    My current band grew out of my previous band. The previous band was put together by the guitarist and the drummer, who auditioned bass players and couldn't make up their minds, so we ended up with two. No problem, the band was very experimental anyway (the ad I answered described the project as "King Crimson meets MMW"). The group was VERY original, and generated a lot of positive reviews in the local music press, and I believe a lot of our notoriety stemmed from the novelty (gimmick?) of having two bassists. Drummer was an insane control freak and the guitarist was a passive-agressive namby-pamby who wouldn't admit he was unhappy until he unexpectedly quit the group... twice. New guitarist and drummer were found, and then, just when things were running smoothly for the first time in our history, the other bass player quit to take a job in another state hundreds of miles away. At that point, the band was over, but I convinced the new guitarist and drummer to stick with me in a new trio.

    The guitarist immediately tried to take over the group, and attempt to turn it into smooth jazz. :spit: He actually uttered the words "restaurant gig" in my presence. :D He was also constantly trying to get us to do things we weren't good at, and eventually it became clear to me that he wanted the challenge of playing our music, but didn't want to actually play out, and was passive-agressively sabotaging any chance of that happening. I was getting ready to fire him when he quit and saved me the trouble.

    Next guitarist seemed very promising at first, but he too quit very shortly after, due to our music being too "smooth jazz"; this despite my telling him over and over that, despite our early demos, that was NOT what we wanted. In fact, later on we would share a bill with a group he later joined, and he commented that we rocked harder than he expected, and didn't know these tunes could be played that way.

    I was also in a prog-rock band at that time, and the BL (a guitarist) asked if he could audition for my group. At first, I was skeptical that his style would work, but he worked out very well, and his playing style is a guarantee that no one will mistake us for smooth jazz ever again. He's an aggressive cat, to say the least.

    It took two years from the ending of the previous group until the newer group played a gig. I have referred to my drummer on these forums as "insanely loyal", and now you know why. We immediately starting building a buzz.

    Most recently, a very well-respected keyboardist on the scene approached us and expressed an interest in playing with us. This is a guy who played for years in one of the top wedding/corporate bands in our area. Burning out on commercial music, in the past couple of years he has mainly dedicated himself to jazz gigs, and has successfully worked his way into that scene, gigging with many of our local scene's most talented cats. TBH, this is a guy I would have been too intimidated by to ask to join the band, but he approached us, and so far, the results have been astounding. He really adds a level of "jazz credibility" to our group, and audience reactions so far have been overwhelmingly positive.

    For the first time in my life, I feel I finally have the "band of my dreams". I also have some money saved, and plan on documenting this band in the studio in the very near future.

    The elapsed time from the start of that earlier band to where we are now? About 7 years. TB orthodoxy states that I should have bailed years ago. So **** TB orthodoxy. :D
  11. MTBK


    Sep 11, 2013
    We had to go through about 25-30 guitarists to find one (ended up with two) that would stay. About half of those didn't even make it to an audition. Flakes.

    With an original band, especially one just getting off the ground, it's extremely difficult to find one who would commit. Because at that point there's not much to commit to. And they have to actually enjoy the music on a personal level. It's not like a cover band when all that's required is that you can play the songs. If you don't enjoy originals you aren't likely to last very long, nor contribute much creatively to the band.

    We had a 13 track album of originals recorded with our original guitarist. Plus about 10 other fully fleshed out songs that we didn't have the time or money to record in a studio. So there's that, to let new recruits know we're serious and not going to fall apart after 6 months.

    Once we found two guys that would work we got rolling really fast and it's been very rewarding.
  12. interp

    interp Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2005
    Garmisch, Germany
    With all due respect, that's not music :)
  13. Itzayana


    Aug 15, 2012
    Oakland Ca
    Many years ago in an early band...
    We were based in San Francisco. Got a 2 week gig in Reno. Guitar player and keyboard player brought their girlfriends along to stay with us in the band apartment that the venue provided. Guitar player and keyboard players wives got together and decided to drive on up and surprise their husbands. Big surprise it was. The night ended with police at the apartment and guitar player and keyboard player, both girlfriends and both wives going to jail. Band had to pay for broken windows and broken furniture. Booking agent dropped the band from the list. End of band.
  14. pacojas

    pacojas "FYYA BUN"

    Oct 11, 2009
    aaah,... the "early days",... the "all or nothing" days! i remember 'em like the palm of Gramma's hand. there were no winners, no "happy endings", or anything to laugh about. it was kickin', scratchin', and plenty of blood, sweat, & guns! if we didn't get paid,.. we started breakin bar stools,... if you messed-up you got pushed around,...
    we just played & played hard through it all.

    HAPPY ENDINGS?!!! you want happy endings???? does it ever have a happy ending?,... yeah,.. when the band is over, done, and hopefully nobody died... (except the blood-suckers)

    BTW,.. i made waaaay more money managing bands & promoting shows than i ever did playing! HAPPY ENDING OVER HERE,.... HOL-LAAAAH! ;)
  15. Flatwound

    Flatwound Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2000
    San Diego
    Successes and failures. For over 30 years, I've been playing bass in church bands. Before that, I played other instruments. I wanted to play something different, maybe get paid a little. After a few (or more than a few) false starts, I got together with a guy named George, who could actually play like Stevie Ray Vaughan. We found an adequate drummer, and worked up enough songs to play on multi-band nites and so on, with an eye to putting some set lists together and playing out. We played out a couple of times, and it went well. Then George stopped answering his phone, and I've never spoken to him since. No idea what happened. :confused:

    The good band came together with a Marine sergeant who had an ad on craigslist for musicians for a classic rock band. It took a while to get rolling, and we had some personnel changes here and there, but the longest-lasting lineup was three Marines and me. We played r&r covers in bars and clubs for about 5 years, and then, on a New Years' gig, which turned out to be our biggest and best, the lead guitarist decided he wanted to go to a hockey game instead. :spit: Our leader, also a pretty good guitarist, said let's do it anyway. It turned out great, most money I ever made at a gig, but it was also our last gig. The leader was burned out, and it was probably about time anyway.

    Since then, I've been happily playing CCM at my church, and I probably won't be joining any other bands for a while, if ever. But you never know.
  16. bass_case

    bass_case Maintain low tones. Supporting Member

    Oct 23, 2013
    Miami, FL
    Yeah, but it's most definitely rock'n'roll.
  17. repoman


    Aug 11, 2011
    Kinderhook NY
    what the...dude, if I were you I'd move outta that part of town.
  18. Joedog


    Jan 28, 2010
    Pensacola FL
    Dude, you win hands down!!!!!! But I'll play too. Next to last band broke up when we learned the BL was skimming $$ off the top...lying about how much some gigs were paying. Basically putting an extra $100 in his pocket. Last band's BL was a reformed alcoholic. He was always giving us a really hard time for having a few beers at gigs, while between sets he'd go out to the van, burn one, and come back in so stoned he could barely walk or talk....***? On the plus side, the drummer from a band way back in the '90's ( I moved to another state) is still one of my best friends.
  19. Ukiah Bass

    Ukiah Bass

    May 10, 2006
    Sounds like most of that was caused by guitarists.
  20. repoman


    Aug 11, 2011
    Kinderhook NY
    Aaahh, the early days...we once had to use a tiny 6 channel PA with 4 speakers daisy chained together so we could have two for the house and two as monitors. No separate volume controls for the speakers, just LOUD. The mix was inadequate at best. Our lead guitar used a huge music stand for all the songs because he couldn't remember the chords and the other guitarist breaks at least two strings a night and always has to finish a song limping home. Lead singer would lose her place and bring us into a chorus when we're supposed to start another verse. Hell, I generally play with my G string tuned to G# because I couldn't see the sharp sign on the tuner... haha...those were the days. In fact, "those days" were just last night, where all that happened. :D