My 1st Gig Ever/guitarist not happy!

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by rickenbarry, Jul 8, 2013.

  1. Just rocked my first gig this past Saturday. In fact it was the first gig for this band I'm in. We are a four piece and everyone has been playing alot longer than me (I've been playing almost two years). I had a great time and thought we did really well. We had a 30 song set list with a pretty good variety of rock tunes. The crowd loved it, danced, yelled and even wanted more at the end, but the sound crew shut us down so they could leave. Sound guys and crowd had nothing but compliments for us.

    I had a few sections here and there where I could have done better and had a serious error on one tune where my hands just did not seem to listen to my brain, but I just kept going and was able to pull it back together.

    Only other issue for me, our guitarist would turn around and glare at anyone who made a mistake. I mean, he was turning around and shouting "come on guys" anytime he was unhappy with the way things were going. I was pretty shocked with his attitude over the whole thing cause I've known him for years and he always seemed pretty cool and level headed. To make matters worse, he hardly spoke to any of us in the band at breaks or after the show.

    We put this set list together with only 9 full band rehearsals over the past two 1/2 months. I think that's pretty minimal on preparation. We were still adding new songs just a week ago to round things out.

    So, I'm just curious, what would you seasoned guys think of this? Are his expectations a little unreasonable or am I just a newbie over-reacting to his attitiude?
  2. rdubgt


    Mar 11, 2013
    Every show will have something (read: many things) go wrong. I think the first thing he needs to realize is that aside from major musical trainwrecks, nobody will ever notice you've messed up unless you LOOK like you messed up...

    Turning around and glaring at band members is a pretty clear sign that something just went wrong. Giving the crowd/crew's reactions, it sounds like he was just being hypersensitive. On top of that, once you're on stage it's not like anyone's going to be able to fix anything. Any of these "errors" should've been handled at a rehearsal.

    Besides, that's just not good leadership - you need positive reinforcement, not public, on-stage humiliation.

    Just my thoughts...
  3. Hobobob

    Hobobob Don't feed the troll, folks.

    Jan 25, 2011
    Colorado Springs, CO
    If the guitarist had a problem with the show, he should have taken the band aside afterwards and talked to you about it. Making a scene onstage is unprofessional, immature, and if you ask me, a serious red flag.
    2&1/2 months is quite a chunk of time for rehearsing 30 songs (originals would be tougher, but still). Honestly, I would be frustrated with a band member that was still making multiple major screwups at that point, but not onstage. On stage, you have to put on a show and entertain your audience - not throw a hissy fit.
    My advice? Woodshed a little more so you won't clam up onstage, and talk to your guitarist as a band about his behavior. You can't let that kind of thing go.
  4. JonnyAngle

    JonnyAngle Dropping Acid Pedal Etching .com Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 24, 2008
    Maple Grove, MN
    I have heard this before:

    The crowd would rather hear you screw up and keep on playing like nothing is wrong than to make a big deal about the mistakes that you made and kill the vibe of the music

    ...or something like that. It was much catchier in the original context.
  5. My feeling is that regardless of errors during a performance, the MOST unprofessional thing you can do is telegraph those errors to the audience or in any way chastise or humiliate your bandmates on stage. No one wants to see that- no one. A total downer. I'd tell him immediately that his stage manners better improve or he's fired. You can find another guitarist, trust me.
  6. jamminology101


    Aug 22, 2012
    Indianapolis In
    Endorsing Artist: Glockenklang
    He will get over it. U know exactly what u screwed up so go back and woodshed until u can play em watching tv, eating, and having sex at the same time. I can say I have never played a show where I didnt miss some notes....the more experience u get playing live the less mistakes will happen, remember its all a process. Keep ur drinking down to a minimum until 7 can pull off the material in ur sleep....playing disasters usually go hand in hand with excessive booze consumption.
  7. Hi,

    My little rock band played our first high school dance in 1970. I've been doing this a long time. Granted, I'm not that good but I play passably well enough to have worked as much as I want to over the years. I still make mistakes on stage, even sometimes with songs that I've been playing for 20 years. It happens. You lose your focus, you're too tired, your mind wanders, you try a cool lick that you've never played before and doink it, etc. Just keep going like nothing happened. I'm sure you played much more that sounded great compared to the few notes that you missed.

    None of the other musicians on stage should ever acknowledge a missed note (or "mistake") on stage during a live performance. It is uncalled for and unprofessional. Somebody is being a prima donna.

    Just last week, it was a tune we just learned, I was singing along and suddenly forgot the chord, the progression, the key, it all just went away for about 4 measures. Granted it was our 4th gig in three days and I was really beat. (Two nights in a row with only 5 hours sleep.) But I just kept singing (luckily I remembered the words) until I could refocus my fingers and no one in the band said a word to me. They all knew that *I* knew I had dropped the ball for a bit. No need to berate me. We're all professionals, but not machines.

    The thing about being the bass player, if you make a big mistake EVERYBODY knows it (except for most of the audience). The other instruments seem to have an easier time covering their mistakes. With practice and repetition will come steadiness. Bass players need to be steady. They, along with the drummer, are the foundation for the ensemble.

    Otherwise, I congratulate you on a good gig and wish you well in your bass career. Your guitar player needs to have a little more fun on the gigs and not worry about notes gone by. You can talk about things you need to brush up on after the gig or during the next rehearsal. There should be no childish looks or yelling on stage.

    Thank you for your indulgence,

  8. Ukiah Bass

    Ukiah Bass

    May 10, 2006
    If the leader simply must point out mistakes in real time, at least he can be cool about it. I think James Brown did it best. In his pinpoint pivots and thrusts, you can often see him in videos point at one of the band member's feet. That meant that person had just screwed up and had to pay a fine. Maybe $10 or $20 bucks. Whatever.
  9. Bill G.

    Bill G.

    Dec 2, 2005
    Baton Rouge
    I'm fortunate to play in two really laid-back bands. We take our music seriously, but we don't take ourselves too seriously! If one of us makes a mistake, we just smile at each other & keep on rockin'. If somebody called me out on each mistake I make, I wouldn't be able to handle that. Life's too short to put up with that at gigs.
  10. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    I was in a band and the lead singer would give dirty looks if something wasn't exactly right. She would just glare at you. We got rid of her . . . quickly.
  11. My older brother and I used to host/backline a full band open mic night 8 or 9 years ago. He would flick lit cigs at me (usually towards my head) when I would make a bad enough mistake. He had high standards. I thank him for it actually. Kinda like the piano teacher who would whap your knuckles :)
  12. Winfred


    Oct 21, 2011
    Your guitarist is working hard to get kicked out of the band. Being negative on stage is step 1. You can try talking to him about it, and if he's a mature adult, he might listen. But if he digs in his heels, and thinks he has the "right" to point out people's mistakes, in the middle of a gig... nah... he's on his way out of the band.
  13. Thanks for all the feedback fellow bassers! We are having a band meeting later this week to discuss "direction". I don't have a prob discussing my mistakes after the fact. I was just shocked when dr jeckle turned to Hyde right before my eyes. And I am def one who knows where I screwed up! I just spent three hours working on the songs I tanked on. I just don't want a bunch of silly bs to kill us before we really get going. Thanks for all the feedback TB community, I've received some really helpful advice! Rock on!
  14. Hey, my 2 cents worth

    I basically agree that the guitarist totally got it wrong and you should never make mistakes obvious by glaring, shouting etc. At the worst I would look at who it was and laugh. But best of all, just pretend like nothing went wrong. Most people won't notice if it isn't pointed out.

    But, also, was it a really big gig for you guys? The guitarist? Sometimes if you really have high hopes for something it can make you over react if something goes wrong. It reminds me of the Iceberg model. You/we only see the actions of people, not the reason behind those actions. Problems at home, feeling of self worth, just having a sh*t month, wife just left you, kids sick, money issues etc. Again, no excuse, but just something to be aware of. Especially as you said it goes against his normal behaviour. Maybe something other than the mistakes at the gig is going on & that was his reaction to it.

    I think at your next meeting, ask how everyone wants to be percieved and what effect certain behaviour on stage would help or adversly effect that. Hopefully you are all professionals and will be able to discuss like adults.

    Good luck buddy.
  15. Glaring at band members on stage is much worse than making a few mistakes. And not talking to anyone? Instant psycho-alert. That guy is the boyfriend who just hit his girlfriend the first time. Find someone else.
  16. GlennW

    GlennW Inactive

    Sep 6, 2006
    Good move!

    I have to ask...did she own her own microphone?
  17. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    Yes, she owned her own mic but the PA that she owned was a POS, so we used the guitarists PA.
  18. Baird6869

    Baird6869 Supporting Member

    We are the same.

    If the guitarist screws up, I look over and laugh at him... He does the same if I screw up.

    To us, missing one note is a screwup, but the crowd rarely doesn't notice. We have fun with it as we really don't screw up much.

    If the singer trainwrecks, we may cringe, but you can't make it obvious to the audience IME/IMO.
  19. Screw ups happen. You know what you messed up on, therefore you know where you need to improve. No serious harm or foul, in my opinion.

    Now, if this behavior isn't typical of the guitarist, maybe something else was behind it, or his expectations for the gig got the better of him. Not that he should take it out on the rest of the band, or make a scene.

    Or maybe you are seeing a side of him you never had before, and he'll be like that on every gig.

    The meeting seems in order. The first possibility, to me, is simply unprofessional, but hopefully resolvable, if he's any kind of adult.

    The second possibility(that he's just an *** on stage) rather hints that this might not be a guy you want to keep playing with anyway.

    There are right ways and wrong ways to handle these things. Disrupting a show or making a scene on stage are definitely wrong ways.
  20. GlennW

    GlennW Inactive

    Sep 6, 2006
    I'm surprised she had any mic or PA at all, very rare from what I've seen.