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playing sick

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Joe Nerve, Jan 21, 2005.

  1. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    not to get out of work, silly... the opposite. Playing, sick. I had to do a show last night on comtrex with a half baked flu. Our drummer was in way worse shape than me. Both of us were coughing and pouring sweat at the end of the set and it occurred to me, how great what we all do is. I've yet to know a musician who cancelled a show because he or she was sick.

    what do you think it would take to keep you from a gig? here's a quick list what might keep me:

    • unforseeable event that was completely out of my control, ie. the roof caves in on my apartment and I'm trapped and unable to get to my bass.
    • a true emergency for a loved one, ie. the water broke, baby was on it's way out and there was absolutely no other way they could get to the hospital.
    • being hospitalized.
    • my hands being broken
    ...and would you cancel a show if you were sick.
  2. I have to agree. I would play sick no matter what, especially since we don't gig regularly. Unless something was broken or there was a family emergency that required my prescence, I would probably show. We had to play a gig a while ago after eating lots of chinese food, and it wasn't the easiest thing, but we pulled through! :D
  3. dcr

    dcr Supporting Member

    Have played sick with temp of 103 degF. Sat on rig/leaned on wall because I could barely stand up. Almost literally fell off the stage at break into the closest chair.

    For $50.

    Only thing that would keep me from playing is hospitilization of self or immediate family member. Broken down truck half-way to gig might do it, too.

    Aside from that, that's about it. Have played on several of my anniversaries, and my wife's 30th birthday (big mistake, BTW)!

    FWIW, my bass teacher/HS band director played several gigs with two broken fingers on his left hand back in the 80's. Knowing him, I doubt he felt it at the time.....

  4. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    :D Been through that one, girlfriend though. They don't like that.
  5. mindflow


    Oct 31, 2004
    funny that this thread is here because im really hurtin right now and we have a gig tonight. anyone have a good remedies to give you power for an hour?
  6. msquared


    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    There was a gig I played during a major rainstorm this past fall. As I was driving to the show, there were police and ambulances all over the place. Visibility was pretty minimal. I had a tough time getting there because a major car accident had blocked off one of the main streets leading to the venue. While we were waiting for the opening group to get offstage, my wife called me to tell me we'd lost power in the house.

    I still played though, even though it was a non-paying gig.

    I got home to find a good half inch of standing water in my basement studio, with a trickle pouring in from the foundation. Since the power was out I couldn't even bring the shop vac to bear on the water. I pulled up the carpet, used a push broom to clear what I could, and ran a thick bead of caulk across the floor to head any more water off toward the drain in the other room.

    I was luckier than one of the other bands scheduled to play that night though. They were driving to KC and ended up losing their trailer because of the weather. :(

    I've played with the flu before. It's not fun, but the show must go on.
  7. DaftCat


    Jul 26, 2004
    Medicine Hat
    I played New Year's Eve(I posted a thread for advice on how to get better temporarily) and was a hurtin' unit. Bedridden for 3 days prior to the 31st definition of sick.

    As some others mentioned the show must go on.

    Sorry for hijack, but about 8 years ago we had a show 60 miles out of town. About 3/4s of the way there the truck simply LOCKED. I guess it was the tranny or differential(I forget now). Anyway, one of the guitarists was already there(with his truck) so we arrange for him to come get us and our gear. Just as he was coming into view down the road his front tire flew off the truck! I kid you not. We felt a bad omen that day hahaha.

    We got the tire back on and made the gig on time in the end.

  8. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    You guys are making me feel terrible!

    The drummer for our 3-piece rock band sings three-quarters of the leads, and he had a cold in the days before our last-Saturday's gig (as far as I know, we're talking COLD, not flu). Our Guitarist - who's already always way too eager to cancel rehearsals - was already buggin' him from his first sniffle on Monday about "If you're sick, the only reasonable thing to do is cancel Saturday's gig". On Friday he reported feeling much better, but on Saturday reported that it had 'moved into his chest', and his voice sounded all crackly and sqeaky - it was pretty much a laryngitus-thing. One of'em called the club on Sat. afternoon, and cancelled.

    What should we have done?!!

  9. seansbrew


    Oct 23, 2000
    Mesa AZ.
    You pose a very good question, what would make me cancel a gig? I have never even entertained the idea, even when I had to play a show sick as a dog ready to throw up on my drummer. Ive even played shows when I got in a fight with the singer the day before.
    I guess if I had a family emergency and I had to like, be at a hospital somewhere or get on the road to get out of town immediatly, I'm not sure.
    Hell, id roll up in a wheel chair if I had too :D
  10. Perfect-Tommy


    Mar 28, 2004
    Crack. :bassist:


    Yea, I spent an entire weekend at a festival sick as a dog. Being a musician you just have to get used to doing things you don't feel like or want to do. There are plenty of times that I've would have paid not to perform or practice, but they end up being great shows. Since we don't really punch a timeclock, you have to do it. It's not like the next week you can pull a double shift to make up for your sick day. On top of that, you should love doing it most the time. If you don't love it, quit now.

    Man, I love this job....
  11. willgroove2


    Aug 16, 2003
    chicago IL
    Endorsing Artist;Essential sound products,Dunlop, Ergo Instruments
    in '93 i had a gig at a downtown chicago jazz club,i was subbing for a friend and this was before cell phone's so once i left the house i couldn't get in touch with him.i had been feeling very ill for a week beforehand and had not had any solid food for four day's,couldn't swallow ect.so the night of the gig i get my cloths on somehow and get in my car and drive down to the gig.as i looked for a parking space i started to feel light-headed,i found a space,pulled into it and leaned back....and passed out! a guy was walking down the street saw what happened and tapped on the window and woke me up and asked me was i ok.i said yes(lie) and stumbled to the gig.i got there and i was soaking wet with sweat,got a chair leaned up against the amp closed my eyes for a second and passed out again! i didn't fall but just slumped over came to played the gig somehow(later i was told i didn't sound bad just real low energy)went home and fell out for 3 day's.later i went to the doctor who took one listen to my chest put on a mask and sent me to the emegentcy room.turn's out i had "walking" pnemonia so it just goes to show that the show can go on if you want it to.
  12. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    I've watched Jason Newsted play shows with a 103 fever, walk off stage and pass out on the bus.

    I've done the same, cept with a 102, sweating like crazy and drinking a lot of water. The water bill was about $22 that night. I don't tend to get the flu, never had it in 18 years.

    Unfortunately, I have carpal tunnel in both wrists, so if it's my left, it can take me out for a while, but if it's just a 45 minute or so set, I'll string up with my emergency "carpal tunnel acting up again" extra light set of strings.

    Other than that, I've gotta either be hospitalized or kidnapped.
  13. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Projectile vomiting will keep me from playing...
  14. Edwcdc

    Edwcdc I call shotgun!

    Jul 21, 2003
    Columbia MD USA
    I played a couple of times where hurling was featured. I put a trash can off the side of the stage one night and had to hit it a few times. That sucked. One other night I just chucked right on the floor on the other side of my amp. I told the drummer not to call anything I sing because if I opened my mouth it would be good. I had to play one night with three stiches in my left index finger.
    I also broke a bone in my hand and had to play all that week.
    I don't miss gigs.
    I even played the day my son was born. That didn't go over so good. :D
  15. I cancelled once last year. Had a high fever and those dry coughs, if you try to speak all that will come out is a 5 minute coughing fit, you know? But if I hadn´t been the lead singer, no way I would have cancelled! Speaking of fever, it usually gives me lots of weird ideas -- some of them good -- so maybe it´s not a completely bad thing. Plus sweating a lot on stage could be mistaken for high-energy playing...
  16. Perfect-Tommy


    Mar 28, 2004
    Wasn't it Dimebag that was sick one night and had to use the restroom on stage. Not having time to get backstage he ended up mounting up an ice bucket on stage? I think in an interview later he even went as far to say "That was a really sh**ty show."

    I mean, that's one less excuse not to play :p
  17. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    The show must go on.

    Hospitalization is the only thing that makes cancelling a gig an option IMO. I just did a gig last week with a fever, although not too bad at 101. This was a super-quiet restaurant gig with a piano/bass/sax trio, and the piano player could have played left-hand bass no problem. I still didn't cancel.
  18. wideload


    Apr 15, 2004
    Salinas, CA
    While waiting for my guitarist to get ready (ride-sharing to a gig), I tried to add a hole to my belt with an exacto I found, and sliced thru my left middle finger to the bone. After a bunch of ER stitches (and arguing with the MD that I needed to use my hand), I showed up 30 minutes late for the gig, with the finger wrapped HUGE with white gauze. I got to flip off the crowd for two nights!
  19. i've always played if i was sick. practice i've cancelled, but never a gig.

    what about if it's your vocalist? i've had that happen twice (he also play's lead geetar) and i've kinda thought he was exaggerating how sick he was...
  20. Happened to me. My baby was 5 weeks early. I had no shows booked for a month before and after the due date...but the little guy couldn't stand it anymore. Had to cancel a show on his birthday...would you believe I still got an earful of crap from my guitarist, while I was at the hospital?!

    But sick? psshh...nothing a couple glasses of Jagermeister couldn't hold over for a few hours.

    I echo the immortal words of my high school football coach, "Rub some dirt on it, you candy ass."