Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by robert betty, Apr 21, 2003.

  1. What's the worst trainwreck your band has ever had during a gig caused by you?

    I play in church, a contemporary service and it is moderately upbeat, every now and then we'll throw in a good jazz song with some nice bass lines & licks. One such song starts out slow & melow until after the secont chourus, then it jumps in double time, and changes keys, All this while the singers do this cool oooh aaah thing, and me, the bassist is supposed to do a really slick lead there to change the key. Well not only did I do the change too early, during the most sentimental part of the song, I did the whole lead on the wrong string, my thumb anchor had moved and I didn't know it. Basically the whole band is doing this sweet melodic tune and seemingly out of nowhere I jump in to an off key psychotic bass riff. Basicaly the whole band turned and looked at me with jaws dropped. I knew the song like the back of my hand, just had a major brain fart. My brother, the lead singer, apologized to the audience for the schitzofrenic bass player, with a laugh, and we continued the song. By then I was so shook up that when we came back to that part I completely fumbled the whole thing. Again!!!:bassist:
  2. LoJoe


    Sep 5, 2002
    Concord, NC USA.
    I play in a contemporary church also. It was my first time out. During the "Meet and greet" portion, the band will do an instrumental version of the song everyone is going to sing once the meet and greet is over and everyone is seated. The song was Celebrate. As you know this song has a verse chorus structure. What I didn't know is that for the meet and greet, the band only plays the verse portion of the song over and over until everyone gets seated. NO CHORUS. I made it through the first verse repetition and kept right on going into the chorus part, which is significantly different from the verse.:D I was playing with lots of energy too as this was my big debut! In our PA setup, I can barely hear myself if at all, so I had no idea that I was completely in my own world compared to what everyone else was playing. I didn't find out until we'd done three more songs and were leaving the stage. The MOM comes over to me and says..."Not bad for your first time out...however make a note that on the meet and greet, we only play the verse until everyone is seated and starts singing." It took a second to realize what he meant and what I'd done. I felt like a total goof and wanted to high tail it out of there. They didn't fire me though and I get it right every time now. I still think about it during every single meet and greet however. Funny stuff now!
  3. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    I haven't had too many incidents like that, I usually catch myself and jump right back into place. I remeber in my uncles band we were doing some country song... so I zoned out, I didn't really care for it. When we ended the song which ended in E I think... I stopped at F#. I noticed it sounded bad, but I was still zoned out. My uncle looks at with a raised eyebrow as we are still holding our two seperate notes. Then I go "Ohhhhhhhhh." and play and E and he's like "there ya go!"

    uhmmm... the end.
  4. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    I did a gig, when I first got to Vegas in '88, where we really didn't have time to rehearse (there were a lot of pickup gigs here then). Now my ear is pretty good, but even if I can't hear you too well I play enough guitar (and keys) to be able to tell what you're playing by seeing your hands.

    The guitarist (the musical director) said "cool" and off we went............except for 3 problems:

    1. The stage was big and the monitor mix was bad so I couldn't really hear them.

    2. I look at the "keyboardist's" hands and somthing's wrong........he transposes his keyboard so he can play every song in C. :rolleyes: No help there.

    3. So I look over at the guitarist's hands....and am completely confused. He forgot to mention that he tunes his guitar to an open E none of the patterns I see him do make any sense to me (he could have told me this before the gig :mad: ).

    I wouldn't say I made any "trainwrecks" but there were quite a few "clams" throughout the night (I just smiled and pointed at the drummer :D ).

    The situation was made worse than it normally would have been since I was new to Vegas and the "standards list" was a much different bag of tunes than the typical tunes I would have been expected to know on a gig, back home, in the Midwest.....but I got through it and made a lot of contacts/gigs because of it.:)
  5. babecker


    Mar 7, 2002
    Sykesville, MD
    What are "clams"? I'm just curious -- I've never heard it used in that context before.
  6. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Clams, in the musical context, are little mistakes - probably not obvious to most people, but enough to make you wince when you hear the recording.

    Don't know where the term came from though.

  7. FunkySpoo

    FunkySpoo Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2002
    About the worst I've done is start a song in the wrong key. And the worst one was when I started in the wrong key but couldn't for the life of me remember what key I was supposed to be in. And as I have know moniter I just kept trying different key until I found one that worked.That lasted about 18 bars:D
  8. Altus, Oklahoma...Jazz band...We had another bass player who I was helping and we were "touring" around the local schools and such...

    We did this cool tune in 6/4 and I just took off. Way out there in left field. The kids were loving it...I start to listen to the rhythm section and NOBODY knows where beat 1 is...So, I come out of the solo counting 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and then everybody came back in. I really stretched out on that one.

    All Aboard!!!...
  9. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Nothing too horrible aside from the once-in-a-while nights where I just wasn't quite ON.

    Once, a few years back, I was in a rock band that did a fair amount of "moving around" on stage... I jumped up on a chair while playing and pulled the cable out of my amp. :meh:
  10. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    I've checked the Cassell Dictionary of Slang (why is it three times larger than my Oxford Dictionary of Current English? :eek: ) and can't find anything directly relating to music.

    However, clam is used figuratively for a number of things that open and shut like a clam (mouths and, er, other bits...) and also in the idea of 'clamming up' (shutting up tight, again like clams do).

    By extrapolation, I guess you could define a clam as the kind of mistake that makes you highly embarrased (and therefore wanting to 'clam up', hide in a hole and not play any more) but not enough to derail (trainwreck) the whole song - like misjudging a jump and hitting an F when everyone else is playing an E major chord ... unless you do it every time that section comes around or everyone else stops playing and looks at you, it will probably be lost in the music as far as anyone else is concerned even if it leaves you considering dropping the bass and taking up stamp collecting instead ;)

  11. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    Let me get this're not supposed to hit an F when everybody plays E major??? :eek: :confused: ;)
  12. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Nothing wrong with F against an E chord - just a b9 - which was an completely intentional reinterpretation of the harmony, right? :D

    Seriously though, you can make any 'wrong' note 'right' - if you have the conviction. If you believe it's right, they will too.
  13. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Depends on whether you're playing in an 'outside the box' jazz combo or trying to hold down the bottom end of a top 40 covers band.

    But if you just do it once, probably no one else will even notice (until listening back to the recording) unless you really do 'clam up'.

  14. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Or use the old trick of turning an accidental wrong note into a fill. Or a gliss if it's at the start of the bar.
  15. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA

    As long as your not one of those guys who screws up and uses it as an oppertunity for a SUPERFILL! You know the kind where you mash your fingers way up high on the tiny strings...
    Remyd likes this.
  16. fourstr00


    Mar 21, 2002
    Chicago Area
    Hell, it's our band's style to have bass clams all over the place (no, I really do)!

    Turns every song into a bass solo! McCartney would be proud
  17. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    my palms have become sweaty reading this thread. i've had a coupla train wrecks so to speak, and i'm really very hard on myself about them.

    best one i think, which was kinda out of my control was playing the whole first song at gig at cbgb tuned a half step down from the rest of the band. i had no clue what was going on - just knew everything was very off. the audience was rather confused also.

    at a gig i was hired for we were doing a cover of "play that funky music" and i brain farted on the whole "lay down and boogie and play that funky music till you die" part. i panicked big time and because of that it got worse and worse everytime that line came up. i couldn't even tell what key it was in.

    same thing happened once on ascending riff of "suck my kiss."

    what I've learned from these mistakes:

    no matter how bad my clam or trainwreck is - never let it look as if i missed a beat. smile right through it. train the rest of the band to do the same. we practice ignoring each others mistakes completely. not even a glance in the direction of the perp.

    put the mistake behind me as quickly as possible. if i forgot a part (as in the above instances) it will come back if my nerves don't get in the way.

    i've decided if i ever brain fart badly enough, i'm gonna turn around, flip my volume down all the way, make a motion like "my bass doesn't work anymore" and blame the equipment :eek: :D . happily i have yet to use that one.

    ps. whats up with classical musicians. i was watching a 97 yr old guy play a huge intricate piano piece on the arts channel last nite, and waiting....... they never, ever, ever make mistakes!
  18. vegaas


    Nov 6, 2001
    My worst one was just recently.
    I had just joined my second band, being playing with them for about a month. If you have read previous posts of mine, then you know my second band plays music that I dont really listen too, so I only know the songs from practicing them.
    Well we are playing a party, our guitar player/singer has a bad habit of just starting a song, :mad: he starts to play Brown Eyed Girl, well again I dont really know the songs that well yet, so to me it sounds like he is starting Margaritaville, so thats what I start to play. :eek: I knew something was wrong right away, but thought maybe I started on the wrong string or note. I try and find it, panic starts to take over as I am searching for notes all over the fret board while I think I am losing my mind. We finally just stopped the song, our singer says "Apparently our bass player doesnt remember Brown Eyed Girl" As soon as he said it a light bulb goes off. I was laughing almost uncontrolably as we started the song again.
    That was the biggest train wreck I have caused. Luckily no others have even been close to that.
  19. Thor

    Thor Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Haah, good laughs here.

    I was at the company Xmas party last year, and after a few refreshments, was just itching to play. My co-workers egg me on, and arrange for me to sit in on a couple of tunes. They push me up there and I strap on this bass I am totally not familiar with.

    The guitar player starts up right away on ' Honky Tonk Women' in G, so I hop right onto the E string and get right on it. However, it sounds really weird, and the keyboard guy is looking at me like, ***, who is this jerk we got stuck with.

    I look down and realize this monster is a 5 string and I'm playing a D on the low B. OOPS. I never played a 5 before, so I slide up a string, readjust, and pretend the bottom string is not there. Much better. Of course, my co-workers didn't notice a thing.

    The band guys liked my stuff, they threw me a third
    song, after Sweet Home Alabama, we did Mustang Sally. One of the guys mentioned that I played circles around their regular bass player, who's idea it was to hang on the low string and play only the 1. He looked real pissed of when I gave him his axe back, but what the heck, I had a good time, and he got paid.

    On with the show
    Da O-man
    totallyfrozen likes this.