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Trainwreck to end all trainwrecks (Lengthy post!)

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by El Raro, Oct 27, 2013.

  1. Last Friday, one of my bands were asked to fill-in for a band who pulled out of a gig at the very last minute supporting a local band who I happen to be a fan of. We took the gig and sped off to the venue unrehearsed and unprepared but excited nevertheless. Because my guitarist lives in a completely different city, he ended up arriving about 20 minutes after we were scheduled to start. The organiser was really helpful and understanding so he bargained with us - we'd cut out set 10 minutes shorter so we were given 20 minutes to play. Fair enough.

    The drummer and I set everything up and just wait for the guitarist to arrive. He finally bursts through the backstage door, sweating and huffing, hauling his guitars and loose cables dragging across the floor. We quickly help him load all his gear on stage and proceed to sound check. He plugs his amp in and I immediately notice his amp is crackling and dropping in clean signal while his distortion is simply too thin and screechy. He left all his effects at home. Whatever, we'll just wing it with what we've got. How bad can it go?

    First song in, he opens the set with some clean strumming - nothing but crackle and drop outs. Decides to "compensates" by engaging the distortion...completely kills the song from the onset. Worst of all, as soon as we kicked in together, I noticed his guitar was in a completely different tuning. Did he fix it for the next song? Nope...kept it the same. I later find out he "couldn't hear himself" and "didn't think it was THAT out" despite playing in C when the songs were in D.

    So I tried my hardest to transpose the notes and get them to match his mis-matched tuning. For the most part, I was able to nail it since the songs aren't particularly difficult but I did stuff up more than I would have enjoyed. As the set progressed, the guitarist's form seemed to get progressively worse. He'd start mumbling the lyrics, off key of course, and then, out of nowhere, start yelling obnoxiously close to the mic - probably peaking the FOH. I noticed a few winced faces in the crowd with some even resorting to stepping outside. If that wasn't bad enough, the drummer started losing time and forgeting some of the songs because the guitarist decided to play our WIP songs rather than the material we're comfortable with all for the sake of "keeping within our time limit".

    To end our miserable performance, the guitarist suddenly decided to change our closer...to a song we had only just started working on the night before...THAT was the cherry on the crap cake. I didn't know the majority of my parts, neither did the drummer and the guitarist literally just playing whatever he felt like. It was a complete mess. I looked back at the drummer several times with a "***" face and was at least glad he felt the same way. The guitarist ended the set by rubbing his guitar against his cab, effectively breaking every string on the guitar and releasing a world of ugly noises through the FOH PA. I'm all for rock n roll stage antics but not when its followed by a truly abysmal set.

    The real sting of the evening came afterwards when I read a comment on Facebook by one of the band members of the band we were supporting (the bass player, actually) essentially comparing the guitarist to an "Unfathomably less talented Kurt Cobain doppleganger" and saying we were "Genuinely the worst band I've ever had to share the stage with. Who invited these guys?". Ouch.

    I made my feelings known to the band, particularly the guitarist. This isn't the first time he pulls this sort of thing. He really has a complete disregard for musicianship and tone all because he wants to be as "raw" as possible. He likens his style to Nirvana, At The Drive In and other punk/hardcore bands of the 90's. The thing is, these guys at least had method to their madness. He doesn't. The worst thing is, he refuses to upgrade any of his gear or give his cheap guitars set ups because its either too expensive or because "They do the job anyway".

    Its annoying and I don't like how his attitude is directly affecting our performances. He's a good friend and he's a lot of fun to be around...but he's just a terrible musician. If it keeps going this way, which I have all the reason in the world to believe it will, I'm gonna have to bail on this project. The guitarist is simply too stubborn to see otherwise.
  2. ggoat!!!

    ggoat!!! Banned

    Apr 6, 2008
    Fire him immediately.
  3. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

    Don't ever try to match what another member is doing so completely wrong. Gauge the audience and see if its appropriate to call a "ok, now that we've soundchecked", pull him aside and straiten his but out.
  4. Unfortunately, its his project, effectively making him the "leader". If anyone's going to leave, it'll be me.
  5. ggoat!!!

    ggoat!!! Banned

    Apr 6, 2008
    Leave immediately.
  6. I never got a chance to pull him aside and tell him. He would immediately kick into the next song after finishing the last. I did yell at him at one point to "TUNE UP!" but he must not had heard me.
  7. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    If you are in a situation where the only other available band to play in on the whole planet is more than a 3 hour drive away from you, then you need to stay in this band. Other than that, leave now. No drama. Just bow out. This isn;t a band. It is an overgrown four year old ego trip on parade.
  8. The "friendship" aspect is what's stopping me at the moment. I'm very close to both the drummer and guitarist so its hard to just cut ties - especially now that they're wanting to step into the studio to record some of the new material (which doesn't sound nearly as bad as it sounded live...ugh). I'm thinking I'll record these news songs with them and then take my leave. At least give them the courtesy of finishing what we started.
  9. Yup, seems like that's the way things are going to go. I've thrown myself out there to see if I could find another band that's a bit more to my liking but I guess I have very specific criteria. No bites as yet but I guess I just have to be a bit more patient.
  10. That's gotta suck. I've delt with playing with guys with cheap gear. I'm pretty sure everyone has at some point. But they were atleast in the proper tuning for the song/gig. If your more serious about it than he is maybe you should look for someone else to jam with. Folks like that are typically just attention seekers. The whole messing up his guitar deal was all about attention. We kicked out a really talented band member who was like that. He was basically all talent but zero effort and no discipline. Fantastic voice but no effort to write any of his own lyrics. He'd go on stage drunk or high and act goofy and sound out of breath and breathe in the wrong places completely screwing up his vocal patterns. Dude would go shirtless on stage showing off his tattoos he got started ten years ago that never were finished and his beer gut. He wore eye liner when we simply aren't that type of band. I honestly think with him it wasn't about music at all, he just wanted to basically say he was in band that was popular locally
  11. Desirsar


    Mar 1, 2013
    Link them this thread...
  12. Jsn

    Jsn upright citizen

    Oct 15, 2006
    San Francisco Bay Area
    You have to divide out the problems that were specific to the gig, and problems specific to your friend. Anyone can have a bad night, and even creatively talented people can have embarrassing misfires. So ask yourself two questions:
    1.) if this guy were at the top of his form, would I be proud to play with him?
    2.) Can the guy do what it takes to get to (and stay) at the top of his form?

    That one gig is in the past. The question is, what's happening to avoid repeats of the same general situation?

    Professionalism involves acknowledging and learning from mistakes. No matter what the genre or performing style. So...what is he acknowledging? What has he learned?
  13. The problem is not the price of their gear. The problem is that they spend zero time maintaning it, not they put any effort into playing them. Give those guys a Fodera or whatever and you can bet they'll have it sound like crap in no time.
  14. Martin89


    Nov 8, 2010
    Glendale, AZ
    Unofficial Endorser: Ibanez, D'Addario, Zoom
    Going in the studio with him would be a definitive moment for you. Because the producer/engineer etc. will be on his tail to tune up, play a riff over, use x or y guitar, z eq/effect; it will bring awareness to him or he will completely disregard it and show his true colors if his ego is too much. Best case scenario he plays a nice guitar in the studio and learns to value a good setup, how much better things sound in tune, etc. Worst case, you record some tracks and spend most of your days in the studio reading/playing video games/facebook/talkbass while the engineer/producer deals with him. You can stay if he improves or move on with positive studio time for yourself which you can use as a reference for other projects you may be interested in.
  15. Mr.Bass40


    Oct 21, 2001
    Get involved with another project, you won't be able to change the antics of your
    Guitar player, and that is going to lead to more
    embarrassment and stress for you. You have to bail for self preservation. Good luck!
  16. mcarp555

    mcarp555 Guest

    Jul 14, 2013

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