victim of a smoke machine

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by Blunk, Nov 10, 2004.

  1. Blunk


    Aug 14, 2002
    *cough* *splutter* *cough*

    i've a hacking cough like i smoke 60 a day (i don't even smoke one a day!).

    my band managed to land the opening slot of my college's graduation ball (pretty sweet!), there was all sorts of madness leading up to the gig - the van got clipped by some idiot trying to pull across a full lane of traffic...adding a further delay to all already late arrival.

    when we got there we couldn't soundcheck - there wasn't any time.

    so we pretty much waited til people finished their dinner and we got up and started playing, using the main band's backline, sweet gear but the settings were not good for us.

    the stage was quite dark with lots of UV lights, i had no idea my mic was right beside a smoke machine...i was just about to starting singing my back up bit...poof! a big cloud of dry ice/whatever that stuff is made from completely engulfs me!

    i couldn't see a thing for a fair whack of the song, my eyes kept watering during the rest of the set and i found it hard to hit all my notes.

    it was disgusting, i couldn't breathe properly for days.

    i'm constantly coughing up some slimer quality gunk everytime i cough...if it keeps up i'm going to the doctor.

    i was just wondering if anyone else has fallen victim to any FX (not pedals now :) ) like that?

    a gig ages ago i nearly burned my head on a light on a very low ceiling...maybe its just me!

    the legend of the cursed bass player
  2. Thee


    Feb 11, 2004
    San Luis Obispo, CA
    Crazy fog machine. I breathe in our's all the time while performing, I've been fine.
  3. alapantera


    Mar 22, 2004
    I had that problem too... although i don't sing any back-up. but the lighting guy had set up his smoke machine right next to my area on stage. when it started pumping out smoke i was having troubles breathing... and almost passed out. after that first song i told him to kill the smoke and he did. The rest of the night went pretty well. Drank lots of water to try and recover. I find the smoke also usually iritates my contacts and my vision gets all hazy.
  4. Blunk


    Aug 14, 2002
    i think i'll go to the doctor sometime soon, i'm still having trouble with my lungs since that night with the smoke.

    i get a little out of breath when i go for walks, and i'm a pretty fit guy, i play basketball twice a week.

    crud :meh:
  5. Definitely see a doctor. I'd also suggest finding out who is the manufacturer of the smoke machine and contacting them.

    Has any other member of your group complained?
  6. slugworth

    slugworth Banned

    Jun 12, 2003
    So. Calif.

    A couple of gigs ago, we were up against 3 high volume
    fog machines and what seemed like a Marlboro smoker's
    convention. The mix of fog and tobacco smoke cost us
    or 2nd night's gig at the place. None of us could speak the next morning it was that bad. My left eye was watering for
    a week and I was coughing up glop for 2 weeks..That chemical fog juice irritates lungs, eyes, nose and throat.
    Clubs should use that stuff sparingly, or not at all. It's

  7. Are some fog juices less (or more) irritating than others? Perhaps it's as simple as upgrading to a better quality juice.
  8. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Funny ... a couple weeks ago, when I was at a conference in Phoenix, my band did a bar gig here in Groom Lake. They got a sub for me. Anyway, the bar had a stupid fog machine which, I guess, ran all night. Then we had a birthday party gig the next weekend, and every single member of the band (besides me, praise god, whatever you perceive it to be) was sneezing, wheezing, and coughing up the occasional bolus of bile-colored phlegm.

    I think someone probably hocked a big greenie into the fogging fluid, and the germs floated around on the particulates and into everyone's lungs. We were supposed to play there next weekend, but we got postponed. I'm thrilled.
  9. teej


    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    Yeah, that smoke is quite a nuisance, sometimes. I feel like I'm choking and have to gasp for air whenever I start breathing that stuff in. I think the secret is builind a tolerance to it. I'm hardly ever around the stuff, so that may explain the "fish out of water" effect.
  10. I wonder if those machines get cleaned properly. I also remember reading that some combinations of fogging fluid and machine/temperature can cause the fluid to be dangerous.

    If I were any of you guys I'd check with a local theater group and ask them. They'd know about the potential dangers more than anybody else.

  11. teej


    Aug 19, 2004
    Sheffield, AL 35660
    I'm with a local theatre group! The Deshler Theatre Company. I'm head technical director and I run the lighting and sound (I love my Soundcraft Spirit 24). I've never heard of the fog being dangerous in that senario. But very rarely do we use the foggers anymore. In one show (The Wizard of Oz), we had fog for when the witch melted and the stuff started drifting into the audience and a few people were coughing. Now when we use them, we only do short bursts, and throw a fire blanket (per fire marshall regulations) over the machine to keep "stray" fog from coming out.
  12. Hmmm.

    I did a quick search on Google and found the following:

    Chemistry of Smoke Machines

    "Glycols can undergo heat denaturation into highly toxic substances, such as formaldehyde. This is one of the major problems with homemade smoke machines - they may operate at a temperature that is incompatible with the substances being used. Also, this is a danger with homemade fog juice used in commercial machines."

    "Glycols, glycerine, and mineral oil can all leave an oily residue, resulting in slick or sometimes slightly sticky surfaces. Be aware of the potential safety hazards, especially since the smoke may limit visibility. Also, some people may experience skin irritation from exposure to glycol fog."

    "Some glycols are toxic and should not be used to create smoke. Ethylene glycol is poisonous. Some glycols are sold as mixtures. Medical or pharmaceutical grade non-toxic glycols only should be used in smoke machines. Do not use antifreeze to make a fog mixture. The ethylene glycol types are poisonous and the propylene glycol types always contain undesirable impurities."

    In short, it could be very dangerous. I suggest going back to that venue and looking at the smoke/fog machine and asking to look at the fluid container used to charge it. Then contact the manufacturer and make sure that the fluid is compatible with the machine. But I wouldn't mention any of this to the club. If anything happens, hire a lawyer.

    Be careful.

  13. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    Maybe fog juice is different over here, but I have never had a problem, even though I inhale enormous quantities of the stuff every week. I'm convinced it's in the mind. Even more so after doing the occasional gig as a PA and lighting operator sound over the years. Whenever a singer complains about a fog machine, I casually mantion that the juice is water based, so it's kinda like breathing in a drink of water. Of course this is totally nonsense, but if a singer believes it, it's true. It's amazing how many singers come over later and say "I normall can handle fog machines. But you're right, that particular smoke didn't hurt my throat at all".
  14. SMoke machiens are pretty bad....I've performed with one once, and it made my eyes water a fair bit, but it looked so good.
  15. fatjbass


    May 29, 2004
    Portland, Oregon
    All I know is that when you're in a closed room with the one my band uses you'd better be ready for it to smell of all sorts of evil.