What was your worst on-stage screwup?

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by frsbdg, Apr 16, 2016.

  1. frsbdg


    Jan 4, 2015
    Anchorage, AK
    My band played its first actual gig a couple weeks ago. On the second song, something didn't sound right as soon as I started playing. I played the same line again and it still sounded like crap. Then I realized I was playing the chorus part during the verse! Afterwards, I said "sorry about that" to my bandmates, and it turns out nobody noticed. Makes me wonder how bad a bass player has to screw up to be noticeable. It also occurred to me that playing bass could be an alternative to the witness protection program.

    I'm sure everyone has a screwup story or five. What's your favorite?
  2. LT131


    Jan 25, 2015
    Deep South
    I really don't want to talk about it.
  3. Michael B

    Michael B

    Dec 16, 2015
    Lowell, MA
    A wrong note played with the beat is far less noticeable.

    I ended a song early once (lead vocals then). The band all caught on and stopped together. They had to tell me about it after I had no idea. I guess that's a good kind of screw up.

    The only bad show was one where the guitarist rig was failing. The band didn't handle those songs well as it happened and it was noticeable. The crowd just sees you messing up they don't know or care about why.
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2016
  4. McG

    McG Goat Hill Gamblers

    Oct 6, 2010
    Costa Mesa, CA
    I played a dive bar many years ago that had toxic air. I mean the place reeked of unclean restrooms and beer stained filthy carpet. Truly the dive gig of your nightmares.

    As we played the stench got to me. I got light headed and started feeling nauseous. My head was spinning, ears started ringing and I couldn't hear a thing. All I could think about was to not lose it on stage. We were playing a 1 4 5 blues song and I suddenly realized things didn't sound right. I looked at my hands and saw I was playing a half step flat and didn't even know it.

    At that very moment my feet went out from under me and I was on my ass. I actually had walked off the 2' high stage.

    THAT was the worst mistake/gig I ever had.
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  5. McG

    McG Goat Hill Gamblers

    Oct 6, 2010
    Costa Mesa, CA
    Chicken ;)
    Squittolo likes this.
  6. I was jumping and headbanging around on stage one gig.

    Then I accidentally stepped on my tuner pedal.

    No more jumping around happened after that. :roflmao:

    Took me a bit to figure out why I had no sound.

    That's about it for me haha
  7. 15 years ago at a decent size gig doing a tribute to soul ...

    Getting upset with our keyboard player for springing an encore song that I had no idea how to play ...

    We just went into it and by the time I had fudged the second chorus I started acting 'punk ' .. Totally out of context for the show ... Lol ...

    No one said anything and we never did another gig ... But I just felt like needing the stage to swallow me up ..
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  8. Aberdumbie


    Jan 22, 2016
    South Carolina
    Oh that's easy... We were opening for a larger act. Huge crowd. I was excited. We had a fiddle player with a hundred year old instrument. Started into a rousing rendition of Souths Gonna Do It Again... I was rocking around our fiddle player and crashed into his fiddle. He just stopped playing, glared at me. The song died down..and then the deadly silence. I wanted to crawl out of the place. Still have nightmares...
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  9. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    Opening song. Hi energy band. Hi energy song. Hi profile gig. I was tuned a half step down, and couldn't tell what the problem was. Thought it was my guitarist train-wrecking.

    Last edited: Apr 17, 2016
  10. dbase

    dbase Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2008
    South Jersey, USA..
    Once in a while i miss plucking a string, a common mistake for mediocre players like myself. Leaves a very big hole and dead spot in the song. When my bandmates notice it and turn to look at me, I turn around and look at my amp as though it was it's fault. (see farting on stage). ;)
  11. Bodeanly


    Mar 20, 2015
    It's not so much "screwing up" as it is "someone getting hurt." I almost broke a guitarist's nose when my headstock came down on it. I've fallen a number of times after trying to look cool with a jump, pogo, or just from too many shots. I've since quit drinking.
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  12. Oren Hudson

    Oren Hudson

    Dec 25, 2007
    Gastonia, NC
    My big blunder was actually on keyboard. The keyboard was used a good bit during our show, mostly by our female vocalist. However, there were 4 or 5 songs that I really played well and enjoyed playing on the keys, so I would switch over and do the bass part with the left hand. A couple of those songs were in different tunings, so I preset the key change so I could just push one button and the change was done. Unfortunately, I failed to do that on "Spooky," so here I go doing the really cool chords for the opening joined by the drummer. Just before the vocals were to begin, the female vocalist starts telling me that something's wrong. Of course, she was getting ready to start the vocals and realized the key difference. No choice but to stop, change the key setting and start over. A big blunder for the band leader that expected near perfection! :eek:
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  13. Bass intro - I started the wrong song at the close of a church service (last minute call, very similar titles). Guitarist came in with riff from other song (different key). I kept going & Singers pull it together somehow. I didn't realise until they told me after we finished!!

    Accidentally tuned the E string UP a semitone at an outdoor gig. (glare + tuner = fail). I pulled bad faces at guitarist periodically... until half way into song (section where I didn't play) & he sounded perfect. Oops!!

    Another gig - mando played was accidentally tuned UP a semitone. When I came in on fretless, it sounded horrid for about 8 bars until I worked it out.
    dbase, frsbdg and McG like this.
  14. Jamvan

    Jamvan The Bassist Formerly Known As Meh Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2014
    I don't do it real often but when I screw up, I play it twice. That way the rest of the band thinks I'm just an innovative bass player, using a diminished augmented flatted sharp or something...

    My worst was when the band broke into Dwight Yoakam's "Little Sister" (which I'd never played before). Lots of starts and stops in that one to try and hide behind some root notes. Longest 3 minutes of my life.
  15. tbirdsp


    Sep 18, 2012
    Omaha, NE
    I got back into playing in 2012 after many years off. Was doing a fairly high profile cover band gig at a bar with my American Standard Jazz. I think it was second set when the E string broke - and I had no strings and no back-up bass:eek: In all of my years of playing I had only broken a couple of G strings and maybe a D - just figured if that happened I could fake it. With no low E you are pretty much screwed though. This bar was clear across town from my house and it took me over an hour to make the round trip to get another bass. BL was not pleased. Luckily he and the singer did side gigs as a duet (keys+ vox) so he was able to fill in. I now have extra strings AND a spare bass for every gig.
  16. -Asdfgh-


    Apr 13, 2010
    Subbing. Put chord charts on monitor. First bass drum beat and they were all over the place...
  17. catcauphonic

    catcauphonic High Freak of the Low Frequencies Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2012
    Seattle WA
    Rookie mistake on like our 3Rd gig: My D string was waaaay out of tune due to a bad tuner. I still can't tune by ear. I just tried to play everything on the E & A
    McG likes this.
  18. EdwardofHuncote

    EdwardofHuncote I Still Dream of Jeannie Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2013
    So many to choose from... :bag:
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  19. CGremlin


    Nov 1, 2014
    Palm Bay, FL
    My personal best was playing in the cast of a dinner show. I had a solo number with an acoustic 6-string, and as I was getting up on stage, my foot slipped off the edge and I came down *hard* on my knee in front of God and everyone. That knee still gives me problems 20 years later, but at least I saved the guitar!
    McG likes this.
  20. guitarflinger

    guitarflinger Not all who wander are lost Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2013
    Front Range, Colorado
    Oh Golly, let's see:

    Stepped on my bass cord and pulled it out in the middle of a song

    Started on the wrong song

    Started the right song in the wrong key

    Shall I go on?
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