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What's the most epic fail of a train wreck you've ever witnessed? Plus a lesson.

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by Freight Train, May 24, 2012.


  1. Freight Train

    Freight Train Earth-based Alternative Scientist, Sex Researcher Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2012
    Dallas, Texas
    Mine is totally delicious, and an important lesson to us all.
    In 1979 I was engineering at Omega Studios here in Dallas, who had two remote recording trucks. I was assisting the recording of a mini-festival that was held every year at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, the End of Texas Summer Jam I think it was. The headliner for this show was Billy Thorpe, and his song "Children of the Sun" was very big at the time. Just to refresh your memory, the recorded version of the song starts with a flurry of acoustic and electronic drumming with echo and fx going nuts, and then there's Billy's rhythm guitar line coming in under it to get the song started.
    For this line up we had none other than Tony Levin on bass, and some major drummer - it may have been Alan White, I don't remember. Anyway, a powerhouse rhythm section.
    We were between acts and the stage was being set up for Billy's set to close the show. I was on the mixing platform with a headset to the recording truck, when the engineer in the truck tells me that Billy's amp is making a weird noise and it sounds like it's about to fry, so I should tell the FOH engineer about it.
    So I go up to the engineer and what I'm able to say is "Excuse me, sir, but the recording engineer in the truck tells me that Billy's amp sounds like it's about to fry and maybe…". Suddenly this guy whirls around throwing his hands up and yells at me, so everyone can hear it, "Look, sonny. I'm a professional here. I don't need some guy in a recording truck telling me what's going on. If something is wrong believe me I'll hear it. Now don't you dare bother me again".
    Well alrighty then, big shot. Let's rock & roll.
    So here we go. Lights go down, crowd goes wild, huge drum intro starts - at least 10 minutes of echoing and swirling electronic drums with lights, lasers and fans going nuts. Now Levin joins in, and it's another 3 or 4 minutes of heavy drums with monster bass. It's cranking baby! The crowd's in a frenzy. Now from the back you see Billy coming up, the crowd roars. Billy raises his hand like Pete Townsend himself and gives a mighty strum and… nothing. Check those volumes, big strum again and… nothing. Oopsie. Complete and total stop down. Never seen that in a big show before.
    Meanwhile, the professional is at the mixing board, and I'm sure he's feeling my eyes right in the back of his head, which is slumped down pretty far between his shoulders by now.
    I felt extremely powerful at that moment. I realized, as I'm sure the pro did, that I could have easily gone up and found the stage manager and informed him of the fact that this whole embarrassment was unnecessary as I had personally told the FOH guy of the problem. But of course you don't do something like that. Still, pretty awesome to have that power.
    Anyway, no matter how experienced or 'professional' you consider yourself to be, you should always leave yourself open for suggestion and help. Lesson learned.
     
  2. Rocker949

    Rocker949

    Apr 20, 2005
    Very true, overconfidence can be a dangerous thing.
     
  3. Register_To_Disable

  4. Steve

    Steve

    Aug 10, 2001
    I saw the sound tech / road manager for xxxxxxx walk up to yyyyyyy and say, "Listen, when you spend some time working for a real touring band, you can tell me about mix consoles."

    yyyyyyy has worked for everyone. He spent ten years running sound for Korn, about five years with Stone Temple Pilots and is out with Kanye West right now. He Started at the ORIGINAL Record Plant.

    yyyyyy zeroed the board and walked away. The rest was...not pleasant to listen to. That was last year. This year xxxxxx came back with a different sound guy / road manager

    That's the thing about the newer digital consoles. Pull the thumb drive and hit one button, it's ALL gone in the blink of an eye. Too bad XXXX boy forgot HIS thumb drive with the premix scene.
     
  5. Freight Train

    Freight Train Earth-based Alternative Scientist, Sex Researcher Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2012
    Dallas, Texas
    +10
    And that's how you handle that.
     
  6. The Owl

    The Owl

    Aug 14, 2005
    Atlanta GA
    1) Being onstage with a drunk Elvis-impersonator wannabe, EPIC FAIL!!!!!!!!

    2) Being onstage with a bassist, who after ONE BEER (I kid you not) forgot entire songs and sections of them, had to call out chord names to him (I played guitar at the time), LONGEST 45 minutes of my life, quit that band not long after. PAINFUL!!!
     
  7. I saw the Melvins play once.
     
  8. paparoof

    paparoof Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2011
    Minneapolis
    Disclosures:
    fEARful koolaid drinker
    Saw the Replacements several times.
     
  9. jumbodbassman

    jumbodbassman Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2009
    Stuck in traffic -NY & CT
    Disclosures:
    Born Again Tubey
    elvis impersonator is way up there on my list
     
  10. purfektstranger

    purfektstranger

    Apr 10, 2003
    Canada
    This...I wasn't there but had I been I am sure I would have seen RJD looking down from above....and shaking his head in disbelief.....



     
  11. Flabass

    Flabass Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    St. Petersburg
    Some tribute.

     
  12. grinx

    grinx

    Mar 24, 2003
    Raleighwood, NC
    was in a cover band once playing some heavy metal polynesian bar in dumfries, va, called Tiki Fala

    at one point in Brown Sugar, the drummer and i stayed the course as the singer started singing the wrong verse at the wrong time, the 2 guitarists looked at each other, then looked at the singer, then looked at us and before you know it they all went their own way and we had achieved a 4-way train wreck.

    classic.
     
  13. Once seen a local punk band who where pretty popular locally, play a show and about 3/4 of the way through the set the bass player and one gui**** started bickering and finally the bass player set his bass down walked over and knocked the gui**** out cold. Then continues to quit the band on stage. The show was over and so was the band. I had a few drinks with the bassist and immediately after and told him that was punk as f***. + 1 for the GG Allen type performance but still a total disaster.
     
  14. marmadaddy

    marmadaddy

    Oct 17, 2005
    Rochester, NY
    Every band needs to have a plan in place for this situation: just pick someone who's the designated person to follow. I usually advocate that it be the singer.
     
  15. nutdog

    nutdog Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2009
    In the dog house.
    I didn't witness it but I studied the 1977 Tenerife crash. Two 747's crashed into each other. The Captain of one was literally the poster boy for the airline. A very young Flight Engineer tried to warn him another aircraft was on the runway but he emphatically told him it was clear and the younger pilot shut up.

    It's the deadliest aircraft crash in history. Look it up. It's pretty interesting. A series of seemingly small errors and circumstances.

    Those in leadership should always consider what their subordinates have to say. Subordinates shouldn't be intimidated. The lesson is that it doesn't matter who is right but that the right decision is made.
     
  16. nutdog

    nutdog Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2009
    In the dog house.
    On a musical note, a band I was in attempted to play Crossfire. SRV did it in Eb, but they tuned down 1/2 step so they played it in E. Apparently my band never came to a clear understanding of what key we would do it in. We started the song in both E and Eb. Try it sometime. It's a very unmusical sound. Sort of like a temporal distortion in the space-time continuum.
     
  17. makkE

    makkE

    Jan 19, 2010
    Normandie, France
    We were recording out band in the jam room about 10 years ago.

    They had gotten me "this bass that sounds killer" to record with.
    It did sound good, but something was strange about it. It produced strange harmonics.
    I don't know it it had dead spots, or maybe the pickups were bad. They seemed microphonic, picking up unwanted overtones.

    Our then extremely self-confident singer insisted on using the bass though. "We'll just use autotune in case there are problems with the intonation - don't worry."

    We recorded all my bass lines in a week, never actually trying what happened when you'd try to tune the bass. Even people coming by to have a quick listen would note "that bass sounds weird"...

    When all was done, we tried. It was impossible. Autotune got confused with all the overtones, and the pitch just wobbled around.

    The singer freaked out and smashed the keyboard (it was later put together again and remained working :p )...

    So, I got another week to record all my lines again.
     
  18. Freight Train

    Freight Train Earth-based Alternative Scientist, Sex Researcher Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2012
    Dallas, Texas
    Went to see Sly and the Family Stone, probably around 1972 or 73 maybe?, which by then Sly was notoriously drug-addled and would often no-show gigs or completely forget songs and lyrics if he did show. We were sitting on the front row for this particular show. The opening band came and went, Family Stone's gear moved up and readied. Waiting… waiting… Finally 45 minutes after Sly was supposed to go on, everyone except Sly walks out onstage, and no one seemed really happy for some reason. So they start jamming, and despite the greatness of Larry Graham, the audience was getting really restless after about 30 minutes of noodling around onstage. Then, thanks to our front row vantage point, we see coming up from the side of the stage two huge roadies dragging Sly between them, his feet dragging the floor behind him. They don't even miss a beat - just as they got to the edge of the stage they literally flung Sly out onto the stage, and no s he does about 1 1/2 head-over-heels cartwheels, finally hitting a monitor and taking a face-dive into the stage. He laid there for several minutes while the band continued to jam while looking down on him in disgust. He finally drug his ass up, got behind the organ, stumbled and mumbled through a couple of songs, threw up, and that was it. Surprisingly, no encore.
     
  19. Sly was a real person? I always assumed it was a Hootie and the Blowfish kind of thing.
     
  20. Mo Jiggity

    Mo Jiggity

    Feb 15, 2009
    Sigg'd for teh lulz.
     
  21. DLKasim

    DLKasim

    Oct 13, 2009
    My band tried that (E vs Eb in the same song) about three shows ago. It is an awful sound that no audience should ever be subjected to.