Jump to content

Those 'train wreck' moments


Boodang

Recommended Posts

Kiwi
This post was recognized by Kiwi!

"Best thread topic ever"

Boodang was awarded the badge 'Great Content' and 50 points.

Inspired by a comment in another thread where someone posted 'who would possibly turn up with a bass that bad to a session', to which I replied you would be surprised, I thought it might be fun to share some of those moments which turn into train wrecks, be it incompetent musicians, engineers, promoters, or self destructing equipment/ musicians, engineers, promoters, plus mishaps and misunderstandings.

Unreliable musicians have always been a source of frustration and at times (in hindsight!) amusement. I was in a trio and we had managed to get the headline slot at a small local festival, about a thousand people and we were chuffed to be given to top slot. The pianist was a fantastic player but a bit flakey, so I made sure to pick him up early so he didn't get lost. He'd just bought a new keyboard and as we were getting ready a horrible thought struck me, had he bought a stand for the new keys (until that moment it hadn't occurred to me it was a possibility).... but apparently this had slipped his mind. With moments to go we hastily found two small boxes and he played the gig crossed legged on the stage floor. The audience thought we were a great duo but couldn't understand where the piano sounds were coming from!

 

  • Like 1
  • Haha 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, 40hz said:

Not myself, but one night in Oxford, we played with a band who's 'Bass Player' had forgotten his Bass. He asked to use my Flea. I laughed. 

 

I know a bass player who forgot his drummer once.

 

I had to drive all the way back to collect him.

  • Haha 20
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ah I have so many of these, mostly with one band. Back in the 90's my band were doing our first headline show and, foolishly, the guitarist and I consumed a quantity of... let's say... stuff before doors opened. As we were getting ready to play our set, the guitarist came over to me, looking quite pale, and said "I can't feel my hands." He couldn't really feel his feet either, as it turned out, so had to do the gig helplessly wobbling atop a small bar stool, his hands fumbling for notes in the fog. Not a great look for a rock band, it must be said. I was physically fine but, instead, was experiencing intense paranoia and every gap between songs seemed to take an excruciatingly long time. As a result, I was giving the singer a hard time between songs, pleading with him to hurry up introducing the next song so we could finish and I could hide somewhere. Unknown to me, what had started as banter between him and some mates in the crowd, had turned nasty as the set progressed and there was huge tension between him and a lot of the audience. During one of the following songs, our singer simply walked off stage, went straight through the crowd, out the door and did not come back.

 

When you've tried to figure out how to do the second half of your set without your singer while a rather hostile audience looks on, in the midst of a paranoid meltdown, it changes your perspective of what 'train wreck' really means 🙂

  • Like 2
  • Haha 9
Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 minutes ago, 40hz said:

Not myself, but one night in Oxford, we played with a band who's 'Bass Player' had forgotten his Bass. He asked to use my Flea. I laughed. 

My current method of dealing with this issue... I possess the worlds worst bass, a Jedson tele bass with a 24" scale (!), the only way it can be tuned is A,D,G,C, and intonation is impossible above the 10th fret. I hand them this bass.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
  • Haha 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, Boodang said:

My current method of dealing with this issue... I possess the worlds worst bass, a Jedson tele bass with a 24" scale (!), the only way it can be tuned is A,D,G,C, and intonation is impossible above the 10th fret. I hand them this bass.

Loads of times - usually when playing in London with local bands.........

 

"Hey man, can our bassist use your bass and amp and stuff  maaaan, he's got to get 3 tubes and a night bus so can't bring any gear...good vibes, good vibes......"

 

 

"sorry maaan, we have a 5 hr trip back so we're leaving immediately........"

 

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Same band as above but this took place a few months before that story. We had a decent support slot on a Saturday night with a quite popular local band at the time. When we went into the dressing before soundcheck, there was a guy in there who we didn't know but was quite chatty and seemed sound. He was damp, though. Damp, as in wet, from head to toe. He claimed he had been "in the Liffey" earlier. As I said, though, he seemed sound, so, no harm done and assumed he was meant to be there. At some point, our singer and the main band's roadie got chatting and, eventually, shared a spliff - something our singer had never tried up to that point. I went about my business for a while and returned to find the lads a bit stressed out. They had been getting along with the damp guy, who turned out to be a harmonica player, so he and our singer  had a harmonica jam, which I'm glad I missed. The damp guy then said "Anybody messes with me and they get this!", took an iron bar out of his jacket and started whacking the dressing room wall. The lads had to get security and this guy was removed. This had spooked our singer immensely, which would have repercussions later on. 
 

We were stinking out the place, really going down badly with the biggest crowd we had played to up to that point. The singer from the main band used to dress up as a Vegas-esque character, which our singer was not aware of. The main band guy came on stage to try to get the crowd on our side a little. Our singer, quite stoned, seeing another weird looking character coming towards him, reaching for the mic, rammed his elbow into yer man's throat, screaming "You're mad!" and an onstage scuffle ensued. Security swiftly entered the scene and we wisely left the stage.

  • Like 3
  • Haha 8
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We played a posh wedding in some country house hotel miles from anywhere (and even further from home) and just as we finishing setting up the dep drummer realised they'd forgotten their kick pedal. There was a spare plastic box kicking around (SWIDT?) so we miked that up and they had to basically thump that with their right foot. Ironically it sounded really good...

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Going back four decades now our keyboard player had borrowed a synth off mate for a gig. As luck would have it our normal gig van was out of action and the only thing we could  get our hands on was a open-back drop-side Transit with a tarpaulin cover. We loaded all the gear and set off to the gig. Of course the heavens opened and it poured with rain and if sod’s law wasn’t already playing its dastardly hand it turns out there was a rip in the tarpaulin, and just to rub it in even further this rip was right where the borrowed synth was. When we unloaded the gear the synth was completely waterlogged and unusable😩.

 

Afterwards we spent a couple of weeks avoiding the guy who’d lent us the synth in a desperate attempt to let it dry out naturally before giving him it back. It turned out OK in the end and he was none the wiser! 😂

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Slightly off-topic, but I work at a hospital and have had people turn up to an appointment for their child... without the child. I also had one old dear turn up a year late for her appointment - the appointment card just had the day and month written on it, she found it by chance and thought it was recent.

  • Like 2
  • Haha 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

One comes to mind; a few years back I was in a band that regularly played outdoor summer fetes in the local towns and villages; quite a big scene in the S Wales Valleys.     We arrived at one place we were booked at and hadn’t played before, found the stage where we were to set up, and asked the organiser where the electric power supply was.  He helpfully pointed to a single socket connected to a long, long domestic grade cable trailing across the grass.  We followed it back to a tiny wooden shed, and found the other end plugged into a mains adapter connected into several other mains adaptors plugged into a single socket, along with at least 4 other cables trailing elsewhere.    I should add that our PA was rated at 2.5 kW, never mind the stage amps and lighting.

Without saying a word, we quietly went back to the van and drove away.

Edited by Shaggy
  • Haha 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

One that sticks out in my mind is an event my band were involved with, I will leave out the specifics as it is never classy to discuss specific venues etc.

 

Anyway we enquired about the event as we were interested in taking part and it turns out the venue has no amps, no pa, nothing so they asked us if we would lend our amps, pa etc for the event and our lead singer drafts up an agreement that they agree to in order to cover us in case anything happens to our equipment.

 

We got there and it turns out (though no-one explicitly tells us) that we are actually hosting this event.

 

Anyway first thing that happens, after the drumkit, guitar amps etc have been setup, our guitarist who knew full well that he was expected to bring my bass amp turns to me and says "Mark, where is your bass amp" the life drained from my face and after a few minutes of me refusing to plug into the pa he goes off and gets my amp and turns up with it about 10 mins later.

 

After everything is setup we start playing and I still don't to this day know exactly what went wrong but the 2 vocalists just could not get there vocals together, they fudge there timings, forget the lyrics and it is literally like they are both singing different songs from each other, during the break we have to calm our drummer down who is mortified and embarrassed to be there and is threatening to walk and just to add to my own embarrassment a couple of friends who had never been to any of our gigs before decided to come along to this event.

 

Fortunately after the break our singers got there sh!t together and we played well but by that point we had already made ourselves look like clowns

Edited by shoulderpet
  • Like 1
  • Sad 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Our roadie forgot to pick up the singer on one gig.

 

He arrived at the gig with the PA and no front man. We were bass, drums and guitar, and had to scrape a couple of set lists together in 20 mins. We all sang a couple of songs (even me) and played a few instrumentals, then we asked if anyone in the audience would like to do a number. A guy in a suit got up and sang some rock and roll in the style of Johnny Rotten on speed. This was 5 years before JR.

 

We also had a guy who was transitioning into a woman! He got up and did a strip to us playing Green Onions. He got everything out, meat and two veg and a pair of boobs!! We made it through the night and even got an encore! I wish someone had recorded it.

  • Like 4
  • Haha 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Two that spring to mind:

 

1. We had a gig the other side of London and the drummer offered to help ferry across the PA that was stored in my garage. When we finally arrived at the gig, instead of picking up the mixing desk in its gig bag he'd brought our camping table by mistake. Fortunately the landlord had a spare desk, otherwise it would have been a four hour round trip to retrieve our desk. 

 

2. A guitarist in a band I played with in Bristol had the disgusting habit of walking over during a song and letting rip right by me. He'd then saunter off leaving the smell behind him. 
 

One night he turned up with his brand new Les Paul and was cradling it like a baby all night. During the gig he sauntered over as usual, let rip and managed to follow through! The look of panic on his face was priceless. 
 

The Les Paul was swiftly unslung and propped up against his amp (or so he thought) while he clutched his buttocks and minced off the stage. Unfortunately for him, the guitar slid off the amp and he ended badly bending a couple of tuning pegs. 
 


 

 

Edited by Old Horse Murphy
  • Like 4
  • Haha 17
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not a Train wreck, but funny:

 

I was playing Bass on a corporate function at the Dorchester. If I remember correctly there were around 13/14 musicians and singers in total with a Band leader/conductor (All in evening dress/DJ's etc).

Back in the 80's/90's this line up, or similar size was not unusual in the West End hotels for society or corporate functions. Several band leaders had it all sewn up.

If a musician was a freelancer, quite often he/she would dep in ALL these bands, usually with the same Dave Tanner or Pop Plan charts. They were all like the same gig.:facepalm:

 

We had already started when a young Trumpet player jumped up onto the stage in his DJ's, joined the Trumpet section and started doubling one of their parts.

At the end of the the number, he rushed off without saying a word. We later learned that he was at the wrong gig, with the wrong band...:D

 

 

  • Like 1
  • Haha 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We drove halfway across the country for a fairly standard club gig. We opened the back doors of the van and the BL’s cat shot out and promptly disappeared into the nearby industrial estate. The BL swore his missus would have his nuts if he lost the cat, so we promptly set out in pursuit… took over an hour to find the moggie.

 

We were really late setting up that night… great gig, though.

  • Like 1
  • Haha 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I played in a folk rock band and we had a gig on a small stage at Glastonbury. That gig went well but...

I can remember how but the week before the festival we were asked if we could serve as backing band for a visiting Australian aboriginal actor/musician Tom E Lewis for his gig on the Glade stage (a much bigger one than we were originally booked for) . We agreed band were able to arrange one rehearsal with him. He was an absolute gent but a bit vague about how some of his songs went. I swear he never played them the same twice. The problems started when in addition to our band a couple of other musicians were added (no idea why or by who) sax and keys I think.

The rehearsal went ...ok ish and our guitarist spent a bit of time with him writing out the chords . Not feeling

 overconfident but hoping we'll get away with it. After all some of us have played together for years.

When the gig happens even more musicians Turn up ..trombone, percussion, mandolin old uncle Tom Cobbley and all none

 of whom had attended the one ropey rehearsal.

 

Thankfully a sizeable chunk of the gig was lost to the prolonged soundcheck, so long in fact that we had to start before the drums and myself had even done a line check.

The descent sized crowd at the start of the gig drifted off as chord progressions went out of the window and we descended into a free form jazz exploration. The resulting gig was a train wreck saved only by the didgeridoo solo at the end.

Tom was a lovely guy and it was a privilege to meet him, we were all saddened by his death the following year. 

I smile when I think about it now but at the time I wanted the stage to swallow me up.

Edited by Dom in Dorset
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

First gig with a band I was in with a bunch of old mates In 1970. We were invited to "Lighten up" half time at a local pub gig that a modern Jazz quartet were trying out a new set. This was before the days of cheap guitar tuners and it took us ages and ages to tune up by ear in the toilets. Pressing the headstock of the guitar against the door amplified the sound a lot. We eventually got the guitars and bass in tune and set up at the opposite end to the Jazzers. No guitar stands so we propped the guitars up against the bass drum. Our moment arrives and we walk on stage, the drummer whacks his BD to be sure his pedal is working, the guitars slide over and crash to the floor knocking all three out of tune. We shamefacedly spend what seemed like hours re tuning whilst the audience and the Jazz guys looked on with gathering amusement. What a night.

  • Haha 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

One band I was in had rehearsed up to the point of gig-readiness - we were all experienced and playing pretty standard covers. The drummer was in another band as well, so we organised a double band gig at a local pub. The drummer, singer, the guitarists, singer, and bassist from the other band, and me were all there, wondering what had happened to our guitarist. After some time (this was in the days before mobile phones) we got a message that he'd jumped in the canal and I think had been taken to hospital. He'd always been a little strange but never seemed that way inclined before. Anyroadup, we borrowed the other band's guitarists and got through the gig (the advantages of playing covers that every bugger plays).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Im sure there's a good few I can recall -

 

the time that I played trombone in a Big Band, bent down to pick up my wah mute and snagged the back of my trousers on the bass drum. Clean ripped off the front button of my trousers.

 

Its really hard playing trombone with your trousers trying to fall down.

 

Another -

 

Playing a wedding gig at a large stately-esque home in North Yorkshire. The layout of the venue was terrible. The hall way was where the bar was and the band was located in a room off from this hall way. Of course, the net result is that there is nobody on the dance floor.

 

However, at one point, we were playing "I've had the time of my life" and the bride and best man (I know, right...) came in and re-enacted the lift. Over the bride went and like a plumb line, her skull decided to meet with the dance floor.

 

The bride wasn't moving.

 

We didn't know quite the etiquette should be when the bride could be dead on the dance floor.

 

I signalled a rall and we fashioned an ending on the fly.

 

Singer went into the hall to raise attention and there was a doctor at the scene. Doctor came in and called an ambulance. Ambulance arrived and the bride and groom were taken off.

 

All the guests vanished within twenty minutes and we were left feeling pretty awkward.

 

Without speaking to anybody, we packed up and set off on the long drive home.

 

Now here's the thing. We hadn't been paid the (sizeable) balance that was due on the night.

 

Skip forward a month later and we were still trying to figure the etiquette of trying to get paid when we didn't know whether the bride was dead or not.

 

Fortunately, I didn't draw the short straw - and the drummer had to make the phone call. Turns out, she was fine - she was knocked out and heavily concussed but ok. She was mightily embarrassed that she had forgotten all about the band.

 

So yeah. Awkward. And never play a note without having been paid up front! 

 

 

I've got a whole book worth full.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There was that time that I played in the band with a proper racist. He's dead to me and I have nothing to do with the scum now.

 

Anyway, it was pretty interesting time when the IEM feed was coming out of the venue's wireless mic system who happened to be on the same frequency as the talkback mic (which was strapped to the aforementioned persons head).

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Or that time I did a New Years eve gig at a major casino backing a singer/guitarist. Said singer/guitarist agreed with the proposed setlist.

 

Got to the venue. "But I don't sing those songs".

 

So we figured out what we could play.

 

"What key?"

 

"Yeah, standard keys".

 

Short version. Playing with a capo is not standard key... and the keys that he played without a capo certainly weren't standard.

 

So yeah, transposing on the fly for the whole night in the most b'tards of keys made for a miserable time.

 

 

Of course, the other guitarist and me just had to keep smiling and playing along. The debrief and cursing for that gig lasted for days.

Edited by EBS_freak
  • Like 1
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

One of the earliest I can remember, was playing at the Robin 2 - playing with somebody that has gone on to do rather well for herself.

 

Anyway, I was playing guitar. First song, I broke a string on my Strat... no worries, I had a spare Strat ready to go which I swapped onto mid song. I switched onto the other guitarists spare guitar for the second song. Bust a string in the second chorus.

 

None of my Strats were hard tail at the time (I learned and got a hardtail Strat as a backup) so the rest of the gig was struggling on a 5 stringed woefully out of tune (and wouldn't stay put) guitar.

 

Absolutely awful.

 

I was so angry and embarrassed, I went back stage and threw my pint of water water down the toilet (which of course, is totally rock and roll).

 

The sound man came backstage to say how great we sounded. The band did and of course, the powerhouse singer - but I was still hiding in shame. Sound guy goes to the toilet and sees all the water around the toilet and up the walls and asked what the fk had gone on.

 

They just reply, "oh that's Russ, he does things like that when he has a bad gig".

 

"What just p1ss all over the joint?"

 

Then I had to explain, despite how ridiculous it sounded, it was just a pint of water that had caused the mess.

 

Funnily enough, I still got asked back. 

Edited by EBS_freak
  • Like 1
  • Haha 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The time we played a gig and got stopped mid way through summer of 69 because how were we to know that was what was playing on the car radio when the bride was in the car with her brother in which her brother died in the crash that they were in.

 

Must upgrade my crystal ball.

  • Haha 1
  • Confused 1
  • Sad 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...