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Those 'train wreck' moments


Boodang

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On 26/01/2022 at 14:55, Bassman68 said:

Just a complete fish-out-of-water experience at the time

 

 

We had a situation just like that but in reverse. It was when we played in a two piece and we were playing at a bar just out of town. A group of women came in aged about 40/50 ish. We were in our early twenties and thought oh, no they are going to hate our set. We desperately tried playing all of our softer songs and as the night wore on we were running out of quiet songs so we eventually just thought sod it, we are going to have to play our rockier songs. Well these women came alive and started dancing and having great time. After the gig one of them came up to us and said I bet you thought we were a bunch of old fogeys didn't you? We had to admit we did.

 

The ironic thing is they were all probably younger than I am now so I can totally understand how they felt about music. I mean I would hate to be thought of as an old fogey who liked Simply Red  or Rod Stewart.

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1 hour ago, Webby308 said:

I think karma (in a bad way) exists, as I was telling our drummer about this thread on the way to our gig last night and we we saying we've got off lightly compared to some of the stories here...  so guess what?  It was out turn last night...

 

Firstly our lead guitarist amp failed 4 songs in - the only time he didn't bring a spare because he was car sharing with out other guitarist...  fortunately one of the audience (who plays in a Bowie tribute band), went home and lent us his spare. Lucky or what?  At this point my phone in my pocket managed to dial 999 twice - it turns out Iphones can be fired up without human intervention when performing.... Then the singers wireless mic started weird feedback hums at random, then the other guitarist broke a string, so one song was bass, drums and 5 of the usual 6 strings whilst amp surgery was talking place...

 

The second set started ok, then the 2nd guitarist's IEM's stopped working, then to top it all about 30 minutes from the end I got a huge nose bleed that covered everything (shirt, jeans, shoes, bass).  It's bloody tricky to play and sing with blood and snot adding to the rock and roll look...

 

Oh well, hopefully that's our chunk of chaos this year, but you never know these days...

I hope the nose bleed happened during a suitably rock n roll song!

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1963. We had a six piece trad band in Cheltenham. We weren’t really traddies, we were very much into the Bop stuff that was emerging at the time but we were riding the trad boom and had plenty of gigs. So it was Tiger Rag all the way. We four unmarried members of the band lived together in a house, actually a succession of houses because we were getting ‘moved on’ a lot. Two guys were code breakers at GCHQ. We were quite entrepreneurial; promoting dances by other bands in the surrounding village halls. We were quite adept at fly posting, on one occasion falling in through a shop front in the process.

One day we saw an article in the local paper that the organisers of the Gloucester Mayoral Ball couldn’t find a band. We’ll have some of that, we thought. So we thought of some poncy name, like the John Goodwin Ballroom Orchestra, and put in a bid. With an unfeasibly massive fee. I remember the letter back saying in the circumstances we have no option but to accept your fee. But we want continuous music, with strict tempo, old time, all the usual formal stuff. 

When  reality sunk in less than two weeks before the gig we had trumpet, clarinet, trombone, banjo (banjo?!) bass and drums. So we found a young guy who played piano and a mate of ours played baritone. Half of us could even read, meaning the other half couldn’t. So, where to find a ‘library’? As it happened a local bandleader had recently died so two of us smartened ourselves up and went round to his grieving widow to express our condolences. And, by the way, could we borrow his library please.

 

On the evening of the Ball we set up at the Guildhall. They were all there in black tie and jewels, the place was packed. So we turned up a quickstep and proceeded to play. The noise was excruciating, it was so bad. We hadn’t had any rehearsal and we had another four hours of this. I looked round and saw all the colour had drained from our faces. We were in big trouble. So after a while we threw the dots away and busked our way through the programme. It made a slight improvement but it was obvious nobody was enjoying the evening.

 

With two hours to go we threw in a ‘trad’ set. All of a sudden the floor filled up and they all started smiling and leaping about like a crowd of young farmers. And that’s how will filled the remaining hours, all trad. We got away with it but it was a narrow squeak. It was a long time before we took the pee on such an industrial scale.

 

Sorry it’s a bit long.

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11 minutes ago, bassace said:

With two hours to go we threw in a ‘trad’ set.

 

You say trad but what do you mean by trad? If this is 1963 trad means something different than what I believe trad to be.

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7 minutes ago, ubit said:

 

You say trad but what do you mean by trad? If this is 1963 trad means something different than what I believe trad to be.

Oh, there was no authenticity to it. It wasn’t Louis Armstrong Hot Five, Jelly Roll Morton or anything like that. More like Kenny Ball. ‘Trad’ was quite a British style of jazz at the time. A bit of a mongrel.

Edited by bassace
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I've only got a couple of instances. Here's the earliest one....

 

My first ever 'proper' gig back when i was about 16 was an unusual one. It was at the very back end of the punk era so didn't seem to be quite such a shambles as it would nowadays - artistic improvisation and being pretty different was still encouraged. But we really were dreadful.....

 

We had somehow snagged a support slot to a jangly/indie style band at the local main music venue (The Square in Harlow if anyone has ever played it) and needed to play for 45 minutes. Problem was that we only had 5 songs and about 20 minutes of material. I was ready to bail out of it but was persuaded by the guitarist/singer that we could stretch the songs a bit and he would fill out the gaps in between to help. We decided to dress up a to try and make a bit of an impact and Drosso (the singer/guitarist) informed us that he was going to make a grand entrance after the bass and drums had jammed around for a few minutes. 

 

I turned up a bit late (dressed in a tails suit and with Dave Vanian style white/black make up on) and literally walked on to the stage, plugged in and the drummer kicked the pair of us into action. Drosso came running up the stairs onto the stage a few seconds  later. He was dressed in thigh high cavalier boots, a g string with his knackers hanging out, Sgt Pepper jacket and had a hollowed out teddy bears head over his head.

 

We stretched out the first song for about 10 minutes. When we had finished the song Drosso reached behind his amp and grabbed a bucket he had stashed there earlier (I hadn't seen any of the prep work so this was all totally new to me). He then threw its contents straight over everyone in the front couple of rows. It was full of liver, fish guts and general entrails from the butcher shop. The crowd were not massively impressed and we spent an uncomfortable 30 more minutes playing total rubbish with Drosso generally abusing and taking the wee wee out of the crowd (all cardigans and chinese slippers) whilst they all glared at us waiting for us to finish. We reached the big climax and as we hit the last note Drosso triggered the 4 big flashbombs that he had set up (and not told anyone about) behind the gear at the back of the stage. It was like being on stage with Motley Crue!

 

Except you don't get curtains at the back of the stage at a Crue gig. Which then caught fire and necessitated the evacuation of the venue....

 

Fortunately we didn't burn the whole place down. We just about escaped with our lives but were never invited back

Edited by Mudpup
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I have another one: 

 

The one and only time I ever depped was for a friend,  someone who used to work at the Bass Centre and is now a reasonably respected touring musician.  

 

It was a blues band but I didn't find out it wasn't an ordinary blues band until I'd already agreed to do the gig in Surrey.  Oh no, they played blues song that were 'extra'.  I had two weeks notice and one rehearsal to learn 13 tracks that includes gems by Robben Ford with sudden starts and stops, changes in tempo and various extensions to the standard I  IV V chord structure.  

 

I managed to get my head around the tracks by the time we had the rehearsal and while it was shaky I survived.  

 

The actual gig was a 90 minute living hell as @obbm, who showed up to watch, bore witness to.  They played the songs faster live than in rehearsal, my nerves were almost debilitating and, as I missed various cues, my confidence utterly flat lined.  Towards the end, I was dying in full public view, just wishing the earth would swallow me up. 

 

The band were incredibly gracious about it...to the point of apologising and insisting on paying me their share of the (tiny) fee.  I felt incredibly guilty about letting them down even though I had done as best I could. But after that experience, I swore I'd never dep again.  And I haven't. 

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That reminds me of the time I got asked to sit in for a mate of mine who was going away for a couple of months. A trio mostly doing Hendrix and the like, no rehearsal before the first gig but I did get a sit down acoustic evening with the guitarist just to go through any tricky bits. 1st gig went ok and it gelled quite well. 2nd gig, feeling confident (and I still don't know to this day why I did it), I thought, I know what this band needs to pep it up, we should do Hendrix with a double bass. So without announcing it beforehand I turn up to the venue with just my DB. Almost worth it for the look on the guitarist face when he realised A. I was serious, and B. There was no alternative/going back now. I thought it went really well, especially the bits where I got out the bow (again a great surprised looked from the guitarist). The guitarist however was under the impression that the band had taken a dramatic musical turn for the worst but give him his dues he did think it was an interesting experiment... so long as I didn't repeat it (yes, after all that he still let me do the other gigs but double bass and firewood were used in the same sentence). Interestingly I'm not sure the audience noticed much difference!

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Another own goal... I was in an originals band, the guitarist was also the vocalist, he wasn't convinced his vocals were the best so we thought we'd get someone in. The vocalist we chose had a great voice but we weren't sure it was right for the music, so a few gigs were booked as a tryout. By the time of the 'incident' I was getting fed up as the new vocalist would always turn up late after everything was setup and disappear as soon as we'd finish.

We were playing at a small pub, the song in question had the lyric 'you call out my name' just before the middle 8, at which point I 'inadvertently' blurted out 'w*nker' at the top of my voice just as the band dynamics went quiet. The vocalist instantly turned around and came at me, I'm trying to fend him off with my bass whilst still playing, the band keep playing but have joined the audience in that they've turned around to face the debacle at the back of the stage and are laughing. I wasn't sure how long I could keep up my defence when the vocalist, in the spirit of the show must go on, went back the mic. 

After the show I expected more of the same but he did his usual disappearing act but this time for good, which did solve this issue of whether he was going to stay in the band. Of course, once the band realised he wasn't coming back he became the greatest vocalist ever and apparently it was all my fault we were now not going to reach the dizzying heights of fame!

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45 minutes ago, Boodang said:

Another own goal... I was in an originals band, the guitarist was also the vocalist, he wasn't convinced his vocals were the best so we thought we'd get someone in. The vocalist we chose had a great voice but we weren't sure it was right for the music, so a few gigs were booked as a tryout. By the time of the 'incident' I was getting fed up as the new vocalist would always turn up late after everything was setup and disappear as soon as we'd finish.

We were playing at a small pub, the song in question had the lyric 'you call out my name' just before the middle 8, at which point I 'inadvertently' blurted out 'w*nker' at the top of my voice just as the band dynamics went quiet. The vocalist instantly turned around and came at me, I'm trying to fend him off with my bass whilst still playing, the band keep playing but have joined the audience in that they've turned around to face the debacle at the back of the stage and are laughing. I wasn't sure how long I could keep up my defence when the vocalist, in the spirit of the show must go on, went back the mic. 

After the show I expected more of the same but he did his usual disappearing act but this time for good, which did solve this issue of whether he was going to stay in the band. Of course, once the band realised he wasn't coming back he became the greatest vocalist ever and apparently it was all my fault we were now not going to reach the dizzying heights of fame!

Oh, and forgot to say the moral of this particular story; the best bass to fend off an attack from an irate vocalist is of course... a Fender.

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2 hours ago, Boodang said:

Oh, and forgot to say the moral of this particular story; the best bass to fend off an attack from an irate vocalist is of course...  defender.

FIFY

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That reminds me of gig we did in small pub in the 80s. There was no stage and we were just set up at one end of the room. Fairly early on in the set an oldish drunken punter was already on his feet dancing in the space in front of us, but he was gradually encroaching into our space. As he started get too close for comfort the guitarist gave me the nod, went forward got behind him and got on his knees. Meanwhile I was right in front of the guy mirroring some of his moves and he was loving it, right up until the point where I backed him up into the prone guitarist, and over he went. The rest of the audience could see what was coming and thought it was hilarious.

 

Looking back I suppose we could have ended up injuring him but fortunately he was so drunk I don’t think he knew, or cared. It seemed like a good ruse at the time. 

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7 hours ago, Kiwi said:

The actual gig was a 90 minute living hell as @obbm, who showed up to watch, bore witness to.  They played the songs faster live than in rehearsal, my nerves were almost debilitating and, as I missed various cues, my confidence utterly flat lined.  Towards the end, I was dying in full public view, just wishing the earth would swallow me up. 

 

 

I'd completely forgotten about that one.  I can't even remember when or where but now you've reminded me I did feel for you at the time. 

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3 hours ago, Boodang said:

Oh, and forgot to say the moral of this particular story; the best bass to fend off an attack from an irate vocalist is of course... a Fender.

 

I'd have to argue it's probably a Jackson. One quick jab with the headstock and it's game over. 😆

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1 hour ago, Velarian said:

That reminds me of gig we did in small pub in the 80s. There was no stage and we were just set up at one end of the room. Fairly early on in the set an oldish drunken punter was already on his feet dancing in the space in front of us, but he was gradually encroaching into our space. As he started get too close for comfort the guitarist gave me the nod, went forward got behind him and got on his knees. Meanwhile I was right in front of the guy mirroring some of his moves and he was loving it, right up until the point where I backed him up into the prone guitarist, and over he went. The rest of the audience could see what was coming and thought it was hilarious.

 

Looking back I suppose we could have ended up injuring him but fortunately he was so drunk I don’t think he knew, or cared. It seemed like a good ruse at the time. 

 

 

We used to have a character that always turned up to our gigs. He used to dance on tables and not give a toss who was watching. He kept saying how great we were and it was actually quite embarrassing. He used to leap around the bar on his own. He was a figure of fun and perhaps ridicule but we would never have dreamed of taking the pee out of him as he was a fan.

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Just now, EBS_freak said:

If you ever want to hate on a bass player... give them a dep gig.

 

"Yeah, just standard stuff, no sweat".

 

About a year after I quit my Dad Rock covers band I get a panicked phone call from one of the guitarists telling me that my replacement had injured himself and would be unable to play their next gig in a couple of weeks time and could I help them out? "No problem" I say, "so long as there's nothing new for me to learn". 

 

"No, it's all stuff you've played before" says the guitarist.

 

"Great" I say "send me the set list so I can go over the songs and make sure I'm up to speed". A couple of days before the gig the set list arrives, and while they were all songs I had done before with the band there were loads that I hadn't played for years, and less than half of the songs were ones from my last gig with them. It turns out that not only was their bass player injured, but the vocalist had some problem with her voice and they had drafted in a previous singer (who had left just after I originally joined), who didn't have the vocal range to do most of the songs from the last time I played with them. I was not a happy bunny, especially as they could have sent this set list over at least a week earlier. 

 

Because I don't normally play covers, I tend not to remember songs that I don't play on a regular basis, so while knew I'd played all the songs before with the band, there were a significant number that I had not the slightest recollection of how the bass line went. I told them that anything that I couldn't re-learn in time would be busked as root notes only. In the end I think that they were happy that I actually showed up and played, and luckily most of the songs came back to me after a couple of run-throughs at home and I only had to wing it on one or two. However I won't do that again.

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This just popped into my head after reading some of the latest updates.

 

Myself and @stingrayPete1977were at a local blues jam at one of my local bars. It wasn't great - no, seriously, it was terrible. We only used to go to get a drink and catch up (and inappropriately slap our way through Mustang Sally if the opportunity arose (it was always the closing song of the evening)).

 

It would seem that there really was only a "stock set list" that was limited to the following songs.

 

Tore Down

Stormy Monday

Hey Joe

I Shot The Sheriff

*generic blues noise with no vocalist.

Mustang Sally

 

Seriously, that was about it. Didn't help that there was literally only 2 or 3 vocalists - and they had a repertoire of 1 or 2 from the above

 

There were some notable folk (for all the wrong reasons).

 

They included some of my faves

 

- organiser (bass player) who brought all the gear, dubious organisational skills and very short temper. Lets call him Tony.

- harmonica player (who was played over absolutely everything)

- a guy that would turn everything into reggae - and usually got up to play Hey Joe, just after the previous jammers had played it

- drummer guy who wasn't a great player  was terrible. He owned a massive drum kit. Think stadium rack kit with probably over ten toms... double kick drum set up... Lets call him Jim.

- a guy that came down with different pedals, amps etc each week... played a Strat, and whatever he played through, it sounded like "him". Lets call him Willy.

- a lady singer - lets call her Fearne. (Fearne is clearly with Jim but not with Jim if you ask either of them).

 

Anyway, myself and Pete are having a drink in the "viewing area"... and an argument breaks out on stage where Tony and Jim are absolutely screaming and shouting at each. I can't really remember why - but I have the feeling it was over Fearne. Not that there was any romantic link or anything like that, I just think Tony was protective of singers (and lack of them) at his jam. Maybe Pete will remember better than I can.

 

Anyway, the next sequence of events still come up it our conversations now and again to this day...

 

Argument escalates and the the c word starts making its debut. Jim starts pulling on Tony's ponytail and that was the final straw for Tony. Tony reaches down and picks up the bass drum above his head, scattering Jims drums everywhere... and then throws it offstage. On it's journey earthwards, it flies past Willy's guitar (which is on a guitar stand off to the side of the front of the stage), clipping just the top E string, snapping it instantaneously. Guitar remains motionless on the stand.

 

Willy of course jumps up into action and gets involved and the whole thing just erupts into chaos.

 

Of course, myself and Pete did what everybody else would do in such situations, continue drinking having a little chuckle between ourselves.

 

And before you say anything... (I appreciate that it may seem far fetched) that missing of the guitar and just clipping the top E string... lord only knows what chances of that would be. One half a mm the other way and the whole guitar would have been part of the action.

 

Local amateur jams. Brilliant.   

 

 

Edited by EBS_freak
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2 hours ago, ubit said:

 

 

We used to have a character that always turned up to our gigs. He used to dance on tables and not give a toss who was watching. He kept saying how great we were and it was actually quite embarrassing. He used to leap around the bar on his own. He was a figure of fun and perhaps ridicule but we would never have dreamed of taking the pee out of him as he was a fan.

 

My blues trio have a 'similar' fan.  A 70 year old widow who turns up at all our gigs and thinks we are brilliant.  But the dancing... it is zombie dancing.  Not 'Thriller Video' zombie dancing, though - this is like someone has died, come back to life and a small not yet decomposed part of their brains has half an idea of what dancing used to be like.  I can't watch.  

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