Gig Disaster Stories!

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gumbynotpokey
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Gig Disaster Stories!

Postby gumbynotpokey » Sat Mar 05, 2016 6:14 pm

Now remember, we have "Rule C" and we have the "Backstage Lounge" set of rules (Kevio's sticky). Let's keep this civil and in so doing, keep the Lounge alive, rather than closed altogether. (don't simply share profane behavior of idiotic fans - nothing so interesting from a music perspective about that stuff).

For this thread, here's what I was thinking. I want us to share gig disaster stories that are focused on the hazards of being a musician per se, and of playing music per se, and all of that. Let's share ultimate gig disasters! What went wrong? How did the disaster go down? In other words, let's keep it about music, and all things music. I figure with the players we have on this BBS, there should be some real good ones!

(I'll give someone else the honor of going first!)

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re: Gig Disaster Stories!

Postby texastoast » Sat Mar 05, 2016 7:11 pm

I got to watch a pallet containing every bit of gear for a nine piece band sink to the bottom of the pacific ocean. Including my strat that would be worth a mint nowadays. But more important was my Miyazawa flute I just had made. Saved for five years for that thing.

We were going to play in Perth Australia for the Americas cup. It was also Christmas and we were going to all kinds of events like caroling and such. When they transferred it to a pilot boat they dropped the whole dang thing.

The band just stood there in disbelief for what seemed like days.

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Re: re: Gig Disaster Stories!

Postby Praiser » Sun Mar 06, 2016 7:28 am

texastoast wrote:I got to watch a pallet containing every bit of gear for a nine piece band sink to the bottom of the pacific ocean.....

.....The band just stood there in disbelief for what seemed like days.


Don't see this one being topped. That's just awful! No words available.

Mine are much more tame, but keep in mind I'm a church musician exclusively so "Disaster" is relative:

1. During a potluck meal after a service, the Pastor's teenage son was heard crashing around on the platform. My Dobro Bass was knocked off the stand. After some checking, I noticed that the jack had been forced through the wood on the side of the instrument. I had left the cable plugged in like I always did.

2.When leading a song that we had done many times, another member started it in 6/8 time instead of 4/4. I fought it for the whole first verse, then just had to go with it. Would of had to stop the song otherwise. Worked OK, but some of the phrasing for the lyrics had to be "adjusted" on the fly.

3. Had to lead by myself one time with just my bass because all of the other musicians were either sick or out of town. That was kinda rough as very few people know the bass line well enough to sing along with confidence. Felt like an unprepared 30 minute solo.

4. Had to disqualify an otherwise talented drummer one week for greeting me with an attitude of epic proportions. He didn't understand why he couldn't play so it took some back and forth to make him comprehend. Tough way to go into a service.

Feel pretty fortunate that those are really the worst in almost 15 years of doing this.

NEXT!!

John

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re: Gig Disaster Stories!

Postby Doctor Doug » Sun Mar 06, 2016 8:04 am

I was doing a wannabe rock-star jump and I tripped. Managed to break the output on mu guitar and the input cable for my wireless in one spectacular fall.

To my band's credit, they kept playing and I managed to plug in my spare guitar with a wire after about half a verse.

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re: Gig Disaster Stories!

Postby Casual Madman » Sun Mar 06, 2016 9:42 am

My highschool band got invited to a "Battle of the Bands" at a large HS in the DFW area (this was 1979). We rented a sound system (as usual--we all had good personal gear, but no one could afford the PA) and drove down in the rain--and got lost, so we were late setting up.

We had to go on second, which was supposed to be the "home" band's privilege--so they got to come back for an encore after we played.

Since there was no chance for a sound check, we just plugged in and played--in a gymnasium with about 1500 kids watching, and no one could hear my guitar. I kept cranking the amp up but still drowned out--until about a minute left in our last song, someone figured out the mike on my amp wasn't switched on.

My last 60 seconds sounded AWESOME, after 15 minutes of "Huh?"

I was so disgusted at the outcome, I slammed my Les Paul Custom down in its stand... and as I walked away, it tipped over, and fell flat on its face.

The crowd went wild, they thought it was part of the act. Meanwhile, I died inside. Had to wait until Home Band finished their encore (a halfassed "Free Bird") to check on my baby. Amazingly, the only damage was to the nut--it'd been mashed deeper into the neck slot, so the strings were all flat on the frets. I shimmed it up later with a couple of flat toothpicks, and it was good as new.

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re: Gig Disaster Stories!

Postby John B Jr » Sun Mar 06, 2016 2:24 pm

I have to agree that nobody is going to sink lower than texastoast; at least I hope not.

We were in a local blues bar shooting pool between sets when I heard my front man up on stage telling the audience that "We're gonna kick some axe Baby!" That was news to me 'cause we weren't due back to the stage for another 15 minutes. We put down our cue-sticks and climbed the stairs to the rather elevated stage. From there it was apparent that our lead-man, flying V strapped, was absolutely -faced; couldn't play, couldn't sing. We sat him down and started doing Stormy Monday as an instrumental. The club owner wasn't having it. We were lucky to get out of there with our equipment, forget the meager pay.

One Halloween show, I wore a bunch of goth-metal gear including a bandolier style bracelet of 50 cal bullets. I was really into a heavy pick-style crunch when I looked down at my right hand to see that the bracelet was taking chips and deep scratches out of my bass's finish. The show must go on so I finished the song and the wood-chipping before getting a roadie to get the metal menace off of me - or take the whole hand off if need be. This was before it was fashionable to have a distressed guitar so I had to spend the dough to get it refinished. I must say that the luthier did a great job so my disasters are probably the weakest of the bunch.
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re: Gig Disaster Stories!

Postby spudmunkey » Sun Mar 06, 2016 3:52 pm

High school talent show. We had our gear partially set-up off-stage, and had to have our gear set up in less than 1 minute while the lights were out. We had stacked my 2x10 combo on top of our bass player's 1x15" combo, because it was on wheels.

When the lights went out, which was our cue, we rushed out onto the stage to set up. I was pushing this amp stack and caught up to the guy in front of me. I bumped into his heels, causing him and whatever drums he was carrying to hit the ground. The bass amp started to tip forward. I tried to prevent it by grabbing the top of my amp, which caused the bass amp to still tumble forward, while my amp tumbled backwards...landing directly on the magnet of his Radio Shack 15" speaker. It bent the speaker's metal framework, and crushed the speaker cone.

The lights come on, and our bassist can finally see what happened...and let out a loud shout of "Oh my f**k!!"

The audience is laughing hysterically at all of the sounds of chaos coming from the darkened stage. We found out later that some people thought it was a comedy act.

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re: Gig Disaster Stories!

Postby Evster2012 » Mon Mar 07, 2016 7:14 am

Playing "The Nugget", the on-campus bar at Cal State Long Beach, and during our closer - Sabbath's Paranoid - I got it in my head to finish with the classic stage dive. I looked over to our roadie guy Doug as if to say "The Carvin Doug. Catch the Carvin. Here comes!" I hit the final E chord, toss the guitar, and a-leaping I go. Or so I thought....

It was not the first time my foot got tangled up in my cable. It was the first time however that I discovered it while in a free fall above a crowd of drunk college students. Wrapped neatly around the ankle of my python skin boot, the Spectraflex cable proved worthy of its lifetime warranty as I proceed to take my X100B along for the ride.

Doug held onto my Carvin that night, earning his share of the band's not inconsiderable beer tab. The DC400's jack plate got bent, and the cable shorn off at the amp's input. The amp crashed with an almighty clash of reverb springs (and kept on ticking!) as I dragged it across and off the edge of the stage with me.

That's rock n roll innit? :lol:

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re: Gig Disaster Stories!

Postby Bruce Y. » Mon Mar 07, 2016 4:39 pm

Well, most of our gigs back in the 60's were at Rutgers college. We were all set up, tuned, and the band walked in. We were at the wrong frat house. Ahh, they all looked alike.

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Re: re: Gig Disaster Stories!

Postby DesmoBob » Mon Mar 07, 2016 6:14 pm

texastoast wrote:I got to watch a pallet containing every bit of gear for a nine piece band sink to the bottom of the pacific ocean. Including my strat that would be worth a mint nowadays. But more important was my Miyazawa flute I just had made. Saved for five years for that thing.

We were going to play in Perth Australia for the Americas cup. It was also Christmas and we were going to all kinds of events like caroling and such. When they transferred it to a pilot boat they dropped the whole dang thing.

The band just stood there in disbelief for what seemed like days.


Condolences. Short of someone dying, I don't think it can get worse than this. :shock: :shock:

Mine is just a lame story compared to this.

Our singer had booty call the night of one gig, and our drummer flaked out for some reason. We literally had to find a singer and a drummer in the classified ads. In the newspaper. This was before there was such a thing as youtube, craigslist, facebook, etc, so we had no idea what we were getting. We LITERALLY picked up this high school kid from his house and handed him a microphone. The drummer turned out to be a good drummer, but was just unfamiliar with our set list. Imagine Sweet Child o' Mine at about 100 bpm.

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re: Gig Disaster Stories!

Postby Cynical » Fri Mar 11, 2016 10:30 am

I was only a witness for this, thankfully, but it is the biggest disaster I've ever seen at a show:

The scene: death metal show at a seedy dive bar. The co-headliners are currently on stage; the amps of the headliners are on-stage behind the gear of the co-headliners.

Band is on stage, and the rhythm guitarist/vocalist's amp is cutting in and out throughout the set. During the last song, when it cuts out again, he literally throws his guitar across the stage in frustration, grabs the mic-stand, and walks back and forth across the stage while growling the lyrics. At the end of the song, he smashes the microphone into the ground. Sound man comes on over the PA and says "you're paying for that microphone, buddy", and the singer gives him a two-word response, supplemented by a single finger. The sound man charges the stage and tackles the singer into the headliners' Mesa Dual Rectifier full-stack, destroying the stack, and starts beating the hell out of the singer. The other band members try to intervene, club security shoves them away from the sound man and starts beating the hell out of the other members.

There haven't been any death metal shows at that club since.

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re: Gig Disaster Stories!

Postby texastoast » Sat Mar 12, 2016 12:25 pm

Now that is rock and roll right there. Note to self, hire real small sound guys.

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re: Gig Disaster Stories!

Postby jfine » Thu Apr 07, 2016 1:11 am

Here's one that I actually managed to rescue (sort of). In about 1977 I was in a country band on the road, we were playing the Stateline Casino in Wendover, Nevada, and our lead singer/rhythm guitarist decided to have me and the bass player walk to the center mic to sing our respective vocal features in the middle of the set (not simultaneously, thankfully!). Despite walking with a limp all my life, that wasn't much of a problem, as I could still stand up to play in those days (can't do it now!), and it worked OK the first few shows. On the next one, I was on my way across the stage when I felt the guitar cable wrap around my ankle and I went right over backwards. Hit the stage with a thump that was probably heard all over the casino, in front of a full crowd. I made a big production of unstrapping my Telecaster and handing it to the lead singer, got to my feet, dusted myself off, went to the mic and pretended to be looking for someone in the back of the room. "Ladies and gentlemen," I said, "On our last break, this guy came up to me and said, 'Wow, man--you guys are really good for a country band, but I wanna know if you can really get down?'" Making it up as I went along, right? So I continued, "Was that far down enough for you, pal??" It got a laugh, we carried on playing, and I hope people thought it was part of the show! I'd call it "thinking on my feet", but I was on a different portion of my anatomy. I never went to the center mic again...

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re: Gig Disaster Stories!

Postby Catman10 » Thu Apr 07, 2016 4:54 am

Ouch! But great recovery, though!

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re: Gig Disaster Stories!

Postby John B Jr » Sun Jun 05, 2016 12:22 pm

Last week's gig, the mic cables would make huge crackling noises every time they were touched. I asked the songstress if she could leave the mic in the stand and do it like the (typical) three back-up singers did. She said, "Nope, can't do it" so the whole first set was irritating as all get-out.

Yesterday was way, way worse! We jammed a private party on a 56 acre estate with our set up out doors with three stacks of mains on each side and an EZ-up tent over the stage. Everything was first rate except my rig so they loaned me a stack of Markbass 4X10s with an 800W MB head. The vibrations rocked right through my chest cavity. Awesome, my first time with 8 10s!

The end of the set comes and I take my bass off and CRACK, right into the frame of the EZ-up with my headstock. The first blemish on my Icon. I wish I had been playing a back-up bass but here's the sad pics of the gouge and a scratch for good measure, a two-fer if you will. :roll:

Image

It's an all tung-oil bass.

Image

Do you think this will buff right out?

Image

That is one of the selling points of this finish. I'll have to start the maintenance program a couple months sooner than planned.
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re: Gig Disaster Stories!

Postby Coda » Sun Jun 05, 2016 1:04 pm

John B Jr wrote:Do you think this will buff right out?


Yup. :D

Glad it's not worse. The first bump is often more emotional than physical. :wink:

Remember that the face of your headstock has a layer of satin clear-coat to seal the logo. I looked at my "all tung" DC and I can't tell whether the satin clear goes onto the edges. Regardless, I'd give the battle scar a light circular buffing with some 000 or 0000 steel wool. We're talking light fingertip pressure... If the dust you raise up smells like wood then it's probably not clear coated - in which case I'd add a drop of lemon oil onto the steel wool and see if I can "erase" the mark. If it is clear coat, keep using the steel wool and just don't add the oil. Good luck!
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re: Gig Disaster Stories!

Postby Cynical » Sun Jun 05, 2016 1:59 pm

That scratch is so tiny that no one other than you will ever know it's there. It's really not worth worrying about, IMO.

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Re: re: Gig Disaster Stories!

Postby John B Jr » Sun Jun 05, 2016 3:31 pm

You are right, Cynical, It was only the flash photography of the tiny nick on the edge that revealed the scratch. This stuff happens to cars, bannisters, whatever but as the tune goes, "The first cut is the deepest." I'll get my hands on some of that Olde English furniture product and see how that goes.

Cynical wrote:That scratch is so tiny that no one other than you will ever know it's there. It's really not worth worrying about, IMO.
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re: Gig Disaster Stories!

Postby arahobob » Sun Jun 05, 2016 3:50 pm

A drunk bar patron came flying into my micstand once and bashed my prs pretty good.
Image

The worst was the circle/dot below the bridge pup in the photo. It was a pretty nasty crack - that's the one that was filled in w/ clear coat. The repair has held up for at least a decade.
If you look to the left of the dot, you see some lines / light streaks running across - those are gouges in the top - mild(?) dents.


I've seen microphone stands cause all sorts of damage over the years.
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Re: re: Gig Disaster Stories!

Postby Casual Madman » Sun Jun 05, 2016 9:58 pm

arahobob wrote:I've seen microphone stands cause all sorts of damage over the years.


Singers are evil. Instrumentals for everyone! :wink:


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