The night the music died


Platinum Member

Little bit of a rant-

Big advertised "Jam Night" at a local club last weekend. Musicians had been specially & 'personally' invited. Many knew each other even though they hadn't played together. Some were from out of town. Yours truly was also in attendance, and being the only drummer at the time, pretty much played ' house drummer' for the entire evening.

It started off well enough, the usual 12 bar blues with some fine guitar players, a nice ballad singer, some funkified rock n roll. But as the night wore on we get a couple of heavies rolling into the house. They seemed a little cocky and by the way they appeared to handle themselves - a little inexperienced too- a dangerous combination, I sensed- rightly.

When they finally got on stage and fronted the jam, slowly but surely - it went to pieces.

Now rightly or wrongly, I'm of the school that believes that if people on stage are not listening to each other and/or cannot hold it down REGARDLESS of the instrument they play, they should not be on stage.

They should play at home, not in a public place. Nothing gets my goat as much as some guy wanking off, too busy being a rockstar all by his lonesome and totally forgetting that there's a band thats holding it together that hes a part of.

So now we have Mr. Guitar God and his cocaine-fuelled harmonica player buddy on stage ( he would'nt stop jumping the whole time he was playing often knocking the monitiors all over the place ) and the whole time they are on some other planet. After an insane 20 minutes, some of the patrons started to up and leave.

I did what I could to hold it together, to get this duo back in the loop but I knew it was a lost cause. It was loud, and disconnected and totally self indulgent.

Gradually I tried ending the tune, winding it down to soft rim clicks for a fade out ending - - no chance, no response -- the guitar was still wailing away at volume 11 or whatever, and mr. Trampoline Man was still hopping like a manic trying to drown out the guitar player with a frikking harmonica ( !!!! )

So - -- - I stop playing.

Finally, these guys whip around, now looking shocked & horrified, gesturing wildly for me to continue. I refuse, because by now Im really really pissed.

I yell out to them over the noise to finish the coda without the drums! The guitar player looks mad, but I was ready to deck him at this point, and asked him if he can play the song without the drums he should.... The song finally ends and I'm the only one who gets off the stage. I knew there was no other drummer in the house at this point but I could'nt care less.

I got some heat from my friends who were there for creating a such a scene and behaving the way did, but I was really mad as hell. Later, thankfully a couple of other drummers showed up so, I was off the hook, but I certainly left an impression at that club that night.

Was I out of line? I think so.... maybe a little bit...... but man, there is such a thing as blatant selfishness and musical disrespect on stage --- not to speak of sheer bad musicianship, and can someone please tell these guys its ok if you cant play, but at least lets not announce it to the world by getting up on a stage and cranking the amps up to the max.

Thanks for listening.

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Jeremy Bender

Platinum Member
Nope! I think you put the music first which is what I hope any serious musician would so. You
faded out as an indication that the tune was ending and they didn't follow your lead so that indicates their listening abilities right there.

Keep the reputation for having high standards alive Aydee, it's a trademark that's hard to come by and easy to lose. Other musicians who are worth their salt will recognize that in another player.


Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
If someone else isn't a pro, the real pros have to stay the course. If the guys up front look bad for what they're doing, let them look bad. But your action makes you look bad.

Sometimes you just have to say "it's a jam" and be as much of a pro as possible. That's the best way for you to look good.


Doctor Dirt

When you host a jam your the boss, thats it! Your responsible to the person paying you and if you know nothing about hosting jams you'll learn by the damage done to your gear.
If anyone is acting out of line to you then stop the tune and tell them to get off your stage. The people there to watch and listen will appreciate your move. Hosting a jam is part cop and bouncer if your not able to use the hook or throw one your in deep when the Morons roll in, and they will eventually.
Its not the best night out and when I did them I got paid very well to do it but I have a reputation that everyone around this area is very familar with. I'm all about respect, thats with each other and equipment too so no ones coming to the jam and abusing anyones gear or anyones ears. Theres a level of volumn thats considered and if its a metal concert your looking to perform your at the wrong jam.
It really helps to have a theme for your jam or set up designated times during the night when different types of music would be featured. Then you'll see what styles are favored and it can help promote the night. If its an early in gig put the least favorite type of music last and the best recieved in the middle for the longest duration.
Jams can be a pain and not worth the effort but if you assert yourself and establish boundries you'll get rid of the wanna bees. No Free Jam Hosting, get paid well. Doc


"Uncle Larry"
Great story. I love rants. You're so passionate, I can relate. And you're such a good writer Abe. I had a similar story, I won't go into it, it wasn't as funny as yours, and I didn't walk off, (he suggested we fight!) but afterwards I was venting to my then GF and she kind of put it in perspective for me. What she said was OMG don't be so serious, it's just music, you're supposed to be having fun up there. She was right. Just have fun. She was a non musician. Was anyone getting hurt?

Sometimes an outside view is just what the doctor ordered. You can rant about it later, but just go with it while it's going on, that's what I say. Let someone else shut it down. The guy running the jam has the responsibility to bring out the hook IMO. I know the guy that runs the jam that I am a part of would have been Johnny on the spot right there turning them down. Where was that person at your jam?

Out of line? I wouldn't term it that necessarily. Should you have walked off? Definitely not, IMO.What if they were guys with big names? Would you have walked off then? Laugh it off. In that particular situation. You got a chance to witness everything you don't want to be. I'd be marveling at the magnitude of their stupidity lol. You could write a song about these two. No, I don't think it was in your best interest to walk off. You could look on it as an opportunity to display to anyone there that nothing fazes you. Bermuda put it much more eloquently, and I agree.

Those guys sounded dumber than a bag of hammers though, great story.
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Gold Member
If someone else isn't a pro, the real pros have to stay the course. If the guys up front look bad for what they're doing, let them look bad. But your action makes you look bad.

Sometimes you just have to say "it's a jam" and be as much of a pro as possible. That's the best way for you to look good.

This is correct, but just as much as it's wrong.

There's a medium. You can't let something so ridiculous go ignored, and your presence on the stage with those guys would have been noticed by all those observers, which would matter. You stuck to your beliefs. Your muso friends may have thought it was overreacting, but I can understand your frustration. If people start leaving I'd be pretty ticked at the guitar player too. :p

Just be sure to hold your temper a bit more easily next time.

jon e rotten

Senior Member
I've often considered taking some of those groucho marx glasses on stage so I could slip them on when things like this happen.


Silver Member
If it's an open jam nite you should always expect that stuff. That's kind of what you signed up for in the first place when you show up to those things.


Platinum Member
Haha! Great story...don't blame you at all for your reaction, even if it was a bit emotional. In thinking about what I might do in this situation...I'd probably have fun with it and play in a way that would put the spotlight on how goofy these two animals were being. Maybe I would have busted out a fine, uptempo polka groove or a nice, subtle Bossa Nova.

I get you though...these guys belong in a basement together, horking crank and patting each other on the back for their sheer (perceived) awesomeness. They had no business trying to entertain others.

Thankfully, I've never encountered this level of douchebaggery on stage, but I've had more than a few one-off experiences with these types of "musicians." If you can't listen to your bandmates, you need to work on developing some ears before taking it out of the garage.


Platinum Member
Those type of jams really do need a moderator,and they should be by invitation only unless its an open mic type of deal,and then especially a moderator is needed.

There should be a gentlemans agreement on how many bars you can solo,unless you have a sober celebrity up there who's really killing it,and the crowd is right there with him.

I do think you were somewhat out of line,and also agree with Bermuda,in that times like that,cooler heads will prevail,and you have to remain a pro..You shouldn't let knuckle head basement rockstar wana be guitar and harp players.ruin your good time.Its like the inmates taking over the asylum.The next time,go on auto pilot,and just visit a happy place,and wait for Abbot and Costello to run out of gass.;)

Steve B


Platinum Member
Agree with Bermuda here, Abe. The show must go on ... though you could always say it was an artistic decision to leave space :)

Remember that clip of Matt playing Foxy Lady in Europe, where the two guitarists got carried away and turned it into a wankfest? Of course this was on live TV but Matt just laid down the groove for them and kept things clean (to compensate for the guitar clutter) until it finally finished.

Oh well, everyone makes mistakes ...


Platinum Member
Bermuda's right, you're supposed to be the consummate professional and just hang in there and deal with it, as I'm sure you've done many times in the past in similarly screwed up situation- as everybody who has worked has. Then again, the jam session stage is not sacrosanct, and I see good people walk off all the time when that kind of garbage playing is happening. Eff it, you know, you've paid your dues- you deserve to indulge in some self-respect and make a scene once and while.

Who were these guys? What do you mean by "heavies"?


Senior Member
That's a nightmare from which you cannot wake up. I really like Rotten's idea with the groucho glasses. Or maybe a mask that covers your whole face.

Same thing happened to me at a family reunion with one (chronically) drunk guy, and another stoned dude who was having a cosmic spiritual experience of some variety.

After the whole thing had turned into an eternal living hell, I got up, said f this, and walked out.


Platinum Member

@Jeremy- That’s what I thought I was doing… but ya, my emotions got the better of me somewhat

@Jon- I know you are right. : )

@Doctor dirt- I wasn’t hosting this jam. The host was sitting in a different section of the club most of the time. These were all invited musicians, so wasn’t really an open mike- or amateur night either

@ Larry- wise words. You’re right , bud. In hindsight I wouldn’t have done it. If it was a paid gig I definitely wouldn’t have done it. At the time I just felt that at the very least by removing the drums and myself from the mix I was detoxifying the garbage spewing from the stage somewhat… doing what was in my control.

@Coldhardsteel- ….exactly! : ) you described what I felt.

@ John e – Great idea! Or maybe a gong… like the old Gong Show..

@ Bigd- not really an open mike but it did have that atmosphere.. the quality of music took a sudden dive..

@ Vin- Yeah, I do realize I got emotional and sometimes one overreacts and takes things personally. These guys were just inexperienced amatuers who had winged their way into the musician list, and they wanted every minute of their time under the spotlight to ‘count’. Jon’s right, I should have been more pro about it.

@ Tamadrm- The host is a very charming pothead who didn’t think he needed to moderate because everyone ( he thought ) was an ‘experienced’ musician - and was sitting under a blue haze in some other level of the club the whole night.

@ Pol- Ya, I know what you’d think : ) and you’re right as usual. If this was on TV I would ‘ve done the same thing as Matt …

@ Todd- By heavies I mean they had the hair, the clothes, the walk, the talk, the tatts, the jewellry and the arm candy when they walked in. The music didn’t live up to the image though…

@iwantmemoney- “ SOMEONE UNDERSTANDS!!!” : )

@ambientgreg- ANOTHER ONE!!!



Senior Member
I remember going to a jam in a pub once where they had a kit set up onstage and all these musos turned up to have a go.
I got behind the kit and the other drummer came up and snarled "Don't tune my kit!". I never dreamed of touching his kit, he seemed to think he was Kenicki in Grease....

Then when they started playing they all began showing off their chops and trying to outdo each other. I just kept a beat and let them get on with it. But then somebody changed abruptly to 5/4.
Now, I'm a rock drummer. I don't DO 5/4, in fact I had never played it before so I stopped. They got on my back about it but I wasn't about to start rehearsing at a gig!

So I let the other guy take over. He could only play rock n roll. <cough>

keep it simple

Platinum Member
Abe, you describe the buildup of tension perfectly. Isn't hindsight a wonderful thing. Yes, of course, you shouldn't walk under any normal circumstance, but it doesn't strike me as a normal situation. Ok, so a few people got their noses put out of joint, & maybe you did yourself a tiny bit of reputation damage with the unenlightened at the venue, but anyone that really matters to your future would have picked up on the vibe. You let your frustration get the better of you, but I say, screw it! You put a line in the sand, a line that said "I'm not a party to this dance floor clearing crap". You have standards, & you took a stance after giving the jerks ample opportunity to get the message. Of course, if it was a TV show, a paid gig, hell, just a gig, you wouldn't, but it wasn't, so head held high man, good on you!


Platinum Member
I also agree with till the end no matter what.

I completely understand your frustration Abe! I've been in a few situations like that through the years and along the lines of what Bermuda said....the idiots will present themselves accordingly on thier own.


Senior Member
I would have walked. Life is too short to put up with that crap. That was not a professional situation.