Ever crash and burn on a song you suggested?


The Old Hyde

Last Saturday night we had a great gig. I played in my two bands and filled in for a third during the night. Having a stranger bring me a beer between songs let me know I was playing well. Anyway, towards the end of the night I called out to my main band Pink Floyds Comfortably Numb. Its a huge crowd favorite that we do and I love to jam the ending. Anyway, I counted us in and could not for the life of me get the beat correct! first I played it about half time which was way off so I sped up during a fill to catch up and was way off again. I couldn't get it! I always say NEVER STOP....well, for the first time ever live, I stopped. It was really bad. the crowd was ok with it ( no booing or bottle throwing,) and the 16 year old bass player from my other band came up and sat in on drums for me. after the first measure the light bulb went on over my head and I was like " oh yeah, that's the simple beat". I came in for the rest of the set after that to a lot of jeering on the mic from my bass player but hey, I just drew a blank!

Liebe zeit

Silver Member
Only ever did it in practices, but I suspect you've got centuries more experience than me. You played in 3 bands that night; you prob just had a brainstorm.


marginally amusing and mortifying story real quick

this was when I was studying at MI in Los Angeles around 1998.... everyone needs a certain amount of performance credits every marking period .
this means you pick a tune from a sheet , sign up, wait your turn, then get up on the stage with players of all instruments , most of which you have probably never even seen before , and play the tune in front of a good amount of students and staff in the performance hall .

this one particular marking period I had been working so hard that I forgot about the performance credits and the marking period was ending .
as I was leaving school on the last day of the period I popped into the performance class , looked over the sheet and signed up for Misty Mountain Hop......a tune I had played a million times since I was a kid.

my turn comes up. the musicians greet each other with nods and smiles . I count off the tune and we are off.
sounded killer and we were nailing it.
for some reason when it came to the section where Bonham starts his reentry fill with the roll back into the chorus ....I guess I misjudged something or just lost my way somehow.....on a tune I knew like my own name.....and completely train wrecked the band .
we recovered somehow and finished the tune ....I was mortified ...I fell on my face in front of a room full of amazing musicians ....did not feel good .

I brought my credit sheet to Tim Pedersen and he says.....there was some really good and some really bad......marks my credits and hands me my sheet .

I don't know why that has stuck with me to this day.....but I think of it often and cringe every time.

I cannot hear that song without thinking about shitting the bed in the performance hall at M.I.

.....oh and yes....I tripped on my cape on the way out of the performance hall


Gold Member
Those types of disaster usually befall me if its a song that I'm confident with and have been playing for ever. I think for me it's all about familiarity, and if I am familiar and confident, I probably pay less attention and am more relaxed and laid back, to the point that I can simply go blank. I do some singing and I have more of a problem with lyrics than with drums, where I suddenly forget the next line in a song that I have sung hundreds of times

I need the adrenalin to be flowing to keep me at my best I guess!


Platinum Member
For whatever reason, I have a terrible time playing shuffle beats if the shuffle is played on the hats (1-a 2-a 1-a 2-a). The other night at the blues jam the guys kicked into a lively shuffle and I could not lock in at all. The groove was very clearly "1-a 2-a" and all my right hand wanted to do was "spangalang" swing style. After about two verses, the bass player (who was singing and leading) looked back, grinned, and flipped the song into "Route 66", sparing me a bit of embarrassment. Don't know why, it just never feels natural to me. Probably why I don't play in any serious blues bands...

Mind you, this only happens in more "jam-style" settings for me. Usually if I'm on stage with someone, it's because we've exhaustively rehearsed. That doesn't mean it's going to be perfect, but it's probably going to be a lot closer than a random song picked out of air.


Gold Member
Comfortably numb is actually a challenging song, so simple it's not easy. I wouldn't want to go up on stage and "wing it" even though I've heard it a million times. I'd have to at least give it a quick listen to get the correct tempo going in, if unrehearsed. No shame there, man...even though it's disappointing to actually stop.

I had that happen once, during a paid gig of all places. An old band and I were playing acoustic rock originals in Providence RI. There was this one triplet-feel song we did, which had a (for whatever reason) tricky part in the middle.

I could never nail this one part for weeks, despite rehearsing it. But then a few days before the gig, walla, it worked. I still went on my own way and practiced it some more.

Sure enough, at the gig, I totally train-wrecked the whole thing and worse, didn't recover well enough and actually had to stop briefly. The band gave me a "WTF?", because this wreck was actually worse than the rehearsals.

That's the last time I played with them. :)


Senior Member
"Numb" is one of the PF classics that is deceptively simple. Nick Mason is the master of that. He just lays it back and keeps it solid and simple. Even seeing him on the London Olympics ceremony I was so impressed at how slow ands almost regal his fills and cymbal crashes are. I think it's one of those songs where you just have to get the tempo in your head and just settle in. And us drummers have to count it off or the others will speed it up as well. The keyboards affect the feel as well. I think we get so used to them being there locking in with the drums that when they are not, we have a hard time visualizing the tempo.


Platinum Member
I've got one that's much more general. One time at a jam, there was this guitar player who more than anything else just wants to shred. No matter what we play, he shreds. No mistake, he's amazing at moving quickly around a fret board... I sometimes wish he would calm down and play music, but that's another story.

Anyway, the bass player was taking a bio break and shredder guy asked me to "play in 6/8". Not a problem! 3/4 and 6/8 are oddly enough my most comfortable places to play. But tonight, it was a problem. Every time I started playing, I put a freakin snare shot down on the two, which is obviously not going to work with whatever he had in mind for 6/8... We stopped playing probably 4 times in a row and I was literally asking myself what the hell is the problem. He was like "no, put a snare on the 4 only" and I was all "I know dude, I play this time on the regular... Hell I'd even played it with you before!"

Ugh... And this was on a night when I was really on, too... Not a mistake in sight all night long and for some reason my body wouldn't listen when I told it to play in 6 freakin 8.

Anyway, it was probably on the 5th try that I finally played a damn groove that wasn't in 4. He got to try his idea, which sounded like every other thing he'd shredded out over the night, but that's another digression!


Gold Member
Only ever did it in practices, but I suspect you've got centuries more experience than me. You played in 3 bands that night; you prob just had a brainstorm.
I think Braincramp is a better description then brainstorm..lol had to do that sorry....
I kinda fried out at practice last week on Moondance..damn shuffle I just dont practice it enough..but will now.. I usually nail this song though..thats why I suggested it..its the closest thing I get to playing jazz..


Platinum Member
Without a doubt, I have crashed and burned on a song that I should know, but I haven't done it on one I suggested, thank goodness!

Anon La Ply

Usually, I don't train wreck - instead of throwing a big turd at a song I tend more to spread my excrement thinly and evenly through everything I play ...

I've told this one before - back then I was playing along with lots of fusion at home I
was part of a group of musicians a guitarist had gradually built up around him to fill in on various instruments.

One time he asked me to a fusion jam with a hotshot bassist he was hoping to get in his fold. Everything was fine until Red Baron, which I'd played along with dozens of times before. I simplified the first big fill a few bars a bit bfore the end of the progression, no drama. Second time I decided to go for gold - the Cobham hero fill - which was always a 50/50 at home, let alone jamming with a new bassist who was a better player than me.

I stuffed it up. Not a train wreck because I came out on the anticipated one okay but what went on in the middle was a mess. I was never asked by the guitarist to play again - thus ending my only realistic chance of becoming a pro.

Man, did I dodge a bullet! Haga!


Staff member
the 16 year old bass player from my other band came up and sat in on drums for me.
Much as I would usually relish the opportunity to berate you on this in return for your constant friendly piss taking banter at my expense, I'm going to cut you some slack here. As you probably know, I play this number in my band's set. It's a deceptively tough one to play. Luckily, I'm in a band that pretty much nails it every time out, but I did catch a cold on this number once (think I even put a video of that gig up here). I just couldn't nail down the tempo. Not miles out, just some tempo drift sloppiness across about 8 bars, then I dialled it back in again. It's never happened again thankfully.

It must have been really bad for you to throw in the towel, & even worse, suffer the indignity of drafting in another player. I'm torn between balls of steel & outright stupidity on that one TBH.

Of course, we all know what the real issue was --------------- yup, you guessed it, no wind chimes!!! ;) Chimes, just having a set, gifts you a melodic mojo. Go on, you know you want to really ;)


Platinum Member
I have a mild case of ADHD and sometimes another rhythm will suddenly occur to me. I don't know if it's the condition making me powerless to stop it, or because part of me doesn't want to stop it, so I often let it happen (a lot of good ideas seem to come that way). Sometimes it works and sometimes it crashes and burns. Mostly it crashes and burns in the practice room where I'm a lot less encumbered by pride. But I've gone off the rails live too, though only twice in 30 years have I crashed a whole band. I'm a lot more conservative live. Even more so in the studio.

Me and a guy I play with were having a train wreck conversation recently and decided that our strategy would be to not make me screw up twice. If he leaves the reservation (which also happens from time to time), he can make the correction. But if I get it all jacked up, better to just let me find it (wherever "it" might be) rather than force me into another awkward time disturbance. One dent is bad enough and better to hit the reset than to stubbornly cling to where "it should have been" and cause another dent at the correction.

It doesn't matters who's "fault" it was.

We both agreed that, from an audience perspective, rhythmic dents are worse than a melodic variance.

Shoot, we've been (inadvertently) working on our damage control chops so much at practice, we're practically pros at screwing up and faking our way back ;) But I think it's like anything else; the more you practice catrastrophe management, the better you get at it.
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The Old Hyde

It must have been really bad for you to throw in the towel, & even worse, suffer the indignity of drafting in another player. I'm torn between balls of steel & outright stupidity on that one TBH.

Andy, He was suddenly standing next to me reaching for my sticks so he really put me on the spot. i was torn, not wanting to look like a jerk by not letting him try, if that makes sense? He was terrible too which didnt help, and I took over right away after that song. haha if chimes had saved me, my whole outlook on life would have changed......thankfully, no chimes in sight!

MikeM, I was right there probably about to get it but i was just confused for some reason. we love to play it and the worst part about me calling it out, i counted it in with four correct tempo hits on the hi-hat, and then crash! i was playing the snare on 2 and then 2 again for some reason so there was this huge gap in the beat, and I knew it was wrong but my mind just couldnt fix it. hahahaha