Unusual Gig Stories

moodman

Well-known member
Playing at The Hogshead Brewpub in Old Sacramento, a basement room and the band is set up along a wall with three windows.
Outside those windows is the alley descending, so the first window is about a foot high, the next a couple of feet and the last a full window. As our blues trio played, I noticed in the stage lights, a fine mist enveloping the guitarist. Someone was taking a whizz by that window and it was a golden shower for the guitar man. I'm in front of the second window, it is closed, and the bass man slams his shut just as another stream started there. To the guitarist's credit (I guess) he finished the song before going to clean up.
This was 1985, parked by my van was a car and trailer with a home-made sign 'Red Hot Chili Peppers'. I'd never heard of them and assumed they were a latin band. You don't suppose those pee'ers were peppers?
 

moodman

Well-known member
Playing the Grow's Nest, a country bar in Indy, the owner's girlfriend comes up an says "Play Damn You" ( she meant "I'll Be Damned" by Pure Prairie League) we it do and then take a break. As I sat down with a drink I hear gunshots, this woman has shot her brother in the back and Ronnie Grow, the owner in the arm. Cops arrive and the yellow tape goes up, nobody can leave and the owners brother insists that we keep playing. The cops are trying to interview witnesses, for sure nobody is dancing, we do a dirge-like 'Yakity Sax' and some more un-inspired renderings before being allowed to stop. Ronnie carried that bullet to his grave, too close to an artery to remove safely.
Speaking of country bars in Indy, there was one on the west side that we had a 2 nighter. The main entrance was closed in honor of the guy who got stabbed to death there. We went down the street rather than use the restroom which always had a few inches of 'liquid' in the floor and one of those roll towels pulled out and hanging to the floor with blood and who knows what covering it. There was one patron that would stare at you menacingly and then run toward you like he meant to kill you only to stop short and turn shyly to bar. "Don't worry about him, he's got a plate in his head" we were told. Naturally we got stiffed on the money and were glad to get out of there with our gear and selves intact.
 

iCe

Senior Member
The only thing that comes to mind is that the band i was in (at the time, around 2016) had a Spinal Tap moment.

A local radio station had a competition that allowed 30 bands to play for 20 minutes in Paradiso in Amsterdam (Netherlands). You've had to rack up votes to have a chance to play there and then the amount of votes decided which stage you could play. It's pretty much a legendary venue over here. So bands ranked 30 to 21 played in the basement, 20 to 11 a bigger room and 10 to 1 the main stage. We ended op at #15, mainly because i discovered a bug in the voting system haha. When you deleted your browser history and cookies, you could vote again and that vote counted! So i'd spent a hour or 2 a day just voting for us hehe. But i digress....

So we got there in time, got to the backstage area downstairs and dropped our gear. Got back the same way and enjoyed the festival until an hour before we were scheduled to go on. So we chilled backstage, had a couple of beers and then it was time to go to the stage (which was in the top of the building). Now... there wasn't any venue employee backstage and we didn't know how to go to the stage, so we wondered in the basement for a couple of minutes being totally lost on where we needed to go :ROFLMAO:

Eventually we found someone who directed us to the elevator and everything worked out fine. Still to this day the best gig i ever did. The 4 songs we played in those 20 minutes felt like 5 minutes and i vividly remember soaking in all the details of playing there!
 

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moodman

Well-known member
Playing the Sutter St Saloon in Folsom CA, A man walks in and seems to start an argument at the first table. As he continues around the tables lining the dance floor, he has words with each one and moves on. Passing the stage he gives us a ration of crap which we ignore. He keeps it up until he has confronted every table. He then approaches the bar and says something to a guy sitting there who knocks him on his butt. The cops come and arrest the guy who punched him while he goes free, there is no justice.
 
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moodman

Well-known member
The only thing that comes to mind is that the band i was in (at the time, around 2016) had a Spinal Tap moment.

A local radio station had a competition that allowed 30 bands to play for 20 minutes in Paradiso in Amsterdam (Netherlands). You've had to rack up votes to have a chance to play there and then the amount of votes decided which stage you could play. It's pretty much a legendary venue over here. So bands ranked 30 to 21 played in the basement, 20 to 11 a bigger room and 10 to 1 the main stage. We ended op at #15, mainly because i discovered a bug in the voting system haha. When you deleted your browser history and cookies, you could vote again and that vote counted! So i'd spent a hour or 2 a day just voting for us hehe. But i digress....

So we got there in time, got to the backstage area downstairs and dropped our gear. Got back the same way and enjoyed the festival until an hour before we were scheduled to go on. So we chilled backstage, had a couple of beers and then it was time to go to the stage (which was in the top of the building). Now... there wasn't any venue employee backstage and we didn't know how to go to the stage, so we wondered in the basement for a couple of minutes being totally lost on where we needed to go :ROFLMAO:

Eventually we found someone who directed us to the elevator and everything worked out fine. Still to this day the best gig i ever did. The 4 songs we played in those 20 minutes felt like 5 minutes and i vividly remember soaking in all the details of playing there!
Cool tale, reminds me of gigging in San Francisco in 1970, there were so many bands that gigs often had 5 or 6 bands a night with all their gear, it was hectic. We signed and paid dues on union contracts for $300 but in reality were paid 50 bucks, the only way to assure a booking at many venues. Our roadies got the $50.
 
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iCe

Senior Member
Cool tale, reminds me of gigging in San Francisco in 1970, there were so many bands that gigs often had 5 or 6 bands a night with all their gear, it was hectic. We signed and paid dues on union contracts for $300 but in reality were paid 50 bucks, the only way to assure a booking at many venues. Our roadies got the $50.
Thinking of it.... i think i never got paid for a gig haha. Well one time we got €200 euros which we had to split over the five bandmembers, but the rest was always a couple of free drinks at the bar. When a friend would come and help me with hauling my gear or do something for the band we would give him a couple of those plastic 'coins' so he could get a free drink.
 

rhumbagirl

Senior Member
I played with a big band jazz group a few years ago that not only had you pay monthly dues, but you had to share the drum position with two others, at rehearsals and at gigs. And there was no audition to establish a pecking order. And one of the drummers could not play (or read) to save his life. And we arranged to alternate the shlepping. The guy who couldn't play did not have his own kit. I have nightmares recalling his mistreatment of other's gear. On one occasion, he installed my 20" K Custom Dark Ride onto the cymbal stand by grabbing it from the edge like a frisbee. Was not fun seeing it bend, albeit momentarily. On another occasion, after a rehearsal, I heard a slam behind me as I was loading gear into my truck. I turned around, and the guy had sat my folded-up Pearl H2000 hihat stand on the pavement, then watched it fall straight over, rod getting bent and heavy scratches on the chrome wing nuts and hardware.

But I think the biggest disappointment with that gig, was having two inexperienced drummers sitting behind me while I played, and one of them pretending he was smarter than me, even going so far as to suggest tips on how I could play better. I put up with that for a whole summer season before moving on to bigger and better things. LOL
 

moodman

Well-known member
I played with a big band jazz group a few years ago that not only had you pay monthly dues, but you had to share the drum position with two others, at rehearsals and at gigs. And there was no audition to establish a pecking order. And one of the drummers could not play (or read) to save his life. And we arranged to alternate the shlepping. The guy who couldn't play did not have his own kit. I have nightmares recalling his mistreatment of other's gear. On one occasion, he installed my 20" K Custom Dark Ride onto the cymbal stand by grabbing it from the edge like a frisbee. Was not fun seeing it bend, albeit momentarily. On another occasion, after a rehearsal, I heard a slam behind me as I was loading gear into my truck. I turned around, and the guy had sat my folded-up Pearl H2000 hihat stand on the pavement, then watched it fall straight over, rod getting bent and heavy scratches on the chrome wing nuts and hardware.

But I think the biggest disappointment with that gig, was having two inexperienced drummers sitting behind me while I played, and one of them pretending he was smarter than me, even going so far as to suggest tips on how I could play better. I put up with that for a whole summer season before moving on to bigger and better things. LOL
Wow, you've earned your stripes, it is, sometimes, amazing the compromises one must make to get to play.
And the gear, I had a band leader fall drunkenly into my Noble and Cooley kick, grinding a mic stand into the finish. As a result, we lost the gig and my income dropped $600 a month for the 2 gigs we had there each month.
 

moodman

Well-known member
Playing The Mad Trapper in Inuvik NWT for three weeks in the summer, the sun never sat, just rolled around the sky looking like four in the afternoon, arctic circle. It was always so strange at the end of a 5 hour club gig when they'd throw open the big double doors at one end and bright daylight flooded the room.
 

moodman

Well-known member
I was in a band in Wichita called Big Finn, we were the booking agent's favorite band and we worked a bunch.
We played one town in Kansas where we were set up on a flatbed truck on the town square. The only electrical outlet to plug into was on a street light pole, at the top. The plug wasn't tight and fell out so, a guy shinnied up the pole and held it in with one hand while he gripped the pole with the other and his legs. He kept slipping and the power went off momentarily 3 or 4 times in every tune. I kept thinking, get some tape or bend the prongs but no, pole man soldiered on til we finally got this one over.
We also played rodeo arenas where, in the winter months, they would lay carpets over the dirt floor, set up tables with elegant settings and gourmet food and drink. We would play, they would dine and the odor of cattle poop wafted through the air like so much incense.
 
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No Way Jose

Silver Member
Well The Government has just suspended consumption of alcohol in bars in Florida and I have a gig tonight. That's pretty unusual. I wonder if we are going to have an audience. I wonder if we will have a gig.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
Back on New Year's Eve 1993, I gigged at a Texas venue called Goat's Head Soup. The turnout was massive, the setting surging with energy. The show went well. I awoke to a brand-new year.

One week later, a gas explosion set the building ablaze. It burned to the ground, never to be rebuilt. The incident occurred, I believe, early in the morning. No one was on the premises. It would have been a real calamity had it taken place at midnight on New Year's Eve. The battle between chaos and fate became all the more prevalent to me. Life hovers from a string. When the thread snaps, the fall is bottomless. Chance controls the scissors.
 

moodman

Well-known member
Boston 1967, playing for the graduating class party of Cardinal Cushing College. The 'venue' was a small fishing boat, so small that only half the class could go, sailing around Boston harbor, at a time. The chart table had been removed from the cabin to make room for the band. The beer concession was directly behind my drums and throughout the night, many cups, dripping with foamy beer, were passed over me. I got my share but, I was soaked. The dampness of the air also made everything wet and a mic stand touching my floor tom rim electrified it and shocked me if I touched it. Taking a break on deck, the bass man tripped over a coiled rope and went down, smashing his nose which bled profusely. After this ordeal was over, as we were loading out, the crew of the vessel (and old man, a middle-aged woman and a boy) presented each of us with a necktie. Not new neckties, used ones, not cool ones, clown puke colored things nobody would want. WTF? Who knows.
 

moodman

Well-known member
Well The Government has just suspended consumption of alcohol in bars in Florida and I have a gig tonight. That's pretty unusual. I wonder if we are going to have an audience. I wonder if we will have a gig.
Unusual indeed, masks required? My band doesn't have gigs til August and they're outdoors, hope we get to do 'em. Good Luck
 

moodman

Well-known member
Back on New Year's Eve 1993, I gigged at a Texas venue called Goat's Head Soup. The turnout was massive, the setting surging with energy. The show went well. I awoke to a brand-new year.

One week later, a gas explosion set the building ablaze. It burned to the ground, never to be rebuilt. The incident occurred, I believe, early in the morning. No one was on the premises. It would have been a real calamity had it taken place at midnight on New Year's Eve. The battle between chaos and fate became all the more prevalent to me. Life hovers from a string. When the thread snaps, the fall is bottomless. Chance controls the scissors.
Close one and what you say is true, good lesson to learn NOT the hard way.
 

pgm554

Platinum Member
Lot's of SF stories here.

We were playing the Stone off of Broadway in SF back in the 80's and had a pretty good following which was seated at a very large table in front of the stage.

We go back to the dressing room as the last band before us is tearing down and we're next.
When we come out to do our set, the table with our fans was empty.

Nobody to be seen.

A roadie gave one of the underage chicks at the table a sip of his beer and the bouncers came over and threw everybody out.
 

NouveauCliche

Senior Member
My has to do with Customs and a bass player with a record.

We'd booked a week of shows in Canada. We flew flew out of NY and when we landed Canadian Border Services let me and the horn player through no problem...then we all got called back.

We spent the new few hours answering questions about our past and towards the end they were asking things like "Well - what if one of you couldn't come into the country - two of you likely wouldn't continue."

Long story short - our bass player had an incident on his record from a while ago that was the kind of incident they wouldn't allow him to come into Canada for. (I guess there's a time limit on these things? because now he's able to) -

Anyways it was rough. We'd already received payment for these shows and this whole "Music is Medicine" camp thing...so the horn player and I had to scramble and find bass players in two of the cities we visit and just did the camp as a duo and then do these forced collabs with other artists at the camp haha.

Lesson learned - make sure everyone's passports are cleared if you are doing international travel! Even if the other nation is Canada haha.
 

pgm554

Platinum Member
My has to do with Customs and a bass player with a record.

We'd booked a week of shows in Canada. We flew flew out of NY and when we landed Canadian Border Services let me and the horn player through no problem...then we all got called back.

We spent the new few hours answering questions about our past and towards the end they were asking things like "Well - what if one of you couldn't come into the country - two of you likely wouldn't continue."

Long story short - our bass player had an incident on his record from a while ago that was the kind of incident they wouldn't allow him to come into Canada for. (I guess there's a time limit on these things? because now he's able to) -

Anyways it was rough. We'd already received payment for these shows and this whole "Music is Medicine" camp thing...so the horn player and I had to scramble and find bass players in two of the cities we visit and just did the camp as a duo and then do these forced collabs with other artists at the camp haha.

Lesson learned - make sure everyone's passports are cleared if you are doing international travel! Even if the other nation is Canada haha.
I hear in Canada ,a conviction for a DUI is grounds for not being allowed in the country.


How about a Molson chaser to go with that Canadian Club,eh?
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
In the early 2000’s I played at a show called hoses, handcuffs and hernias, which was around 1000 single firemen, policemen and nurses, with unlimited alcohol included in the entry fee. A navy ship was in town, and 50 or so sailors where also there in full dress uniform.
At one stage we played ‘you can keep your hat on’ and a few of the crowd pretended to do a bit of a strip tease. One drunken sailor kept going and stripped down naked in the middle of the dance floor, just in front of the stage. The last item was his round hat which he draped over his front, before throwing it up in the air. Our female singer made some comments like ‘Hello sailor’ and ‘Up periscope’.

The weird thing is that the crowd just kept dancing as if this was perfectly normal.
 

LarryJ

Member
About 5 years ago, blues gig way out in the country in a small concrete block building. Run by a self-proclaimed Rastafarian in his late '60s. Sign at the front door said "No guns, No knives, No fighting, No baggy pants." Metal detector at the entrance.

Big guy, 250-280, came up to the front of the stage and started yelling "That ain't blues." After a while my guitar player (not too smart and definitely not 250) got in the drunk's face and said "It's blues if I say it is." At that point the bouncer escorted the drunk out.

At load out time, two patrons went out to the parking lot to watch for the guy while the manager and bouncer helped us load. They all waited in the lot until we were gone. We watched our rear view mirror all the way home.

The club called several times after that to book us, but we were always "busy".
 
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