Features

15 Drummers Remember Their Worst Gigs

Carmine Appice

Where: Late ’60s, “before we had big strong drum stands.”
What: I was right in the middle of my 20-minute drum solo. I did this thing where I would play little melodies on my cymbals by bending them. So there I am bending the cymbal and the cymbal stand snaps and now I’m holding the cymbal in my hand. The drum solo came to an abrupt halt. I was sitting there totally embarrassed and didn’t know what to do. Time just stopped. So I threw the cymbal off the riser and continued the solo. This was pretty bad because all motion on the stage and energy in the arena stopped. I was really embarrassed.

Brandon Saller (Atreyu)

What: I was sick and starting to get worried about not only having the energy to play and put on a good show, but having the voice to sing. I warmed up my hands, arms, and voice as much as I could. When it came time to go on, I still was iffy about the situation. I got on and as I assumed, my arms felt like they weighed a ton. We played all our songs a little slower that night. Then my right kick pedal breaks — so I’m playing all our songs lefty! While my drum tech is fixing my pedal, my microphone stand falls on me, messing up the whole song. I think at the end of the night we had to start a song over, I kicked over about three mike stands out of anger, and it turned out to be the worst, most embarrassing show ever.

Jason Mackenroth (Rollins Band)

Where: Sweden
When: “Very early stage of my Rollins Band experience”
What: Following Mötörhead was not a task to be taken lightly, and I had something to prove. Our usual Rollins Band set consists of “rock blocks” that link our songs in groups of four or five tunes, leaving the audience only moments between these relentless assaults to catch a breath. At the end of the first rock block, I bust the bass drumhead. There are no bass drumheads or bass drums to change with, plus, there is no stopping. During the song, our road manager tapes a spare floor tom head backwards against the bass drum where my foot pedal hits. It only worked for two more songs. He finds a smaller tom head, and after a song or two I go right through it. An even smaller tom head then gets taped on. By this time, there are layers of shredded drumheads at my feet, and all the while I’m trying to kick Mikkey Dee’s ass. By the end of the set, a 12" head was the last to be taped to this pile of shredded bass drumheads and the foot pedal is going through the mess like paper! That was my introduction to the real world of live rock and roll, right there with Lemmy and Mikkey watching.

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  • Every drummer has had a nightmare gig, and I’ve had several. You can read about two of my worst gigs — including my very first paying gig — as well a bunch of other accounts by checking out this thread on our Forum:

    http://www.drummagazine.com/forums/viewthread/116/P0/

    Feel free to add your story to the ongoing dialog.