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Nightmare Gigs

Posted: September 21, 2010 11:26 PM

Andy Doerschuk_1

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I’ve had a few nightmare gigs over the years, and will gladly share them with you if this thread gains some traction. Last week I posted the details of a particular memorable one in my blog. Here’s how I remember it:

I knew last Saturday’s gig was doomed from about a mile away. After exiting the freeway, I saw a swarm of flashing lights about six blocks ahead, in what appeared to be close proximity to the club where I was booked. A couple blocks later traffic slowed to a crawl and I realized that the mass of police cars, ambulances, and fire trucks were indeed amassed directly in front of my gig.

Police had set up orange cones on either side of the street and were diverting traffic away from the block in which the club was located. A police officer allowed me to drive past the roadblocks so that I could load in my equipment. Upon arrival I learned that there had been a fatal hit and run accident outside the venue, and the entire block had been designated a crime scene. A pair of shoes still lay in the bloodstained street. It was a grisly tragedy, to be sure.

Despite the fact that there were literally only five people in the club, and little possibility of attracting a bigger crowd, the owner still wanted us to play until 1:00 in the morning. I dutifully set up my drums and played all night to an empty club, while police waved others away.

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Andy Doerschuk
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Posted: September 22, 2010 10:47 AM

Rev.D.

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That is pretty nightmarish. I am sure I have a few, but it might take me a while to remember them because I probably blocked them from my memory.

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A good drummer will sound good on anything. A Bad drummer will sound bad on anything.

Posted: September 22, 2010 11:07 AM

Andy Doerschuk_1

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Ha!

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Andy Doerschuk
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Posted: September 22, 2010 12:14 PM

Rev.D.

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I can remember one specific nightmare gig. When I was 18, I was playing a show in Texas, and during the third song of the night, I had a heart attack. I played through the song(plus a couple more because I didn’t want to make a scene). As soon as I got a chance, I silently walked off stage, told my manager, and was driven to the nearest hospital. The band finished the show with an acoustic set. The fans were none the wiser. Pretty crazy.

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A good drummer will sound good on anything. A Bad drummer will sound bad on anything.

Posted: September 24, 2010 12:42 PM

guarilio989

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well…I haven’t been gigging for too long now but I’ve got a decent story about nightmarish bass players. We were playing in Scottdale, PA, which is appropriately nick-named the “butt-crack of earth”, and while my band mates and I were unloading gear, a car ran a red light and swerved to avoid causing an accident. instead he slammed into a car parked right in front of our van. Our oafish bass player dropped my snare which wasn’t in a case, right on the remnants of a street sign. someone had cut the sign off near the concrete leaving a rusty, sharp, and otherwise dangerous steel bar (for lack of a better word) sticking about 2 1/2 inches out of the ground. the drum landed batter side down right on top of the cut off sign post and punctured the head. since I didn’t have new head and there isn’t a music store anywhere near Scottdale, I was SOL. We had to cancel the gig and pack all the gear back up and drive an hour and a half home. nobody was happy except our ex-bassist. he was chuckling because he thought it was funny. that is why we refer to him as our ex-bassist.

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Posted: September 28, 2010 02:43 AM

PowersPercussion

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Great thread to start here, Andy!

I blogged about gig stories myself a while back. I’ve included the first from that post below. Click here to check out the other two, but they don’t fall under this “nightmare” category. One is pretty cool; the other . . . just plain weird. Enjoy!

When: probably sometime in 1994 (around age 17)
Where: The Emma Center – Minneapolis, Minnesota
Who: with a punk band called Magenta Lip Bomb

- Tied with Sturgis Bike Week 2009 (more on that in a future post) for my all-time most terrifying gig.

- After carrying our instruments over the shelves of books in this anarchist infoshop, and into the unfinished basement, the venue proceeded to fill to well-beyond-capacity. When we set up in the far end of the room, there was no way to exit (or, should I say, escape) except through the solid crowd of bodies.

- All I remember about the performance is that during our entire first set, a monster of a man with tattoos covering his enormous bald head leaned over my cymbals, staring and screaming straight at me. Nonstop! I was so scared, that when we finally took a break, I just slid off the back of my drum throne and sat against the concrete wall behind me. There was no way I was going to leave my drumset unattended and venture into that sea of people.

Mark Powers
PowersPercussion.com
Twitter: @MarkPowers
Facebook: PowersPercussion

Posted: September 28, 2010 02:20 PM

Andy Doerschuk_1

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PowersPercussion - 28 September 2010 02:43 AM

I was so scared, that when we finally took a break, I just slid off the back of my drum throne and sat against the concrete wall behind me. There was no way I was going to leave my drumset unattended and venture into that sea of people.

I’ve done the exact same thing a number of times when I’ve played gigs in biker bars. Your story brings to mind a gig I did about six years ago at the Hells Angels Fall Ball at their Mountain House clubhouse, just a couple freeway stops away from Altamont (I shouldn’t have to recount the significance of that auspicious address). I have to say, it was an incredible facility, with a huge amphitheater that looked down on the stage. It was an amazing experience to look out into the crowd and see nothing but Hells Angels, their family members, and other assorted motorcycle club members (at least the ones who are friendly with the Angels). We were given an escort who would walk us to and from our dressing room and make sure we had everything we needed. Apparently, the Angels voted on the bands they wanted to have at the show, so we were prepared for a good reception. But no one applauded after we finished each song. They just sat there looking at us, which was pretty intimidating, to be honest. A friend of mine who played with another band that day told me not to worry — that’s just the way they work.

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Andy Doerschuk
Editorial director, drummagazine.com

Posted: September 28, 2010 09:59 PM

Pass.Of.Era.

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Andy Doerschuk - 28 September 2010 02:20 PM

I’ve done the exact same thing a number of times when I’ve played gigs in biker bars. Your story brings to mind a gig I did about six years ago at the Hells Angels Fall Ball at their Mountain House clubhouse, just a couple freeway stops away from Altamont (I shouldn’t have to recount the significance of that auspicious address). I have to say, it was an incredible facility, with a huge amphitheater that looked down on the stage. It was an amazing experience to look out into the crowd and see nothing but Hells Angels, their family members, and other assorted motorcycle club members (at least the ones who are friendly with the Angels). We were given an escort who would walk us to and from our dressing room and make sure we had everything we needed. Apparently, the Angels voted on the bands they wanted to have at the show, so we were prepared for a good reception. But no one applauded after each song. They just sat there looking at us, which was pretty intimidating, to be honest. A friend of mine who played with another band that day told me not to worry — that’s just the way they work.

That sounds horrifying!!

A while back I landed the gig as drummer at some new age church . The music was pretty crappy, but what made it nightmare-ish was the keyboard player who didn’t ever try to lock in with the rest of the band. I approached him on several occasions but to no avail. For whatever reason I stayed there for close to two years. It doesn’t really compare to any of the other stories listed here, it was a continual struggle to try and make the group sound like we were playing the same bloody song…

-Jonathan

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Tama Warlord Masai - Zildjian Cymbals - Demon Drive Pedals - Evans Heads

Posted: September 29, 2010 10:00 AM

Rev.D.

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I played dozens of gigs at biker bars/clubs in my day. As long as we played Born To Be Wild and Free Bird, every biker bar considered us a part of their scary biker family. They would even ride their bikes into the bar while we were playing. Truth be told, it’s not as bad as you think, many of the really expensive looking, tricked out bikes belong to doctors,  lawyers and the like(plus your occasional drug dealer LOL!). !

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A good drummer will sound good on anything. A Bad drummer will sound bad on anything.

Posted: September 29, 2010 03:28 PM

guarilio989

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HEY HEY HEY!! (with thick mafioso accent) I’m Full blooded Italian and we don’ mess around wit drugs and ‘nat crap. you make anuddah wise crack like dat and you’ll be sleepin wit da fishes. Capice?
lol

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Hit Hard, Play Fast, Have Fun

Posted: September 29, 2010 03:34 PM

Rev.D.

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Just playing into the “scary biker"stereotype(even though I never actually met a “mean” biker, or a “mean” Italian for that matter)... BTW, love the accent…lol. LOL

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A good drummer will sound good on anything. A Bad drummer will sound bad on anything.

Posted: September 29, 2010 08:17 PM

NickMason

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Almost had a “NO GIG” gig on Monday….
Showed up to a club in Hollywood, loaded in, did sound check… no singer…?
Turns out he was in the Hospital. We were going to pack up an leave, but the club wanted us to play anyway (they had 200 people waiting in line outside).... We agreed to do some instrumental songs, and they actor Corey Feldman came the rescue and agreed to front the band!

Turned out to be a damn good night!!!

Also, our singer is better and will be on stage with us again in 2 days…

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~Nick
nickmason.org

Posted: September 30, 2010 01:46 AM

PowersPercussion

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You said it, Andy . . . biker parties can be crazy!

A friend of mine played one a while back and when it came time to pack up, it was made very clear to the entire band that, nope- you guys aren’t goin’ nowhere.” They were essentially forced to play until 5:00 in the morning! Finally, once everyone was sufficiently drunk and pooped-out, they were told to get the heck outta there. No extra pay; no apology. They were just exhausted, relieved to be done and got while the gittin’ was good!

Mark Powers
PowersPercussion.com
Twitter: @MarkPowers
Facebook: PowersPercussion

Posted: September 30, 2010 10:22 AM

Pass.Of.Era.

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BAXtheGREATEST - 30 September 2010 01:55 AM

My nightmare gig been 2 years ago. It’s epic fail of organizators!!!
On the sound check I have one drum kit (Sonor 505 with Sabian B8). But before the gig organizaors changed Sonor to MAXTONE!!! Sabian B8 to SOLAR!!!
I didn’t want play, loosing temp and so on…

grrr Helps you appreciate your own gear a bit more I guess…

Still at least you had a kit to play on, I’ve had a few instances where I was missing a key component of the kit such as a Hihat stand or bass drum. I was able to get through the set but it was challenging. It did force me to get creative with how I played my beats. Luckily it wasn’t my prog band, just a folk/jazz (figure that one out) band I’m associated with.

-Jonathan

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Tama Warlord Masai - Zildjian Cymbals - Demon Drive Pedals - Evans Heads

Posted: May 21, 2011 06:59 AM

freedomsteve

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I landed my band a gig at a local bar last fall and it just so happened that the space was less than spacious; we stacked amps on window sills and had the lead guitar player and bassist almost standing behind eachother. We moved dinner tables so we had room.

It had a very intimate feel. However, the extremely drunk owner thought it was necessary to yell at us between every song and tell us how he used to be an amazing drummer who traveled the world…(gag me!) He thought it was funny or necessary to make a scene during the show and that was very annoying. Needless to say we haven’t tried to go back wink

Posted: May 24, 2011 09:58 PM

john lamb

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BAXtheGREATEST - 30 September 2010 01:55 AM

My nightmare gig been 2 years ago. It’s epic fail of organizators!!!
On the sound check I have one drum kit (Sonor 505 with Sabian B8). But before the gig organizaors changed Sonor to MAXTONE!!! Sabian B8 to SOLAR!!!
I didn’t want play, loosing temp and so on…

I’ve played on worse…  one gig the snare stand broke so I had to finish the gig CARRYING the snare drum w. my left, playing everything else with just my right….

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http://www.johnlambdrums.com

   
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