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Author Topic: Strange Gig Stories
joe
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Posts: 224
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Post Strange Gig Stories
on: August 12, 2012, 17:45
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Share the memories!

joe
Administrator
Posts: 224
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Post Re: Strange Gig Stories
on: August 12, 2012, 17:49
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Last night I played this low-key gig in a low-rent bar. And there was a guy in a gorilla suit and Hawaiian shirt there all frickin' night, all four sets. He seemed to like the bands, though. He was there when I loaded in a 8, and he was still there when the last note of the last song of the last band faded away.

Image

I tore off my fingernail while trying to snap this picture. Please tell me it was worth it.

Double D

Posts: 195
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Post Re: Strange Gig Stories
on: August 13, 2012, 00:55
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Oh Jesus, you'll never shut me up!
Okay, here's one that leaps to mind 'cause I spent the weekend playing with the same bandleader on his yearly visit to Vancouver.
Back in '02 while on tour with a blues band https://nigelmack.com/ we had to play the Rosedale Festival in Kansas City, Mo. in the afternoon (opening for Tinsley Ellis), then drive like hell for Witchita, Kansas to play a tavern that evening. It was June and the usual stormy weather in tornado alley had begun. (Honestly, the most extreme weather I've experienced was around Missouri/Kansas, and I'm from Canada!)
When we arrived at the festival, the volunteers had us park our fully loaded, long wheelbase Chevy Beauville van on a patch where they had dug up some ground to lay cable the day before. The evening after they had finished their digging there was a torrential downpour of rain in old KC. We had played BB's Lawnside BBQ the night before (whole smoked catfish, if you ever go; ohmigod!) and marvelled at mom nature's wrath between sets. The festival had excellent backline and we were on a schedule, so we left the van full of amps and luggage, grabbed axes and gig bags and hit the stage. Little did we know our van was steadily sinking to its axles in the mud.
When we finished our set and discovered our misfortune, an old fashioned, good-old-boy powwow ensued, as the fellas tried every method of unsticking a stuck vehicle with the exception of calling in a tow truck, an exception I pointed out loudly and often. After an hour of manly but ultimately fruitless effort, the lads accepted their defeat and listened, at last, to the voice of reason. We were out in ten minutes once the tow truck showed up. But we were still an hour and a half late leaving for Witchita, on an already tight schedule.
While all the manliness was going down we met a trucker who worked in the region. He pointed us down a secondary highway that was at a standstill due to construction. When we finally cleared that hurdle and hit some open road we came upon a phenomena I had never seen before or since: a wall of cloud stretched from horizon to horizon, north to south, and we drove into stormy night out of an early summer's evening.
There was a flash of lightening at least every three seconds. The beginnings of funnel clouds formed in the firmament all round. The wind regularly knocked our heavy van into another lane. Traffic crawled through the storm. I sat in the back lighting bowl after bowl and trying to enjoy the show.
We finally showed up at the bar in Witchita about two hours late and hit the stage running, with empty bellies and hastily set-up instruments. And had the sound man from hell. He wasn't a jerk, he just wasn't a sound tech. The feedback through the monitors was so intense, I exited stage right (still playing, but hiding from the monitors). After two songs of pure evil sound hell, we paused, and Nigel, the bandleader headed to the soundboard and quickly rang out the monitors. I performed a mini opening set with the band as a trio while he mixed us. He then returned to the stage and we played the most flawless show of that tour.
The next day this lovely lady, a friend of the club owner's, came by with all the fixings for a barbecue that could feed three of our bands, and we were given the band house for an extra day. Went to a groovy vintage guitar shops up the street. Witchita is friendly. Witchita is good people (if not able sound technicians).
The next day we had to drive to Montana for a two nighter, 22 hours or driving, but that's another story...

bear

Posts: 153
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Post Re: Strange Gig Stories
on: August 13, 2012, 10:52
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I've tried to totally flush one sound gig down the memory hole without total success. Metal band at a college party, drunk and beligerant bassist/singer/frontman berating me most of the time. While he was bare-assed. Thankfully he didn't wear his bass high.

geeanthony

Posts: 1
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Post Re: Strange Gig Stories
on: August 14, 2012, 11:44
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It was worth it.

smgear

Posts: 170
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Post Re: Strange Gig Stories
on: August 16, 2012, 11:36
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I once broke my ankle the first week of an 8 week van tour - and I'm 6'7" so you can imagine how difficult it was to keep it elevated in the van, not to mention setups etc. I was the sound guy on that trip, but usually played on a few tunes too. So I ended up just playing electric violin into the board while mixing with my leg propped up.

Digital-
Larry

Posts: 192
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Post Re: Strange Gig Stories
on: August 16, 2012, 15:39
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Back in college I played in a pretty crusty but fun filled rock and reggae combo. It was summer time and one of the dorms was having a party and knowing that we would probably play for beer (we would) they asked us to play. And we agreed. So at 4 o'clock me and my pals are at Jack in the Box on El Camino getting a bite to eat. A scruffy guy in a 49er's jacket comes up behind us and starts to talk to our singer Tom. Being naturally gregarious, Tom invites this guy (Monty) to our gig. "Don't do that!" I said, but it was too late. We left Jack's and went on to the dorm to set up.

After our first set, we see that Monty has made his way to the gig. I wasn't really paying too much attention to him, but here's what unfolded according to legend. Monty was apparently an alcoholic street person who came with his own libation to the party. After whooping it up a little too heavily, he passed out in the dorm's courtyard, prompting the house manager to call the ambulance. When they got there, the ambulance team said, "oh, it's Monty!"

So of course Tom wrote a song about it!

Monty copyright Tom Yamarone

We met him at Jack's
An hour ago
We never really thought
That he'd actually show
M-O-N-T-Y

Well Monty walked in
And shouted "I'm here"!
He had his little brown bag
Didn't need no beer
M-O-N-T-Y

Monty hit the dance floor
And started yelling at the band
It was clear to everybody
He was getting out of hand
M-O-N-T-Y

Monty hit the table
He was looking pretty gone
So Sam went and dialed
Nine one one
M-O-N-T-Y

Now Monty really rocked
Monty really danced
And Monty got put
In an ambulance
that's
M-O-N-T-Y

(sax solo)

Double D

Posts: 195
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Post Re: Strange Gig Stories
on: August 23, 2012, 00:48
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Touring in Canada is always an adventure; whether it's multiple mountain ranges, extreme weather or just the endless stretches of highway between civilized outposts, there is much peril en route.
I did a tour with Sandybone and the Breakdown about six years ago this September. We had to travel from the interior of British Columbia, through the Rocky Mountains to Calgary, Alberta, which should have taken about eleven hours. As it happens, we began to have alternator problems in our van on the western side of the mountains and that evening, by the time we were on the eastern descent, we had lost our windshield wipers, heat and headlights. Oh, and it was the first blizzard of the year on roads oil-slicked from months of summer weather with little precipitation.
We strung twine through our wipers to clear the windshield and held a flashlight up for a pathetic excuse for a headlight. We stayed as close as was safe to the vehicles ahead of us to guide us down the steep mountainside.
When we got through the twists and turns of the high mountain road onto a relatively flat stretch, we had a bit of serendipity: we were parked right next to a billboard which featured a young lady's shapely bikinied bottom. We called the auto club for a tow truck and were able to use the billboard as a landmark for the driver, who knew immediately (natch) where we were stranded.
Ill prepared for such inclement weather, we huddled in whatever clothing we had (for me, a raggedy old dressing-gown, over my thin jacket) and awaited our tow. Thankfully, the driver arrived in about twenty minutes, had us loaded on the flat-bed in ten, and we were on our way again, the whole ordeal only costing us about four hours of travel time at that point. Not only that, but the driver (like all of us) was a cigarette smoker and his warm truck was a smoke-friendly environment. We lit up, cracked beers and prepared to enjoy the ride into Calgary.
Except that two tractor-trailers had jack-knifed a little ways up the highway. After ten whole minutes of driving in the tow truck we found ourselves in a two-mile long traffic jam. We parked there on the highway for five hours and twenty six minutes.
And then we were on our way again. When we finally arrived in Calgary we were ten hours behind schedule and absolutely sleep deprived. The boys in the band managed to get three or four hours of rest, but our fearless leader Sandybone headed out immediately upon our arrival to find a new alternator and ended up installing it in the parking lot of the Great White North's favourite retail establishment, Canadian Tire. He managed to get about a half hour's shut eye before we had to make our gig, a benefit that began pretty early in the afternoon and ran till midnight.
When we arrived at the venue, just in time to be late, it became apparent that our drummer (a local boy) was a no-show. So we grabbed some guy in the bar who supposedly played drums (uh, not so much...) and our exhausted and brain-dead bandleader led us into an epic trainwreck. We finally broke our set down to two guitars and piano and salvaged the show.
That evening, for our second show, we moved into a larger ballroom in the venue, recruited a real drummer and drank enough to function in our compromised state. As is often the case when you are beyond exhaustion, instinct and intuition took over; we had a killer set that evening, but all of us fell ill in the next couple of days, which would lead to some interesting shenanigans, as well (involving Buckley's cough syrup, and Buckley's #2, which tasted remarkably like Jameson's Irish Whiskey).
The night that tour ended, we managed to smack into a parked car, inadvertently steal a full tank of gas, and get hopelessly lost (kind of a blessing, given the unpaid-for gas and the gas attendant who knew exactly where we were headed. Hey, she forgot to ask us for the money). Oh yeah, and a biker-affilliated stripper managed to talk us into giving her a ride back to Vancouver (about nineteen hours drive). I got out of the van on the Vancouver side, slipped on a work shirt and started an eight hour shift at the barbecue restaurant I worked at, culminating in a pinched sciatic nerve, and several months of constant pain (and pain-killers).
It was a great tour!! Seriously!!

Double D

Posts: 195
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Post Re: Strange Gig Stories
on: August 31, 2012, 00:50
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Okay, I know I'm perhaps over-represented in this thread, but hell, I spent years on the road and weird things happen daily out there!

I have a habit of jumping up on tables/bars or walking out into the street during solos (on a cable, no less) when I want to really make it a memorable night for a great audience. Back in '02 we had a gig in Cedar Rapids, IA at Checker's Tavern, owned by PJ, a beautiful cat, and frequented by NASCAR fans; indeed their most regular customer was a driver. We always had a great time at Checker's; the audience was funny, friendly and totally unhinged. These are the people I do stupid human tricks for.
As it happens, I was set up right at the end of the bar, so at one point in the night when I was soloing on one of my go-to grooves, I stepped up onto the bar and continued playing. The audience collectively gasped and pointed. I thought, "what the hell, ain't no one seen a musician walk on a bar before?" Then I felt a little zing in my guitar neck and turned to see the bar's ceiling fan whirring swiftly about an inch from my headstock. Evidently I had missed being clocked in the head by the fan by about the same margin on the way up. I was much more careful on the way down, despite laughing my fool head off.
Another time (also in Iowa, BTW) I leapt up on a round bar table only to find out that the table's top was barely attached to the base. I thanked the gods for all the skateboarding I did in my teens, as I surfed out the entire five choruses of solo in "Born in Chicago", and managed to leap up and off the table without turning it over. My girlfriend at the time was up visiting from Kansas City and seated right in front of me. She managed to contain her eyes popping out of her head and snap a few pictures. I look a little worried up there!
I've popped cables out and dragged effects boxes from their moorings on several other occasions (note: Danecho pedals will not survive this kind of treatment-I killed three of 'em). It has been suggested that I am a prime candidate for a wireless system, but heck, that stuff just adds to the drama. The audience likes watching us dally in the danger zone. They like to see us working real hard.

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