Gig nightmare!!! Submit yours here...

Tornado

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You know how you make it rain when you wash your car? I create torrential downpours when I have a long way to load in. Fist fights at a private warehouse gig. But I got nothing on you guys. Gigs are pretty boring when nobody's there to watch!
 

goodcat1337

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Mine are super tame compared to a lot of yours. I've had my beater wiggle itself loose from the pedal and go flying off in the middle of a song, I've ripped my pants right at the crotch while stepping up on the stage to start a set, we had a light set up of 4 fluorescent lights set up vertically, and we had a controller box made for it so a friend of ours could control it during the set. Somehow one of the lights got bumped or something, and of course it falls on top of me while playing. So that was fun. And then another time I started the wrong click and we played a song about 10 bpm faster than it should be. Those are all I can remember right now.
 

CSR

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Not so bad, considering…I played with a jazz group in an all-marble railroad station. Walls, floors, circular dome were all marble. If you ended a song, the echo went on for almost another chorus. I’d start a number, then hear the note about 3 seconds later, louder than I played it. I ended up playing to a tempo that I had in my mind because I couldn’t hear any other players, just a wall of sound in no particular rhythm.
 

k_50

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My worst story is an audition I had for a band 12-13 years ago.
I had been out with a friend the night before (one of those "we'll just have one beer" things, that usually ends at last call), and the ham/cheese croissant I picked up at a 7-11 on the way home didn't sit well with me! So I woke up, threw up, and rode my bike across town with my cymbal bag on my back on one of the hottest days that summer.
Initially the audition went quite well; We jammed the riffs and ideas they had at the time, and I got some good feedback. Then we took a smoke break. I broke out in a cold sweat, and started vomiting, at which point the band offered to call it a day and reschedule. I didn't take them up on it, so the singer found a bucket I could spew in as we continued playing.
Surprisingly enough, they called me back for a second audition the following week.
On the second audition there was another drummer - an acquaintance of mine, who was friends with some of the guys in the band, and closer to them in age (they were 8-10 years older than me). Naturally he got the gig.

By coincidence, we ended up having practice spaces right across the hall from each other a year or so later, when I had joined a different band. So I ended up becoming their regular sub, when the other drummer was on paternity leave or otherwise unable to make a gig.
It was a southern rock/metal band (they styled themselves as the bastard child of Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Pantera), which really played on the stereotype of southern trailer park living; With stage-props, such as AstroTurf and plastic flamingos, lyrics about moon-shining and worse things, and stage aliases. Naturally, my stage name became Cousin Spewbucket :icon_e_biggrin:

I'm still friends with the singer and drummer, who have now formed a different band. And once again we rehearse at the same complex, on the same day. So we frequently share a beer or two, after my covers band is done.
And the singer still relates the story of that first audition, at every chance he gets - It's equal parts bullying, and him thinking I was the most RNR person ever...
 

jptrickster

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Here's just a few that stand out from the bunch
Frisbee knocked a over a beer into the PA rack fried some very expensive equiptment.
Storm knocked out power minutes before showtime. Began sho with drum solo...a long one. Toad.
Showed up to large venue opening for big name act back line has no cymbals, none, nada, they told me to bring nothing except sticks. Yikes!! Like they say if you drink enough your bound to spill a few.
 

Johnnythunder

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Many moons ago, the band I was in played a backyard party. It was at a huge house with an equally huge backyard. We built a full-on stage and had a two-car garage door on milk crates for the drum riser. Our bass player had this huge red & white striped parachute that we draped over the stages because it "looked cool".
After an afternoon of pre-party keg privilege's, we got ready to start playing. I neglected to realize my drum throne was riiiiiiiight on the edge of the drum riser. I sauntered up to my drums with a red Solo cup of libation and sat down. My bass player said he had looked around at me and all he saw was elbows and ankles going over the edge. Then all of a sudden I popped up from behind the stage with my drink in my hand and hadn't spilled a drop!
Now that's a drummer!!!
 

stinkingbadges

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I played a gig 2 Sundays ago at a legendary Northern Kentucky restaurant/jazz themed club with an exceptionally good 21 yr old blues pianist.
It's been in business since 1984.A DRUM SET has been on stage every day since their doors opened.
So I show up with my own snare,bass drum pedal,cymbals,& sticks...and see that the drums have been taken down the night before.WHAT??!!
Before I left for the gig I put my trap case in the car just in case I didn't dig the hi-hat stand,whatever,I could get one from my car.
Soooo...I ended up bringing the case in to get my stool,snare stand,ride cymbal stand,and hi-hat to play the gig in a sold-out house.
No bass drum...I pulled it off,the crowd still grooved...but it was like playing with my pants down around my ankles.
That last line resonates with me!
 

gra7

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One of the worst gigs I recall was when the front of house was intent on putting huge echo and tap delays on the sound to both to the audience and on the foldbacks. Needless to say, it ruined the show and we sounded like chickens scratching for corn - and the audience thought that was our idea.
 

Stixkubwa

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Played in a five piece at Company Christmas gig for its 600 employees some years ago. After about an hour or so, one of the drunken patrons kept coming on to the low stage to grab a mic and perform his version of My Way. A friend of the band ushered him off the stage several times and back to his seat. At the very last ushering, the patron slapped the face of our friend who then pushed the patron away. Sadly the drunken patron tumbled over backwards bumping into several of his colleagues on his way. At that, all hell broke loose and the friend of the band was attacked by at least 5 others. Gamely, he fought them off and there was blood and carnage every where. Then it all went up like a wild west saloon in a movie. At one point the fight was on the stage with much violence and equipment being knocked over. I was very afraid for my Ludwigs and Zildjians apart for my own well being. The most vivid memory, was when the assailants were fighting almost on top of our keyboards. At this point our lady keyboard player screamed out "MIND THE KEYBOARD"! At this point the fighting group stopped as if frozen in mid action, shuffled of the stage as a single fixture and then continued battering one another once clear of the keyboards. As for me, I managed to sneak out a back way taking whatever I could of my gear without the cases, and escape in my car. Phew
 

stinkingbadges

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Here's mine: Early 70's, Northern Maine, Potato Harvest time. Saturday night at a ballroom in the local hotel. We had set up and sound checked earlier and were good to go. The ball room was down stairs. As I walked down I could feel the tension in the room. Because of the harvest, there were a number of people from out of town. I got to the stage, which was about 4 feet off the floor. I told the guys: "What ever happens, do not stop playing. Also, our normal guitar player/lead singer was out so we had a stand in. About the 4th song I saw it start at the back of the room. There were at least 75 people in the room and the melee came at us like a title wave. We kept playing. Suddenly a fistfight in front of the stage ended when one of the combatants was on the receiving end of a punch that drove him into the stage....which hit the mic stand the stand-in was using and the force of the blow knocked 2 teeth out. Bleeding badly we no choice but to stop! Once we did, about three guys started to climb on the stage. I jumped and yelled "grab the mike stands! I grabbed a cymbal stand and ran to the front of the stage. I started winding up like it was a baseball bad and that put the damper on the guys desire to get to the stage. Suddenly the Border Patrol, State Cops, Town cops and Sheriffs showed up and cleared the room. We packed up got paid and left. We all chipped in to help with the dentist bill.
 

phdamage

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Oh man, so many to choose from. Here is one:

On tour, playing a festival in Brisbane, Australia. It was a bit of a mess, low attendance, etc and our set time was 1am.

The bassist and had had some drinks early on but quit drinking so we would be ready to play. Our singer/guitarist.... not so much.

The band immediately before us in the large outdoor tent is pretty popular and have a few hundred people watching. They all promptly move along after this band finishes, leaving probably 15 stragglers and about 10 of our friends.

Our guitarist steps up to the mic and says “hey everyone, we are the drunk Americans! (Not our real name) I just wanted to shout out a quick F—- you to the event sponsor, Jim Beam, who won’t give out free samples.... god knows what it tastes like,” before going into the song - a quick, short, punky number. He completed the guitar intro just fine, but as I rolled into the song with the bassist, he went to sing and instead just started laughing hysterically. The bassist and I played the rest of that verse/chorus to where we would ring out and he would again start up with a guitar intro. Our singer/guitarist was doubled over, cackling on the side of the stage.

He composed himself, played the guitar intro and again, started cracking up as soon as we came in. He didn’t manage to sing a single word.

We played maybe two more songs and our friends started throwing their clothes and shoes at him. After which, the sound guy said, “hey, drunk Americans, how about one more?”
 

SwivoNut

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We played a wedding reception in a Knights of Columbus hall located next to a police station in a respectable neighborhood. A fight involving several women broke out during the first set. Screaming, hair pulling, kicking, dirty fighting like you wouldn't believe. Second set same thing. Third set same thing again. Leader said he'd had it, pack up, we're getting out of here and we left without playing the final set. Shortly after we left there was a shooting in the parking lot. A few days later the leader got a letter from the bride's father demanding a refund for the set we didn't play. We had to oblige because we had signed a union contract specifying that we would play four sets.
 

Grooovepig

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We played a wedding reception in a Knights of Columbus hall located next to a police station in a respectable neighborhood. A fight involving several women broke out during the first set. Screaming, hair pulling, kicking, dirty fighting like you wouldn't believe. Second set same thing. Third set same thing again. Leader said he'd had it, pack up, we're getting out of here and we left without playing the final set. Shortly after we left there was a shooting in the parking lot. A few days later the leader got a letter from the bride's father demanding a refund for the set we didn't play. We had to oblige because we had signed a union contract specifying that we would play four sets.
Too bad there wasn't a clause in the contract for incessant bar room-style brawling and parking lot shootings.
 

SwivoNut

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Too bad there wasn't a clause in the contract for incessant bar room-style brawling and parking lot shootings.
It was the standard contract provided by the union for its members. The union preached that contracts protected both the players and the customers. The only two gigs where I didn't get paid were ones where we had signed contracts. One was for a bowling banquet where the treasurer absconded with the club's funds and the other was at a bar that had just declared bankruptcy. The union's response: ya can't get it if they ain't got it.
 

neilthepeel

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Maybe not the worst of them, but the most disgusting.

When I was 16 I was in a heavy rock band that enjoyed a little boost in local media and had a little following, which meant we got booked all over Vancouver's thriving club and bar scene of the early 90's (RIP).

There was this place near the airport called the Fraser Arms Hotel which was known for its adjoined strip club, and lesser known for the dive bar in the basement called the Rock Cellar, which was directly below said strip club.

We set up and played for a surprisingly packed crowd, and within the first couple of songs warm salty water started dripping directly on my head and face and did so for about a minute then stopped. This happened again about 15 minutes later and continued in intervals of about every 15 minutes (3 songs or so). Each time it happened I got a little more soaked. My hair, shoulders, and even ass crack were all wet as the water made it's way down all sides of my body.

As soon and we made it to our first break I bolted, infuriated and embarrassed, to the soundman to demand to know what was going on. He told me that the on-stage shower in the strip club was directly above the drum riser and of course had a bad leak in the drain. So every time a stripper ended her 'set' with the shower thing (which was every time) her dirty sweaty used shower water was pouring through 90 year old rotten floorboards and directly on to my face.

We did two more sets this way and I was showered at least six more times. By the time we were done I was completely soaked - even my hands had gone all pruny. I looked like a drowned rat and may or may not have picked up an STD.
 
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cruddola

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Played a gig this weekend at the Jersey shore. 3 songs into the last set the kevlar strap on my trusty Yamaha FP-9500C broke. The dance floor was packed (a much welcomed site to see in this post-Covid world) and we weren't stopping between songs, so I just decided to side-saddle it, and play the last approx. 12 songs on the slave pedal! Needless to say my back was sore and I was whooped when we finished.

Anyone else encounter any gig nightmares?

...and yes I've put on a bunch of weight (mostly alcohol) since the pandemic!

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That'll learn you not to take a spare! 4 decades of touring with 25 years overseas tours. Always have a spare of anything mechanical. Spare Hat stand, spare pedal setup, spare snare drum and a spare stool/throne. I've witnessed those items go south during gigs and have had them fail on me while on stage. I also have spare skins for every drum and an extra set of cymbals. At least two dozen pairs of new sticks packed at all times. A professional preps for the worst.
 

FRP123

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I was an OK drummer in lots of high school and college bands, as we all were in, but gravitated toward the technical side of production. Setting up the sound gear etc. I worked professionally for sound companies and was hired to do a Bee Gees tour and eventually mixed monitors for them. They were very nice folks and great to work with. As rehearsals for the tour were winding down at a theater on the lower east side, their drummer's father died and when we came in the next day he had flown back to Britian. The musicians milled about until our sound crew chief told someone that I had played drums. Barry came to me and asked me to sit in for practice. I was petrified and not happy with the crew chief but Barry and his brothers insisted. To say I was rusty would be an understatement, but it didn't help that I was scared shitless. I can still see Barry's face as he glared back at me motioning me to pick up the pace. Anyway, got through it and had a great tour once their regular drummer returned.
 


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