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Perils of gigging for weekend warriors list

Tornado

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It's mostly the drunks.

Drunks yelling out songs that you don't know or have the instruments for, and getting mad about you not playing them.

"Freebird!"

Used to be the smoke, but thankfully that's not a problem in most places today.

Your fellow weekend warrior bandmate who is starting to get liquored up by the fourth set.

The fourth set in general.

Playing to an almost empty room or people who'd rather be watching the game.
 

audiochurch

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Played with a killer soul band and a giant brawl broke out once. Came close to the equipment, but luckily, didnt touch any of our gear.

THIS is why I don’t bring out expensive drums to bar gigs. I LOVE my Black Magic stainless steel snare or 15” supralite snare, but wouldn’t be nearly as upset if I brought out a Dunnett Titanium snare and it got knocked over.(I sold the Dunnett for this exact reason).

And I am thankful for the opportunity to play for such a crowd every weekend.
 
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equipmentdork

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Your load-in is up through the front stairs(think Rocky), down the hall, to an elevator, to the 5th floor, down the hall, to another elevator, down to the 3rd floor, past the bathrooms and through the kitchen. Now go move your car 2 miles away before we come and blowtorch the lot of you.


Oh, and the sound guy HATES you.


Dan
 

drummer5359

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From early 1976 until the pandemic hit, I was a very busy weekend warrior. I'd estimate that I've played at least a few thousand gigs.

I've dealt with drunken audience members, drunken band members, drunken band member's wives, drunken bandmember's girlfriends, and on a couple of occasions the meeting of a drunken bandmate's drunken wife AND drunken girlfriend...

I have carried gear through snow and rain, dealt with outdoor shows that were too cold or too hot, and been on a metal stage as a thunderstorm approached.

I've carried gear blocks from where I could park, up and down endless staircases and through too many kitchens to count.

I have delt with bar fights, greedy venue owners, and crazy drunk husbands because the crazy drunk wife looked at me.

I've dodged many early morning deer, when I'm trying to get home. I've dodged early morning drunks who couldn't seem to drive on their side of the road.

I have come up on the same DUI checkpoints so many times, that I've had officers call out, "It's the drummer!", and wave me through.

I've gotten out of the car at home so late that the birds are chirping, and I've gotten home so tired that I shut off the engine in front of the house and closed my eyes for a second, only to wake up three hours later, still buckled in the car.

I've gotten home just in time to take a shower and get ready for work at the day job.

I've just about seen everything that you can imagine, and some things that you can't.

And yet, I loved (most of) it, and would not trade those years for anything.

I'm now sixty-three years old, and my current band doesn't play enough to make me happy. I miss all that craziness.
 
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Tyro

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Venue hires a jazz trio, then staff comes up to me every song complaining about the volume. I was barely touching the drums or cymbals with my most quiet brushes. I could not even hear myself over everyone’s conversation, they still thought it too loud. I mean if you want truly background jazz that no one will hear at all, just put on a CD…
 

varatrodder

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The two that stand out to me:
1. Playing a gig in Chicago and the cops and revenue agents show up and seize all the money from the door register. All of it. Every penny. Apparently the club owner didn’t renew his cabaret license, which means he wasn’t allowed to charge a cover.

2: Played a gig in Nashville. Called ahead to ask if they had a back line kit (pretty common for Nashville. I’ve played a lot of really nice back line kits there). They said just bring a snare and cymbals. I got there to set up, and they didn’t have any hardware. None. Not a single stand or pedal.
 

Luddite

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Let us not forget house kits and multi band shows sharing a kit. I’ve had a mixed bag in those situations with an emphasis on “challenging to play.”
I did a couple of multi band shows with my metal band where the drums were really nice. A show in Canton, OH had a beautiful Yamaha double bass kit, very inspiring to play, in a hall with great acoustics. Another show in Toledo featured a really nice Pearl kit that had a ton of Paiste 2002’s and four mounted and two floor toms. I typically played two up, two down or one up, two down so I had a lot of fun on the kit, which was ergonomically comfortable given its size.
The worst kits were a struggle to play, more so than the kits being good or bad. One show had a really nice Butcher Block Cortex Ludwig kit where they had the bass drum pedal bolted to the hoop. I can usually deal with about anything if I have my own pedal, but they were understandably unwilling to change it out. It was a Ghost pedal, which I never liked the feel of, cranked up into the stratosphere. I was strictly heel down at the time, and I was barely able to get the beater to the head. We played for a half hour and it felt like an eternity. My shins and ankles were burning by the time we finished. It actually messed me up for a while.
And then there’s the jam session kits with crappy hardware, setups obviously done by a guitar player or lead singer (“If I make the toms unplayable, he won’t be able to play fills and take the spotlight away from me!”), and heads so roached that it sounds like you’re playing cardboard boxes (really, really BAD cardboard boxes). That’s when you concentrate that much harder on groove and time, which is what other musicians want anyway!
 

Tornado

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The two that stand out to me:
1. Playing a gig in Chicago and the cops and revenue agents show up and seize all the money from the door register. All of it. Every penny. Apparently the club owner didn’t renew his cabaret license, which means he wasn’t allowed to charge a cover.

2: Played a gig in Nashville. Called ahead to ask if they had a back line kit (pretty common for Nashville. I’ve played a lot of really nice back line kits there). They said just bring a snare and cymbals. I got there to set up, and they didn’t have any hardware. None. Not a single stand or pedal.

I've told this story before, but I had a gig where I was told just bring cymbals and a snare. I get there, and there are no drums. I start asking about house kit. "Oh, that's Kevin's kit.". "Who's Kevin?" "The sound guy." "Where is Kevin?" "Oh, he quit last week."
 

JimmyM

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3 has happened to me twice in 45 years. But I’m not a weekend warrior ;)
 

pwc1141

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Playing in an uncovered area when rain hits your gear
Forgetting something important like bass drum pedal
House kit gaffer taped to the max
Guy in the audience with his bag of percussion items
Getting paid with a check that requires driving 150 kms back to the big city to cash in bank's HO
and ... and.... and.....
 

hsosdrum

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... Played a gig in Nashville. Called ahead to ask if they had a back line kit (pretty common for Nashville. I’ve played a lot of really nice back line kits there). They said just bring a snare and cymbals. I got there to set up, and they didn’t have any hardware. None. Not a single stand or pedal.
So how'd you do the gig?

Once, our roadies forgot to roll down the truck's roll-up door and when they got to the next gig they realized that my hardware case (and a pair of P.A, amps) had fallen out somewhere on the 200-mile trip. We managed without the amps but the only way we could play the gig was that there was a house drumset and we plied its owner with alcohol and $$ so he'd let me use it. (Out of the thousand or so venues we played that was one of only a couple where there was a drumset available.)
 


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