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Perils of gigging for weekend warriors list

kerope

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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.....
Number 4 made me laugh 555
 

Hellwyck

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My all time favorite… Lead guitar player’s birthday at the worst dive bar in history.
OK 2nd worst, anyway, his daughters by him martini after martini after martini. He starts up a song he sings and in the middle of the 2nd verse he walks across the bar to the bathroom, still playing and goes in and takes a leak… Talent on loan from God!
That's nothing. I was at a karaoke night and they had wireless mics, one guy went in and had a water while singing and you could hear him.
 

Matched Gripper

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Folding up hardware after a gig with haste to get home and pinching your fingers in the collapsing metal stand legs so hard that you are nearly in tears.

Go ahead and try to tell me something’s worse…
My wire music stand is a booby trap for fingers!
 

Artimas

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I am enjoying this thread. I gigged for about 20 years and have experienced most of the things described. Thankfully I never had the puking on my drums experience.

My most recent bad experience was a at an outdoor waterfront gig when a thunderstorm with torrential rain and lightning that came up so suddenly we didn't have time to cover our equipment. The first thing I did was unplug all of the mics. I didn't want to be connected to anything with electricity. Covered the drums second. It took a few days for everything to dry out but thankfully there was no long term damage.
 

Paul Belanger

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In the ''how to ill the show without even starting...'' .

First set. First song. After 30s - maybe less:

- guitarist says: I've broken a string, we need to stop.

- me: really? why don't you get the spare one?

- guitarist: 'cause I forgot to replace the broken string on that one too.

That was it. 20 minutes break to start the evening, the mood of the crowd never got off for the rest of the evening.

Bar owner was not pleased...
 

Old Drummer

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I've had many of the experiences others mention, though find it odd that nobody has mentioned the perennial peril I've experienced: EMBARRASSMENT.

The rest of you must have been luckier than I've been, because I have played in some awful bands. How we ever got gigs, I don't know, but there have been many gigs when I've wished that I had some of those glasses with a fake nose and mustache to disguise my identity.

The worst of it is that I'm obviously no better than my crummy bandmates because I'm in that lousy band too.

Ah, you start out with such lofty artistic aspiration only to end up making a fool of yourself in front of a live audience and hoping that nobody you know or will ever know is in the audience.
 

Derrick

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I've had many of the experiences others mention, though find it odd that nobody has mentioned the perennial peril I've experienced: EMBARRASSMENT.

The rest of you must have been luckier than I've been, because I have played in some awful bands. How we ever got gigs, I don't know, but there have been many gigs when I've wished that I had some of those glasses with a fake nose and mustache to disguise my identity.

The worst of it is that I'm obviously no better than my crummy bandmates because I'm in that lousy band too.

Ah, you start out with such lofty artistic aspiration only to end up making a fool of yourself in front of a live audience and hoping that nobody you know or will ever know is in the audience.
The key is to always play with people who are generally at least as good as you, and preferably better. That doesn't mean there aren't exceptions for one member, but you should be able to determine if they have the ability to embarrass you or take the band down. I would I play with people that might embarrass me?
 

notINtheband

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A bandmate recently asked me if I had ever been stiffed on gig pay.
Had to think about, and it only happened once, way back in the 80’s.
Our band was hired by a high school (specifically a 50-something female teacher) to play a fundraiser for one of the schools clubs.
We agreed to play for $400 which she quickly agreed to and hired us.
We played the gig, in the schools cafeteria on a Friday night where they charged admission, conducted mid-concert auctions, and asked for donations from attendees.
At the end of the night we pack up and go inside to collect.
The teacher’s demeanor is instantly stern.
She hands us $100.
We remind her our agreement was $400.
She says they took in far less than expected and that’s all they can afford.
We explain our rate was never based on their fundraiser, only the agreed upon $400.
She is unmoved, unapologetic and glaring at us as if we are there to rob them, refuses to speak on the matter further.
Realizing we aren’t going to win and can only make ourselves look bad by taking any kind of action, we leave and drop the matter.

It’s amazing how this little incident changed me as a person.

From that day on I had so much less respect for people in positions of trust.

I am not only unimpressed with titles like, Mayor, Pastor, Principal , etc. in most cases I am even less trusting if someone points out their station in an attempt to put me at ease.

And all from this little pay-short from my late teens.
 

bellbrass

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A bandmate recently asked me if I had ever been stiffed on gig pay.
Had to think about, and it only happened once, way back in the 80’s.
Our band was hired by a high school (specifically a 50-something female teacher) to play a fundraiser for one of the schools clubs.
We agreed to play for $400 which she quickly agreed to and hired us.
We played the gig, in the schools cafeteria on a Friday night where they charged admission, conducted mid-concert auctions, and asked for donations from attendees.
At the end of the night we pack up and go inside to collect.
The teacher’s demeanor is instantly stern.
She hands us $100.
We remind her our agreement was $400.
She says they took in far less than expected and that’s all they can afford.
We explain our rate was never based on their fundraiser, only the agreed upon $400.
She is unmoved, unapologetic and glaring at us as if we are there to rob them, refuses to speak on the matter further.
Realizing we aren’t going to win and can only make ourselves look bad by taking any kind of action, we leave and drop the matter.

It’s amazing how this little incident changed me as a person.

From that day on I had so much less respect for people in positions of trust.

I am not only unimpressed with titles like, Mayor, Pastor, Principal , etc. in most cases I am even less trusting if someone points out their station in an attempt to put me at ease.

And all from this little pay-short from my late teens.
Yep, you pretty much said it there. My "getting stiffed" incidents also date back to the 80s. One was at a huge bar in Tennessee, on the outskirts of some small town. We drove from Lexington to Tennessee, set up, played, and the bar owner cut us off short during the 1st set, because we were playing some original songs. He walked right up on stage and cut us off. People were apparently leaving because we had played 2 original songs in a row. He said, "No more of this original stuff; this is a dance bar, not a showcase" (whatever that meant). There was a guy in the band who prided himself in being street tough, and told the guy that we play originals and covers, and to deal with it. The owner walked off the stage, saying "No original music!" We played a few more covers, took the first break, played covers for the second set, then figured we could slip some more originals back in for the 3rd set. First a couple of covers, then a couple of originals, then more covers. We took a break, and he walked up to the guitarist/singer and told us to go home. No money.
The other couple of gigs were bar gigs in Lexington. 2 different bars stiffed us.
When I played in subsequent bands, I would constantly ask if we had a contract or a verbal agreement. When the band leader/booking guy would tell me "verbal agreement", my PTSD would come out. "How do you know he won't stiff us?" I'd ask, over and over. They looked at me like I was crazy. "Because people don't do that. If they don't like us, they will pay us, as agreed, and then not ask us back." "Not from what I've seen", I'd say. Again the responses I got were as if I'd come from an abusive household: "Dude, what kind of crappy bands have you been playing in? Sheesh."
So, like you wrote about, I was never quite the same after that.
Thankfully, it never happened again.
 

Hwy61

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Yep, you pretty much said it there. My "getting stiffed" incidents also date back to the 80s. One was at a huge bar in Tennessee, on the outskirts of some small town. We drove from Lexington to Tennessee, set up, played, and the bar owner cut us off short during the 1st set, because we were playing some original songs. He walked right up on stage and cut us off. People were apparently leaving because we had played 2 original songs in a row. He said, "No more of this original stuff; this is a dance bar, not a showcase" (whatever that meant). There was a guy in the band who prided himself in being street tough, and told the guy that we play originals and covers, and to deal with it. The owner walked off the stage, saying "No original music!" We played a few more covers, took the first break, played covers for the second set, then figured we could slip some more originals back in for the 3rd set. First a couple of covers, then a couple of originals, then more covers. We took a break, and he walked up to the guitarist/singer and told us to go home. No money.
The other couple of gigs were bar gigs in Lexington. 2 different bars stiffed us.
When I played in subsequent bands, I would constantly ask if we had a contract or a verbal agreement. When the band leader/booking guy would tell me "verbal agreement", my PTSD would come out. "How do you know he won't stiff us?" I'd ask, over and over. They looked at me like I was crazy. "Because people don't do that. If they don't like us, they will pay us, as agreed, and then not ask us back." "Not from what I've seen", I'd say. Again the responses I got were as if I'd come from an abusive household: "Dude, what kind of crappy bands have you been playing in? Sheesh."
So, like you wrote about, I was never quite the same after that.
Thankfully, it never happened again.
When I was a kid occasionally there would be a dancing couple that would do “ the gator “. So, they would be “ dancing “ ( if you can call it that , like they were screwing ). The first time I saw this then a person with authority came up to the guy & hit him in the head with a large Walkie-talkie. “ I told you to stop that he said ! “ Fast forward many years then at Vandy fraternity party’s the gatoring looked more like an individual dancing like a spider on the floor. Many of these gigs were off campus at some resort like Cobbly Knob near Gatlingburg or at a gulf coast beach condo. At one of these gigs at lake guntersville several pairs of fraternity “ rats “ ( same sex ) were holding on to each other & rolling on the dance floor and one of them got their tooth knocked out. He spent the rest of the set looking for his tooth. “ Too funny”. ( Alan S. if you’re reading this then you know who the sound guy was ).
 

hsosdrum

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A bandmate recently asked me if I had ever been stiffed on gig pay.
Had to think about, and it only happened once, way back in the 80’s.
Our band was hired by a high school (specifically a 50-something female teacher) to play a fundraiser for one of the schools clubs.
We agreed to play for $400 which she quickly agreed to and hired us.
We played the gig, in the schools cafeteria on a Friday night where they charged admission, conducted mid-concert auctions, and asked for donations from attendees.
At the end of the night we pack up and go inside to collect.
The teacher’s demeanor is instantly stern.
She hands us $100.
We remind her our agreement was $400.
She says they took in far less than expected and that’s all they can afford.
We explain our rate was never based on their fundraiser, only the agreed upon $400.
She is unmoved, unapologetic and glaring at us as if we are there to rob them, refuses to speak on the matter further.
Realizing we aren’t going to win and can only make ourselves look bad by taking any kind of action, we leave and drop the matter.
Three words: Contract, Contract, Contract. Get every agreement about money in writing. If there's no written contract the gig does not exist. If they sign and then don't pay the contracted amount, you sue them in small claims court.

In the circuit my band played in the 1970s the AFM (musician's union) was particularly strong — every band was a member. Every gig was a union contract gig and every gig my band played was paid in full. Period.
 

kevmill70

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I was setting up a Tama Ergo Rider throne for a gig once. As I ran my hand along one leg, a sliver of chrome plating came off, and actually cut my finger. Not deeply, but I had to play the gig with a bleeding finger.
I had the same exact thing happen to me, but mine was an 80's Pearl heavy duty cymbal stand. IT's more of a testament to the durability and thickness of their chrome plating that it becomes like a razor when it chips off, though it takes 30 years to do so.
 

aratts

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I had the same exact thing happen to me, but mine was an 80's Pearl heavy duty cymbal stand. IT's more of a testament to the durability and thickness of their chrome plating that it becomes like a razor when it chips off, though it takes 30 years to do so.
that Is why the most important item in my stickbag besides sticks and a drum key — are bandaids!
 

bellbrass

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Three words: Contract, Contract, Contract. Get every agreement about money in writing. If there's no written contract the gig does not exist. If they sign and then don't pay the contracted amount, you sue them in small claims court.

In the circuit my band played in the 1970s the AFM (musician's union) was particularly strong — every band was a member. Every gig was a union contract gig and every gig my band played was paid in full. Period.
Great advice, but it no longer applies in most situations, at least in clubs and bars. Verbal agreements leave the bar owner an out if they have a bad night. They don't care if you get mad at them...and they know you usually won't take them to Small Claims Court, lest you get your band blacklisted.
The days of the Musician's Union were good days.
 

hsosdrum

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Great advice, but it no longer applies in most situations, at least in clubs and bars. Verbal agreements leave the bar owner an out if they have a bad night. They don't care if you get mad at them...and they know you usually won't take them to Small Claims Court, lest you get your band blacklisted.
The days of the Musician's Union were good days.
I must sadly agree with you. Musician's unions only work if all the bands are members (as was the case in the circuit I played during the '70s). That way it's the deadbeat owner/manager who gets blackballed, not the band who got stiffed.
 

Derrick

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Great advice, but it no longer applies in most situations, at least in clubs and bars. Verbal agreements leave the bar owner an out if they have a bad night. They don't care if you get mad at them...and they know you usually won't take them to Small Claims Court, lest you get your band blacklisted.
The days of the Musician's Union were good days.
There's many other ways to handle not getting paid by a dirt bag. They don't involve violence either... I'll just leave it at that.
 

bellbrass

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There's many other ways to handle not getting paid by a dirt bag. They don't involve violence either... I'll just leave it at that.
Yes....after one of those bar gigs where we got stiffed, the "tough guy" in our band had to be talked out of beating the snot out of the guy. The rationale being, "You have no idea as to what weapons he has in that office." But...that almost happened.
 


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