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A Gig From Hell

lloyd61 29 Oct 99 - 05:33 PM
Phil Cooper 29 Oct 99 - 05:44 PM
Rick Fielding 29 Oct 99 - 06:32 PM
Melbert 29 Oct 99 - 07:19 PM
katlaughing 29 Oct 99 - 08:40 PM
DonMeixner 29 Oct 99 - 09:55 PM
29 Oct 99 - 10:19 PM
dick greenhaus 29 Oct 99 - 11:28 PM
Lady McMoo 30 Oct 99 - 06:01 PM
Ely 30 Oct 99 - 06:10 PM
SeanM 30 Oct 99 - 06:34 PM
Michael K. 30 Oct 99 - 09:18 PM
Davey 31 Oct 99 - 01:28 AM
poet 31 Oct 99 - 09:58 AM
Rick Fielding 31 Oct 99 - 11:55 AM
Margo 31 Oct 99 - 12:31 PM
Rick Fielding 31 Oct 99 - 12:40 PM
ddw 31 Oct 99 - 10:00 PM
Bill Cameron 01 Nov 99 - 05:28 PM
poet 01 Nov 99 - 05:37 PM
Paul G. 01 Nov 99 - 08:04 PM
dpara 02 Nov 99 - 10:50 AM
Rick Fielding 02 Nov 99 - 11:08 AM
JedMarum 02 Nov 99 - 11:49 AM
Michael K. 02 Nov 99 - 11:55 AM
JedMarum 02 Nov 99 - 12:06 PM
JedMarum 02 Nov 99 - 12:21 PM
Peter T. 02 Nov 99 - 12:45 PM
Lonesome EJ 02 Nov 99 - 01:40 PM
Jerry 02 Nov 99 - 01:57 PM
Michael K. 02 Nov 99 - 02:19 PM
Davey 02 Nov 99 - 05:15 PM
Rick Fielding 02 Nov 99 - 07:43 PM
Den 02 Nov 99 - 09:09 PM
Rick Fielding 03 Nov 99 - 12:43 AM
Margo 03 Nov 99 - 01:13 AM
JedMarum 03 Nov 99 - 09:10 AM
03 Nov 99 - 07:05 PM
Bluesy 03 Nov 99 - 08:59 PM
Shay Gillian Veno 03 Nov 99 - 09:40 PM
ToneDeafDave 03 Nov 99 - 09:58 PM
Jeri 03 Nov 99 - 10:37 PM
Rick Fielding 03 Nov 99 - 11:00 PM
Michael K. 04 Nov 99 - 12:14 AM
Michael K. 04 Nov 99 - 12:20 AM
JedMarum 04 Nov 99 - 08:33 AM
Bill Cameron 04 Nov 99 - 08:55 AM
04 Nov 99 - 09:13 AM
Michael K. 04 Nov 99 - 09:14 AM
JedMarum 04 Nov 99 - 09:29 AM
Michael K. 04 Nov 99 - 10:02 AM
Rick Fielding 04 Nov 99 - 10:09 AM
Steve Latimer 04 Nov 99 - 10:15 AM
Jeri 04 Nov 99 - 10:55 AM
JedMarum 04 Nov 99 - 10:59 AM
Rex 15 Nov 99 - 12:32 PM
Bill D 15 Nov 99 - 01:56 PM
WyoWoman 15 Nov 99 - 04:29 PM
WyoWoman 15 Nov 99 - 11:03 PM
Amos 16 Nov 99 - 12:01 AM
Bert 16 Nov 99 - 09:51 AM
Willie-O 03 Mar 03 - 03:30 PM
Kim C 03 Mar 03 - 04:22 PM
denise:^) 03 Mar 03 - 05:03 PM
Clinton Hammond 03 Mar 03 - 05:17 PM
GUEST,Pat Cooksey. 03 Mar 03 - 05:39 PM
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InOBU 04 Mar 03 - 07:36 PM
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Subject: A Gig From Hell
From: lloyd61
Date: 29 Oct 99 - 05:33 PM

A Gig From Hell

Our local historical society called to see if I would volunteer to play my Guitar for a women who was scheduled to sing a Irish ballad at the Annual Historical Fall Fund-raiser. I said if I was able to play the requested song, I would be happy oblige. Several days later a young lady call to sing a Ballad over the phone. It was a very simple tune in A minor. "No Problem I said". She than gave me the particulars, This fund-raiser was to be a Living Cemetery Walk. A number of local people, dressed in period clothing, would stand next to a grave and represent the deceased in first person singular. The cemetery was to be lit with candles as visitors mingle around to hear past residents tell their story's. The young lady I was accompanying played the part of an Irish Immigrant who died, at a young age, in 1875.

It still did not sound to bad; I'll show up at the cemetery play a song and be on my way.

On the night of the cemetery walk I showed up early to run through the song a few times. I was then told to sit behind a tomb stone and wait for the first group to show up. "First Group?" The Sun when down, the candles were lit, the temperature dropped, and a slight mist settled in. When the First Group approached, she whispered, "Start playing while I tell them my story, then I'll sing the ballad". With stiff frozen fingers I stared to play the tune, she talked and talked and talked, then she sang the haunting Ballad. I was now ready to pack it in when she said "get down here comes the next group, start playing". Thirty groups later, soaking wet, chilled to the bone from sitting on the damp turf, and with frozen tired fingers all I could think of was; next year someone will be standing next to a new grave saying " My name is Lloyd, on a night like this I caught Pneumonia...

Do you have a Gig from hell?


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 29 Oct 99 - 05:44 PM

That gig reminds me of the time a local community theater group did a quasi-ren.faire as a fund raiser. The asked local musicians from the Folklore society to dontate their talents. It turned out the organizers had no concept of what they were asking of us. Costumes, of course, and playing for about six hours or more. No special places to perform. And if we wanted to keep our cases open to busk, they wanted us to give them the money. Then, they didn't even invite us to the cast party after the event. This was all about 20 years ago. I then teamed up with Margaret and told future event organzers that we were too busy to fit them in our schedule.


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 29 Oct 99 - 06:32 PM

I can relate guys!
When you've been playing for 30 years you have a litany of "gigs from Hell! Here's an example.
Used to play a lot of political rallies. (subversive anti Govt. stuff) Standing on the back of a flat bed truck singing "Solidarity Forever" endlessly in the middle of winter, with your fingers virtually frozen stiff from the cold ain't a walk in the park! These days when the local activist groups call, I pass 'em on to younger more idealistic pickers.

Rick


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: Melbert
Date: 29 Oct 99 - 07:19 PM

When I was younger I belonged to a youth organisation called "the Boys' Brigade". Not sure if you guys across the pond (US) know it by that name, but it's like the scouts but more church oriented.

I was a bugler in the band and we were asked to participate in a youth orchestra / opera performance of Noyes Fludde (Noah's Flood) by Benjamin Britten, which features a part for B flat bugle.

This involved sitting for countless nights through umpteen endless performances of a piece of music which I found extremely boring, simply to play the bugle part which lasted all of thirty seconds per performance.

I've also experienced this summer playing two sessions of fourteen nights each in an "Irish" bar in southern Turkey (of all places) so I have a deal of sympathy with the threads on "don't ask me to sing the Wild Rover / Fields of Athenry" etc.


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: katlaughing
Date: 29 Oct 99 - 08:40 PM

Melbert, you might appreciate the following, which LEJ posted in some thread, somewhere, back in I think it was August. I had it in my email files, from sending it some family and friends.

BTW, worst gig I had, in the few I have had, was in high school when my A string broke in the middle of a Christmas concert. Load of fun, using those higher positions in the first violin section. At least the audience never knew.

From LeeJ:

Stop me if you've heard this...

An orchestra was putting on a performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. There were two bass players who had a part in the first movement, and a part in the finale', but nothing in between. They requested permission from the conductor to leave the stage during the long period of inactivity, and were granted their request. At the end of the first movement, they exited the stage, and one said to the other "let's go across the street for a minute and grab a drink." They had one, then another, and finally one says "hadn't we better get back? They'll be getting close to the end." The other says "oh, don't worry. I've tied the last two pages of the conductor's sheet music together with string."

The two bassists finally returned to the auditorium, to see the conductor conducting with one hand while frantically trying to untie the string with the other. The audience were on the edge of their seats with tension. After all, it was the bottom of the Ninth, the score was tied, and the bassists were loaded.


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: DonMeixner
Date: 29 Oct 99 - 09:55 PM

A gig from hell is a friday nite wedding reception for a middle aged pair on their second or third trip. The only music they want is Frank Sinatra and they have knowingly hired an Irish band. The baker has turned the cake over in the van on the way to the reception. The best man is already hammered and hitting on the brides daughter who is the maid of honor and pregnant. The food id modtly shake and bake chicken from the VFW post and just as the fabulous Flyin Column Irish Show band is about to start up, another band pulls into the room.

Don


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From:
Date: 29 Oct 99 - 10:19 PM

tell more Rick tell more


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 29 Oct 99 - 11:28 PM

Hi- Songster Bob seems to have anticipated this thread musically. Check out [gig from hell] in Digitrad.


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: Lady McMoo
Date: 30 Oct 99 - 06:01 PM

I fondly remember playing with an Irish band and we got a gig in a large prison in London. Only once we started did we realise the convicts were expecting C & W.....

And another where we travelled up to The Hague in Holland only to find the open-air stage had been set up right next to the main bus depot and major roadworks were under way 50 yards away.

mcmoo


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: Ely
Date: 30 Oct 99 - 06:10 PM

Playing an all-mountain dulcimer gig outside during an American Civil War reenactment. Unamplified mountain dulcimers are feeble enough, but there was a Union artillery regiment over the next hill. Every time a cannon went off, the ground would shake and we'd all jump and miss a beat simultaneously.


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: SeanM
Date: 30 Oct 99 - 06:34 PM

Did a gig with multiple stages. The overall theme was "railway" (Railfair 99). One of our stages was located next to the main spur track that was used to move engines about the event...

One day, we were in the middle of "Rolling Home"... we've tweaked it a bit, with a retard with harmony at the end. We were right in the midst of an acapella bit when the ol' 4449 (one of the largest engines there) rolled by and blasted a friendly shout out of it's whistle. After the 10-15 second blast, when we could finally hear ourselves again, we were all in different notes, keys and states of pain. After that show, we all resolved "no more harmony on THAT STAGE!"

M


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: Michael K.
Date: 30 Oct 99 - 09:18 PM

My favourite gig from hell?

Book yourself on a cruise ship playing the lounge, and embarkation, debarkation, prelude to Bingo, prelude to a fashion show, Captain's cocktail parties, etc. (7 - 8 hours a day of playing) or, a lounge in Vegas or Atlantic City - graveyard shift.

Down side: Nobody's listening and, nobody gives a damn about what you're doing.

Up side: From so many hours of playing your chops will be absolutely amazing and it will seem as if your hands and playing are on FIRE!!!! (And remember to have at least 2 good fake books with you.)


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: Davey
Date: 31 Oct 99 - 01:28 AM

About 10 years ago I would get together every week with 3 other fellows, and we would work on a repertoire, some folk, some C/W, some early rock & roll, and some pop. We would volunteer to play at retirement homes about 3 times a year.

One fellow's mother was involved with the Masons and got us a 'paying' gig at their annual dinner. We arrived, listened at the door before we went in, and there was a soprano singing hymns. "They're going to get a surprise when we come in'" I said to the others (we were in jeans, those at the dinner were in formal wear).

We were finally let in and set up our borrowed PA system, tuned our instruments, and waited. There was an after dinner speaker, who went on and on interminably, and the audience was getting more and more fidgety..

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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: poet
Date: 31 Oct 99 - 09:58 AM

This is Phil Capper, poet's mate, again. Two gigs stick out in my mind as the worst it can get, which after almost thirty years of gigging really DOES mean bad.

The first one was me and two mates playing at the "final night party" for a room full of police detective sergeants, who were getting royally pissed (drunk, for those of you across the pond) at the end of their inspector's promotion course. Nuff said!

The second was playing in a skiffle band in a posh hotel in Cheshire for the world sales conference for Twyfords, the urinal makers, with an audience made up of Japanese, Indians, Mid-West tub-thunpers, Germans, Africans etc. Try putting together sets that don't offend religious sensibilities for half of that lot, while entertaining the rest who want everything louder and bawdier!

Gigs from hell? Ha!


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 31 Oct 99 - 11:55 AM

Love this! They're all great (or horrible!). Don, oh do I know what you went through on that one!!
The problem often is that the person doing the hiring doesn't really know what they want (and consequently what they are getting). Here's the mini-version of some of my favourite disasters...every one of them TRUE!

Arriving at an out of town (WAY out of town) gig, only to have the bar owner ask me why I was getting a guitar out when the agent told him I was a honky tonk piano player!

Fort Coulonge Quebec. (very rural, folks) While setting up, the stripper asked me if I was with the band? When I told her that I WAS the band, she groaned (en Francais) "You mean I gotta dance to a f****n' folk singer?". After exhausting my repertoire of Jimmy Reed, John Lee Hooker, and Chuck Berry every night, I had to listen to her servicing the local lumberjacks in the room next to mine until 6am!

The Norseman Tavern in Toronto: After I had played one song, the waitress came up to the stage and asked "How long are you booked here?" I said "two weeks". She replied: "You mean I gotta listen to this crap every night?" An hour later, a fight broke out in front of me and wended it's way to the stage. The two combatants rolled around punching each other while I quickly packed up and got the hell out of there! I'm sure my waitress was pleased. By the way, these were legit high paying - agent booked gigs. Most of my fellow solo performers would have killed to get them.
In 1989 when I went to a shrink and told him that I'd had dreams about killing members of the audience, I think he thought I was overstating the case. Not a chance!

The Shoreline Hotel in Thunder Bay Ont. During the first set a homesick Irishman asked for "Danny Boy", and stuffed a twenty in the soundhole of my D-28. (while I was playing of course) Twenty minutes later he came back to the stage, with no memory that I'd done his song before. "Danny Boy", please he said (and stuffed another twenty in). Refusing locals is dangerous, so I sang it again. On my break, he found me in the washroom standing at the urinal. "Would you sing "Danny Boy"? I explained to him that I'd be busy for the next twenty seconds or so (and that I'd already sung it twice) but he proceeded to try and fill my free hand with another twenty. At the end of the night I'd sung it four more times. (the crowd loved it EVERY TIME!) Did I take the money? Damn right!

Lots of the hotel and bar gigs were fine and I met tons of great people, but I'd say about 15% were absolutely bizarre. (like the nudist camp gig, the gig where a customer died during "Green Green Grass Of Home", the gig that convinced me not to smoke dope while I was onstage, and the gig where I got hit with a purse!
It's a long story and I won't go into it here, but the reason I love Sandy and Caroline Paton (and think of them as my surrogate parents) is that they were the folks who got me out of that bizarre world for good.

Rick ('course Sandy got me INTO the bizarre and wonderful world of Mudcat)


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: Margo
Date: 31 Oct 99 - 12:31 PM

Gee Davey, it seems that you didn't finish the story!

I don't suppose my story is a hellish one but.... When I was a student at the Conservatory I did a recital. I sang Delilah's aria, where she seduces Sampson. I didn't know until later about my appearance, when my classmates commented. You see, I had made this dress. It was so long that even with my heels on, you couldn't see my shoes. I did my stage walk perhaps too well, walking tall but oh so smoothly, so that my head didn't bob. The skirt fluttered out to it's fullness and stayed flared, since my steps were so quick that it didn't have time to flop back down to my feet. I truly looked as though I was floating!

Then there was the problem with the darts. The darts are the tucks sewn in the bodice of the garment to create the right shape for the bust. *Ahem* Anyway, I hadn't ironed out the darts well, and the end of the dart, right at the outmost part of the bust *ahem*, there was a definate flare in the material, which made it look like I had these huge nipples! So I had the appearance of an angel with really big ones!

You know, I have never told this to anyone. I think I can here because no one can see me blush......

Margarita


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 31 Oct 99 - 12:40 PM

Great story Margarita. That was one time when Samson got seriously seduced!

Rick


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: ddw
Date: 31 Oct 99 - 10:00 PM

Mine wasn't exactly and gig and can't compare with some of these horror stories, but when I was in the high school marching band (trumpet) we did a Christmas parade right behind a group of about 20 horses. In white bucks, no less!!!

:-) now -- not then.

david


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: Bill Cameron
Date: 01 Nov 99 - 05:28 PM

Fort Coulonge ain't that far from here, Rick. Who did you say yer agent was? I haven't been punched out at a gig in a few years...

I answered an ad placed by a guy who was trying to start a country-rock band a few years ago. He was a kind of hanger-on with the biker crowd (thats Harleys not pedalpushers) around here, which was the down side. But he was also a damn good singer and solid rhythm player, so I joined up as lead guitarist since I didn't have any better offers.

After we practiced a few months, I got us lined up to play a benefit dance for a good cause (natch, don't play for bad causes, lady.) I also arranged the PA, which I borrowed and set up myself since the rest of them were an hour and a half late. Neal the singer and self-pronounced Leader and Main Event showed up with an entourage of fellow wannabe bikers, one guy in particular.

So, we started playing. At a certain point while I was playing a break, one of Neals buddies came up on stage behind me and tripped over the board, causing me to spontaneously turn around and tell him to f*ck off.

Later, after the show, the same guy helped me carry the speakers out, and then got serious and flattened my nose to my face. Ouch ouch, bleed bleed, this is not groovy as I go back in covered in gore. The thing was, the guy was there as Neals guest, but Neal was quite indifferent to the situation. "That's between you and him," he explained. "You hurt his feelings."

"Why the $%^&*( was he on the stage anyway?" I asked. Neal explained that because he was busy playing rhythm guitar, he didn't have a hand free to light a smoke, so he'd motioned Barry up to the stage to do it for him. I don't think I really got through to him, he was in his own little universe where it was Neal first, his so-called friends second, and the rest of the band last.

I spent the next couple of days drinking whisky through a straw, and needless to say didn't work with that loser again.

Bill


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: poet
Date: 01 Nov 99 - 05:37 PM

Try doing a gig in a tent for a Royal Wedding when you are a thrash Irish Band and they wanted a string quartet playing muted background music. Somehow that gig didn't seem to work.

graham


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: Paul G.
Date: 01 Nov 99 - 08:04 PM

Try playing an outdoor gig, rainy day, leaky tent...the line up: A poor Elvis impersonator using a tape machine for his band, followed by yours truely, followed by the oom-pa band from the Germany exhibit at Disney's EPCOT. Ugh.

Paul


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: dpara
Date: 02 Nov 99 - 10:50 AM

Ah, the Garden of Earthly Delights! Hell is how you describe it, I guess, but I would guess gigs at which pain was inflicted have to rank the highest. I mean, there isn't enough money in this to endure pain. Anguish is something else. I remember the first-ever date we played in Europe. After years of having people talk about tours, one finally came together. Four weeks, mostly in Holland, with an eight-day trip to Bavaria with a contact of our own somewhere in the middle. That was when we first became aware of the European country music scene, because that's where we spent most of our time. So, after a day trying to get over jet-lag and a mild, though welcomed culture shock, we head to the first gig in a tiny Dutch town with an old restored post office. We're historical types, right? The post office had been restored to a bar/disco for teenagers, with some public funding for programming. Our Dutch agent admitted at the outset that he didn't know much about this place, but in 1985, the dollar was really high, and this place could pay better than the others. So, it's a disco for teens who drink. Now Cathy and I aren't really a bar act, even though it has happened, and the 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. regimen is not foreign to us. And furthermore, our repertoire is mostly in the early country music days, well before the U.S. occupation brought country music to Europe and created this scene. But people who thought about it could recognize a "roots' aspect of what we do. But we were faced with playing for a bunch of drinking teenagers who didn't want to hear our music at all. Our agent said, "Well, maybe we'll get lucky and a fight will break out and we can leave early." For such a group, though, they were really quite polite about it. Those who didn't want to hear the music at all could get far enough away from us, and during the breaks some of the kids spent some time trying out their English and trying to get us to say various things in Dutch, most of which we remained suspicious. They also requested we play some Z.Z. Top, which unfortunately we could not honor. But in the middle of perhaps the second set, during one of the few slow, pretty things we tried, in bursts the director of the club, who had hired us, dressed up in light colored buckskin with his face blackened and shooting cap pistols. A real show stopper. Now this was still in the Reagan years, and Europe often posed him as a cowboy, and perhaps the director was making a statement about the country music scene which we were soon to experience at length. But it seemed that he had hired us just to do that. You know, it doesn't sound very hellish as I write, but at the time, with 20 more dates and three and a half weeks to go, it seemed like a dream gone nasty and sour. Fortunately, the next night we had one of our best concerts in the tour. It seems that the worst situations are when your music is being wasted and there is no real way the stiuation allows you to just play for yourselves. dave para


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 02 Nov 99 - 11:08 AM

I love it! Notice how we all turn these disasters into humour? If anyone wants to know how musicians waste their time when they "hang out" in music stores, tellin' tales from the road...this is it!
Bill, that's a great story..and I hope your nose is better.

From the dawn of time (I think), low-lifes have always had an affinity for musicians. Louis Armstrong has related wonderful stories about how the "mob" used to provide huge tips, dope, women et al just so they could hang out with the players. Even as a folk singer I had at least 20 occasions where seriously dangerous people "adopted" me for short periods. 'Course The 'Stones found out at Altamount what this could result in. "Remember the phrase "Please don't shoot the piano player". That was LEGIT! It was often posted in Western saloons.
Hi Dave. The best gigs I did in Holland were in the cafes that catered to American and Canadian school teachers on vacation. Very mild, very mellow, lots of requests for Stan Rogers and James Taylor. Not really my style, but better than ZZ Top.

Rick


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: JedMarum
Date: 02 Nov 99 - 11:49 AM

I have resisted writing to this thread for fear of dredging up too many bad memories!

… but I must tell the tale of Monahan's Landing. I was playing Rhythm and Blues back in the early '80s and the local bars were making big bucks on the reduced drinking age in Massachusetts (it was dropped to 18 for a year or two until so many kids died and killed with their drunk driving, the age limit was restored to 21). The clubs had also discovered that many of their young patrons would flock to the Wet Tee Shirt, Amateur Strip, and Pro Stripper nights - both as participants and attendees! Playing those clubs during those days earned me a few interesting stories, but I must tell y'all about the night that we shared the limelight with Desiree, at Monahan's.

This local, here-to-fore, sedate little club on a waterfront, small town Massachusetts pond was jam packed with kids, mostly between 18 and 24. Desiree, a fine looking professional stripper, was older than many of these kids Moms! The place reeked of amil nitrate (sorry for the spelling) and it seemed to me that the entire room was totally drunk by the start of the first set. As well as we played our first set, the crowd responded to us, much the way they responded to the juke box - not at all! Then Desiree came out to whoops, cat calls, and the band playing Black Magic Woman (the 25 minute version!). I must say Desiree was a great dancer, and her show was perhaps even more inspiring from the band's vantage point, (behind her on the stage). Still she left to cheers, jeers and an obviously nasty comment from a young man at the stage corner, leaning back in his chair - for when Desiree walked past him, she never even broke her stride. She nailed him with a fierce back hander across the face and chest - and sent him sprawling across the floor; dazed and confused.

Break-time had us all in the kitchen with birthday cake for Desiree's 'nephew' (we all believed son). After singing Happy (21 year old) Birthday, we were interrupted by a growing din from the main bar room. I poked my head out just in time to witness a huge bar fight, the likes of which I've only seen staged for TV! Food and liquor was being thrown along with punches, chairs and tables spilled, a few noses bloodied, a few tears, and so on and so on. It seemed to me the entire bar was involved. We cowered in the kitchen for a bit, 'til the cops showed, in force, dogs and all. They emptied the club in moments, hauled a few bad boys and girls off to jail, and left within the hour. We never had to play the second set! In fact, we packed up and went home (paid in full, of course). As I re-tell this tale, I think it is more a gig from the "Comedy Channel" than a gig from hell. I wonder what Desiree is doing today. I wonder if Monahan's Landing in Hudson Massachusetts is still open for business, and I wonder how many times the young man sitting at the edge of the stage was sent sprawling on his backside by other women, before he learned to keep his nasty thoughts to himself!


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: Michael K.
Date: 02 Nov 99 - 11:55 AM

Love those stories Rick, and I can definitely relate. Here's two more, somewhat similar yet different to yours.

1)My first legitimate paying gig (at the time was doing keyboards and left hand synth bass, when left handed bass was a real novelty) was with a showband (which shall remain nameless) back in the mid 70s. The leader of the band was in-your-face homosexual (not bi, but homosexual -no offence to any gay mudcatters)with a great baritone voice but extremely affeminite in all mannerisms and body language, and one of the sets in the show was a Jolson style minstrel show. It was well arranged and the 6 piece backup band (including yours truly) was tight and well rehearsed.

Our first break-in-the-band-on-a-live-gig was a booking in Buckingham, Quebec at a club aptly named "The Buckingham Palace", ohhhhhh and what a palace it was. (LOL)

It was 3 floors. On the first floor were strippers doing a rather tame strip show. On the 2nd floor (and what a thrill it was lugging a Hammond B-3 with 2 Leslies up those stairs) was the showband -us. And on the 3rd floor were strippers doing a very raunchy show. So we're sandwiched in the middle of this scenario. And best of all the clientele are bikers, and all manner of gays.

You can only imagine to doing a Minstrel show with a flaming gay band leader, for a room full of bikers!!!!

The climax (pun intended) of the show was the closing song ''Mami'', and of course when we got to the part about ''I'm down on my knees Mami'',the leader got down on his knees, and immediately two bikers from the audience rushed the stage with one going behind the band leader simulating anal intercourse, and the other dropping his pants in front of the leader --YES FOLKS THIS REALLY HAPPENED!!!! --all the while the leader keeps singing and the band keeps playing. We lasted one more night there, out of a full week booking, and high tailed back to Toronto. This was my first professional paying gig, and after that experience, I honestly started to think my parents were right about not pursuing a career in music. I can look back on it now and laugh, but at the time I was absolutely horrified and in shock for a few days.

2) The other memorable event that sticks out in my mind (sort of like one of Rick's) was having a customer drop dead on the dance floor in front of the band. This was a few years later and by this time I had my own band (and had learned to avoid Quebec gigs altogher.) I had a nice little 4 piece lounge act, and we were just starting our first dinner set, at a nice lounge/dining room in Toronto. We were two songs into the set, on a Saturday night, with a packed house (3-400 people) and finishing "Girl From Ipenema" when right in front of the stage, I see a couple finish their dance. They thank each other, start to go their separate ways, and the guy takes 3 steps and collapses on the dance floor. It's obvious he's gone. There is no doctor in the house. There is no one in the house that knows CPR.....It takes 15 minutes for an ambulance to show up...all the while, this guy is lying there, and we've obviously stopped playing, so the room is quiet with everybody staring at this poor guy. The room manager comes up to me, and says ''would you mind playing some piano music till the ambulance gets here, so the room isn't so quiet?" I guess she was trying to establish a business-as-usual vibe, but I thought she was insane, and would be better off putting on a tape...but she insisted I play. So, I sit down at the baby grand piano (and being the insensitive bastard I am and seeing the humour in what I'm being asked to do) start doing an instrumental version of "Every Breath You Take", immediately followed by "Amazing Grace". Ambulance arrives, pronounces the guy DOA, room manager is fired two days later, we get rebooked back to this club for an additional 16 weeks in the year. Food and Beverage Manager shared my sense of humour, and he and I got along famously. True story as well.


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: JedMarum
Date: 02 Nov 99 - 12:06 PM

great stories Michael K.!


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: JedMarum
Date: 02 Nov 99 - 12:21 PM

great story Margarita ... I wish I was there!


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: Peter T.
Date: 02 Nov 99 - 12:45 PM

Michael you are one sick puppy!! ("Every Breath You Take" -- what a hoot.)
yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 02 Nov 99 - 01:40 PM

I was at a bar in Louisville, one Friday night in 1973, listening to one of the top local rock and blues bands, Leslie's Motel. There were two bikers there with Outlaws insignia on their jackets, and they were becoming very drunk on beer and tequila. They were harrassing the band,and one finally threw a beer on the lead singer. At this point the bouncers booted them out.

I was not at the bar the next night when the two bikers returned with 9 of their friends armed with tire irons and chains. They posted guards at both front and back entrances, and proceeded to beat up the band, the bartenders, bouncers, waitresses, and most of the 20 to 30 customers in the bar. It was the Gig from Hell, for sure.


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: Jerry
Date: 02 Nov 99 - 01:57 PM

I predict that someone will turn this thread into a book and sell it for mucho dinero to musicians all over the world. Since I want a piece of the action here's my tale of woe.

I was busking at Quincy Market in Boston -- a regular, once or twice a week thing -- doing traditional sea music for the tourists. I had found that I got more quarters when my appearance was somewhat nautical, so on this occasion I was wearing one of my dad's old U.S. Navy jumpers: the dress white pullover kind with the flap on the back. It still bore his insignia of rank on the left sleeve.

It wasn't a particularly busy night, so I noticed the small, neatly dressed man of middle age who had hung around and listened to a few songs. Finally he came up to me with a smile. "I like your music," he said, and I thanked him.

"So, you're in the Navy," he asked. I allowed that, no, I wasn't, pointing out that this was my dad's uniform. "Oh," he says, "so you didn't earn that crow on your arm" gesturing to the insignia with its black eagle silhouette. He was still smiling, but there was a tone in his voice that brought me up short.

"No, I didn't," I said.

"Well," he said,"I've spent 20 years in the Navy -- just got out, as a matter of fact -- and I want you to take that crow off."

I thought momentarily of objecting, then considered that this man, after 20 years in the Navy, had probably turned bars upside down from Boston to Yokohama. I dediced on retreat.

"I'm sorry to offend you," I said, "and I'll be sure to take it off when I get home."

"No," he said, "it needs to come off now."

"I don't have a knife," I replied, wondering how far away the cops who patrolled the market were. "I do,' he said brightly, and pulled a large jacknife out of his sportcoat pocket.

So for the next minute I stood mute and foolish as he carefully cut the threads on the patch (that knife was SHARP)and then, still smiling, handed it to me. "Enjoyed your singing," he said as he headed towards the subway station.

The next time I busked there I wore a French navy jumper, sans insignia.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: Michael K.
Date: 02 Nov 99 - 02:19 PM

To Peter T.

Thanks, and unfortunately I can find humor (sometimes extremely dark, as was the case in #2 scenario I described) in almost any situation no matter how bizarre or macabre.

My agent always said ''Knock 'em dead'' or " Did you kill'' as is a generally accepted way to determine a comedian's or band's positive audience reaction. I did call the agent on the following Monday to tell him we did in fact ''kill'' and related the whole story to him. He thought it was very ''professional'' of me to keep playing the piano music till the ambulance arrived. Typical agent.

Another bizarre thing that happened to me recently (a couple of months ago) -whichis not music related, well maybe sort of if we count on a Cantor as music), was attending the funeral of an old, grea uncle, 90+ years old and someone I barely knew.

This was a Jewish funeral, and my younger brother (who shares the same demented ''Seinfeld-ish'' sense of humor as me) were sitting in the third row in the chapel - fortunatey at the aisle seats. The family is in the front row, just crying and sobbing and really making a grieving spectacle of themselves filling the entire chapel with their unconsolable outpuring of grief, as if this was a sudden death, and the guy was cut down in the prime of life - almost akin to a stereo-typical Italian funeral.

I'm witnessing this, and in the same brain I'm thinking ''Come on. Gimme a break. The man was 93, in a fragile, delicate state of health for several years, and confined to a wheel chair. You had no inkling? You didn't see this coming? You didn't mentally prepare for this eventuality?''

I know this must seem very crass and insensitive thinking but it's the way my mind works I guess as a defense mechanism in stressful situations...In any event, my brother and I were of identical minds, but were civil and keeping it together, that is until the Cantor ascended the pulpit and began to sing. This Cantor was older than the deceased, hunched over, and singing Hebrew chanting prayers in the highest breathy, falsetto voice I'd ever heard out a male homo-sapian...At this point my brother and I lost it, so much so, that we practically bit thru our tongues, and our cheeks were beet red and to any other observers near or behind us, the shaking of our bodies might have appear as mild convultions.

No we never laughed out loud, thanks to biting our tongues,but we were breathing pretty hard and coughing, and the louder the Cantor sang, the more the family in the front row wailed, and the more impossible it became for us to control ourselves. It was like Shakespeare, or the Ringling Brothers meet Kevorkian. You absolutely had to be there. (Course the two of us were the only ones who saw it this way.)

We lasted five minutes, and then abruptly got up and went outside the funeral parlor to my car, where we each lit and cigarette and exploded in uncontrollable laughter for 15 minutes, doing our best imitations of the Cantor, that left us exhausted.

Strangely enough, no one noticed us at the funeral including my parents and aunts and uncles who were there...and when we got to the cemetary, we wisely hung back in the rear so that we were able to at least let go a bit, without disturbing anyone. (Loved that Cantor!!!) Man I gotta avoid funerals.


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: Davey
Date: 02 Nov 99 - 05:15 PM

Wow, some scary stories,and I'm glad mine was merely a flustering experience..

Seems like my original post got a bit truncated.... So I'll make the ending short..

About 10 years ago I would get together every week with 3 other fellows, and we would work on a repertoire, some folk, some C/W, some early rock & roll, and some pop. We would volunteer to play at retirement homes about 3 times a year.

One fellow's mother was involved with the Masons and got us a 'paying' gig at their annual dinner. We arrived, listened at the door before we went in, and there was a soprano singing hymns. "They're going to get a surprise when we come in'" I said to the others (we were in jeans, those at the dinner were in formal wear).

We were finally let in and set up our borrowed PA system, tuned our instruments, and waited. There was an after dinner speaker, who went on and on interminably, and the audience was getting more and more fidgety..

Finally the speaker finished, the MC said something like "Now we have some musical entertainment while you replenish your drinks." With that, we were on, but as we started, 80% of the diners wer on their feet, heading for the bar, the washroom, and just talking to their friends. In spite of the monitors w had, we could barely hear ourselves. I'd had a couple of noisy experiences before then, so I knew that we'd just have to keep on plugging away, but a couple of the other band members were quite flustered and began missing words, chords, timing, etc.

We finally just concentrated on singing to the 2 or 3 tables where there were people actually listening to us, and managed to get through our set. For this we were paid the amazing sum of $65.00 (our first paying gig)..


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 02 Nov 99 - 07:43 PM

Whooooo these are plenty scary, kids!

I know how you felt Jerry. A few years ago I took a band into a Royal Canadian Legion for a gig. (That's like a VFW) We were doing country music and one of the members screamed at my bass player: "Take that hat off in here!" My startled bass player said "why?" and the member knocked his hat off (almost knocking his head off in the process!) Now I know that the wearing of hats is seen as disrespectful to the fallen soldiers...but...this guy could have explained that in 3 seconds, and the hat would have been off. Nope, he was a jerk looking for a fight. And if my experience with different personalities over the years taught me anything it was that this guy was gonna cause the band trouble all night...protected by his (peace time) army service. I sat down at one of the tables and wrote out cheques to my two band mates, found the person who'd hired us, and said "no show tonight". We left. I couldn't afford it, but I'm glad I did it.
Interestingly enough, the very same same legion (about 2 years later) voted to forbid Sihks (who had served in the Canadian army) to wear their turbans (which they HAVE to, cause it's part of their religion!) inside the legion. Ten to one the same asshole who whacked my bass player rather than explain the situation, was a major part in the banning.

Rick


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: Den
Date: 02 Nov 99 - 09:09 PM

A number of years ago we played a gig in Armagh in N. Ireland. In those days the city centre was closed to traffic at night with security gates. So if you had to get in for any reason you had to go to the police station and they would drive with you to the security gates unlock them and let you in. They would usually search your vehicle as well to make sure you were'nt carrying explosives etc.

We arrived at the police station in plenty of time only to have the cop who was going to open the gates for us decide he was not only going to search our vehicle but also do a safety inspection. He made us take every piece of equipment out, now we were a five piece rock band and we had a lot of gear. He then proceeded to write us up for a burned out brake light, bald tires and a cracked wing mirror. The inspection took him forever it seemed, while we tried to explain that we were getting close to being late for our gig. He ignored our complaints he seemed to be enjoying himself. Finally he told us we could put our gear back in the van and we drove trough the gates.

Now this gig had to be seen to be believed. It was called the milestone then. God knows what its called now. We had to carry all our gear up a fire escape at the back of the building. The stairs were really narrow and we had a hell of a time getting our PA speakers around a corner near the top. It necessatated my brother and I leaning out over the handrail with the speakers on our chests, two stories up and no safety net.

The owner of the pub was furious with us for being late and then told us that we would have to shift a juke box off the small stage which really could only hold the drummer. The rest of us had to stand on the floor. We had people bumping into us and were in real danger of loosing teeth as the mike stands wobbled back and forward as we sang.

We were'nt allowed to take a break and at the end of the night he took ten pound off our wages.

We decided we would spend the money on a carry out and head back home for a drink. So we then had to navigate the friggin' stairs again in the dark, packed up and left.

It gets worse. We had to call the cops again to let us out the security gates. They said they would meet us there. As we were driving down the street a British soldier ran out of nowhere and made us stop the van. He told us not to go down the main street. He was still moving up the street as he spoke and weaving a little. We were'nt sure what to do it was a strange situation. We decided to keep going as the police were going to meet us at the gates. We were soon surrounded by soldiers pointing guns at us. Now you don't get too excited about this sort of thing when you lived in N.Ireland in the 70's. We just stopped the van. One of the soldiers who turned out to be the sergeant told us to stand against a wall. They were a Scottish regiment and it was the night before St. Andrew's and these guys had been drinking. Now I've seen lots of crap in N. Ireland but what happened next was one of the worst. The bastards proceeded to drink our carry out. The made us stand there against a friggin' wall while they swilled our beer.

When the police arrived the little short arse sergeant told us we could go and they moved off up the street as the cops unlocked the gates. So there you have it folks the gig from hell in deed. Den


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 03 Nov 99 - 12:43 AM

Thanks for the story Den. Put some people in a uniform and they go nuts...but drinking your beer? Now THAT sounds like a gig you SHOULD have cancelled!

Rick


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: Margo
Date: 03 Nov 99 - 01:13 AM

Michael K.....A little thread creep here;

When I lived in Oregon an advertisement came on the radio for a mortuary. I wouldn't have thought much about it except that I realized that the lilting melody behind the speaker was "Killing me softly with his song"......there must have been a real prankster at the station. I could hardly contain myself, and I was at work!

Margo


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: JedMarum
Date: 03 Nov 99 - 09:10 AM

Great Story Den! Reminds me of another 'gig from hell' experience, although this gig was not a music gig.

I was in El Salvador during their war, working on a computer project for American and Taca airlines. The young El Salvadoran engineer with whom I was working was showing me around his city (San Salvador) and thought I would be impressed with the US Embassy. He was right; it was an impressive sight - a virtual fortress in the heart of downtown.

We drove around the building slowly one evening, in his fairly new small car, observing the protective design, and (visible) high tech surveillance equipment at the guard posts. While we drove my freind told me about the time the embassy took a rocket hit from terrorists drving by in a Toyota. At the first guard post I saw one US Marine, watching us. At the second post there were two. Sure enough, by the time we had circled the building to one of the main entrances there were three US Marines laying on the sidewalk and behind a concrete post with their weapons aimed at us!

My friend decided that we had better not observe so closely, and I allowed this was a good idea! We slipped away without further incident, but I had those weapons aimed at me on two other occasions during that trip. All warning me, I was in the wrong place, at the right time! It is a hint one learns to understand very quickly! Actually the 'gig' went fine; stuff worked well, and according to plan. El Salvador was a beautiful, if poor country. And I did very much enjoy my stay there, in spite of the odd warning or two. Sadly, every day I was there there was terrorist activity; bloodshed over political differences. I am happy for my Slavadoran friends that issues finally seem to be resolved. I hope I get to back one day, for a repeat gig!


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From:
Date: 03 Nov 99 - 07:05 PM

SO maybe to summarize, we should avoid:

1. Fort Coulonge Quebec

2. Watsons Corners Ontario (scene of my facial rearrangement)

3. unofficial wearing of military or biker insignia

4. Smiths Falls Ontario (nobody mentioned it but now I have, toughest town in the Ottawa Valley)

5. any gated areas under military control (unless maybe the freedom fighters are on your side and can smuggle you in and out--this happened to Steve Earle

6. Dutch country music festivals (I heard another story of recent vintage from one of these this year. Seems they're still into the Homer Simpson/Davy Crockett cowboy hats and are way too much into line dancing

7. About 50% of all Legion halls--the trouble is knowing which 50%, cause the other half can be some of the greatest places!

8. Hudson Massachusetts

9. Any historical events involving much artillery (unless you play warpipes)or jet flyovers (Snowbirds)

10. And finally, any show anywhere where the person who calls you (you don't call them) uses the word "exposure"--comes in the conversation right after they mention that they don't pay you.


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: Bluesy
Date: 03 Nov 99 - 08:59 PM

How about the Northern Ontario bar that my brother set up in in the afternoon. After a sound check they went up to order a beer and were surprised to see that the bartop was padded vinyl. It was while they were playing their second set that evening that they found out why when the first drunk passed out face first on the bar.

From my understanding, avoid Northern Ontario entirely.


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: Shay Gillian Veno
Date: 03 Nov 99 - 09:40 PM

This thread is a Godsend. Due to some band problems we've had a few gigs from Hell in just the past 2 weeks. Now, granted, most of the time I am just happy to be there, feeling fortunate that I am playing in front of people willing to listen, never mind paying to hear us. But, there are times that not only try our souls, they tie them to a tree and play scratched recordings of Al Jolson singing Danny Boy, over and again. Thank you for the knowledge that I don't have it so bad after all. *G*


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: ToneDeafDave
Date: 03 Nov 99 - 09:58 PM

Mine are pretty mild compared with you others, but for nostalgia's sake.... My first ever gig was a Gaelic festival. I had two half-hour shots. The first was to an audience of one, not counting the lady who was minding a stall selling Scottish Woolens nearby. Somewhat discuraged, I went to my second half hour where there was a large audience of men in kilts. As I opened my mouth to sing, someone said 'right' and they all ran off at top speed leaving a family of four having a picnic. (I found out later that I was singing at the starting post of the kilted race). A few months later, I was asked to get an act together by the organizers of a tall ships event in Washinton (DC). I found some volunteers and we practiced shanties for a while - obviously that was what a tall ships event needed. On the day, we discovered that the organizers had no such thoughts - we were between a judo demonstration and some 9-year old ballet dancers. To our delight, it all got rained off. As soon as the rain stopped, we went off to seranade the lines waiting to board the ships and had a good time after all.

The fact that we came back to sing after the rain so impressed the organizers that we were offered a highly paid gig at a major business convention (NAB I think). This became known in our little group as 'the bizzaro gig'. We ended up sharing a stage with an Irish band. The stage was decorated with nautical props and situated behind the oyster bar, and had no amplification. The room was huge, and contained at the other three corners (amplified) a western swing band, a mariachi band, and a traditional jazz band. In the middle of the wall opposite us was a sing-along pianist. Our Irish friends went home, and we spent the evening singing to guy who was shucking the oysters, who was extremely taken with our music. His customers were too far away to hear us. Not long after, we did another gig on the Maryland shore in a building with a leaky roof. Our group had never developed a good name, and had been using a generic name that had been used at other times by the folksong crowd in Washington (I can't remember what it was at this distance). We got on stage with our carefully arranged and rehearsed set list only to find we had been joined there by a number of members of the Folklore Soc. saying things like 'I didn't know we were singing tonight', 'what are we going to sing?', etc. A good time was had by all, but I can't speak for the audience.

It was shortly after that that our little group decided on the name 'The Boarding Party' and after that, things seemed to settle down a little...


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: Jeri
Date: 03 Nov 99 - 10:37 PM

Very glad to see you here, ToneDeaf - Welcome!!!


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 03 Nov 99 - 11:00 PM

Wow, this gets better and better. OK here's some tongue in cheek thoughts along the lines of anon's.

Those people who said it were right: "Don't quit your day job. Even if it IS in a corporation.
Your success is measured by how long you can keep the patrons in the bar. The longer they stay, the drunker and stupider they get.
You can play brilliantly all night and be ignored but the moment a local gets on stage and sings Green Green Grass of home, off key, they'll cheer like crazy.
When asked to play a benefit, ask if the staff are being paid and suggest it would be exploitive not to at least pay you what the busboy's getting.
Ah what the hell, it beats carrying a hod of bricks!


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: Michael K.
Date: 04 Nov 99 - 12:14 AM

Try spending 6 weeks in Yellowknife (North West Territories, 60 miles inside the Arctic Circle) in the dead of winter, with daily average temperatures of 60 degrees below zero.

I did. Many years ago with a band. No one in the band wanted to go, except me. My rationale was, When will we ever get a chance again in our lives to go to Yellowknife - at someone else's expense? And the money was good and we needed the work. So we went. Took 3 separate planes to get us there, and we landed on a snow-covered runway. We literally got off the plane and stepped into snow. Several cabs met us, and took us to the hotel. We caught a break here, as the hotel was new and fairly nice, and it was built primarily for government people so that when they came to Yellowknife they'd have decent place to stay. We played mostly to Native Indians and the staff. I think they were so grateful just to have a decent band, they didn't care what we played....they just stayed and drank, and a while we became incidental to them.

In the winter in Yellowknife, the sun rises at about 7:00 am and sets around 3:00 pm. We were party animals back then and often didn't crash till 5 or 6 in the morning, awaking at around 4:00 in the afternoon (yes we were good in bed -often sleeping for 12 hours!!)....but the bizarre thing was, that for weeks we never saw daylight, and it was quite disorienting.. Apparently in the summer there, you can play golf at 2:00 in the morning.

Not exactly a horror story, but it was like being in the Twilight Zone.


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: Michael K.
Date: 04 Nov 99 - 12:20 AM

This whole thread is starting to remind me a lot, of an old recurring sketch from Saturday Night Live, that Billy Crystal and Christopher Guest used to do, as security guards....where each one would have a worse ailment or experience to relate to the other....Anyone know what I'm talking about? (grin)


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: JedMarum
Date: 04 Nov 99 - 08:33 AM

I remember the skit, Michael; one says, "You know the other night I was stapling bologna to my tongue ya know, and I tied the bologna to an anvil and threw it off the roof ... ooo I hate when that happens!"

The guys in the skit were retelling tales of woe, but woe that was self-induced! Are you suggesting Michael, that our gigs from hell are our own fault? Are we all gluttons for punishment? We know the dangers of accepting gigs under odd circumstances, and yet the ever optimistic performer in us makes/i> us take the chance anyway .. and so we are responsible for our own gigs from hell? Hmmmm ... there may be something to that!

;-)


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: Bill Cameron
Date: 04 Nov 99 - 08:55 AM

That was me who anonymously attempted to summarize the results thus far above...guess i need to register again.

Northern Ontario's not a complete writeoff--any place that inspired "The Blackfly Song" can't be all bad. Vinyl padded bars are a great invention according to the philosophy of "harm reduction". Any of you non-Canadians out there seen the movie "Roadkill"--a bizarre tale of a renegade metal band carrying on a tour of North Ontario, after their agent has pulled the plug due to the disappearance of the lead singer and other unprofessional behaviour...actually its from the point of view of the agent's hapless but intrepid assistant, who takes the job of finding the band in the vast wilderness...only trouble is, as a good Torontonian she doesn't drive. (starts by taking a cab to Sudbury).

Places in the middle of nowhere can be great fun, _if_ the promoter knows what s/he's doing and has your best interests at heart. They are starved for good live music for starters. A lot of my friends who play something close to "country" have enjoyed playing in Iqualuit, now the capital of Nunavut, on Baffin Island.

So, Michael, I take it that wasn't your band in the Stan Rogers song "Canol Road" ("The Copper King is hot, even if the band is not, and it sure beats shooting whiskeyjacks and trees...")--or is that in Whitehorse?

Bill


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From:
Date: 04 Nov 99 - 09:13 AM

To liam_devlin:

No I am not in anyway shape or form suggesting that we caused these gigs from hell to happen. I just found a slight parallel, from the Sat. Nite Live sketch and it struck me as funny.....

...but every gig has the potential of being a positive adventure or potential disaster....Working musicians have risk-taker personalities and are adventurers, at least that's been my experience.


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: Michael K.
Date: 04 Nov 99 - 09:14 AM

...sorry, the above response was from moi.


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: JedMarum
Date: 04 Nov 99 - 09:29 AM

Michael - my comments were in 'tongue-in-cheek' agreement! And my HTML obviously sucks, since I can't control my italics!


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: Michael K.
Date: 04 Nov 99 - 10:02 AM

To liam_devlin:

No problem.....I just wasn't sure....so I responded with the ''safe'' answer. (But some are so politically correct they could have taken offence, so I'm never sure.)

Cheers.


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 04 Nov 99 - 10:09 AM

Don't worry Liam, Mike had his sense of humour frozen off on one of his many trips to the north! JUST KIDDING MIKE!!

Many years ago (notice how most of these stories start with "many years ago"...as if we've all become too smart to repeat these disasters) I played in Elliot Lake Ontario, a wiped out uranium town in Northern Ontario. A hotshot softball team "The Harlem Magicians" came through on tour to do their "Globetrotters" comedy bit and wipe the local ball players off the map. The Magicians themselves got wiped, and as I hung around their bench, I could hear them muttering about not having been beaten in something like 4 years, and that these motherf*****g Canadian miners sure could play ball! Guess they hadn't realized that in Elliot lake, having babies and playing ball were the ONLY pastimes...and the locals were good at both!

Rick


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: Steve Latimer
Date: 04 Nov 99 - 10:15 AM

Rick,

And I thought only hockey players and hookers came from Elliot Lake.

How about "Worst Northern Ontario Town to play" thread? My brother used to play that circuit and has horror stories about every one of them.


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: Jeri
Date: 04 Nov 99 - 10:55 AM

I kind of liked the italic smiley face. :-)


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: JedMarum
Date: 04 Nov 99 - 10:59 AM

thanks Jeri - makes for a crooked smile, though!

;-) as opposed to the standard ;-)


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: Rex
Date: 15 Nov 99 - 12:32 PM

My one group has stumbled into the corporate world. Last week we played for an "event", I guess you would call it, up in Aspen. They offered us enough to drive all the way up there so we took it. If I am playing in any time period it usually falls within the Victorian time. But these folks had a Renaissance setting. So we rigged up outfits and dug through our Elizabethan material. (Close enough) This was for a pharmaceutical sales company. They brought in 350 of their favored employees and put them in a hotel in the town. This was set up in a very large lodge above Aspen and they bused the folks up. Quite a circus atmosphere with actors doing sword fights, juggling torches, and talking like the time period. Oh, and a raptor group with hawks. Very renfairish. We set up and played at the entrance as the folks would come in off the bus and later for the dinner. In between we would wend through the crowd single file and play as loud as possible in the hope of hearing each other. You learn to follow the bow strokes of your friends to keep in time. Though no one would hear anyway. Later there was some kind of time shift I guess as our actor friends were putting on Starwars costumes and were having a tough time of it with the crowd. Yoda kept getting his ears pulled off. A rock band started up that shook the floor. Our job was done so we got out of there.

Yesterday two of us played for a similar gig in Denver for a woodworkers convention. Must have been tool sales. There's no money in woodworking or I'm not trying hard enough. We didn't know the whole story as it was still being made up. We got there and found out it was for 4000 people with cowboys, indians, mountain men and Buffalo Bill. (my old friend Al) At least we had some friends among the group. There was gold panning and cattle roping and of course a rock band. Timothy P. and Rural Route Three. Well I guess we can say we started for them. We started outside entertaining as they got off the buses. Then we came inside to try to find a place to play over the rock group. Once again, follow the bow strokes. One refuge was a nice coach pulled by a plastic horse. We climbed in there and the fabric top seemed to deaden the din outside. We we could hear each other at least and the crowd thought we looked nice. A high point was later when we were strolling with banjo and fiddle and an older couple recognised the song "Grandfather's Clock" and joined in. Mostly folks couldn't here us. We were western type furniture fitting in with the saddles and plastic horses. Weird. After it was done they fed us nice and we got our money and got out of there. It could have been a miserable time but we had fun with it. So there's money for musicians in the corporate world if you can stand it.

Rex


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: Bill D
Date: 15 Nov 99 - 01:56 PM

ToneDeafDave!!...I was AT that gig on the Maryland Eastern Shore!..Weren't you the 'Georgetown Shanty Singers' then?..

and I had no idea that you weren't expecting those 'extra' voices..*big grin*...

And MY story is, that at that time I had JUST met Rita, and we wanted to go together to your gig, but she had already planned to go with her current boyfriend, whom she was just deciding to break up with...so,,,since I had no transportation at that time, she called a girlfriend of hers and asked HER to bring me!..So there I was, with a woman I barely knew, standing behind my new girlfriend, and exchanging knowing winks now & then, listening to YOU guys struggle through a gig with several 'extra' members of ..."ahem"...'doubtful' vocal abilities....but great fun was sort of had by all....and I married the lass...and you guys went on to a shining career with recordings and all...and we are all still mostly perking along...and it was GREAT seeing you at the Getaway and meeting Barry Finn........


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: WyoWoman
Date: 15 Nov 99 - 04:29 PM

Well, I haven't sung professionally that much, so my horror stories aren't as horrific, nor as hilarious, as some of the above. However:

Back in the early 1980s, I sang with a band in Albuquerque that was made up of four engineers from Sandia Labs, one of their wives and me. We did parties -- wedding receptions, Christmas party, company picnic -- that sort of thing, always for people associated with the labs in some way, meaning almost all of them were scientists and engineers.

So this one gig was for a Christmas party on the air base in a big "cafetorium," which was a cafeteria but had a stage with big, heavy black curtains so it could double for a theater. The band set up onstage and when the appointed time came, we began to play.

And nobody danced.

The entire first set, no one soul danced.

I was deeply bummed, and during our first break, I told the other band members I felt so awful that the folks didn't like us. They looked at me with great surprise. What made me think that?

Well, I said, no one's dancing. No one's doing anything except staring at us and drinking. They aren't even talking to each other much.

Not to worry, they said. The just need to loosen up a bit.

(Translation: Wait 'til the booze kicks in...)

Indeed, this was the case. By the second set a few had started dancing and by the third set, not one was still sitting at the table. They were drunk as hoot owls and having a smashing good time.

At the end of the third set, this one very mousey-looking fellow who had been staring at me a bit throughout the last couple of hours, walked unsteadily up to me and stood in front of the stage as I was winding up my mic cord. He started saying something to me, but he was so drunk I couldn't understand a word. So I just smiled nicely and nodded and kept winding.

This encouraged him, so in his best Joe Cool move, he leaned casually up against the "wall" and kept talking. Only, it wasn't the wall he was leaning on, it was this huge, heavy black curtain. He began slowly sliding down it, his arm stretched straight out beside him, going down, down. And he didn't even NOTICE...just kept laying this line of bullshit on me the entire way down to the floor.

I had tears in my eyes from trying so hard not to laugh in the poor guy's face. He was sort of rolling around in the curtain, beginning to notice that something wasn't quite right, when two of his buddies came up and hoisted him to his feet. Neither of them seemed too well able to pass the field sobriety test, but at least they hauled him out of there before the barfing that was sure to follow started.

I don't think he ever knew what had happened. Bless his heart.

WyoWoman


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: WyoWoman
Date: 15 Nov 99 - 11:03 PM

Can Kat and I please turn this into a book? Or maybe an episodic movie...Maybe a series...

WW


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: Amos
Date: 16 Nov 99 - 12:01 AM

Did a pseudo Irish restaurant in Connecticut for Saint Patrick's Day. The crowd was thick and jolly and wanted Danny Boy so many times I swore I'd never sing the effing thing again as long as I lived. In the last half of the evening the emphasis shiftred from strolling among diners to standing in front of a crowded room packed with drinkers, all asserting their Gaelic roots through a hundred generations, affecting a wonderful range of phony burrs and brogues, and swilling green beer that was just pisspoor Bud with food dye in it, yelling out various visions of what they figured Irish music should be, but sounding more like football fans. I think I did Danny Boy a hundred times, and a hundred other songs a few times each, and I staggered home with my hundred bucks or whatever but with no voice left in my head.


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: Bert
Date: 16 Nov 99 - 09:51 AM

Go for it Wyo & Kat. You will probably want to get individual permission from each contributor but that shouldn't be too difficult.


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: Willie-O
Date: 03 Mar 03 - 03:30 PM

Thought I'd refresh this classic. It's so old I was posting with my real name back then...

W-O
never been back to Watsons Corners


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: Kim C
Date: 03 Mar 03 - 04:22 PM

Nothing like that ever happens to me. Or if it does, I don't remember. Am I missing something?

The only gigs from hell we have really had are the ones we like to call Musical Wallpaper - where we're just background noise and no one's really listening. Those sort of get on my nerves.


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: denise:^)
Date: 03 Mar 03 - 05:03 PM

We've had a few of these--many of them were hellish due to being an outdoor venue on a day with crummy weather (we now have a rain/cold temp/snow clause in our contract--if it's too awful, they don't pay, and we don't play...), many were due to ignorance on the part of the event organizer ("You mean, you can't 'stroll' with 2 hammered dulcimers, an upright bass, and a digital piano?"), and many were just sheer nightmares to get to--parking nearly a mile away, and no way to transport heavy instruments and equipment to the venue; you'd wind up sweating and EXTREMELY grouchy before the thing ever started (so, now, *that's* a part of the contract, too!).

Our last potential-gig-from-hell was when a local park hired us for 'background music' through the afternoon.
"Are you sure you don't want any singing? We sing, too!" I asked, over the phone.
"Oh, no; people will just be milling around and things; just play some music that they can listen to."
"Well, we could include some sing-along songs, if you'd like..."
"No, that's okay; just the music will be fine."

So, that's what we practiced--a bunch of fiddle tunes to 'mill around by.'

Then, we get to the park and find out that they've sent out publicity flyers, advertising that one of the most popular local folk groups is going to be performing a three-hour concert--but it's US, instead, armed with only fiddle tunes!--and we see a substantial audience, complete with picnic baskets, lawn chairs, and coolers, assembling 'round the gazebo...

A moment of sheer panic, and then we start frantically organizing our first 'set.'
"You've got to tell them what happened!" I tell the organizer, when he walks up.
So, as he introduces us, he sheepishly tells the audience that he inadvertently sent out *last year's* flyer, and the other group won't be appearing today.
Surprisingly enough, we only lost 3 audience members--they left before we even started--and we managed to pull off a 3-hour impromptu concert! Thank heaven, the audience seemed to love us--but, if that NEVER happens again, it will be soon enough for me...

Denise:^)
p.s.--The worst gigs *do* make the best stories, though! ;^)


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 03 Mar 03 - 05:17 PM

I'd appreciate if you guys'd lay off Northern Ontario... I mean it is my home... or rather it was... The Soo... 127 Beer Stores north of Toronto...

O.k.. what I'd really apprecaite is an EXCUSE to lay off Northern Ontario... LOL But there just ain't one...

Carry on...

:-)


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: GUEST,Pat Cooksey.
Date: 03 Mar 03 - 05:39 PM

One I heard from the late, great, Hamish Imlach. He arrived to play in a club in Canada and found the seats were facing the opposite way to the stage. Hamish did his sound check and the sound system was promptly turned off, at the other end of the hall was a big screen where they showed an ice hockey final. Hamish did his gig whilst a packed audience applauded the ice hockey wildly facing in the opposite direction.


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: Cluin
Date: 04 Mar 03 - 12:33 AM

What are you talking about, Clint? Most of Northern Ontario IS laid off.


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: GUEST,Larry K
Date: 04 Mar 03 - 09:30 AM


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: InOBU
Date: 04 Mar 03 - 07:36 PM

OK here is the gif from hell. The pub for which we were the house band, was closed the morning of St. Pat's day... so I run out and get a gig for our Irish band in a slavic pub in the east village of New York. We get stuck in a concrete back room with no windows, and a buch of Ukrainian Polish and Russian chain smoking kids getting drunk and pissing themselves. At least they were apreciative of the music, which was very hot... I must say... We got a small amount of pay, expecting to make our bucks on the tip can, ... which got stollen by one of our appreciative audience members, the smoke was so thick we were all sick for a week, our flute player dangerously sick... I get sick just remembering it... cheers all Larry


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: Sarah the flute
Date: 05 Mar 03 - 10:06 AM

My gig from hell was a wedding where things seemed unusually quiet and then we discovered that the entire crowd of guests were deaf and could only communicate through sign language. Luckily there was one hearing child aged about nine who I got running around tapping people in order to set up the dancing! I had such fun calling.... you had to be there to really appreciate 2 hours of circle dances that didn't involve anyone turning their back so everyone could see what was going on.

Now the really strange bit.... they had a disco to follow us..Hmm OK .....but a string quartet at the start of the evening????!!!! what was that all about!

Sarah


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: Willie-O
Date: 05 Mar 03 - 01:25 PM

Pat, that's a well-known musician's rule in Canada: NEVER take a gig in a bar during the Stanley Cup playoffs, if there's any chance a TV will be turned on.

In fact, I found that out on the very first bar gig I ever played, which after the Friday game fiasco got shortened from two nights to one, saving the sleazy manager twenty-five bucks which he never intended to pay me anyway.   

Live and learn. Try to do both anyway.
W-O


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: Beccy
Date: 05 Mar 03 - 01:32 PM

I'm sure everyone has had a gig like this one...
My husband and his band were taking a mighty low paying gig one night at a bar in the city. They dragged all their gear in (at the time he was in a Grateful Dead-type jam band) and set up. The manager gave them a pitcher and told them to get to it. The audience consisted of 2 bar flies who sat pouring back shot after shot and pint after pint. My dearie started getting mightily irritated. He called for the first set break after 3 songs and went up to get a cup of water from the bar. Bar fly number 1 turned to him and said, "Look guy, no offense or anything 'cause you sound great, but we just came here to drink- not to hear music."
At this point, my beloved and the drummer packed up their gear and left the other guy (who had scheduled the gig as a favor to a friend) to his own devices in the dive bar.


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: Carly
Date: 06 Mar 03 - 11:13 AM

Oh my Lord, some of these gigs sound so familiar...

One of my worst gigs started innocently enough with the usual phone call. Could I come sing in the sheep barn during the Maryland State Fair? This was not as crazy as it sounds; I am a weaver and spinner, and at the time I was a member of a sheep-to-shawl team, participating in shearing/spinning/weaving contests held at fairs and festivals. My team was well-known at the time for singing songs about sheep, wool, etc. while we worked. I was familiar with that sheep barn; there was a central show ring with a small platform. The acoustics, of course, were not ideal, but a decent sound system would fix that. Sound system? said the Voice on the phone,Of course! There will be three of us, I continued, so five mics, three vocal and two instruments, wuold be great, although we can play with three. Don't worry, said the Voice, we'll take care of it.

We arrived early that day. Sheep competitions were proceeding in the ring, and my contact was nowhere to be found. I did discover that we were to perform directly after Ladies Lead. I kid you not, this is a contest involving teenage girls who design and sew outfits for themselves out of wool, and matching outfis for their sheep.They promenade around the ring with their sheep on leashes.Leading a sheep, I might add, is NOT as easy as leading a dog or a horse! There were sheep and girls in matching hats, wooly scarves and garters. One enterprising couple sported matching handspun crocheted shawls. All these girls,and their relatives, took these proceedings seriously, so we hung out,trying to keep straight faces and wondering what had become of our promised sound system.

Finally, the Voice arrived in person. Smiling brightly, she announced a slight change. The weather was so good, (hot and sunny) that we were moving to the edge of the barn. That way, we could perform in the shade of the roof and we would have a much larger audience, since everyone and his cousin were gathering for the sheepdog trials, to be held directly after. There was only one slight problem, from our point of view. The dog trials were to be held in a flat field directly outside the barns, but our audience, and it was a large crowd, was seated on the hillside at the far side of the field. Even with a sound system, this was impossible, and there was not a microphone or a cable in sight. I tried to point this out as kindly as I could; The Voice smiled and said, of course you need your sound system, and handed me a bright yellow battery-operated bullhorn. The three of us looked at it in bewilderment. We were on!

After a moment of sheer panic, we ditched the bullhorn, walked across the field, and, standing at the bottom of the hill, urged our audience to move in closer and sing along. I did get my moment of revenge. I started the set with The Battle Cry of Freedom, and for one verse I had the Voice in a tizzy; she had paid us good money and we were singing Mary Had a Little Lamb!


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: GUEST,Skivee
Date: 29 May 05 - 12:45 AM

Has two more years yielded any more wisdom of the road?


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 29 May 05 - 05:11 AM

Did I ever tell you about the Irish music gig I did on the day of Princess Diana's funeral. There was a large screen tv showing the funeral just above my head, with the sound turned up in case they missed the commentary.

So there I was losing the will to live and singing the Wild Rover as funeral cortege reached the Abbey, and thing were getting intense.

Suddenly a large tinker family burst through the door - by the look of them they'd been drinking for about a week in preparation for the gig. One of them shouts, Don't worry son, I'll get 'em going for ya! and grabs the microphone....

And he knows all the words to The Old Bog Road, The Streets of New York and much else........somehow the audience weren't in the mood


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: Rusty Dobro
Date: 29 May 05 - 01:56 PM

I got a 'phone call offering a gig at the local fire station. Turned out it was a hoax call......


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 29 May 05 - 02:09 PM

There was the nursing-home gig where the social director decided to disappear. Two patients got in an angry argument. Then somebody started vacuuming the rug near us.

From now on, an employee has to stay with us.


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: Peace
Date: 29 May 05 - 03:16 PM

Had a gig once in Philadelphia. Problem was I took a plane to Chicago. Spent over an hour looking for the club. Arrived in Philadelphia a day late. Other than that, great gig.


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: wysiwyg
Date: 20 Jun 05 - 11:36 AM

Called on short notice to fill a gap in an ecumenical worship service held on the Green, which closes a big festival here, we whizzed up 3 songs for a singalong medley. I confirmed ALL the arrangements TWICE with the sound man... plans included an indoor alternative in case of weather. Well, tourists strolling the craft fair in weekend-long rain made the Green a sea of chair-sinking mud; it was about 50 degrees; their tarp "stage" failed to include room for the tabletop autoharp from which I lead our band-- which I had described when we accepted the booking to bail them out!

Did they move it inside? No..... so we were to be the first group singing.... He had forgotten the two boom vocal mics we'd requested and that he had refused to let us supply.... it was clear during sound check that the guy's sound system was overwhelmed and so was he, in running it-- too many inputs, didn't label any channels, power problems with no one on hand from the power co. to help... finally got all the bands straightened out, with plans to swap mics around during the event (so tacky)... even though we did finally add two mics and booms from our church, standing right behind us on the Green...

So the service opens with the first of 3 pastors making some welcoming remarks, and as the first one comes forward I note my mic is not live and neither is my autoharp. Soundman nowhere near sound controls finally appears. I'm gesturing tactfully that there is a problem... behind me my husband HAS a live mic that's going to boost up his fiddle, and should I switch it real quick? No..... (silly me let Mr. Soundman decide).... I'm looking out seeing Mr. Soundman frantically swapping channels, pulling the XLR plug out, trying other slots, panicked face looking back at me to see if I am live yet. I'm unearthly calm. I turn to my husband and tell him he's singing the first number with about 2 seconds to go till we come in.... OK, I'm thinking, we're just going to sing anyhow!

Well, my finger pick breaks off in the first number, where my vocal cuts in and out under my husband's. I use it like a thumbpick, hoping not to lose my grip, and carry on. Second number comes-- I know my husband doesn't know the tune, so I go for it, again cutting in and out. People sing along..... as we come to the end I realize the bluesy rocker we have planned for our third and final song absolutely cannot be put across at all, without the autoharp keeping the band together, and without my pick intact there is NO WAY. So we smile and depart to clear the way for the next group-- no sense eating the clock any further with what the people cannot hear and Mr. Sound cannot handle!

The service has been held for about 30 years, but this was the first time the people clapped after each song. I think they liked our pluck!

Irony-- final song, "It's all right to go ahead and have a goodtime.... in the Lord!"

What's YOUR story?

~Susan
The Good News-Goodtime Band


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: Sorcha
Date: 20 Jun 05 - 12:15 PM

Saturday, over 90 F, on a 4' stage inside a huge metal building. HUGE sound system that we are not used to (usually do all acoutsic), audience of about 6. Not a breath of air moving. The other fiddler and I were sharing a mic (she hates to play under sound), kept hitting the mic stand with our bow. At one point I poked her in the eye with my bow...hard!

Sweat pouring off all of us to where we could hardly hold the instruments. Tune selection was limited by speed of tune...couldn't do fast one. Last song, I did my usualy 'bow flourish' thing (you have to see it) and hit an unused mic stand.....dropped the bow, thank god it didn't break! All this for free. We didn't even get free food. Was a Cancer fundraiser. Told them, never again. IF we agree to do it, we'll be outside and NO sound.


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: wysiwyg
Date: 20 Jun 05 - 12:36 PM

This thread should be required reading for anyone who books anyone!

~S~


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 20 Jun 05 - 02:51 PM

Smart 2002 in Stafford, UK. I'm booked for three gigs in one day.

Morning at the library, a childrens' concert starting with an audience of three children, to finish one hour later with about 30, singing their little hearts out and applauding wildly, Bless!

Fabulous!

Lunchtime in a high street restaurant, PA doesn't work. Forty five minutes playing to the ten or so who could actually hear, to the accompaniment of massed knives and forks. Wild applause, and pats on the back. Even a couple of notes in my guitar bag.

Still good!

Mid afternoon in the local mall, just outside the music shop, whose owner had agreed to turn off his incidental music for thirty minutes.
Twenty or so listening to me as the music shop guy slowly cranked up his player, and I slowly cranked up my PA, until the feedback was stunning dogs in a half mile radius, and the audience evaporated.

Painful!

But I'd still do it again for the morning with the kids, so overall I guess it doesn't qualify as gig from hell.

My ears still hurt when I think of the third set tho'.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 20 Jun 05 - 02:56 PM

My "favourite" audience reaction is where they will listen politely - and quietly - to song introductions, and then proceed to talk all the way through the actual performance. I remember a Cambridge Folk Festival audience - or a least a large percentage of them - doing this at a Bert Jansch performance some years ago.


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: Sorcha
Date: 20 Jun 05 - 05:09 PM

Had one once in a barn.....manure on the floor. FLIES!!!


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: C-flat
Date: 20 Jun 05 - 06:42 PM

My band was recently booked to play a golf club annual ball. On arrival we were shown to our alloted area, a four-foot square of carpet in the corner of the bar.
After explaining that we were a five-piece band with a lot of percussion and that we would be lucky to set up the drums in the space provided we were grudgingly offered a wall in the bar to set up against.
After spending 3/4 hour setting up and constantly fielding complaints from the "regulars" who were put out at having their bar disturbed and even more put out when we were sound-checking, I was about ready to pack up and leave.
We were pacified by the club captain who assured us that the guests were really looking forward to "shaking a leg" after the dinner and speeches and won over when he opened a "tab" for us at the bar.
What the captain failed to tell us was that we wouldn't get to strike the first chord until 11.30pm, some 5 hours after our arrival, and didn't finish until 2a.m.
Most of the band were pissed by the time we got on, courtesy of the captains' tab, but the guests did get up and dance, so it could have been worse.
Golf clubs are not the sort of venue we'd normally play but, once in a while someone offers a few quid over the going rate, promising a great night, and it's easier to say yes than no.
I'm saying "No" now!

C-flat.


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: billhudson
Date: 15 Sep 08 - 12:00 PM

New guy here..but here is one:
STRANGE HALLOWEEN GIG

There are many gigs us musicians have to tell. When one tells folks outside the music world you can kind of tell people might think we are stretching the truth a bit to tell a better story. They say truth is stranger then fiction. And in that light I would like to tell one gig that was indeed a bit strange and on top of it all everyone was dressed for Halloween, perfect.
At the time I was with a duo, Tim and I playing the hits in the bars mostly. I think we were living in DC and we got a call from a guy we use to play for in VT. The pay was good so we headed up that way.
It was another small bar in a very small town, not much went on except this bar that was kind of like the hangout. I remember the bar owner telling us he would like to have us back except the people there would tear out the urinals every time we played there. Kind of like a complement is the way we looked at it, because here he was calling us to come back. We would be taking turns with a local rock band. They would do a set then we would do a set, back and forth, sounded good.
We got to the gig early did a sound check and then hung out with some friends to get ready for the gig. The sun was close to setting down and it was going a be a bit cool which for VT was not out of the ordinary. People were already getting dressed up walking up and down the main street. So this looked like it could be a good night or so we thought.
We were to start the night around 9PM. When we got to the bar we were impressed how good the costumes seemed to be. There was the green man, a guy as a tree trunk, a guy that was dressed like a beer can, a roman centurion, some very wild looking women. So it looked like we were going to have some fun that night.
What I can remember of that night is I was dancing with a girl while the rock band was playing. The dance floor was very crowded and things were getting wild. All of a sudden I felt a big push and I turned around to see there was a fight on the dance floor. Then there was another fight, and another one. So before you knew it there were 3 fights going on. And the band did the worse thing a band could do…they stopped playing. When the music stops it only get worse. Rule # 135 do not stop playing music no matter what. Keep in mind all this happened very fast. I stood on the dance floor watching a beer can fighting with the green man, a very strange, a very comical, a very absurd, and a very burlesque night. When this kind of thing happens I always put my ax in its case and try to find a safe place and protect it. So things were flying all over the place, maybe like a John Wayne bar brawl scene but dressed like a bad acid dream that you want to wake up from. Before I knew it this guy dressed like a roman centurion took over the mike and started to talk sex…I mean down and dirty sex. Funny thing when someone starts to talk about sex…no matter what, people seem like they want to hear more, male and female alike. This roman centurion really got into it and ya know what? Slow but sure people started to stop fighting here and there. I mean it was really working which did not slow this centurion down, he just keeps going and people wanted to stop and hear him. I never did find out who that guy was.
But of all the strangest gigs I have had that was one of the worse. There might be more but I have a tendency to remember the good ones not the bad ones. Other folks have to remind me,"Hey, Bill do you remember…..?"


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: Leadbelly
Date: 15 Sep 08 - 02:45 PM

What a great thread!!!!!
The most interesting I can remember!


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: katlaughing
Date: 15 Sep 08 - 03:01 PM

That's quite a gig, Bill. Thanks for sharing and welcome to the Mudcat!

kat(born a "Hudson")


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Subject: RE: A Gig From Hell
From: billhudson
Date: 16 Sep 08 - 01:18 PM

Thanks! But god knows how many there have been and in a way I tend to forget about them until someone reminds me of a bad night. I have been enjoying reading the post (you can't make this stuff up).


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