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The gig from hell


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KRELL1960
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 7:58 am    Post subject: The gig from hell Reply with quote

Just played "THE GIG FROM HELL" !!
First of all it was at a swim club, that i have played at before. This time though they moved us from the ususal set up spot, nicely shaded by trees onto a basketball, wiffle ball court.
They did set up a small tent though for the band. Small being the key word, the drummer was in the shade, thats about it. Electric supply, non exisitent. Had to run 100 ft extension cords. Sax and trumpet up front in the direct sun.
guitar to my left, 8 feet from the basketball hoop.
While we are setting up, kids and grownups are playing basketball and wiffleball. Balls are ricocheting everywhere. I almost took a shot to the face when i was warming up. the guitarist had two les pauls set up in a stand. they were hit. It was terrifying. I asked the kids to put the ball away, the little punks told me it was their swim club, not mine. lol I had a beer !!
i walk away with a $150 for 4 hours of shear terror. There were remote control cars zipping around our feet while we were playing, it was sureal.
The parents of these kids just sat there and laughed, thouht they were the cutest kids on the planet. They never stopped playing basketball the whole time we were playing, i asked the organizer of the event to step in, he didn't. I'm done with these stupid gigs. It just isn't worth the money. I got sunburn on my face and lips as a result. $150 bucks is usually enough to make me not hate myself for playing this kind of crap but it isn't anymore. the price just went up.

just ranting, sorry !!

regards,

tom
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kehaulani
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 8:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So? At a swim club? Sounds like a typical 4th of July gig. Did you play this event before?
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LittleRusty
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 8:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kehaulani wrote:
So? At a swim club? Sounds like a typical 4th of July gig. Did you play this event before?

KRELL1960 wrote:
First of all it was at a swim club, that i have played at before.


My condolences. I don't know what it is with parents. While we were waiting last night at the restaurant a couple with two small children were also waiting. The older girl kept coming over and annoying the small one who then pretended to cry. The mom holding the small child just sat there and watched.

If it were my kids that would have stopped after the first time.
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Brad361
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 5:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As LittleRusty said... in a word......parents, with a lack of parenting.

Played a similar gig two years ago, though not quite as bad. But same scenario, kids running all over the place, kicking balls on the stage, parents totally oblivious. The highlight was an old guy in the crowd who looked just like the old preacher in "Poltergeist" with a DECIBEL METER. Kept yelling at us that we were "going to damage these childrens' hearing!!" (BTW, we were hardly at any sort of Woodstock volume level). Every time he would yell and point at his meter our trombone guy would yell back "What's that? Oh, sounds good? Thanks!!" Poltergeist / Decibel meter guy was not amused.

I enjoy gigs, generally, but like the OP, sometimes not so much.

Brad
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KRELL1960
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 4:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What's That? Sounds Good ? thanks !!!

I love that one !!

regards,

tom
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trickg
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 6:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anyone who has gigged around long enough winds up with a good story or two from bad gigs. Tom, that gig sounds like it was awful, and if it was me, it's the last time I'd ever play it unless some ground rules were stipulated beforehand the next time. The part about the basketballs hitting the Les Pauls made me cringe, but that's the thing - non-musical people have no clue how much something like that costs - they think it's just $100 or so.

One of my worst gig stories comes from an Easter gig I played. I played this gig the year before and it was an ok setup, but the following year I kept asking the other trumpet player, who was coordinating with the music director on the music and that kind of thing, when we were going to get the music. We finally got the music - about 10-12 minutes before the first service. And it wasn't run-of-the-mill hymns.

Given the circumstances that it was virtually a cold sight read on the first service, we actually did ok, and the second service surprisingly enough went very well, but I vowed that if I was asked back, I wasn't going to play that gig again. Ultimately, the music director moved on in the following year, and we were not requested by whoever took over the job.
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kehaulani
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 8:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

(Little Rusty. That wasn't poor reading comprehension, it was irony. )
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Brad361
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 11:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

KRELL1960 wrote:
What's That? Sounds Good ? thanks !!!

I love that one !!

regards,

tom


Tom,

And this was the same trombone guy who, many years ago when we were in a different band, decided to jump off the high dive, trombone (a beater horn) in hand, at a summer country club gig we did near the pool. One of the club maintenance guys said to him "Man, I've seen some crazy stuff here, but you're _______ nuts!"
😎

Brad


Last edited by Brad361 on Tue Jul 18, 2017 11:59 am; edited 1 time in total
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LittleRusty
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 11:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kehaulani wrote:
(Little Rusty. That wasn't poor reading comprehension, it was irony. )

I have always had challenges reading people's faces and interpreting the tone of their voice.

I thought it was uncharacteristic for you to miss something like that.
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peanuts56
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A band I was with back in the mid 70s had a regular gig at a place in Litchfield Connecticut. We played three nights a week for the entire summer. There was a part time bartender who would regularly get loaded if he wasn't working. He would dance like a maniac near the bandstand. Arms flying all over the place.
Our bass player played upright and electric. His upright is very rare and has been appraised around 70 K. Back then it was around 35 K. Charley was playing electric and this fool almost knocked over his upright. Next time this moron danced by, Charley turned his electric sideways and nailed the jerk in the ribs with his tuning pegs. He never came near the bandstand again.


Last edited by peanuts56 on Sat Aug 05, 2017 2:04 pm; edited 1 time in total
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KRELL1960
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 5:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brad361 wrote:
KRELL1960 wrote:
What's That? Sounds Good ? thanks !!!

I love that one !!

regards,

tom


Tom,

And this was the same trombone guy who, many years ago when we were in a different band, decided to jump off the high dive, trombone (a beater horn) in hand, at a summer country club gig we did near the pool. One of the club maintenance guys said to him "Man, I've seen some crazy stuff here, but you're _______ nuts!"
😎

Brad


The guy sounds like a riot !!!

t
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Brad361
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 5:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

KRELL1960 wrote:
Brad361 wrote:
KRELL1960 wrote:
What's That? Sounds Good ? thanks !!!

I love that one !!

regards,

tom


Tom,

And this was the same trombone guy who, many years ago when we were in a different band, decided to jump off the high dive, trombone (a beater horn) in hand, at a summer country club gig we did near the pool. One of the club maintenance guys said to him "Man, I've seen some crazy stuff here, but you're _______ nuts!"
😎

Brad


The guy sounds like a riot !!!

t


Just a typical T Bone player.😉

Actually, he's a very good guy, also a good trombone/other low brass player. I've worked with him in various bands since 1995.
He used to always bring his own stocked cooler to gigs (these days he's consolidated to just a flask), always in a good mood, the first one to make a joke about a situation (the phrase "too soon" sometimes applies!).
If you Google "good time Charlie", you'll probably see his pic!

Brad
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WxJeff
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2017 1:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

These accounts always give me pause, and I appreciate you guys that play for pay sharing them. Risk management lessons all over the place.

I get the "never again" decision... agree wholeheartedly. What if you did get a ball to the chops and miss some additional (better paying?) gigs scheduled for the next couple weeks. The equipment damage potential makes me cringe as well.

At one point do you pull the plug while at the gig? For me it would've been the first time some kid mouthed off as you described. At the very least, finding the person who contracted with the group and explaining the facts of life to him/her. Maybe drawing the line in the sand (or in this case, trees) when you noticed a change to a less optimum set up spot that had been provided in years past?

Thanks for the perspective... I'll try not to complain the next time the air conditioning isn't keeping up in the old sanctuary where I play on Sunday mornings!
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trickg
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2017 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have never, in all of the years I've been a working musician, walked off of a gig, even gigs that were freebies.

I think part of it stems from just wanting to at least finish out the agreement - I play, they pay. If I do my part to the best of my ability, then I've been professional about it and can walk away from the gig with a vow to never do it again, but at least I held up my end.

This isn't to say I haven't had lapses in professionalism though. In one case, I was drumming as part of a Guest Worship setup - basically, I'm a hired gun who comes in and fills a slot for a praise team in need. I've been at this church drumming thing long enough now that I've gain a reputation for solid dependability, and I had an agreement with this guy who heads up Guest Worship out here that I would come in and play for this church every other week, and I think I was getting $25 or $50 to do it. It wasn't much, and especially not when you consider that it often entailed learning new tunes, and spending time in a rehearsal with the team.

The issue at hand was the Worship Leader for this setup - the same guy heading up Guest Worship. The deal he had with this church was that he was contracted for a specific period of time, and inside of that period of time, he was supposed to teach this small group of church members how to function on their own. The problem is that this guy was so seat-of-the-pants in his approach to everything, we were literally figuring out things as we went - he wouldn't stick to any particular roadmap for a song, it had to be whatever he was feeling at the time, and that actually changed often between rehearsals and Sunday mornings.

One Saturday afternoon, after fumbling through a tune because he hadn't taken the time to actually learn it according to the recording for either key or format, I'd lost patience. I suggested that given the amount of time we'd already been there and the amount of time it was taking, that we should scrap the tune for that week and move to something the band already knew. He popped off with something or other and I just lost it. I ripped this guy a new one, up one side and down the other.

I basically called him out on his baloney - he wants everyone to think that he's this wizened, sage musical leader, when the truth is, he's little more than a garage/bar band hack. I always knew what he was, but tolerated it because when he's not trying to be a musician, he's a fairly nice guy. But as a musician, he can't fool me because I know what it actually means to be a working musician in a professional setting - I did it full time for the US Army for 10 years. I know the difference between good and bad rehearsal techniques, and I know the difference between good and bad ways to run an ensemble and to prepare for a performance.

I was one of my most unprofessional moments - I should have waited and had that conversation in private, but I'd been dealing with this kind of thing from him for weeks, and I'd just had enough - that snarky comment he made just pushed me over the edge. I think what bothered me the most was I knew how much the church was paying him, and he simply wasn't delivering what he'd said he would, and he was wasting everyone's money and time - at least that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

In any case, after I'd ripped him up, we finished the rehearsal, and I played out that Sunday, playing the very best I could, but I've kept my vow to never work with him again. I'd said it before on a couple of occasions, but then 6 months or so would pass and he'd call me, and I'd forgive him, but I'd wind up dealing with the same stuff again. I think the difference this time is that he now knows that I know what he's trying to sell, and I'm definitely not buying it.
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Brad361
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 7:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

WxJeff wrote:
These accounts always give me pause, and I appreciate you guys that play for pay sharing them. Risk management lessons all over the place.

I get the "never again" decision... agree wholeheartedly. What if you did get a ball to the chops and miss some additional (better paying?) gigs scheduled for the next couple weeks. The equipment damage potential makes me cringe as well.

At one point do you pull the plug while at the gig? For me it would've been the first time some kid mouthed off as you described. At the very least, finding the person who contracted with the group and explaining the facts of life to him/her. Maybe drawing the line in the sand (or in this case, trees) when you noticed a change to a less optimum set up spot that had been provided in years past?

Thanks for the perspective... I'll try not to complain the next time the air conditioning isn't keeping up in the old sanctuary where I play on Sunday mornings!


I've never walked off a gig, even though there have been a few where I really wanted to. There certainly could be a situation where I might; if things got dangerous (bar fights, etc. .....interestingly I used to play a bar where brief skirmishes would sometimes happen, usually involving two WOMEN!), but luckily I've never done a gig where things got genuinely dangerous. If they really did, I would walk.

I agree that I might make a mental note to skip a particular job in the future, but that would probably be as far as I would go. These days I do sometimes bring a certain horn to a certain gig I've done before because I know what to expect from the place regarding a higher risk of horn damage, even though there's never a guarantee.

A big factor for me with this is that while I do average playing one job every weekend (53 gigs last year), it's part time. I get paid, but I'm not depending on it to pay the mortgage. But even though it's part time income, I've never been in a gig situation bad enough that I would not finish it. It's sort of amusing to see guys who are part timers (and oftentimes not very accomplished) behaving like spoiled rock stars or pop princess divas, I've worked with a few of those people too.

Brad
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KRELL1960
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 8:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's funny, in my initial rant i said i was done with these types of gigs, yet i never had the thought at all of walking off the gig. Strange how the mind works. I'm not going to play there again though. just isn't worth it.
The whole thing was a great learning process. I was so disgusted i literally did not touch my horn for 4 days. When i got back to it, doing my usual Bill Adam routine variation i could not believe how easy it was to go from low F# to F# above high C. Goes to show that tension can creep into your playing without knowing it and time off the horn can be a good thing. At least i learned something from this crazy gig. So in the end it was worth it. Glass is half full is better than half empty, emotionally anyway !!

been a cool discussion folks, thanks for adding to the talk !!!

regards,

tom
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kehaulani
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 8:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good post, Krell.
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Brad361
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 9:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kehaulani wrote:
Good post, Krell.


+1.

Totally agree that a short time away from the horn can sometimes be helpful, Doc would say no, but how many of us are anywhere near that level?

Brad
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WxJeff
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 3:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's why you gents are professionals. Making music is tough enough without the "human factors" getting thrown in. Thanks for the responses.

This discussion has helped me as I wrestle with whether or not I want to take a "Sabbatical" during our church Christmas season this year. Last year's program was a travesty: the elderly music director is stuck in the heyday of the '60s-'70s when he was at one of the biggest churches in Atlanta and everything was a grand production. From the stage last year I watched people leaving at 1:30 into the program and we clearly weren't done (and it was not just families with young children!) The scope of the program also taxed our not-that-young choir as well (you all are well aware of the buildup of heat in an environment like that, with all of us wearing tuxes and robes!) There were some mental lapses that almost led to a train wreck in the finale.

The professional thing to do would be provide this gentleman some feedback, which having read your thoughts on this "gig from hell" is likely what I'll do.
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razeontherock
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 5:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Leaving a gig because of massive bar brawl, heading towards the stage? Not me. I have announced, on mike, where the fight was, and warned the ladies in harm's way which way to move. This in a situation where there were no bouncers, due to some scheduling conflict.

Fortunately some off-duty guys were there, and later thanked me for the heads up.

Yet reading about the conditions in the op? That strikes me as insufferable.

Avoidable risk, poor management.
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