One of our guitar players lives just a couple of blocks from a micro-sized bar and I must emphasize micro. This was fall of 2011. Our band was only a few months old and this was our first time there.
They literally move a pool table for the band and that is about how much room you have to set up. But it's a fun little place with a loyal local crowd that loves to party and packs it in.
About half-way through our gig a crowd of older women come in obviously already enjoying themselves. I'd guess early 50's to some blue hairs. Turned out they were celebrating one of the ladies 80th birthday.
Despite our hard rock repertoire they were loving us and dancing to every song.
At the end of a song the birthday girl politely asked our guitarist if she could say something over the mic. He was like "sure it's your birthday have fun." Now mind you this lady is 80 years old tonight and looks like a typical great-grandma. Well she grabs the mic and screams at the top of her lungs "I AM FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCKED UP!" Our jaws hit the floor. That was the last thing we were expecting from her mouth. But everyone was cheering and laughing and after we got over the shock we were laughing too. Man I wish we had that on camera.
I was working in a house band at a large country bar in Dallas. We were taking a break, watching the dancers and the guitar player leans over and says, "Hey look its Elvis!" And sure enough, there was an overweight dude with black mutton chop side burns, pompadour hair-do, chrome sunglasses, and leather everything else. But with him was the sexiest woman I had ever seen. Red stiletto heels, black fishnet hose, black leather mini skirt and a red sweater at least two sizes too small. A well endowed, blond knockout.
Every guy in the bar rushed over to ask her to dance, including our guitar player. A minute later they were slow dancing by the band table and the guitarist is giving us the thumbs up with a great big smile on his face. We finished our break and started the first tune, when a ruckus ensued at the back of the club.
All I saw was the bouncers escorting miss leather mini skirt out the door. Seems someone checked out her equipment, and they don't allow men in the ladies room. We never let the guitarist live it down.
We are a 7 piece variety/show band and we were booked into a bar the size of a hallway. The place was packed and we had played 4 songs when the owner came up and yelled at me that half the bar had emptied because of the volume.
I looked out at the packed house that had grown even more crowded while we played, and at that moment they were in the midst of a standing ovation. I was in shock. I left the band to perform a few songs alone and followed the owner outside. I told him what he said was simply not true. From my vantage point I could see EVERYONE who came and went.
His drunk wife intervened and and said: Turn the f...ing s... down! I looked at her in amazement, went in and brought the volume down 50%. The wife walked in, and stood at the front of the stage screaming at my guitar player! The audience realized what was happening, and started booing her and chanting "Bitch Leave" over and over! Four people came up and escorted her out of her own bar!
We had a four piece jazz combo with a beautiful female singer who could really emote on the ballads. It was a pretty classy place but there were sometimes a few local barflies in the audience. Though we were really supposed to be providing background music for the restaurant, the singer would sing right to the people in the bar, and once in a a while some inebriate would get it into his head that she was singing "I get Misty" or "Besame Mucho" just to him, and shuffle, with the love light in his eyes, right up to the mic.
By then I would already have stepped up next to her, playing my electric bass, shaking my head slowly while giving him the stink-eye. That usually did the trick, but once in a while they were just too baked to take any kind of a hint. So then they got the headstock of the bass placed gently in the middle of their chest and a slow firm push back towards the bar. One guy never did seem to get what was happening, just kept walking up and getting pushed back until he gave up and wandered away.
The singer never batted an eye, never seemed to notice, never said thanks.
A bass player's work is never done.
In the early '90s' I was doing a fill in gig with a country band. They were the house band at one of the few live music spots in town. Their guitar player was recuperating from a hand injury and they just needed someone until he returned.
I'm primarily a rock & blues kinda guy, but am familiar with the classic country as well as '50s' rock they were playing. I also like to mix things up a little when it comes to guitar leads, toss in some different styles and flavors, but I digress.
One night, a couple of weeks into this gig, I noticed a guy sitting at the bar watching me play, this was during the first set, didn't give it a second thought. The next set he was leaning against the wall across the dance floor from the stage, but directly in front of me. He just stood against the wall for the entire set staring at me, he smoked his cigarette, drank his beer, but other than that, no movement.
The third set, same guy, same spot, he smoked, he drank, but still no other movement. Now I'm starting to get a little concerned, I mean this guy just leaned against the wall staring at me, he didn't applaud, he didn't shout out requests, he didn't ask anyone to dance, he didn't smile, nod his head, tap his foot, nothing, just stared at me for the entire set.
The last set, same guy, same spot! By this time I'm in the preliminary stages of freaking out. I'm searching my memory and couldn't remember ever seeing him before. Does he think I owe him money? Does he think I boned his wife? Did I bone his wife? Whats the deal, he's standing there looking at me like he's a department store mannequin.
About halfway through that set, between songs, he starts walking toward me. I'm thinking; whatever it is...here it comes! I was playing a Les Paul Custom at the time, so at least I had a nice hefty piece of wood to defend myself with.
He gets halfway across the dance floor, stops, points at me and shouts "THAT MOTHERFUCKER CAN PLAY ANYTHING". After regaining my composure, I thanked him for the compliment and he returned to (lets all say it together) that same spot.
Its always nice to receive a compliment on your playing, but I'm thinking next time I'm doing a country gig, maybe I'll just play the leads the way they were originally recorded.
I was the guitar player in an original rock band back in the early part of the century. We were playing one of the many dives in Sacramento.
We were playing a cover of Crazy Train by Ozzy Osbourne, and I had just whipped out the same Randy Rhodes solo which usually gets the crowd wild. I always felt like the crowd dared me to do it like I couldn't. When I finished the solo, I got the usual applause...except when I looked up, I found that the applause was actually for the two strippers that started making out on the pool table next to me. I couldn't help but laugh at myself.
It was a Sunday evening. I hadn't been playing guitar too long when a friend called and said his regular player was unavailable for a gig this coming Saturday night and asked if I would do the gig. Eager to play I gladly accepted. I no more than hung up and then cut the thumb of my left hand on a table saw. With eight stitches and only a week to heal I decided to still do the gig.
When I got to the bar, which happened to be a rough and tough native American hangout, I soon realized it was going to be a long night.
We were somewhere near the end of the second set when this lady came up and asked me to play Silverwings (a Merle Haggard tune). I turned to the band and asked they new the tune but no one really did. The bass player said it was in G but never really played it before. I told the lady we didn't know it and she reluctantly stumbled away as she was already pretty well lit.
After the break we started playing again, and again she asked for us to play Silverwings. I said sorry we don't know it. Well the next song came and went and there she was saying play Silverwings. Again I declined when faster than I could blink she had pulled a switch blade and stuck it in my face and demanded Silverwings. I turned to the guys and said "Silverwings in G.
We played Silverwings five or six more times before the night was over. Not sure if anyone would really recognize it but at least she was happy enough that I didn't get cut up.
I was the bassist in a classic rock band in the 80's. We had gotten a gig at a local biker bar. We had played biker bars many times before but this was the first biker bar that I had played that actually sold biker parts at the bar. I knew we were in for possible trouble when I saw a sign over a fireplace in the corner of the bar that read $500 and a case of beer to the one who tells us who broke in to the bar on Wednesday the 29th. It had bullet holes in the corners of the sign.
The bartender had the words Hell's Angels tattooed down one arm but other than that, he was a nice dude. This was the 80's which was a time where most bands had some sort of pyrotechnics and we had our fair share. The bar was packed to capacity and the crowd was chanting "Band,Band,Band" so we came up on stage. Our show started out with Rock and Roll by Led Zeppelin which starts with a drum/cymbal barrage and then the whole band comes in. At that point in the our show, our sound guy fires two flash pots and it's a cool effect. At this show, when the flash pots went off the crowd had figured someone had fired a gun so 30-40 patrons pull out their guns and point it at the stage. It looked like the part in The Blues Brothers where the cops catch them and have several dozen weapons pointed at them.
I was trying to hide behind my bass guitar when the bartender comes up onstage with a shotgun. After we told him what happened, he calmed the crowd down. He told us it was a cool effect but we had to tell him about those kinds of things in the future. I didn't tell him then but all I could think was that there would be no future gigs here.
This was in about 1975. We had dual guitars with double stacks, an oversized double set of clear blue drums, a big bass rig, and my seldom heard double cheese organ with a rotating speaker and an electric piano to boot. Our gigs always started the same way: Flash bombs, followed by the band tearing into a very hard Rock and Roll song. Only one problem, this gig was a SKI LODGE, in the SUMMER! All the hill people were looking at us like we were nuts.
This went on for about two hours, but no one left. We finally hit a southern rock tune, and the whole audience got up and were dancing and two stepping and partying. Everything went well thereafter.
Back in the '90s a band I was in got a gig playing at a big charity run. We were set up outside on the roof of a small building. Great sound, a sunny day, and a big crowd at the local university track stadium. "When you start playing," said the organizer, "we'll start the race."
Unfortunately, he hadn't taken into account that the stadium was the beginning and end of the race. When we hit the first chord, everyone began running OUT of the stadium. By the time we finished the first song, the place was deserted, and the gig was over.