My band was playing at a dinner/dance club one summer in the late 80's. The first set was pretty mild for the dinner crowd and we'd build up to a great rock set. Well this particular night, the manager had a problem with our volume. Our drummer was a large man, 6'-4" about 275 lbs, and abrasive as a brillo pad. We called him King, and he was the epitome of a hard rock drummer: he loved to ROCK!
The club owner asked our drummer to play quiet, a few times, finally asking him "Don't you have some brushes or something?"
The King replied in his best Andrew Dice Clay attitude, "What, do you want me to paint something?"
In the early eighties, I was just a kid in high school playing drums for a band of college guys. They were all pretty good friends, and got on well. The bass player/bandleader was an exercise equipment salesman.
We were playing a huge corporate event outdoors, and for some reason the bass player and guitar player were arguing off and on the whole day. All was going well, when suddenly I saw the bass player lean into the guitar player and say something to him in the middle of a tune. The next thing I saw was the two of them fist fighting on stage, then rolling around on the ground wrestling. I could not believe what I was seeing. About a minute later, they picked their instruments back up and continued playing.
After the show, I asked the guitar player what the bass player had said. The guitar player's father had lost his legs due to diabetes years prior, and was in a wheelchair. The bass player was so mad at the guitar player, he leaned over to him mid-song and said, "hey, ask your father if he would be interested in buying a treadmill from me." Holy s@#*%. This was the most distasteful event that ever happened to me at a show, and one I will never forget.
We still would like to have you on bass, but help us out a little.
You have the song list; how familiar are you with those songs?
Will you be able to comfortably lay down the groove for these tunes (in --singer--'s key signatures) or is it going to sound like amateurville? The end of November is only two or three weeks away from December 11th. And Thanksgiving will throw another wrench into it, because no one will want to rehearse during that week. So, how much time does that give us?
We are all busy, too. Our lives are full. But, each of us makes time to rehearse with the band because we care about how it is going to sound.
Yet, as I said, we still want to have you on this job. --Singer-- and I like you as a person, and we think you are a superb bassist.
Will you commit to performing with us on December 11? Can you assure us that you will be well-prepared? Will you rehearse with us at least three times before the gig?
Please e-mail us your response.
I've always liked you both as people also, but this isn't about personalities. What it is about is that I don't have any free evenings to give you. I'm not just busy, I'm really busy! It's the nature of my business this time of year. Besides, with three rehearsals this gig becomes a $50 gig on a Sat. in December! I won't even address the 'amateurville' comment.
I think you would be more comfortable with someone else who can find the time to rehearse. Best of luck to you.
Dear Mr. Patitucci,
I meant no offense by using the term "amateurville".
I was in no way implying that you could ever sound like an amateur.
We know you could walk on stage and blow away any other bass player on the planet. Please forgive the further offense of even suggesting that you would need to rehearse. And to not even get paid for it -- heaven forbid! How foolish of me!
Thank you, Mr. Patitucci, for even deigning to consider working this job with us.
So long, from "amateurville",
An open letter to the Mayor of Amateurville:
Your last e-mail is proof positive of your amateur status. Any other professional would have said 'I understand that your time is valuable, and limited,' but you're NOT a professional. The only reason any decent players would consider playing with you is the money, and the fact that --singer-- isn't a bad singer. Other players (good players) that I have confided in about your NEED to start rehearsing in October for one gig in December have invariably responded with rolling eyes, chuckles and one 'this guy must be a BAD motherfucker!' (chuckle chuckle).
I can tell that this exchange has struck a chord with you (a chord is three or more notes played together), testament to your insecurity. I was told that this would be your last gig, that you were giving it up. Probably for the better. Singer has GOT to be relieved that she doesn't have to listen to your crappy time and weak fills anymore. I am certainly glad that I don't have to drag the band through three hours of you bringing up the rear.
I'm sure --sax-- can find a bass player who has time to rehearse and fix your crappy charts. He is a fine player and knows plenty of cats who need the work. I have eight gigs this week and don't need the work (or the bullshit).
Best of luck to you,
p.s. at least you know who John Pattitucci is....
I was in Spokane, Washinton in the eighties and ran an ad for a lead player. A guy called and said he wanted the job but has one problem: no guitar and no amp. He told me that once I heard him I would buy him both. I laughed and said I had to go, and asked if he could come down that night to my gig. I said sure.....
That night I told the guys and we all had a great laugh. On the second set this guy walked up to the stage and said "I made it are you ready for me?"
I thought for laughs 'I'm gonna let him get up' and oh my god he blew the house down. Everyone in the bar came up to the stage to watch this guy. He could sound just like Elvis, play guitar like SRV, total I mean total pro. I just sat in the chair thinking 'how am I gonna get him a guitar and amp?' which I did the next day.
We had him in our band for 2 years and then he moved away. Talk about walk the walk, he gave new meaning to it.
Well into the second set of the wedding reception and still no dancers! Our lead singer called the tunes and absolutely nothing could get some dancing going. Then, written requests from a large table started coming in for Motown, Stax, etc.
We played every one of their requests but no dancing. Finally our frustrated singer turned to the submitting table of guests and said, not that politely, "If you're gonna make all these requests, maybe you wanna hit the dance floor."
With the stage lights off as he spoke to the table, we could then clearly see their wheelchairs. Ouch!
Our band was playing a local hot spot bar. At that time few bars or night clubs in the area had actual live music so the place was always kinda crowded even if the band sucked. But we were one of the more popular rock bands in the county so we always packed it.
I played bass in the band and one night we are on stage and this really drunk chick is dancing around (by herself) right in front of the stage, and me in particular. I sang and since our two guitar players were left and right-handed I always stood center stage in the middle of our set-up.
So this girl's "dancing" was pretty much a perfect cross between a peg-legged whirling Dervish and Frankenstein if you can picture that (you really had to be there). And besides being wasted there was obviously something wrong with her but danced so funny it was hard not to laugh.
Anyway this was back in the early `90s when those "balloon pants" with the elastic waistband were in style and I liked them simply because they were very comfortable. As she is flailing around there, as all dancing drunks do she eventually fell down. But she didn't just fall on the floor, she fell backwards into the stage and as I mentioned she was in front of me already. Well, as people do when they fall she just grabbed out for anything that was there....guess what, she grabbed my loose-fitting pants and pulled them down to my ankles. But that's not even the funny part, in those days I never wore underwear so I'm standing there on a three-foot-high stage in front of about 100 or so people, some of them barely two feet way, with my junk hanging out in all it's glory. And I always wore my bass kinda high so it was of no use as a cover. Plus I am 6' 4" so it's not like the people in the back didn't notice. Thankfully, though the rest of the band was splitting their guts laughing as well, they didn't quit playing so that kinda helped to keep it from being a big commotion and actually caused it all to seem a bit surreal.
But after all it was a only barroom so what the hell. I just pulled my pants back up and laughed along with everyone, what else could I do? I'm just thankful it didn't happen at a wedding or a place with kids around. When the song ended someone yelled out "Does the strip show cost extra?" Of course that brought the house down again and actually saved me from having to come up with something witty.
But it didn't end there. The girl obviously was digging on me and waited around till we finished. So I talked to her and with-in a few seconds she tells me that "so yeah, I was just released from the mental institution this afternoon. And I'm not suppose to be drinking alcohol with my medication, but it's no big deal." I was like "uh, ok, uh I gotta take a piss." While I'm in the restroom I learned from an audience member that was in there and sorta knew her that she had been comitted for going psycho on her husband. He was like "dude, why are you talking to that weirdo skank?" and then he tells me about her. I was like YIKES GET ME OUTA HERE. But she wasn't going to give up. She was following me around like a puppy and hanging all over me. I was having visions of "Fatal Attraction". I wound up having to get my band mates to divert her attention so I could slip out to my car and leave. Thankfully I never saw her again.
But that night lived in infamy for some time after.
And I remember many years ago seeing a KISS interview and they were talking about funny or interesting stories from the road. Paul Stanley says, "well one time I had this girl backstage and said, so tell me a little about yourself". And she replied that she had just been released from the mental instution across the street. But I guess you don't have to be a hugh rock star to attract crazies. Rock & Roll
I was the bassist for a few years in a classic rock cover band that had gotten really tight and built a good following. One Saturday night when the band was off, the guitarist (we'll call him "Jay") and I went to a bar to check out another band and hang out. While we were sitting at the bar some dude comes up, puts his arms around our shoulders and pops his head in between us. He turns to Jay and said "Dude, I saw your band last night at so and so. I had the best time. You guys were freakin' awesome."
Hearing this I was beaming with pride. He then turned to me and said "Have you seen his band?"
Bass players get no respect.
We had just got done doing our thing and were loading up the truck with the PA system. I found all the doors looked and could hear giggling going on inside. I knocked on the door and heard our vocalist yell out "Can you come back in 15 minutes???"
15 minutes later, the rest of the band was standing outside. The door popped open and our vocalist came out with one of his groupies. His response? "I needed some service."
I worked with a band back in the 90's and they were playing a wedding. Throughout the course of the evening the bride's mother kept asking them to turn down. Finally the guitarist said "ma'am, we are playing as low as we can. What do you think the problem is?"
She said "the drums are too loud. Can you turn them down?"
"Well, the drums aren't even mic'ed," responded the guitarist.
So she asked "can you put mic's on them and turn them down?"
In 1991 (or so), I was drumming for a band and we had a gig at an ever-popular club on Sunset. It was a Saturday night. We had brought a busload of fans from San Diego. Warner Brothers A&R folks were in house to see us. After soundcheck, the guitarist from one of the other bands playing that night was experiencing technical difficulties with his guitar head. Apparently a fuse had blown.
He asked our guitarist if he had a spare fuse. As we all know, fuses are rated for maximum current in a unit called Amperes, or, more commonly, Amps. Our guitarist asked the fuse-seeker, "What amp?" so he could see if he had the right value fuse.
The guy's reply? "Marshall."