Last week I got a call to play a frat party gig in South Carolina. I accepted the gig and opted to ride with the drummer to save gas and prolong the life of my car. I met the drummer at his house, and we embarked on our journey to the college. The first few hours of the drive were relatively normal, so we stopped for gas and continued on. Then things got interesting.
Between exits 22 and 23 on I-385, the ride started feeling strangely bumpy, as if there were large rocks on the road. We decided to pull over, and the car behind us did as well. A relatively urban-looking lady started yelling "Get out of the car!!!" at us, and at first we were a bit skeptical. Then, along with this statement she expressed, "THE CAR IS ON FIRE!!!" We decided this was our cue to exit the vehicle (at this point, smoke was billowing from the hood). Upon exiting the vehicle I could see the orange glow under the car. The oil had caught on fire and was dripping flames on the ground. We retreated a safe distance and watched as the car slowly burned.
About one minute after we were safely positioned, a large bald man with a fire extinguisher came running out of the woods. He urged the drummer to pop the hood, and then proceeded to put out the fire. After the fire was out, he explained that he was on his lunch break and just happened to notice us on the side of the road. We were relieved, as he had just saved our musical gear from a sure demise.
The drummer then called AAA, and while we waited for the tow truck arrive we conversed with a local police officer. We learned about his Dodge Charger, the way his 12 hour shifts worked, and about his talented family. Since it was cold outside, we hung out in the back of the cop car...which (had the cop not been so nice...) could have potentially been a bad idea.
About an hour later, the AAA tow truck showed up, and we were on our way to Clinton once again. We arrived in style--cramped in the front seat of the tow truck with the musical gear in the car towed behind. The show went relatively smoothly, minus one fight that broke out. We played "Free Bird" towards the end of the night, and retreated to the guitarist's dorm after the gig.
The next day, we hitched a ride with the drummer's mom--who drove out to SC from Atlanta to meet us. Thus ended the life of one drummer's vehicle, and one epic gig.
My band opened for a touring band from Texas at a local bar. A few days after the gig we heard about their adventure on the way home. On the freeway in the middle of nowhere, a vehicle towing a trailer containing several horses got in a horrific accident with semi truck. The band's tour van got smacked right in the windshield with a HEADLESS FLYING HORSE. No injuries to the band, thankfully.
After playing a two night stint in the clubs in Bowling Green, Ohio, we made good friends with a band we shared the bill with. We spent the last night at the home of their manager. I woke up in our van the next morning not knowing where I was or even what year it was. After locating our drummer and his then-wife we went about the dubious task of locating our bassist.
He wasn't in the van, in our trailer, or in the house. We feared the worst and checked the pool and alley. Luckily, there was no body. Our drummer then started hearing the unmistakable sound of our bassist's snore coming from somewhere close by. After some sleuthing we found him in someone else's van, parked in their driveway. He had broken in thinking it was ours and we had locked him out, and just went to sleep when he made it in. Fortunately, we made it out of there before anyone else noticed.
This was a full on road band with one van and one 24 foot box truck for equipment. We played a bar gig in Kansas City. After initial load in, the big truck usually stayed parked for the week and the van used to get to the club and back for lunch, rehearsals, laundry, etc. The band wanted to go to an after-hours party one night after the gig. I did not feel like getting chemically challenged that night, so they dropped me at the band house and went on to the party about six miles away.
I awoke the next day at about 1 PM with the whole crew standing around me. "We've got something to tell you," the light man blurted out. "The tranny went out in the van last night."
After about ten seconds of silence, I said matter-of-factly "well lets go get it."
"The van is here," said the light man, "but the only gear that worked was reverse"
"Oh NO! You Didn't," I screamed.
Yup, they drove the van IN REVERSE six miles from the party to the band house, drunk. I just shook my head.
Minutes before arriving to the Amphitheatre and sweaty from the drive, I pulled over to change in case there wasn't an easy bathroom to find. It was a backroad and there was only one house around so I thought it'd be fine. As I'm looking for clothes a car pulls up to their mailbox about 20 yards back. I notice she's just sitting there looking in the rearview, and so I decide to change in the car- and she's still sitting there until I leave.
Fast forward to after the show: We walk over to our merch table to greet people, and a woman surrounded by her husband and three embarrassed daughters says to me, 'I bet I know what your license plate number is!' I say, 'Um...what?' And while I'm autographing the cd that she bought, she tells how she thought the only reason someone would be changing a shirt on a backroad was if they had just done something wrong, so she called the cops and had them run the plates (p.s. I'm black). To make up for it she repeated over and over how 'well dressed I was.' What a surprise when she and her family went to their nearby State Park for the big concert series and she not only sees the guy she just called the cops on in the band, but ends up liking it enough to buy a cd!