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?"
This is a 100% true story. Anyone that lives in Newport, Oregon can validate! Doing a early nineties rock bar gig in Newport. The band was running sequencers, and hence a click-track for me, the drummer. I decided to wire up an LED light to visually show me the click, instead of hearing it go snap, snap in my ears all night. I got a little black "project box" from radio shack--the ONLY "music store" in town. After stuffing in all the required wires and gizmos to make this thing work, I taped it to a piece of pipe with black electrical tape and mounted it to my drum rack. The result was a black plastic box taped to a piece of 2 inch pipe with a flashing red LED that flashed to the beat of the click-track............ I left it there laying on stage after load-out. A couple of extra beers during tear-down Saturday night, I simply forgot it.
The kitchen cook found it the next morning. he was a shell-shocked Vietnam Vet still a little excited about the war 25 years ago. BOMB!!!!
Fast-forward... When the Salem BOMB SQUAD showed up, I was long gone down the road headed to my next gig in Spokane. the Bomb squad sent in the bomb robot not before shutting down the whole Newport waterfront for 6 hours. The Robot did drop the device in a barrel and detonated it with their explosives. Blew it to bits. I got a very interesting call from my FRANTIC booking agent. It seems, the ATF was barreling down interstate I-90 to arrest me as a terrorist. After a few hours answering questions in an ATF van on the side of I-90, While agents completely emptied the contents of MY van on the side of the interstate, we all decided I wasn't a terrorist at all.
I think I am still on some kind of watch list. I got a letter in the mail from the ATF stating The Salem Bomb squad has my "device" and I could come claim it after I pay a $7348.00 bill for their little "visit" to Newport Oregon. They can keep my click track......
This is the mother of all stories. All the events are true. I have the hospital bills and scars to prove it....
We were on a short east coast tour in 2008 and headed to New Orleans. It had rained like hell the night before. I had the overnight shift driving and remember having a hard time keeping the van and trailer on the road. I was excited. I had never been to the Big Easy before and was looking forward to seeing the sights.
We got into town about eight hours early. The van was parked and the band set off for the french quarter. We wandered around around with the other band we were on tour with for quite a while, seeing the sights, getting some delicious oysters and taking in the charm of this legendary city. I ended up in a voodoo shop in my travels.
My bass player comes running up to me with a present. It was a mardi gras necklace with a big black penis on it. I didn't appreciate the humor at the time and threw it on the ground. We argued for a while about it and I ended up putting in my pocket and moving on to the next sight. Little did I know that that fake penis would be a harbinger of things to come.
Later that day, we regroup at the van and get prepared to head to the club across town. We arrive at the club around 930 pm or so, about an hour early. the van gets parked in the front of the place and we do our usual ten minute unload of gear. I go and find parking nearby and return to set up my drums. I enjoy the set up and break down time. It is kind of my zen time before and after a gig. Like all dive bars, the "stage" was VERY tight. I had my bass drum set up, my drum stool was down without the seat on it. I grabbed some more gear and went to squeeze in back of my kit. On the way back I tripped. I fell on the post of my stool WITHOUT the seat on. The way I tripped I basically fell backwards into a sitting position.
The first thing I noticed was my whole groin area was numb and there was a hole in my cargo shorts. I thought to my self: "This can't be good." I reached into the hole in my shorts and felt blood. Then as I investigated more, I felt another hole.... in my scrotum. I had ripped myself in half. I got up quickly an ran outside.
The bassist was the first out. "What happened dude?"
"I ripped my balls in half. I should probably go to the hospital."
"Yeah. Right," he responded.
I pulled my bloody hand out of my shorts to show him and he passed out standing up.
The next guy out was our cellist. He asked me what was going on. I told him I had lacerated my scrotum and asked him to call 911 for me. I was told after that I was cool as could be even though I could feel the inside of myself. That is what shock will do for you. So I waited for the ambulance to come and smoked a cigarette literally holding myself together with my oter hand.
Reality began to set in as I stood there. I was broke, 1500 miles away from home, I was bleeding profusely from my groin area, and I was definitely going to need medical attention. I could hear the sirens coming in the distance. All I could do is hope I was going to be all right.
The ambulance pulls up and the EMT jumps out.
"Who called for an ambulance?"
"That would be me," I say and raise my hand.
"What's the problem?" he asks.
"Well, I ripped my balls in half on a drum stool without the seat on."
The EMT stares at me blankly for a few moments...
"So.... you want to go to the hospital?"
"Yes, please." I said.
It was an interesting ride to the hospital. After showing the EMTs my injury they tried to keep me calm but confided that neither of them had ever seen anything like this in all their years of working in New Orleans.
We arrive at the hospital and I am rushed in to the ER. Over the next two hours, my balls were seen by no less than a dozen different people. Orderlies, nurses, doctors, and bystanders all got to see the horror mostly because the idiot doctor who was treating me had left the curtain open about a foot. You should've seen some of the looks I was getting. Pretty memorable.
At this point I am in excruciating pain, I am frightened, embarrassed, and tired. An orderly comes in and has me urinate in a bottle to see if I can still go ok. I could still go ok but the guy left me there holding a bloody bottle of warm piss for about 45 minutes. Don't forget that the curtain is still open and I am still naked from the waist down, covered in blood. Some experiences in life are humbling and teach you things about what is really important. This was one of them.
Finally the ER doctor comes back to begin closing the wound. 15 shots of topical anesthetic, 20 stitches by two doctors, and 45 minutes later my wound was closed. I flew home the next day to my horrified friends and family. I missed two months of work while everything healed and I learned a whole lot about myself both literally, and figuratively. For some reason, ever since that day, making music hasn't meant quite as much to me. I still play and still use the same drum stool, only now it has been welded together for safety. To all the drummers out there, be careful, and always make sure your stool is put together first, before you do any thing else.
The story of a drummer I'll call "Jerry."
In the 1970's, we had a high school band with horns that did a lot of Chicago music. We were all 17 and found this "boy wonder" drummer who was only 14 but quite talented. We rehearsed for months with Jerry and booked some parties and dances for the summer. Jerry got his final report card from school and his bad grades were cause for his parents to put the kaibash on his drumming. We had to scramble at the last minute to find a replacement.
A year later, we find ourselves looking for a drummer again and Jerry comes back into the picture. Same scenario; we line up gigs, we rehearse... and Jerry comes down with mono and we have to find another drummer.
Two years later, and a different permutation of the band. Now we're ready to play clubs. Again, we need a drummer and we cross paths with Jerry. We rehearse and have a showcase lined up at a club. We're packing our equipment in our cars and there's no sign of Jerry. We call him and he's doing training exercises with the volunteer fire department. We get so angry we start consuming beers and pouring the beers over his drum kit, and whacking the drums with hockey sticks.
Wait... it's not over. Two years later I get a call from one of the band members. He says,"you're not gonna believe this...Jerry tried out and was hired as touring drummer for the ****'s. They're on Saturday Night Live tonight!" I watched the show and they only showed the drummer briefly and I couldn't be sure it was him. But the next time I saw this band member I asked him about Jerry and he said he heard he was kicked out of the ****'s after a month for excessive drinking...
This bar where I was a regular on drums at their open jam nights was closing down, so I had to go for one last blast. The other musicians talked about trashing the ancient, crumbling drum set at the end of the last song, which (not coincidentally) happened to be the Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again." We got to the end of the song, several of the other members started upending the drums--and instead of joining in the fun like Moonie, I acted like myself and played a big rock ending on the drums as they flew and rolled everywhere. Old lack of habits dies hard, I guess.
Quite a few years ago now, we worked and had a few memorable experiences with a rather heavy set drummer. Here are some stories:
It was the end of the night, and the last song for the gig. The drummer stood up in place to execute a roll on the cymbal to end the song. We got a nice audience response in reply, and as the drummer sat back down on his drum stool, the seat cracked and the shaft of the seat seriously went up his butt. We couldn't get it out and had to take him to the emergency room at the hospital to get it removed.
We played a Christmas party at an American Legion. Same drummer dressed up like Santa Claus for the gig to add a little festiveness to the show. A man in the audience got really drunk that night and somehow managed to start an argument with the drummer as they stood in the middle of the dance floor area. The argument turned physical and it was quite a strange sight to see Santa rolling around on the floor with some guy as he was pounding the crap out of him at a Christmas Party.
Same drummer, and the band was playing for a benefit in a gym at a local
high school. The benefit included free draft beer for the members of all of the participating bands who came out to play on their own time for the benefit. The benefit had started at noon and our band was next to the last
to finish out the event, which put us up on those risers at about 8 in the evening. The drummer had been drinking the free draft beer since noon.
Half way through our show, the drums stopped playing and we all turned around to see why he stopped playing. He had totally "vanished". With a pause in the show and a little investigation, we discovered that he had passed out from drinking and fell backwards off the riser and was laying on the floor out cold, and out of sight.
We had been booked as an experiment by a very large billiard hall that was trying to make a transition to more of a sports bar type atmosphere. This particular venue had previously been a rather large live music spot, and the owners were hoping to tap back into that since the super pool hall idea wasn't making money.
Our band was scheduled to play a Friday/Saturday at the place for a little less than our normal fee as the owners were looking for us to be a semi-regular "host" band for these weekend spectaculars they were planning.
We kicked things off in blaze of dual lead guitar mayhem on the Friday night, and all was going spectacularly, as usual. During the middle of that first set, however, I noticed a rather animated woman talking to a police officer and pointing up to the stage. I looked around at the other guys in the band who didn't seem to have seen her. Promptly as I announced that we were taking a short break, the police officer walked up onto the stage and arrested our drummer.
Ever see the movie Fatal Attraction? It seems that some groupies actually turn out to be just like that. One night with the guys in the band isn't enough.
This particular darling had spent most of a weekend with our drummer a few months prior when we played at a club not far away. This apparently cemented her undying devotion to him, and when her dreams were shattered she hatched a plan for revenge and waited for us to come back to her town.
Apparently she saw the advertising for the shows, dropped by the venue and just before we went on she called the police claiming that she had been sexually assaulted in our equipment trailer that evening.
The cops took our drummer out of the club in handcuffs and down to the station for questioning. He returned after about an hour and a half, with many apologies from the officers, but the gig was torpedoed.
Oh, and they owner told us that he wouldn't be needing us Saturday.
Our drummer eventually had to get a restraining order against this enthusiastic fan who stalked us quite regularly for about a year. The final scene being when the psycho chick wrecked her car in his front yard.
Words of warning. Most groupies have issues, but for some, the AquaNet and blue eyeshadow is covering up a more serious case of crazy.
In the 90's, my band played alot of bowling alleys. Once in the small mountain town of Oakhurst, Ca., it was a normal Saturday night, packed out to the gills. We're getting ready to play again after a break and a little guy with a harsh british accent, comes up to us and asks if he can sit it on a song. He didn't seem drunk, so we said ok. He asked if we did any AC/DC and we told him we did 'Shook me all night long'. Our drummer told him we do it just like the record, and he said, in a hard british accent, "good cause I wrote the part".
I don't know if we physically rolled our eyes all at once, but everyone says they're someone and played with this guy or that band and he said he was AC/DC's drummer, so go figure. Needless to say none of us believed him. Well, we get up on stage and he starts the song and plays it just like the record. A lot of drummers can play it just like the record, so we still have our doubt's.
After the night is over, we go back to our hotel room and turn the tv on to MTV and they're playing a 'block' of AC/DC videos. They play the "Shook Me' video and sure enough, there's the little guy with the harsh british accent on the drum kit, in the video!! I guess you never know who you're going to run into!!
In the early 80’s, I left a 3-piece band I had played bass in for several years and joined a 4-piece rock band as a second guitarist. I knew the drummer – let’s call him “Randy”. I didn’t know the guitarist or bass player, nor did I know there had been a sort of falling out between the two. The guitarist wanted the bass player out of the band, so I called my old guitarist and asked him to play bass for us. The problem was that my old drummer – let’s call him “AJ” – wasn’t at all happy with his 2 band mates joining another band without him. It all became this dramatic break-up with lots of hard feelings.
So we’re playing in a big hall at a local college for sizable crowd. We show up early on a Saturday afternoon to set up. The drummer, Randy, is nowhere to be found. We finally got in touch with him and it turns out he isn’t feeling well and doesn’t think he can play. He had the sniffles or something and really didn’t feel like showing up. We were in disbelief. This was a big enough event I was concerned about being sued for breach of contract if we didn’t play. So, I call up AJ and begged him to come play drums. Initially, he was more inclined to let us hang for leaving him out of the new band in the first place. It took a lot of convincing, but he finally agreed. He drove the 30 minutes to get to the gig and immediately went to work. The other guys were so impressed that they considered making AJ the drummer, given Randy’s total lack of commitment.
So, later that evening, we’re ready to start the show and I’m convinced that all is well and thinking how fortunate we were to get AJ on such short notice. It felt good to have the old band together. We had a rowdy crowd of people who were ready to party and we were all anxious to start. Then, just as we were about to take the stage, Randy walks through the door. I turned to AJ with a “you gotta be effing kidding me” look. We were all shocked. I grabbed the other guys and said, “Look, AJ came through for us. You can’t just send him home. He’s going to play drums.”
This wasn’t really my call, so we went back and forth for a few minutes. In the end, we played two long sets, one with each drummer. Randy left before we got paid and I made sure his cut went to AJ. That was the last time any of us played together.
My classic rock band was hired to play a bar that we had played at before. Our current drummer had wanted this particular Saturday night off, so I called our previous drummer to see if he could fill in. "No problem" he said.
So as we set up our equipment, we realize it's about 10 minutes before our 9PM start time and our drummer has yet to show up. This is in the late 80s before cell phones. about 1 minute AFTER start time, the drummer shows up, all black and blue in the face saying he got mugged earlier in the week and needed to drive down the street to the nearest Guitar Center and borrow some equipment. Apparently it didn't occur to him that the store closed at 9PM on Saturday nights.
We convinced him to set up what he could and I said I would see if my drummer who took the night off would mind coming down to the gig to loan him some equipment. Here's what he was missing for the first set: all cymbals, bass drum beater and maybe a few other minor things. He tied a screwdriver to the bass pedal and put a tambourine where his hi-hat would go. And, damn if he didn't sound good. After the first set our regular drummer brought some of his equipment for this guy to use.
The funny thing is, when I originally called him on the phone earlier in the evening he made no mention of being mugged earlier that week, or missing some of his drum set, and I happened to have had a full drum set in my garage the whole time! We never called him again.