This was in '81 or '82. I was playing bass in a 4 piece rock/pop group, and we did the whole hair and spandex thing like most bands at the time. Girls were never a problem. Anybody who doesn't believe guitars are chick magnets has obviously never strapped on a guitar before. Anyway, we played all over the state, working pretty steady, staying in all manner of “band housing”. We were at a better-than-average club (closed mid-90's) and doing our normal thing. This particular night the bar was having a drawing for something, I can't remember what. We were going to have a longer break than usual after one of our sets so they could use our PA to do the drawing. I went to the bar and was getting a coke. A rather attractive girl asked me if we did a certain song she liked, to which I nodded and replied “next set, I think”. Our drummer was standing there waiting on me, as he wanted to get in a game of pool while we waited for the drawing to get over. We went to the tables and he racked up the game. I was lining up my first shot when I heard “hey, asshole”. I, of course, looked up to see who was calling who an asshole. What I saw was what turned out to be the butt end of a pool cue coming at my face at rather high velocity. It caught me on the bridge of my nose. I'm done. I'm collapsed on the pool table, screaming, blood pouring from my face. The drummer tackled the guy swinging the cue as he was lining up for another whack at me. Then the singer (not a small guy) jumped in. They, with a bouncer, dragged the guy out thru the kitchen and behind the bar where they damn near killed him. Turns out the attractive girl who asked me about the song had an extremely jealous ex-boyfriend who was in the bar and saw her talking to me. A couple days later, after the swelling went down and my eyes were able to open, she took me to dinner. She was really embarrassed over the whole thing. Just dinner, too. She had another boyfriend already, a cop. Who just happened to be the responding officer that night who ended up arresting ex-boyfriend for assault. Guess there were a few too many witnesses for him to claim self defense...
I got the band a gig on a small Island town in Alaska, booked for 2 months; a 1.5 hour small plane flight from Anchorage. Got to the airport, they put the plane in a hanger and loaded our gear. As I put my foot on the step of the plane a badge flung in front of my face. I State Trooper in plain clothes voiced: "we got a call that you were transporting drugs into the Village." I got so pissed, I said: "This is crap!, none of us do drugs - go ahead and search everything!" They searched everything and found nothing. My brother was so pissed, he told them to bring in the dog; and they did. One of the troopers opened my suitcase; my wife had ironed all my performance clothes. I told him: "my wife pain sakingly ironed those close - don't mess them up!" After they found nothing - and they were dressed like hunters - how creative! We finally boarded - and then an hour into the flight the wings began to ice up on the small plane; the whole plane shook like it was going to fall out of the air. All I could think was, this is it! I got a brand new baby at home and my wife is going to be left husband less. Thank God, the pilot found the Island and landed safely. When we landed, the bar manager met us at the field; we told her what happened in Anchorage with the State Troopers; she voiced that the mayor always has all bands searched before they came out to the Island. Long Story short, We rocked their socks off for 2 months; we got back home safely, and gained a renewed respect for flying in small planes in Alaska. And I got to play with my baby girl and take my wife out to dinner in my nicely ironed clothes. As for the Troopers, they got their own Cable show now; and I'm still struggling as a musician to write songs and keep the dream alive!
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......
We were in a motel room after a gig and we had partied rather excessively. 4 of us shared two beds - however, by the time the drinking and smoking and snorting had ceased, we would only have two hours of sleep.
I woke when some outdoor light hit my eyes from the open door of the room. I see our guitar player stumble into the room, wrapped in a sheet, and flop on an open part of one of the beds ..... followed by 2 of the local law enforcement.
Since I was the first to see the cops entering the room - I was able to quickly hide a bag of weed and a small pipe that was on the nightstand, by stuffing it under the mattress (while still laying in bed as if I were still sleeping. Everyone else was still sound asleep.
Once the cops came in and were standing at the foot of the bed,I sat up to find out what was happening. Apparently, the guitar player had gotten up to pee, walked out the motel door (rather than into the bathroom) and could not recall which room he came from (I don't even want to know where he peed). He found an open door to the linen storage area and curled up with whatever sheets he could find to cover up - and that is where the cleaning lady found him.
The room reeked of smoked weed, stale beer and stanky musicians - so they new there must be contraband to be found - and they proceeded to search the room, never looking under the mattress (I'm guessing they thought they caught us on too short of notice for us to actually hide anything. While the cops are starting the search I was trying to wake the other guys up - but we were all still in pretty bad shape.
The cops did not find anything (including a bag of 100 hits of speed that was in one of the dozens of pockets of the guitar players army coat. While they may have been able to arrest the guitar player for trespass (or something) - they simply gave us 5 minutes to leave the motel (and leave town).
I left the weed and the pipe under the mattress, put my boots on and was out starting the van before the other guys were even sure what had happened.
In the mid-70s, my Top 40 band did a gig in an underground cop bar (a strange enough thing to begin with). It was in the large basement of some skanky, out-of-the-way empty storefront. Set up with just about nothing but a couple of long tables with cups and a few kegs of beer,the scene appeared to be young cops and very much younger girls, all looking for action.
As we loaded in (and I hate carrying my drums down stairs), we noticed how young the girls were- I make no accusations, but...damn!
My girlfriend, who never came out to my gigs (better for both of us) was all of about 24, like me, at the time. For some reason (boredom, curiosity- who knows?), she decided to come to the gig with me that night.
As she entered the "club" behind me, I heard the cop doorman ask her, "Hey, what are YOU doing here, grandma?"
I turned around- she looked at me as she backed away from the door, and said- "I'll see you at home later- and don't wake me up."
About 10 years or so ago I was one of the guitar players in a classic rock band. We were on our way from Fort Dodge Iowa to Dubuque to play a show for our other guitar players wedding. We transported our gear in a great big p-chassis panel van by GM. It was old, like a `79 or so.
So we are cruising down the interstate. Me, the lead singer and the drummer. It is probably 11 o'clock pm. We are all drinking beer and smoking pot. When all the the sudden there is a loud BANG! DUDUDUDUDUDUDUDUDUDUDUDU! We blew a u-joint and dropped the drive shaft. We just made it to the side of the road when the van came to a resounding halt.
Great... So here we are with no cell phones (they were pretty new at the time), stuck on the side of I-80 about fifty miles from our destination. We throw all the beer cans in the ditch and try to flag down oncoming traffic. After about an hour of us standing there on the super busy interstate with a flashlight, an old couple finally stopped, and SCORE! They had a cell phone! Just then a Highway Patrol pulled up behind our van. Me, being the drunkest, and most stoned idiot out of the bunch, decide I am gonna do the talking. lol. Great idea.
So I am sitting in the front seat of the cops car and we are talking and I am explaining where we are headed and what has happened. He also tells me he himself is a drummer, so I drunkenly invite him to the reception to jam. So he radios for a phone line and calls our other guitarist to help figure out what we are going to do. "Hello Mr. ####, this is officer &$&$& with the Iowa State Highway Patrol and we have some members of your band." Well, our guitarist at first thinks we have been busted, but after a few more minutes of conversation he has the whole story and arranges for a flat bed to come ad pick up the whole van, the equipment and us.
I get out of the car and notice our drummer is a little bit anxious about something. The cop says he will check back a little bit later to make sure we have been picked up and are not in need of further assistance, and bids us farewell. After the officer leaves, the drummer walks over to me, and casually tucks the bag of weed that was very noticeably hanging out of my shirt pocket, bag inside. I don't have any idea if the cop noticed and was being cool, or if he was completely oblivious. He never showed up to jam, or I probably would have asked him.
In the late 70's, I was in a 6 piece Top 40 "show band" that played a lot of disco (it was popular music at the time) and we wore gaudy white jumpsuits with rhinestones (I hate band "uniforms").
During breaks the 4 piece rhythm section always went out to the van to partake in a few tokes of weed - leaving the horn players behind to deal with any business.
At one small town high school prom - two of the local police started pounding on the van doors. We waiting a long time to open the doors trying to make sure any evidence was hidden or consumed. When we did exit, in a cloud of smoke - half the high school was out side watching the band get busted. Unfortunately, the bass player forgot that he had a small baggie of pot in a jacket he put on when we went out - and the cops found it.
Being the most street smart (or perhaps the least stoned) I convinced the cops that if they took the bass player to jail, they would ruin this very special night for all the nice high school kids.
Somehow, the cops bought it and agreed to let us play - but they asked what time we finished and said that would be back. Well, I had the bass player convinced he was home free (no way would they let him go and them come back). They absolutely did come back.
We managed to drag out the last 3-4 songs with extended solos and long "Grand Funk endings" - but eventually, the cops made us stop and hauled the bass player off to jail (rhinestone jumpsuit and all).
Twenty minutes later the cops came back to get someone in the band to post bail (the bass player's wallet was still in his gig bag on stage)
Our agent was spitting mad and we were never booked for any high school gigs again, although we did continue to visit the van during breaks.
I was in my early twenties, playing at the Grand Lake Supper club in Saginaw, MN, which has since burned down. Four other musicians and I were there a couple of weekends a month. It was a rough bar, with females from two different cities coming there to hang out and get into fights.
There was a local constable, who shall remain nameless (he's in the public eye in Duluth), who would sit by the entrance to the bar. We were directly in front of him on stage, about 50 feet away. It was a rowdy night, and no one cared for listening to music. So, when I sang a slow ballad, people wanted nothing to do with it. I was crooning "Midnight Blue" (wow, this was a loooong time ago, folks), when all of a sudden a glass hit the speaker right next to my ear! Some ass in the crowd decided to toss it our way, and it came close to hitting me.
I kept on singing. The lazy constable did nothing! After the set, I went up to the "law enforcer," and told him what a putz he was and that I could've been killed. I'll never know who the glass thrower was, but after that tongue lashing, the constable did a better job. Country bars pretty much sucked, and they never paid well, either.
This was around 1989 and I played bass in a 5 piece (2 guitars, bass, drums and keyboard). Our keyboardist was also the band leader and a bit of a megalomaniac. Plus he was a true spotlight hog. And though we were a full on classic rock band, he came from a formally trained jazz background so he tended to overplay on everything as well.
This actually worked out ok for me on bass because I was a guitar player who was asked to switch because they couldn't find a bass player they liked and I had played bass off and on for years. We were all friends before the band formed so I was happy to do so. But his heavy bass hand left little room for traditional bass. But this allowed me to indulge my bass influences which were John Entwhistle, Geddy Lee and Les Claypool hence my basslines rarely followed the original. I was really a 3rd guitarist.
So anyway we are playing a local bar that always had a large crowd regardless of the band. We are all set up and the minutes are ticking down to showtime. No keyboardist. We have no idea where he is and have heard nothing. Then literally 10 minutes before we are scheduled to start we get word the keyboardist is in jail. The rest of us start freaking out, frantically trying to figure out what we are going to do.
As I mentioned the keyboardist was a spotlight hog so he sang almost every song. I sang one and each of the guitarist's sang one. So even if we could play the songs with out keyboards, none of us ever really bothered to learn the lyrics, at least not well enough to sing them. And we had only been together a few months and I think this was only like our 4th gig so we didn't have a long term rapport as a band that would allow to wing a bunch of tunes. And our setlist was stuff like Grateful Dead, Allman Bros, Steppenwolf, Lynard Skynard, The Tubes, ELP, Marshall Tucker etc etc. We needed the whole band.
So we are just standing there ready to suffer the wrath of the bar owner who was this huge lady that should have been a pro wrestler. Not that we were afraid she would beat us up, though she probably would have, but that we would never get hired again.
I'm not lying, literally as the clock struck 9 PM the side door crashes open and here comes the keyboardist rushing the stage, "Let's go". So with-out even a hello, what the hell, we are jamming. Of course nobody ever knew what had been going on all this time so it just looked like a dramatic entrance. But the rest of us were still sweating bullets from the ordeal. When we took our first break we finally learned what happened. I don't want to included details here but it turned out to be more of a misunderstanding rather than anything he actually did that landed him in jail. And luckily the police station was only a few blocks from the bar so he didn't have far to travel.
But we learned that night perhaps we should plan for emergencies.
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.