I was playing bass in a popular cover band in 2005. We were playing one of our usual bar gigs at a large hotel/motel that had an adjoining banquet room. There happened to be a large party thrown by a pro football player in the banquet room that night. We played our first set to a pretty decent crowd while the football players party raged next door. We finished our set and took a break. About 10 minutes into our break we heard POP,POP,POP,POP. We all looked around like "what the heck"? Suddenly people were running from the front room attached to the bar into the bar area. Still not knowing what happened we followed the curious crowd out the front door. There were three people laying on the grass and in the parking lot outside the bar. All hit with gunfire!One guy,(the worst off of the three) was gunshot twice. One man was hit in the leg and one woman was grazed in the head. The girl I was dating at the time was a nurse and started trying to help the gunshot victim. His buddies kept trying to move him saying they weren't supposed to be in this county and needed to get away quick. Well, this guy wasn't going anywhere as he was fading fast. His friends realized his condition and all just left. An ambulance shows up about ten minutes later and takes the victims to the hospital. Last thing I saw of this guy was him being loaded onto the ambulance on a stretcher with his hands up over his face in an "Oh No" fashion. He died the next day. These people were at the party in the banquet room and there was a drive-by shooting out front. Turns out the shooter was the gunshot guys uncle and the whole thing was over drugs. Go figure. We ended up playing a short set before the gig being called off. Nobody wanted to party after all that.
After doing an afternoon wedding reception, we invited the guests to come see us play later that evening at a nearby bar called the 'Country Gentleman' (long gone). Apparently the wedding guests didn't mix well with the bar's patrons and a rumble started in the parking lot involving at least a dozen people. I was looking around for the bar owner and realized he was part of the big fight as well. Amid the chaos I called the police myself.
Things seemed to settle down after a while, so my band mates and I thought we should start playing again. Not five minutes into the set we heard the loudest crash of glass in the front room bar. Apparently, one of the locals that was thrown out of the bar didn't like the treatment his brother was getting from the Sheriff's deputies and launched himself through the big plate glass window. He got up, bleeding from head to toe with his fists clenched ready to take the cops on. I'm told the deputy looked at this guy in amazement and then knocked him out with his big silver flashlight. This feisty fellow was loaded into the squad car to wait for the ambulance. He woke up a few minutes later and started trying to kick the windows out. When the EMTs got there and saw the situation, they decided to let the cops take him to the hospital.
I'll never forget that gig from the late 70's.
my band used to play at a big top 40 / disco club about twice a month. this continued for about two years and we got to know and befriend all of the staff and most of the patrons. one of the regulars was sort of the local drunk who would come in early, prop himself at the end of the bar and start drinking at some point in the end of the evening he would pass out in a far both and start sleeping it off. one night we were really hitting it off at the club and had the place jumping and were supprised to see that we even had our local drunk up and moving. but he seemed to get tired quickly and sat down on a step next to the dance floor and soon passed out, as he would normally do but this time he wasn't passed out. he was dead! no one in the bar took notice for quite a while as this guy would pass out almost nightly at the place and we played a long set with people dancing all around this guy. we played right up to close and the place cleared out right quick when the set ended. then while packing up one of the bartenders looked at him and said "he dont look so good" in less than two minutes ems was there but couldn't do much for the poor guy. as we packed up the van the club owner came out to pay us and said "boy you guys really knocked em dead tonight!"
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.
We had a tight bar band rockin' the local joints in the mid 80's. One Saturday night there seemed to be more traffic than usual in and out of the men's room, located off the dance floor to our right. Then I noticed that the same 4 or 5 guys seemed to be going more and more often.
As the night went on they seemed to be moving faster and faster, like I was watching a movie where the projector gradually sped up, and they weren't spending enough time inside to even be relieving themselves. That's when I figured out it must be nose candy night.
This bar was on the ground floor of a two story building and there were two big wooden posts, about 8"x 8", rising from the middle of the dance floor and holding up the ceiling. Out comes a guy from the rest room, moving about 9 miles an hour like one of those weird Olympic events where they walk really fast, leaning forward with arms swinging. He runs flush into one of the posts, first with his forehead, then with his crotch, bounces back and collapses on the floor like a sack of potatoes, flat on his back. We keep playing, but I yell to the bartender, "Call 911" because this guy is gonna be out for who knows how long, maybe forever.
My head is only turned to the bar for about 2 seconds and when I look back, the guy is already up, on his his feet and casually strolling back to the bar like nothing happened.
I remember playing bass guitar in an Enlisted Mens' night club, in Charleston, South Carolina. There was a young couple sitting at a table in front of the band, and they were acting pretty lovey dovey. Suddenly, a young woman came up from behind the couple, and started screaming obscenities that made some of the sailors in the club blush. From her purse she pulled a hand gun, and started firing the gun at both of them. The young sailor was hit in the chest, and fell backwards in his chair to the floor. His new girl friend started running for the door.
The band was about to evacuate the stage, when the club manager came running up to us, and shouted to keep playing and remain calm. I was singing the song, "Something" by the Beatles. The words that I continued to sing were, "something in the way she moves." I watched in frozen horror at the crowd that was trying to escape the path of this crazy woman with a gun. Women were screaming, tables and chairs were turned over, or kicked out of the way, and the men were shoving each other to get out of her way.
Finally the shore patrol police flooded the area, and locked all the doors, and arrested the lady shooter. Naval buses were brought over to round up all the witnesses, so that they could write down what had happened in their report. As all of this was happening, the band was still playing the same song. We finally shut down, got our nights' pay, and went home. Traumatized by the whole event, whenever I hear the words, "something in the way she moves," I instantly remember that crazy lady, shooting her sailor boyfriend, at point blank range. I never sang that song again.
In the late 1980's and early 1990's, I played a shit ton of casuals, (this is local "biz talk" for wedding, barmitzvah and company party events) in and about the New York, New Jersey area. I think the actual term most of these musicians used at the time was "club dates". A great many of us worked through agencies, and were often places with musicians we didn't know. Most of the music was standard fare, motown sets, standards, hits of the times, and past.
It was at a time where people were more likely to hire bands than DJ's. Most of the musicians hated doing these functions, yet they continued to book their weekends full solid with them. A typical schedule at the time was Friday night, 2 events on Saturday, 2 events on Sunday, often they were miles apart and could've been wedding events, Hasidic, (sp?), company events, and bar or batmitzvahs, complete with dancers, balloons, and all sorts of "featured" things like face painters, balloon people, and just way over the top spending. They paid pretty well too. I always was eager to play, learn, and observe, and had all in all a great deal less experience than most of these musicians. Some of these guys were much older, and seemed like they knew every song ever written in any key. A great many,(most, in my opinion), were bitter musicians, not really fun and engaging, not very creative, and really "tired".
It was not uncommon to play at "Windows of the World", on top of the World Trade Center, (may it rest in peace), and haul gear up who know how many stories and levels. I must have seen every kitchen load in area of every catering hall in the Metropolitan New York/New Jersey area for those buys 5-6 years. I've since moved down south to Nashville.
One night, I was asked to go to the Waldorf Astoria, for some kind of event, to play with the band. Huge place, large ballroom, really swanky. I thought it would be cool, so there I go, loading in, dressed in my weekend tux, (wrinkled), and load in, set up, and search for the band leader. I knew most of these guys from the agency, but one gentleman playing keyboards that evening was someone I hadn't met. He arrived very close to first downbeat, in the nick of time, set up sat down, and it was not uncommon for the bass player to stand between the keyboardist and drummer, to watch his left hand, to not muddy up the bottom notes and basslines.
I thought this place was awesome! Wow!
Right before first downbeat, the keyboard player turned his head to me and said hello, my name is ________.
Folks, I had to take a knee. His breath was so atrocious, he nearly made me pass out. Even when he spoke to the front of him, you couldn't avoid it....for 4 HOURS!!!! When I say I was in hell, I was in hell.
I HAD to communicate with him. Break? no break...continuous music the whole evening....the whole time, no breaks....
I couldn't play right, nobody to complain to, continuous music, nothing...horrible raunchy breath for 4 hours.....The crowd loved the band, they danced and had a nice time. The job was over at 11pm, and I could hardly wait until it was over. I mean, I was counting the minutes....at 5 minutes until 11pm, a man came up and whispered something to the band leader.....
OVERTIME!!! MORE BREATH!!! They paid handsomely for an hour of overtime...like $1000 or something.......1 MORE HOUR! I would've paid $1000 to get out of there..yes it was that bad!
I'll never forget that night, I didn't eat for 2 days....BUT, I didn't complain, mention it, (that's REALLY hard for me to do), or act unprofessional.
Good regular dental care goes along way, my friends. That was the most horrific experience I've ever encountered. Stuck in muck!
I had arrived at the gig about 2 hours before with the drummer. We were setting up in the main room. The wedding guests were outside for the cocktail hour. A bunch of old ladies asked us where the bathroom was and left. They came back out and headed outside, but one of them stopped and sat in a chair at the table right in front of us. She had this strange look and then starts to turn gray.
As she sat there dying from what turned out to be a heart attack, I could see the life leaving her eyes. We pulled the blanket from the kick drum and put it on her. The paramedics arrived but she was already gone. No one at the party knew about this because they were outside.
I was pretty young and this was the first time I saw someone die at a gig. I remember walking over to the bar and downing a 3/4 glass of Jack Daniels in one shot. The gig still went off well, but to this day, I can still see her eyes.
I played a long cruise-ship contract. We had five sea days crossing from Alaska to Japan. Winter was coming; we hit a huge storm out in the middle of the Pacific. I had never seen waves of that size. They were swells at least 50 feet from cap to trough.
Our 70,000 ton ship was tossed about like a rubber ducky in a bathtub. Those ships are the size of a small town so you get the impression that you are experiencing the longest earthquake ever. The cycle of movement of a ship so large is something like a minute. It went on for over 24 hours and lots of people were getting seasick.
I felt a bit queasy that morning when I got up but attributed it to slamming beers in the crew bar the night before. I only realized I was seasick as the day went on. If you've never experienced seasickness, I'll describe it like this: first you think you're going to die. Then you WANT to die.
Of course the people working on the ship were supposed to be immune to all this and act totally blase so as not to upset the passengers. So our trio was expected to play in spite of the fact that it was impossible for anyone to dance and there were only 5 people in a lounge that holds 300. I figured I could grit my teeth and make it through a set.
I was wrong. I got eight bars into the first tune and then I had to toss my cookies right there on the bandstand. Fortunately I had the bag ready. Then I kind of slumped down behind a coffee dispenser they'd moved in off the deck.
Why do I think this is so funny? Because the song we were playing was "Watch What Happens" by Michel LeGrand.
As I was lying there on the floor I seized the opportunity to make those disparaging comments about the band I'd been saving up: 'You call that a groove? You guys make me SICK. How dare you call yourselves professionals!'
It was the early '90s and my band was doing it's best to put on an exciting show with the lowest of budgets.
We were doing a gig at a small bar and even though the place was only legally allowed to hold 60 people, and even though the ceiling was 8 foot high, we decided to set off explosives.
At the beginning of our first song, I was to set off a flash pot by stepping on the on/off switch of a multi outlet power strip.
We hit that first big chord and I flicked the switch with my toe... nothing. "That's not a good sign" I thought.
As my singer starts to sing he knelt down to jiggle the cord then POOF!!
The pot went off, a shower of glittery sparks hit the ceiling, bounced down, and set a guys hair on fire.
The dude had an 8 inch flame coming off the top of his head. Luckily he was a friend of ours, so he didn't make a big deal about it.
Still... it looked pretty cool.