I was playing bass in a new 5-piece jazz band with sax, woodwinds, drums, and a very talented piano player of Iranian descent. This was the first job we played after several months of rehearsal. We had a good set of late 50s to mid 1960's jazz standards.
The club had no piano, so the piano player brought a nice Kurzweil piano, speaker and amp. We did a quick sound check and were ready to play.
Although the sound check was cool, for the first note of the first song, the piano sounded very fuzzy and distorted. The sound was breaking up, it would spit, and cut out. So, we stopped the song to investigate. We thought we fixed it, started up the song again, and again, the piano started clipping and fuzzing out.
At that time, the somewhat drunk German wife of one of the friends of the band yelled out in a thick accent: "Aw, keep on playing. You don't need the piano anyway." At that time, the piano player began to freak out. He started throwing things, cursing everyone around him, and was saying things like "I'll kill you all. You're all just worthless a**holes", and other "nice things". He was inconsolable. The woodwind player was a medical doctor, had a even temperament, and after about 1/2 hour, was finally making some headway in calming him down.
I was pretty good with electronics, PA setup, etc. So while the doctor distracted him, I walked over to his amp and noticed the speaker cord was a little frayed and that a single hair-thin strand of wire from the + terminal was arcing over to the - terminal. I cut the strand, and piano is now working perfectly.
I explained to the hot-head that the issue was HIS frayed speaker cable. He basically said "nevermind" and sat down and played the rest of the set.
By now, the crowd had backed up about 20 feet from the band.
The piano player came up to me at the break and said "now you know why there is so much conflict in the Middle East".
I never played with him again.
Back in the early 1980's, I had gotten a call to play bass at a party. The leader was a famous guitar player's not too famous (or talented) but plenty crazy brother. It was just a guitar bass and drums gig.
I get set up in this tiny room on the second floor of a now defunct place. The drummer shows up with his kit, just a snare. That's it. The leader, "Bob", arrives with his stuff and also a guitar synth that he just bought, and had no idea how to use. Mind you this is '80's technology.
Well, the party had a lot of old people there and here is Bobby with his Marshall stack (yes 2 cabs) 6 feet from the tables. One song I clearly remember us destroying was a ballad called "Feelings". Here we are playing it pretty OK then "Bob" looks down at the synth, I see him go for the pedal and the most ungodly howl or buzz or whatever comes out from the speakers at 100 watts, unmercifully frying the oldsters seated at ground zero. This went on for every song. I would see him look down, raise his foot ominously, stomp, then unleash sonic bedlam! You could not predict or imagine what unmusical sound he was going to make next and at full volume. And, to make matters even more bizarre, he would just keep playing while the awful noise spewed from the amp. Idiots really are blissful.
Anyway, I never got to play with him again.
Be careful. He may still be lurking somewhere with that synth... ready to strike again.
In the mid 80s the band was performing at a local bar that had just opened a new 60 thousand dollar section. They had a new stage, lighting, huge sound system and a dance floor that resembled the lit up dance floor in the movie Saturday Night Fever.
First song, New Year's Eve, and a packed bar. I signal to the bass player to turn on the new fog machine. He stomps on it and after a bit, he realizes he can't shut it off. We continue through the whole song, and I'm laughing so hard, I can't finish the last lyrics. Now the place is so filled with 'stage fog' that you can't see an inch in front of us. After five minutes he finally realizes the switch is not working - so he unplugs the power to it.
We eventually make it outside, and the building looks like it's on fire with all the smoke coming out. When the smoke clears, the bar is empty and we get a few stragglers come in to the bar to bring in the new year with a foot of fog still floating on the floor. It would have been perfect for a music video.
The moral of the story: Hire a bass player who knows how to turn on and off a fog machine! And by gosh! Video the funny moment and put it on the internet!
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......
About six or so years ago, three of us - bass, lead, and rhythm, had a nice little afternoon gig at the local library playing old tunes for mostly older folks, which is to whom our music appeals.
Since the other guys couldn't sing harmony, they didn't have mikes. I had just gotten a vocal harmonizer and told the crowd about it, saying something to the effect of, "See how this works" and singing a few words without it, then with it.
The gig went well and the both we and the crowd enjoyed it. After it was over and we were packing up, a little old lady came over and complimented the other guys on singing such good harmony.
She had been there the whole time, but I guess she couldn't grasp the concept.
The date? 1976. The place? A strip mall bar in a decent neighborhood that somehow transcended the ambiance of the 'hood to draw a crowd that made bikers look downright preppy.
We were well into the night when a fight broke out between a couple of chuckleheads. Number one chucklehead threw a full glass of beer at number two, who ducked, and the contents made a direct hit to the front of my Moog synthesizer. Since all the inputs are on that side, the offending beverage quickly achieved entry.
The instrument became instantly tipsy, playing all sorts of noises it had been unable to previously produce, without any direction from myself. My bandmates tell me, although I don't remember this part, that I then flew off the stage to take chucklehead number one in a throat grip and announced his imminent departure from the planet.
Amazingly, the next day, after the synth slept it off, and was dried and cleaned, it returned to its normal, responsive self.
The moral? Even a stodgy Moog synthesizer needs a good drink now and again.
We were booked to open for a famous national country act. When we were set up, I took my guitar into the green room to warm up. We went back out to a full house - we were very popular locally and had hundreds of fans, in addition to the thousands in the seats at the venue.
The first number was a song that the guitar has to start. Guess what? I forgot to plug the guitar in - no sound. The bass player is jumping up and down - "plug in the guitar!, plug in the guitar!!!"
I just laughed, along with the other 3,000 people in attendance. Whaddya gonna do?
We had hired a new guitar player a month before this gig and he was having trouble with his input jack. He never bothered to get it fixed so on the night of the gig he plugs in and he has nothing. He's fiddling with the input jack for 30 minutes but still nothing. He gets pissed off and slams his guitar to the floor breaking his headstock. Then he looks at the lead singer who also plays guitar and asks to play his guitar. The singer told him to just 'Milli Vanilli' it, and that's how he did the gig.
The best part was when we discovered that his amp had blown a fuse. There was nothing wrong with the guitar. Needless to say, he didn't get called back.
We were playing in a cool looking old bar that was originally built in the 1800's. It obviously had to have been rewired many times. We have power conditioners in the racks, and everything seemed normal... until I (lead singer) stepped a little too close to the mic and felt 110 current jolt through my arm from my bass through my lips.
I was momentarily stunned and had no idea how much time I had missed when I snapped out of it. The guys laughed because they saw me jerk a little and heard the 'pop' sound in the PA. They said I only missed a beat or two. Lucky I didn't pee my pants...
The really stupid part was we continued to play and I did the same thing two more times without learning my lesson. Old habits die hard. I have used a foam wind screen on my mic ever since. I also had my all original Silvertone 1484 bass amp rewired with a 3 prong plug. Boy was I stupid.
I was playing in a rock show band at a club that had been sold to a new owner just before we played there. The previous management had run the club as a country-western bar for a long time and sold it to a man who had never owned a bar before and was a rock enthusiast. The guy had great plans for the place and closed for a week to paint and mildly renovate, and hired us to do the grand re-opening. But because he spent most of his budget on paint and us, he had nothing left for advertisement.
Opening night during the set-up, the sound man who also set up our flash pots and smoke machine was so worried about the large group of obviously country customers showing up that he got confused while loading the flash pots and put a small amount of sparkle powder and a large portion of black powder, instead of the other way around.
I ran the lights from stage with foot switches and we started the show with "Any way you want it" by Journey. All the lights were off and as we began the tune with 5-part harmony I hit the switch for pin spots on our faces. After the a cappella intro I kicked the two buttons that turned on the rest of the stage lights and lit up the flash pots, just as the music started. The boom from the black powder was deafening and the multiple blasts blew about 20 ceiling tiles down and smoke filled the room and emptied ALL of the customers and staff.
Fortunately nothing caught fire, but the other guitarist had most of the hair removed from one arm. In spite of us being an excellent band, everybody hated us except the club owner, who booked us back later ...after he advertised and got a rock crowd. We went over much better the second time!