I was with my bandmates passing through Santa Barbara CA. headed to Orange County where we had a gig the next day. While walking around browsing stores and what not and enjoying the nice day we found ourselves in this huge store that had a little bit of everything including a lot of used items. I ran across an odd sized guitar case that was leaned up against the wall so I opened it to see what it contained. Turned out to be one of those latin style instruments with the courses of 3 strings together, can't think of the name at the moment, but I had never seen one in person and was kinda thrilled and excited to mess with it.
I was plinkin' away and about that time this kinda dumpy old Hispanic man came up and tried to take it from me. He couldn't speak English and though not getting especially angry or too physical he was obviously trying to get it from me. I'm like "Hey gramps, I saw it first". But he wouldn't let up. I finally gave him a pantomime of "Dude, back off". With that he walked away and I look at my buddies like what was that all about. A few minutes later the guy comes back with a younger man that could speak English. Turned out the old man was a street musician and that was his personal guitar. He was friends with the store owner and he would set it in that particular spot when ever he took a break.
I was so embarrassed. I told the young guy to explain what happened and that I was very sorry. He was actually pretty cool about it smiled and shook my hand.
But I got ribbed about that the whole weekend. My bandmates were all "You big bully stealing an old man's guitar".
I was in college, playing with a band and performing as a solo acoustic songwriter. I met "Bob" at an open mic. Bob was quite a bit older than me, in his 60s I'd guess, and he was full of stories. He'd produced a country legend...was friends with famous americana artists, blah blah. Me, being a big greenhorn, I wanted to believe him. We started playing music together, with me backing him up on lead during some sets he'd play around town.
All names are faked.
It sounds insane, but the guy did have a lot of charm and sang/played well. However, my experiences with him got weirder. He was staying with this person, then that person...he was staying at a church...it was odd.
He starts telling me that he's planning to go on a college tour, where he "makes all his money." He just needs to get in touch with "Violet," his booking agent, to get the tour booked. And hey, would I like to go on the road, open the shows and back him up?
Sure, I said.
All we needed to do was meet Violet and have me audition for her. So I booked a gig at a crappy little bar in Portland.
Oh, and Violet would love a present from us, Bob, told me. A little bit of that sticky green stuff in a little jewel box, what a great idea.
I paid for it.
We packed up the guitars and drove to Portland for the big audition gig. I played. No one named Violet showed up. I saw Bob pacing in the back, making a call on my cell phone (he had none, of course), looking concerned. I checked the number later, it was to no one in particular.
On my way back home from the show, my cell phone rang. "Hey," the voice said. "Are you with the guy who calls himself Bob?"
"He's a con artist. An ex con who tried to kill his landlord."
Point taken. I dropped Bob off hat his squat and never hung out with the guy again.
Moral of the story. If it sounds too good to be true, it is.
What I think is hilarious now, is that it seems Bob was going to all the trouble of stringing me along for weeks on end so I would buy him a little bit of the green stuff. I can't see any other reason, beyond delusional insanity.
So I recently had my end of the month gig at the nice restaurant with my absolute favorite band to play with. It's the high point of my month.
A hot shot college saxophone player asked if he could sit in via Facebook the previous day. We see no problem with the situation, so we tell him to come on down and play. He shows up one minute before downbeat and sets up his horn. The trumpet player tells him we'll bring him up second set for a few tunes. Things started going sour when he gets on the band tab. During the first set, we can see him writing down a set list on the back of his Real Book. We're all scratching our heads in the band.
After our dinner break, we let him come up. The plan was to have him play a couple tunes. We keep making the attempt to announce our guest in a "You're finished, get off the stage" manner, but he keeps chugging along. Everyone in the band is beginning to get uptight, but we muscle through. He finishes the set with us.
The third set begins and he comes back up and grabs his horn. The trumpet player steps up and says he has one more song. We finally get him off the stage. In the middle of our set, he puts his hand in the tip jar and says, "I'm gonna take my cab fare out". Everyone in our group exchanges looks. The drummer stands up and says "No". Immediately after, he packed up his horn and left in a huff.
Apparently he thought asking if he could sit in with us via facebook was the same as him asking if he could be on the gig and take a cut of the money.
Miscommunication at its finest.
Our band played a show in northern Wisconsin and we indulged heavily in the libations. After the show we packed up and went to the hotel to crash. The next morning I went to the van and trailer to find that we had been robbed!! The thief had apparently opened the trailer. Both of my basses were gone (one of them is a $4000, hand made bass from Chicago), the keyboard rack, the cymbals and kick drum were all gone too.
That day we filed a police report and visited every pawn show and music store in the area to make them aware of the crime that took place. We finally had to move on and go to the next town to play another show. The phone rang about an hour before the gig. We got our gear. On the the phone was the police department. And they pieced the night together for us.
We didn't lock the trailer! When we hit the freeway with the trailer door wide open gear just fell out. Someone was nice enough to grab what they found and turned it into the police. The other half of the gear ended up back at the venue. The next day we spent about 7 hours in the van retrieving our gear.
The hotel was in a different town then the venue and we called the police department in the town of the hotel. The police department near the venue found the gear. Because we never told the police we filed the report with that the gear is back the case is still open. About once a year I get a letter telling me my case is still unsolved. Keep up the good work guys!
I'm playing with a blues band at a local bar, walking distance from my house. At the end of the gig, I start packing up some gear and when I return to the stage I discover that my chromatic harmonica has been stolen. I spend the next 30 minutes looking for it before giving up and walking home.
Later that night, I'm sitting on my front porch, about a half-mile away. I hear someone walking down the street in front of my house, playing a chromatic harmonica. Poorly.
I decide to follow the sound, and discover it's a group of 4 college-aged guys. Keep in mind that I'm alone, unarmed, and not particularly well schooled in less polite types of discourse.
"Excuse me guys," I said, "but were you at ****** tonight?"
"Yeah, we were. It was awesome!"
"Great! I'm glad you had fun. I was playing with the band, and I can't seem to find... my harmonica. Could any of you guys help me out with this?"
At this point, one of the guys produces my chromatic harmonica from his pants pocket and nervously says "Oh yeah, I.. uh.. found this on the ground outside. Do you want it?"
"Absolutely. Thank you guys very much, and have a wonderful evening," I said, and walked away, harmonica in my pocket.
I probably could have caused a scene, and I may have exacted some revenge, but I had my instrument back in my pocket and it was a polite situation, so I decided to leave it as such. If only it were always that easy to recover stolen gear.. and have it inadvertently delivered back to your house.