Crazy Gig Stories by and for Working Musicians

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Professionalism Again

Location: 
Sacramento, CA, USA
Type of Gig: 
TV

Two years ago, I was the guitar player in a band along with a drummer, sax player, bass player, and a female vocalist who also insisted on playing keyboards and harmonica, despite all admonitions that she did not have the chops. Because she was the so-called leader and ‘manager’ of the band, she was going to play them regardless of what anyone else thought.

We had already played a few gigs together. They were, shall we say, rough but I felt the band was improving to the point where I thought we could do a live performance at a community cable TV station that had a regularly scheduled live show featuring local bands. There was also the added bonus of obtaining a broadcast quality video that we could use for promo purposes. It would also give this woman an opportunity to really showcase her ‘talent’. Therefore, I contacted the studio and they booked us for a two hour time slot.

When she arrived along with the sax player (who was boinking her at the time), it was obvious that she was half drunk. They emerged from their vehicle with drinks in hand, boozing it up while driving to the gig. Swell. We unloaded and set up our gear just in time for the start of the show. Things went south immediately. She missed her cue to come in on her lead vocals during the first song and gave me the stink-eye as if I was the one to blame. She was singing flat on every song she was the lead vocalist on. Even worse, her boyfriend sax player, whose instrument was out of tune, was stepping on everyone’s vocals, my guitar solos and even her pathetic attempts at playing keyboard which generally consisted of just hammering the same chord couplet over and over again.

In between sets, the ‘host’ of the program was interviewing her. She had a look on her face that was a cross between a ‘deer in the headlights’ look and a scowl. Her answers were terse and dismissive and showed contempt for the small studio audience as well as her fellow band members.

During the second set, we were playing a blues song in G, while she was pathetically playing a harmonica in a completely different key, with obviously embarrassing results along with the out of tune sax honking away. Mercifully, the show was over after a few more songs.

Later that evening out of my presence, she was ranting and raving to her boyfriend and the drummer about how I blew the first song and a litany of other complaints and that she was bragging about ‘firing’ me from the band after we were done with playing two upcoming booked gigs. The drummer tipped me off as to her intentions. I decided to take that pleasure away from her. After considering how embarrassing this gig was and her behavior in general, the next day I sent e-mail to everyone telling them I was quitting the band. So did the drummer.

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