Dirigible Posted July 20, 2008 Share Posted July 20, 2008 Consider this your gilt-edged invitation to share with us any of your first, worst, best, last gig stories, or ideally, ALL four; it need not involve playing Zeppelin music. If you think these memories are important to you now, wait till they’re ten years older, twenty, thirty. If your last gig was Saturday night, how'd it go? We all know what a good gig is. You get paid (and something else that rhymes with that.) A great gig is when your audience is ‘one’ with the music, a candidate for your best gig category. If you smoked the other contestants at the talent show or battle of the bands or blew the roof off a nightclub that had to be one of your best gigs. A worst gig might be playing to an empty house, the notorious ‘paid rehearsal’ or even more ignominious, the unpaid one. I haven't had any vegetables tossed my way (yet) and hope you haven't either. A disgruntled French audience once threw pennies at Coltrane's band. Drummer Elvin Jones had the grace to say: "We can always use the money." My worst gig ever was a job farmed out by another drummer who lied about the music. He'd said it was ZZ Top-type rhythm and blues but actually it was Wille and Waylon-like country and western. I didn’t know how to play country drums then, only rock, and would NEVER have touched that gig if I'd known. The band, a guitarist and bassist, gave me dirty looks the whole time. And they were lousy. But I'll accept my fair share of the blame, my inexpertise with train beats and country swing didn't help matters. It's no wonder we played the first set to an empty club. The only patrons the whole night showed up during the second set, friends of mine who came to support me. The uber-bassist sat down at my drums before the third set and was tapping around. When I got on the stage he handed me my sticks and said, “I don’t know how to play them either.” He’d made another snide remark to me earlier. Inexperienced as I was I knew I didn’t have to put up with nonsense like that. I stepped off the stage and over to the two tables my friends occupied. I asked them if they’d each grab a piece of drum gear and haul it outside. They downed their drinks and we approached the stage en masse. My pit crew knew their assignment and 15 seconds later we were outta there. I didn’t get paid (but thoroughly enjoyed the bass player begging me to finish the night or he wouldn’t get paid either). This goes without saying to you pros out there, but you beginners: don't take any abuse from anyone, I don't care if it's Jimmy Page or Paul McCartney. If you encounter a situation where other musicians are insulting you, leave. Leave right that minute. That might not be possible if you’re playing a show and it’s the audience who is acting out, but take your first available exit. Take your talent and dignity where it’s appreciated. Best gig: an audience member handed me $20 to play a request and then paid the band's bar tab: $140. I wish everyone well. Who’s next? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PS: The music industry is the only business that eats its young---F. Zappa PPS: There are plenty of jerks out there with talent---N. Peart Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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