So I’ve been playing Guitar for about 22 years in bands, approximately. And a lot of stuff has happened. And it’s all real, no embellishments. Well, not many, anyway. That photo above has nothing to do with me playing guitar. Like, at all. My son took the photo, so I thought, good enough. I like playing records, too. But that’s for another day.
The first band I played in that was a working covers band, (industry code for shit songs not played well) I was 17, or 3 years under the legal drinking age at the time. I played Bass, as my boss from my day job was of the opinion that any experience was good experience.
A – You get paid.
B – You learn what / not to do.
So the singer thought he was Robert Plant. More like Bryan Johnson with a throat cold, mixed with a dentist drill. Also, he had Elmer-Fuddism, where the letter R was kind of a problem. Usually I let it go, but one night the set list was songs like Wock n Woll by Led Zep, Wun To Pawadise by The Choirboys, Wun To You by Bryan Adams, Wockin’ In The USA by John Mellencamp. For some reason, on this particular night I found my self unable to contain my mirth, and ended up standing sideways on stage with tears coming out my eyes, almost bent in half. Hardly missed a note, though. Hopefully, couldn’t really say. And then I fell off the stage, cos I wasn’t looking. Was only about 2 feet high, no damage done. I told ’em I had food poisoning, and went to the toilet to pretend to throw up. Only I didn’t. Cos I didn’t really have food poisoning. I had ear-rape poisoning. They thought I was smoking mah-ridju-arna.
This other one time I was playing Acoustic Guitar with a friend of mine, who has a lovely Jeff Buckley style voice, when he chooses, and is also a good player. We were playing songs at a pub for cash money, some of which were good, some of which were complete anus. And this 50-60 yr old Man-Bear-Pig/Female came up and started talking to me as I was playing a relatively intricate fingerpicking solo. Did my best to ignore her/it. She/It didn’t take the hint, and started waving her hands between my eyes and the guitar neck. Song finished.
Me – ‘What?’
It – ‘Finally! I was waving my hands so you’d see me and you didn’t see me so I was -‘
Me – ‘What do you want.’
It – ‘Do youse do any Cold Chisel?’
Me – ‘No.’
It – ‘Why not? What do you mean, no?’
Me – ‘I mean, no, by saying no.’
It – ‘But, I wa-‘
Me – ‘Talk to him.’ Age old trick, that one. Talk to the singer. Anyway, some blah-blah-blah went on.
Singer – ‘She wants to know what we call ourselves.’
Me – ‘Sex Panther.’
Singer – ‘Ok. We’re called Sex Panther.’
It – ‘The Sexy Panthers?’
Singer – ‘Sex Panther.’
It- ‘Hey! (calls to similiar fiend in the distance, the too near distance, in my opinion) They’re called The Wild Panthers of Sex, or something!’
Singer – ‘Sex Panther.’
Me – ‘Sex Panther.’
It – ‘So are youse gonna play any Cold Chisel, or what?!’
Me – ‘Or what.’
Me – ‘Exactly.’
She then said something of a sexual nature, however it had nothing to do with any large member of the feline family. Seemed anatomically improbable, and unhygienic at best, but hey, I’m not here to judge her/it’s proclivities. Wouldn’t put that under ‘Interests’ on my e-harmony page, though. Not that I have an e-harmony page. That ad I saw on the TV with this one chick, she was all, ‘I’ve been on so many different dates, and they’ve all been exactly what I wanted.’ So… If they WERE all exact matches, allegedly, how come you have to keep going on different dates, then? Like, if I found a TV that was EXACTLY what I wanted, I’d just buy one. Not every single TV that there was and ever will be. I must be missing something. Herpes, probably.
This one time I was in a really Funky Rock band. Had a residency at a cool Hotel by the beach, consistently had 300 people there on a Thursday night. Kinda like early Lenny Kravitz mixed with BSSM era Chili Peppers. The drummer was awesome, so we used to do a coupla Led Zep inspired riffs in a real funky way, and let him have a coupla minutes for a drum solo. One time we’d been drinking adult beverages before the gig and when we got on stage, myself, singer/percussion, and bass player all realised it was soon time to hang the sheriff. So we did the Zep riff thing, waited for the drum solo to start, and simultaneously took off to the ‘Gentlemans’. We figured the drummer would be fine, seemed energetic enough that night, so we decided to have a smoke break too. (Cigarettes, I mean.) Anyway, we got to talking, and suddenly realised we’d been gone for over 10 minutes. Ooops. So we took off inside, and could hear a floor tom being hit, every 4-5 seconds or so, and this voice, mumbling. Ooops. Kinda quiet in there too. Got on stage, and saw that due to exertion, he’d vomited all over his snare and mounted toms partway through the drum solo. But as we hadn’t come back, he continued, saying ‘Where are ya’s, where are ya’s’. So we let him get a drink of water, while we did a little free form jazz chord thing, with the singer reciting lines from Jim Morrison’s American Prayer. But then we made him come back. He was fine. Smelt a bit horrible up there though.
This other time with the same band, we were booked for a classy joint about 160kms outta town. We’d recently signed with a booking agency on the strength of our reputation, not any form of demo. So the booking agency had no idea what we sounded like / did, basically. We went down in a flatbed truck with a canopy on top. Used to be a school bus, apparently. In 1971, or something. Back in the days when asking ‘Is that safe?’ translated as ‘I enjoy same-sex relations, and many unhygienic acts and sequences’. Anyway, our singer brought a friend with him, who was copiously drunk when he got in the truck. Got to the gig, set up, had a couple of drinks, played. First set was quiter stuff, don’t remember exact songs. 2nd set, got funky. This one chick in a small black dress with an impressive set of twins that didn’t fit into that dress, who for some reason was bra-less that night, started jumping up and down in front of me. Singer/Bass/Drums/Me = mesmerised. Then, whoomp, there they were. Didn’t bother her for about 15 secs or so, which is a long time for titties to be jiggling, exposed to both scrutiny and the elements. Anyway, she put ’em back in, we managed to get back ‘in time’ with each other, as well as the same key, and her boyfriend gave us serious stinkeye. Whatever. While we were doing this, our singers drunk friend had got 6 double bourbon and cokes, said they were for us, and then drank them all. And then vomited. So the bouncers kicked him out. But he wouldn’t leave from out the front. Too busy sitting on the ground vomiting all over himself. And people were leaving. Not because we were bad, but because they were expecting some Acoustic Duo doing whatever shit was popular on the radio, mid 90’s. Hootie, or some shit. And we weren’t that. And people who did come were disgusted by the sight of someone sitting in his own vomit at the front door, even though the bouncers were pouring buckets of pine scented warm water over him every 10 mins or so. Picky. Anyway, halfway through our 3rd set, one of the the bouncer’s told us we had to stop. There was only 5 people there then anyway. Then he escorted the singer to the owners office. So we packed up super-fast, all The Flash On Speed, like. Then the singer came out and said the owner wanted to see me, specifically. Whut?! So I went in and he says ‘I’m not paying you.’ I say ‘Yes you are.’ He say ‘I’m not! The Pub is empty. I’m not paying you.’ I say ‘You entered a contract with the booking agency, you pay, in cash, now.’ He say ‘That friend of yours is vomiting outside! What about that? Huh?’ I say ‘He was intoxicated, your staff shouldn’t have served him. We said for them NOT to serve him before we started. And yes, it’s disgusting. But your staff shouldn’t have served him.’ So he paid us and we left. It was cold.
Halfway back, we were all in need of a toilet stop. Oh yeah, that canopy on the truck was not connected to the cab, so we had no way of contacting the guy driving. Tried yelling, no good. Glass windows all the way around the truck and canopy, none that opened. Nothing other than the single door in the middle, back of the truck..
Luckily, we had some empty bottles, so with a pair of pliers I got all McGyver and constructed a splash guard from a 600ml Coke bottle to go into a 2ltr bottle. All good, as far as that sort of thing goes. Then the drunk friend woke up, and started heaving. After 15 seconds or so of panic, we opened the back door, and held him, while he got all projectile widdit. Thing was, this truck wasn’t real fast, and we were just about at an overtaking lane, so there was a blue Holden right there, and the vomit sorta landed on his windscreen, and he was sorta unhappy about it. At least, that’s what I thought he meant with all that yelling and gesticulating and swerving and yelling. Ooops. So we didn’t play at that joint again. No reason.
One time I filled in with a band for a friend of mine, who said he was going on holiday, and who neglected to mention they were shit. I had one practice with them, and they were shit. Easy gig though, same ol’ same ol’ set list and all that. There was about 8 paid gigs to be had, so on with the show. So at the first gig in a pub, in the last set, they informed me that the singer was going to do a solo performance, with the keys player. So not really solo, but whatever. So I grabbed my beer and sat down at the table where my girlfriend at the time was, who had been smirking at some of the faces I’d pull when someone would trainwreck a song. Aproximately 3 train wrecks per song, give or take. Anyway, this female singer announced she was going to do Wuthering Heights. ‘This should be interesting’ I said to my fair maiden. Meaning, ‘This should be fucking god-awful’. And it sorta was. Like, if you think it would be awesome sounding if someone hit Tiny Tim AND a pissed-off cat with hemorrhoids in the anus with a cattle prod, at roughly the same time, then it was awesome. If you don’t think that that would sound awesome, then saying it was fucking god-awful would just be overly polite. Yeah, so the guy who was the cloth-eared oaf boyfriend of the singer took offence to my reaction, and said that my services wouldn’t be required anymore. Cool. Thanks mate. There is absolutely NO WAY I want to be associated with that, ever again. Ever. Ever ever. Plus 1. I rang my mate and said that his gig was safe when he got back from holiday. He said ‘What holiday? I just didn’t wanna tell them they were shit and I didn’t wanna play with them anymore. Gotcha!’ Cold man, real cold.
If you’d like more, then holla. This may have been an ill-conceived idea, so I’ll stop otherwise.
‘Kay, bye. 🙂