I love funny stories about gigs gone wrong. Here are two “gig from hell” stories of my own.
- I had just gotten out of grad school at the Peabody Conservatory and I was trying to figure out how to make a living as a classical guitarist. A friend of mine got me a gig at a retirement home near where I lived, and I jumped at the chance to play. The home did a nice job of setting up their common room as a temporary auditorium. While I was warming up I noticed that there were certain people walking in and some who had to be wheeled in on their hospital beds. I didn’t really think much of it until I was in the middle of performing the first piece of my program, which was Bach’s Third Lute Suite, BWV 995, during which somebody in the back of the room yelled “I WANT TO DIE!” And so it was for the rest of the gig, that every few minutes the same poor, suffering person would yell out “I WANT TO DIE!” Now that person was having a far worse day than I was, but let me tell you how uncomfortable it is to have someone yelling that out while listening to you play. As self-deprecating as I am about my playing, I never thought it was THAT bad.
- My band recently played a show at a local bar. My rig consists of a Line 6 POD HD500 running into a QSC K8 personal monitor for stage volume and then directly into the mixing board. I’ve played a bunch of shows with this setup and everything always sounds great. On this particular night, though, a few songs into our first set, I started getting awful, ear-splitting feedback. The sound guy even walked up to the front of the stage during one of our songs and pointed at my monitor as if to say “is that horrible sound coming from you?” Yes, it was coming from me. During our break between sets, the sound guy and I tried to figure out what was wrong. No luck. The second set was just as bad as the first. By the middle of the second set, the portion of the dance floor in front of my side of the stage was completely empty because no one could stand to be anywhere near my monitor. I was sure that the sound guy had screwed something up. The next day I went to band rehearsal and guess what, more feedback. I looked at my guitar and noticed that the coil tap switch for my bridge pickup had somehow gotten flipped to the single coil setting. What an idiot. I played almost an entire show with a high gain patch dialed in for a bridge humbucker, and then inadvertently flipped the coil tap switch. All that howling feedback was no one’s fault buy my own.