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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Michael K. A Gig From Hell (82* d) RE: A Gig From Hell 02 Nov 99

Love those stories Rick, and I can definitely relate. Here's two more, somewhat similar yet different to yours.

1)My first legitimate paying gig (at the time was doing keyboards and left hand synth bass, when left handed bass was a real novelty) was with a showband (which shall remain nameless) back in the mid 70s. The leader of the band was in-your-face homosexual (not bi, but homosexual -no offence to any gay mudcatters)with a great baritone voice but extremely affeminite in all mannerisms and body language, and one of the sets in the show was a Jolson style minstrel show. It was well arranged and the 6 piece backup band (including yours truly) was tight and well rehearsed.

Our first break-in-the-band-on-a-live-gig was a booking in Buckingham, Quebec at a club aptly named "The Buckingham Palace", ohhhhhh and what a palace it was. (LOL)

It was 3 floors. On the first floor were strippers doing a rather tame strip show. On the 2nd floor (and what a thrill it was lugging a Hammond B-3 with 2 Leslies up those stairs) was the showband -us. And on the 3rd floor were strippers doing a very raunchy show. So we're sandwiched in the middle of this scenario. And best of all the clientele are bikers, and all manner of gays.

You can only imagine to doing a Minstrel show with a flaming gay band leader, for a room full of bikers!!!!

The climax (pun intended) of the show was the closing song ''Mami'', and of course when we got to the part about ''I'm down on my knees Mami'',the leader got down on his knees, and immediately two bikers from the audience rushed the stage with one going behind the band leader simulating anal intercourse, and the other dropping his pants in front of the leader --YES FOLKS THIS REALLY HAPPENED!!!! --all the while the leader keeps singing and the band keeps playing. We lasted one more night there, out of a full week booking, and high tailed back to Toronto. This was my first professional paying gig, and after that experience, I honestly started to think my parents were right about not pursuing a career in music. I can look back on it now and laugh, but at the time I was absolutely horrified and in shock for a few days.

2) The other memorable event that sticks out in my mind (sort of like one of Rick's) was having a customer drop dead on the dance floor in front of the band. This was a few years later and by this time I had my own band (and had learned to avoid Quebec gigs altogher.) I had a nice little 4 piece lounge act, and we were just starting our first dinner set, at a nice lounge/dining room in Toronto. We were two songs into the set, on a Saturday night, with a packed house (3-400 people) and finishing "Girl From Ipenema" when right in front of the stage, I see a couple finish their dance. They thank each other, start to go their separate ways, and the guy takes 3 steps and collapses on the dance floor. It's obvious he's gone. There is no doctor in the house. There is no one in the house that knows CPR.....It takes 15 minutes for an ambulance to show up...all the while, this guy is lying there, and we've obviously stopped playing, so the room is quiet with everybody staring at this poor guy. The room manager comes up to me, and says ''would you mind playing some piano music till the ambulance gets here, so the room isn't so quiet?" I guess she was trying to establish a business-as-usual vibe, but I thought she was insane, and would be better off putting on a tape...but she insisted I play. So, I sit down at the baby grand piano (and being the insensitive bastard I am and seeing the humour in what I'm being asked to do) start doing an instrumental version of "Every Breath You Take", immediately followed by "Amazing Grace". Ambulance arrives, pronounces the guy DOA, room manager is fired two days later, we get rebooked back to this club for an additional 16 weeks in the year. Food and Beverage Manager shared my sense of humour, and he and I got along famously. True story as well.

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