Good People, Cool Things
Good People, Cool Things

Episode 39 · 2 years ago

39: A Spooktacular Episode! Musicians Share Their Worst and Craziest Shows

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In honor of Halloween, we're having a spooktacular episode filled with scary stories! Hear from musicians as they reminisce on their worst and most outrageous gigs.

Welcome the good people, cool things, the podcast featuring conversations with entrepreneurs, writers, musicians and other creatives. I'm your host, Jo. We held and today's episode is a little bit different. As you may know, Halloween right around the corner and it'll probably look different this year. Not Going to be a lot of Halloween decorum going on, trick or treating, candy giveaways, which I guess is probably the same thing as trick or treating. But even while you're out and about, there's not going to be candy where you can just grab stuff as well. You'll be getting in and out if you're going to the grocery store or voting. If you haven't done that, please go out and vote. All that good stuff. And while you're embracing the spectacular, the scariness of this holiday, why not listen to some of my favorite moments from the show, because a question I love asking musicians is what their worst gig is, and I think these horror stories, even though they're terrifying in the moment, always have a great lesson that come out of them and they are always such entertaining stories. And so I'm sharing five conversations with musicians where we're just talking about their worst gigs. It's super quick, it's super simple, but it's super enjoyable all at the same time. If you'd like to get in touch with good people cool things, you can do so in a couple different ways. Feel free to reach out via twitter or facebook at GPC t podcast. Also on Instagram at GPCTI podcast. Apparently I'm so spooked out I forgot to mention the INSTAGRAM, but it's the same thing, gpct podcast on all of them. Also always appreciate an email joey at good people cool thingscom and if you want to wear something extra comfortable, well, you're in your spooky mode. I don't really have a lot of spooky merch but the merch is super comfortable at the good people cool things shop and you can visit that good people cool thingscom shop. Simple right. Not Trying to reinvent the wheel here, just trying to support the show. So all of your sport is appreciated, but without further ado. Let's hop into these conversations. We're going to start off with Guitarist Lance Ruby, who has two worst gigs. Couldn't even pick one because both of these are equally bad in their own ways. And I can't wait. Let's do it. Oh Man, there are so many. Everyone is worse than the last. Yeah, I mean, okay, shoot, I'll give you two because I'm got pretty bad. So I when when I was really just starting out, like I was getting my Undergrad degree in music in Utah and I got a email out of the blue that said, hey, I I am booking music at the Sushi restaurant near you. We Want Live Jazz, and I was studying jazz at the time, so I was like cool, and I remember I go there, I set up. It was like me in a another. It was like a duo gig. So it's just two of us and we play the...

...first song and the manager comes up to us and he does not speak English, but I can tell he's disappointed in we're doing. And then, you know, I don't know what he wants differently. So we play the next song and then the manager comes back with a young girl and she's now translating for him that they want happy jazz and we are playing sad jazz, and I just remember like well, we played like an hour's worth of like you know jazz songs and major keys, and then we still had like an hour and a half left a go of the GIG and I was like every all the other tunes I know are in minor key. Did we just gotta suck it up. They're not going to be happy. So that was bad. Anytime like somebody hires you, especially for an events, and they don't like the music you're playing, that is a rough gig. Yeah, especially if they did not tell you, like if that guy had said we want happy jazz, which you know, what does that even mean? But if they had said we want happy jazz, then I could have like put together set list of happy jazz or whatever. But the some of the worst gigging experiences is like I got hired for a thing and they want something way different, and then the the other. I mean when I first started touring, I remember what my friends and I from who were in this band. We call this the tour from Hell, because everything that could go wrong did so. Like we go to the first GIG, right we're it was a Colorado based band and our first gig was in South Dakota and we go to South Dakota and that night, halfway through our set, the stage collapses on us. Oh No, like they had like a Rinky Dick like aluminum, like piece together stage and it fell and then we were just like, okay, we're going to let the place fix the stage for us and then we'll play the rest of the set. And they decided to fix it with like milk cartons. They just got like a bunch of milk cartons and stack them on top of each other and those were the support system for the stage. Seem safe him, it's taught. Yeah, totally safe. So then that happened. And then on the way to the next Gig, our van broke down. Specifically, we lost the break pump, so the brakes did not work. So that's horrifying. And then we ended up renting a ANSUV because there was no way our band was going to be fixed in time, and we got to the next Gig like an hour late because of the rental process. Also,...

...we didn't realize that the time changed from South Dakota to the other side of South Dakota, and it's one of those states. Yeah, we did not realize that. So we were we were late to the GIG and we ended up playing and it was great because it really felt like we had overcome quite a bit to get to that Gig. So that gig felt awesome. But yeah, just everything that could go wrong on that little run did, but hopefully you came out stronger on the other side. Yeah, yeah, definitely. I I started a touring way differently. I realized if you show up to the band leader's house and he starts telling you about like the great deal he got on the van, it's probably not going to go great. Oh. One other hidden feature of that story is that he didn't have enough chairs in the van for all of us to sit down and so he was like, Oh, I have the chairs out back, let me go grab them. And he grabbed chairs and they were chairs from a different vehicle, so they didn't like lock into play. Oh, so he just like got like I forgot I ever got all the things we did, but I remember like tying them down. There was a rock involved to try like hold the seat down, but like every time you moved that the chair would basically fall over. So that was that was a fun time. Yeah, that seems real secure. Yeah, that was a great situation. I can tell you that since then, like the touring situation is got just better and better each time. But yeah, those first couple runs with like random different groups was pretty scary wonderful. Next up is singer Songwriter Maggie gently, who shares the story about one of her first shows with her band, the total betties, and who learned a lesson about the people that you should be keeping. This is kind of an embarrassing one. One of the first shows I ever played with the total betties was we like wanted to travel a little bit outside San Francisco so that no one we knew could come to the show because if we were like we were just kind of like testing the waters, testing out our material, and we didn't want anyone to that we knew to hear us until we were like confident that we could actually do it. So this might have been like our first ever show and it was a weird, weird like night. The bands were all over the place, all different genre was there was like a rapper, there was like a hair metal band and then there was us in the band. Who brought us out and I think we did okay. There were a lot of hiccups. Someone in the band was super late and we didn't and he didn't play half the show with us, which was...

...awkward. But the worst part was the one of the bands that was playing their songs were just so misogynistic and so insulting, and I was sitting there and looking at my friends like why are we here, like what are we doing associating with these people? And then at the end of the night we were like, you know, saying thank you and shaking hands and making small talk, and I was sitting there like how can you, like, I don't know, how can you play a show with with a band with women? Like, how can you? It just felt so ICKY and so wrong. Sorry, this isn't a funny story, but it's like it. It really was an early lesson for me about, like the company that I keep and the community that I'm a part of, the music community in the bay area especially, I think. I don't really know about other places, but in the bay area it's so diverse and there's so much great music, so many women and Queer people and people of Color Making amazing music and uplifting marginalized voices. You don't have to waste your time, you know, playing with bands or or at venues or with, you know, promoters or engineers that are misogynists or who are like you know, who don't care about uplifting other people's voices. So, you know, I learned that less in the hard way by just sitting there like squirming in my see so uncomfortable. The band they had one of their songs. The chorus was just tiks. We loved hits, and I was sitting there like, Oh wow, no, it's a very deep lyrics is what you're saying? Yeah, exactly. Yeah, they really dove deep in their wells of creativity for that one. Well, I'm glad you learned that lesson early on, because I think it is an important one of of who you're associating with and also just like general life lesson, I think too, is you want to surround yourself with people that are good people. Hence the name of this show. Yeah, but especially just like, I mean not everyone has to think exactly the same as you, but, like, if they're just kind of generally terrible people, it's probably probably best to not not hang around them. I mean, if this pandemic hasn't taught you to keep your friends close, and I close I mean six feet away, and people that don't drive with your values just completely out of your life, I think that's a pretty good story. That to drive that point home. Next up is CEO Chino Marley, the King of drip, who learned that, hey, there's one thing you should probably always do before you play a live show, and he learned that less in the hard way. But he's got some great advice for any musicians and really anyone that as any kind of performances. Let's take a lesson the worst way, I have to say, like this no spot that I had did a Birmingham and it was like, you know, the guy called me out there and book men and he supposed to being paying me like four hundred dollars. That's where we had agreed up all and when I got out there it was like dead,...

...like when nothing organized, when that to going the right way, people at the clue was tripping and then and he was shout on my money. You know, some stuff that had happened in the cool got dangerous and I'm like how never do this. I was in my I was in my own sit I was in Birmingham, Alabama. You know, I was in my own city. Know, and that's as sad man. You know I love my city, but you know, I you know this, this becomes somebody. Man, I got to stay away from my sitting. That does not sound enjoy. It's always it's always rough when you get there and they're like not expecting it or like not said. Yeah, you like, you like. So you don't know I was coming to do this. Yeah, right, no, we know. You need to get in touch with you, need to talk to you, like. No, man, I can't know that. It read though. No, I would never do it again. That's why all artists make sure you have a performance country so these folks could know exactly what you require, what they required to hey, help for you to come today. Clue, like, make sure that's real. Being make sure you have performance country, and if they don't have it, you can take them to court, because you don't want to be out here doing all, listen, putting out his energy and work and spending your money and then go to the clue to find out you've been swarm. So you know, good to put that. Don't put it on paper. Ere At times, I'm bat try to come get you. Do So, tell them put their own paper and Eatmil it to you. That way you already know. Hey, this is what's supposed to happen, this is what put they supposed to give me and if they don't stick to it, okay, you'll see my lawyer. Let's get advice for really anything, like artists, musicians, wider is anyone out there. Make sure you get it in writing. It's really you guys to get it here right, because it is bad out here dealing with these clubs. It's you don't if you ain't got a huge night like Brynus Primus. They really try and they be trying to pull one over. Country Musician Susie Ragsdale has been at it for a while. However, when she first got started she had a Gig that was going so poorly she just stopped right in the middle of the song. So let's hear how that went down and how she recovered. There was a time back in the s when me and Verlin thompsonwhere duo and and I hadn't performed very often on a big stage, and to me twelve and porter and Nashville was a big stage. They had these paper machine angels hanging on either side of the big stage and and my heroes had always played there, like pep McLoughlin and David Olney and telling high and, you know, great writers, and I'm like, well, this stage, my God, and I had just written this song. Pay...

Attention. Was the song and I wrote it on the piano and I knew how to play it, but I was so nervous at being at twelve and porter playing it that I totally fumbled the chord progression with my hands and instead of, as I do now, carrying on and just covering up to where no one can tell, I went and I quit it. I quit and the whole crowd was like, oh no, and my husband, Verlin, was like, oh Susie, just start over. So I was like, okay, I'm going to start this song over, and so I played it from it's only a two minute song anyway, but I started it over and succeeded and I got like a standing ovation. So, but still, that was the worst, the worst love, so I rows. But now sure you can just like feel the tension within the crowd too, but I'm glad you persevered. That's a good, good tale of getting over the home. The thing that every performer needs to remember is probably ninety five percent of the audience is on your side. You know, they love you. They're there for you to do good, to entertain them, and they want you to be well and do well and they're going to forgive you and they're going to love you for your mistakes, and the other five percent should just go home. You know, I mean people. People are usually good and loving and kind and supportive, and so if you know that, your stage provct needs to go away a little bit, because everybody's on your side and I think you can always try and play it off, at least a little bit off, if you do mess up, like maybe you play a couple wrong notes or hit the wrong quart or something, but just kind of play it off. It's like, Hey, you know what, I'm experimenting a Little Bit, like I this is not this the typical sound that you'd get from the album. This is a live show, so I'm going to mix it up a little bit and I played off viously, and that works so well when you've got some experience. But that day back thirty years ago, I was like no mest at my entire line. And finally, this one's not so much a bad gig as it was a crazy GIG and with a few fun little surprises and mementos thrown in along the way. Professional Whistler and musician Sam Knowlton shares his experience at the World Whistler's convention in Tokyo, which he participated and not once but twice, and let's hear about his experiences there. You have to apply and you send in a classical song and a contemporary song,...

...so like a jazz er, pop song, whatever, and then you either get accepted or not, and you probably get accepted. There's not tons and tons and tons of people applying for this, so odds are good that you'll get in. But then when you go, you have to do a classical piece followed immediately by a contemporary piece, about four minutes each, and then, if you are good enough, you go to the finals the next day and you have to do another classical piece and contemporary piece. So you got four songs that you're taken to Tokyo. And the first time I went I made the finals. There were seven of us and it took a couple months to translate all the all the scores, and so the top three people got trophies and I didn't get a trophy. So I'm like, okay, well, I'm either four, five, six or seven, and when the score sheets came back I was eight. Somehow, somehow, I was so offensive in the final. They went now move somebody else up. That was horrible, which I'm sure isn't true, but it is probably a translation thing, but I think it's I just think it's funny that I never I don't care to know what I probably seventh so actually do in the final that I don't know. Some our rageous ran out of the audience and punch the judges. Probably shouldn't have done that. I would have scored that a bronze, at least I would. I didn't think it was my best work of all time, but it certainly wasn't worth a down Grad so somebody else that didn't do two extra songs. I somehow got negative points. Maybe. I mean, that's it. That's impressive in its own right. So yeah, I'm just aming. I got seventh place. The one thing that was cool about it, though, was right before I went on stage, the person that went before me. We're off in the wings, so nobody sees us. You just just the the stage manager back there and he did his set, I guess you would call it, and he came back and he was standing in the legs where nobody like I was the only person that could see him. He turned around to the stage and bowed in reverence to the stage, because the most Japanese thing I've ever seen and I just thought it was so cool. There's like to just give respect to the space that you just performed in, like thank you for giving me this opportunity to perform. Piles of wood that collectively make a stage just a weird, weird competition, but in enticing enough to go back in two thousand and eighteen right. Yeah, yeah,...

I mean the first time I went I just applied kind of as a joke because you have to pay to go. It's not like they send you over there and not find that's a long ways away. And so I posted about it on facebook like Hey, I got accepted to this thing. I'm not going, but isn't that cool? And someone else was like, okay, I look this up and it's eight blocks from my apartment. I have a spare room if you want to go. Like okay, well, that takes that, you know, just just a flight now. So I went, but yeah, it was so I mean Tokyo is just such an incredible city that had to go back and it was. It's just amazing. That place is incredible. Did you boost your your performance. That's now. I went no, no, no, no, I I did quite the office. Did Not try nearly as hard. I didn't. I didn't make the finals this time. But yeah, the this isn't my entire life. For some people this is everything and they're devastated if they don't make the finals or if they don't win, or whatever it is, and for me it's just a fun adventure. I just enjoy and adventure and news music as a means to an end. Well, I hope that Spook tacular was as enjoyable for you as was for me. I know I had a great time chatting with these musicians and great to know that they're all doing significantly better than they were in those worst moments. there. And a great reminder for you too that, hey, even when life seems like it's got you down, when you're at a bottom point, things are always going to look up. You'll look back on that and feel better for having experienced it. You've coming out stronger, you've got a good story to tell, and that is always the key with all of that. And Hey, this may be a spooktacular episode, that doesn't mean we're going without a joke. Here. Of course we've got one, and of course it's Halloween themed. Why don't mummies have friends? Because they're just two wrapped up in themselves. Get after it today, people, and happy Halloween.

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