The following stories are all of true events, but I have not included the names of the places and people involved or the dates on which they occurred as to not offend anyone.
The purpose of these stories is to give you an idea of what it is sometimes like to work as a musician and to share some of my most memorable experiences with you, and not to tattle on people!
I love playing music and I hope I will be able to carry on for a long time to come. Enjoy, and if you are ever a part of my audience please be kind!
A night of disaster
This happened at a nice bar/restaurant. The place was packed with people having Christmas dinner in town. I had just played my first set and I was standing by the bar talking with some people during my break. Since the restaurant was a narrow, long room, there wasn’t much space between my equipment and the bar.
As people kept coming into the bar, the area got dangerously crowded. The waitress came to ask me if I wanted her to tell people to keep a distance from my equipment. I said to her that it wouldn’t help because there was no space for them to move back anyway. I didn’t manage to finish my sentence when I saw one of my speakers falling down, followed by a loud noise. I rushed up there through the crowd and I found myself in front of what I can describe as “the worst nightmare of a musician”!!! My speaker, on the way down, hit my rack-case, which in turn fell down, too. When my speaker eventually hit the floor, it managed to hit my electric guitar, too. All the strings broke. I froze! I looked back at the person that had pushed the speaker stand. He was still down on the floor tangled with the speaker stand. Other people helped him to stand up.
I had a talk with the waitress and she asked me when I thought I would be ready to start again. In my fury I answered her: “I don’t know, can you see the situation here? I may not be able to start at all!!!”. I began putting things together with the hope that the damage was not as terrible as it looked. In my frustration, people kept asking me when I was going to start again. I was not in the mood to play again at all! And the worst was that none of the people realised what had happened.
Finally I managed to start playing again with what I had left. The whole affair had to be reported to my insurance, which thankfully took care of it. But still, I lived through the horror of that night and the painful process of the weeks to come trying to repair my gear or buy new gear where it was needed.
A night of fear!
I found myself in a little bar, almost the size of our sitting room! The place was packed with drunk people dancing and pushing each other dangerously. I was holding my breath. At this bar, I was playing the whole night with the constant fear of a disaster! Slowly, slowly I made it through the night with the “only” incident of my speaker falling down towards me. I managed to stretch out my arm and stop it.
I stopped singing and stood there holding the speaker and kept shouting out for the bar owner to come for help. During the process nobody realised anything until I got the help that I needed and so I carried on playing. Reaching the end of the night I announced with relief that I was going to play the last song for the night, after I had played the extra final numbers. As usual, I did “Wonderful tonight” (I thought of changing the words that night to the more appropriate “Terrible tonight”) as the last song.
As I came to the end of the song I started getting the relief of soon having to pack my gear and get out from there in one piece.
But no! Just seconds before I hit the last note, a guy fell from his stool while sitting at the bar and hit my gear. Leaving the last note behind, I turned to grab my mixer and my sequencer just in time before they flew away. I packed up my gear quickly, got paid, and drove off relieved. Pouf!!! Another night had gone!
This happened a long time ago in the early stages of my life as a musician. If I hadn’t been a freshman in the performing business, this little funny misunderstanding could have been avoided. I was playing music at a restaurant in a touristic area. The place was full of Scandinavian tourists.
As they finished their meals, the dancing took off. While I had some people on the dance floor, an old nice lady came to me while she was dancing and said: “Can you play something stupid?”. I looked at her and carried on playing, wondering if I heard her right.
After a few seconds she came near me again shouting out: “Please play something stupid!” I shouted out to her: “What?”. She said again: “Play something stupid.” I had to make sure that I heard right. So I tried to ingore her until I finished the song that I was playing.
As soon as I finished, she came to me and said: “Why can’t you play something stupid?”. I said: “Why? What do you mean something stupid? Don’t you like the music that I play?” “No, no” she said. “I mean “Something Stupid” by Frank Sinatra!”.
A night of laugh
This is another story from the early days. At that time I was playing in a three piece band in a nice hotel. The band consisted of bass, keyboards and me on guitar and lead vocals.
We were playing outside by the swimming pool and a great number of the guests were middle-aged English people. Suddenly, I noticed the bass fading away and some of the guests staring at the band and laughing.
Being bothered by the lack of bass, I turned around and looked at the bassist only to find him sleeping on his stool. I shouted at him, disturbing his deep sleep, woke him up and continued playing. Later in the evening, people started dancing and the evening was in full swing.
Suddenly I heard a loud noise and I saw people laughing uncontrollably. I turned around and this time I saw the keyboard player laying partially under the keyboard and still trying to reach the keys and carry on playing. What happened was that the seat of the stool he was sitting on, had broken off and in his attempt to carry on playing he made the whole act look absolutely ridiculous and made the audience break out in laughter.
At that point I couldn’t hold my own laughter back and it made it very difficult for me to sing. We all had a good laugh and it was a night we will never forget!
Credits to Magdalene Chatzistamataki for making sure that the articles were written in correct English.