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jmcohen 07-04-2019 11:58 AM

Performance Disaster
So we were playing a gig yesterday: a downtown farmer’s market. I am playing my 1957 Ludwig New Yorker. The tom mounts on the bass drum via a spade-type clip. I think we were playing “Gimme Gimme Good Lovin’” by the one-hit wonders Crazy Elephant.

All of a sudden, my tom was gone! I don’t know what I did or where I was looking at the time, but it disappeared. I looked down, and miraculously, it landed on my drum rug right between the bass drum spur and a cymbal stand, flat on the reso rim. It could have just as easily rolled down the street! Lucky!!!

I think I must not have made sure that the clip was fully seated. This happened once before where I didn’t make sure the clip was past the small bend in the spade. But that time, it just dropped the rest of the way down with a clunk. It didn’t go airborne!

So this reminded me of an incident I saw in Junior High School at a school talent show. A group started playing the theme from “Shaft.” From my seat in the auditorium I noticed that the gold sparkle snare looked really wobbly whenever the drummer struck it. Suddenly, the snare popped off the stand and started rolling on it’s side. Everybody, including the musicians on stage, stared, frozen, as the snare “chunk chunk chunked” it’s way across the huge expanse of the stage. It finally stopped just short of the wing. The drummer, embarrassed and disgusted, angrily picked up the snare and stalked off stage. The rest of the band sheepishly followed.

It was easy to put myself in his shoes, so I didn’t laugh (like many others did). I was very embarrassed for him. But it was pretty dang funny.

Anyone care to describe their (musical) performance disaster?

DrumBob 07-04-2019 02:38 PM

Re: Performance Disaster
How much time ya got?

At a gig in high school, my throne collapsed right out from under me and I landed on my ass during "Born To Be Wild." Played the rest of the song standing up.

LeftCoast_Drummer 07-04-2019 04:44 PM

Re: Performance Disaster
Second song of a set I put the bass pedal clean through the bass drum head. I had been meaning to change it the week prior but my shipment got delayed and I didn't get it in time.

I ended up having to play the hi hat with my left foot the whole time and use my 18" floor tom as the "bass drum." It worked OK but my left leg, hip, and groin were sore for a few days after that.

I keep spare heads now.

human71 07-04-2019 06:39 PM

Re: Performance Disaster
Haven't been up here for a while, but I saw this post And thought it was amusing ( not because of your unfortunate mishap, but simply because I needed a few smiles today, as I too have had my own mishaps with vintage gear) Was at a gig for my Paul McCartney tribute band, and thought I'd bring my Acrolite. Although the drum itself had zero issues, it was the damn Ludwig modern factory nylon string of the butt plate that tore in half, and i had no back up. Thanks to Ludwig for not making a modern retrofitting butt plate with modern drum key bolts that use nylon or plastic straps, that of which I had in my cymbal bag. (The new p-88 does not fit the vintage hole spacing, but have a couple that YOU have to tap yourself. Thanks again, Ludwig :s )
Lucky for me, this was during soundcheck, and I found a usable nylon string from by Pearl Eliminator promotion tag which had one. Although not as durable as an actual nylon string made for snare drums, it did the job. But you can bet the tension of the snare was pretty loose just as precautionary measure. Ever since that episode, and the fact that Ludwig STILL do not make a retrofitting p-32 butt plate, I sold the snare drum to another drummer friend of mine. Until Ludwig actually makes one, my vintage Ludwig snare drum days are done, for now.

JDragon 07-04-2019 07:17 PM

Re: Performance Disaster
We all have them! The one I remember most was playing a gig with my '68 Champagne sparkle Ludwigs- kicking into the solo for Soul Sacrifice channeling Michael Shrieve at Woodstock... the L-arm bass mounted Rocktagon (remember those?!) crash has lost it's wing nut and when I lay into it - it flips...... and as it falls does a cool accent on 2 3 & and wedges in a cymbal stand's legs... I still have the gouge it left in the wrap on the bass drum but the cymbal has been 'let go'.... That's why I use wing nuts!

thejohnlec 07-05-2019 08:33 AM

Re: Performance Disaster
I started the wrong song in front of a couple thousand people once - that was fun!

Way back in college, my band was playing a good size private party at a lake house, and the band was set up under the deck, looking out over the backyard. Someone on the deck above me spilled their beer directly over me, which leaked through the boards and soaked my head quickly. The bass player could NOT stop laughing.

A quick jump in the lake cleaned me up, but I think I was more upset about the fact that some of the spilled beer hit my snare drum :)

leedybdp 07-05-2019 11:20 AM

Re: Performance Disaster
2 Attachment(s)
In 1964 or 1965, our band was playing a gig at the field house of a big high school in a north suburban location of Chicago. This was one of many gigs that we worked with the popular DJ Ron Riley from WLS radio. We had to pack up our gear, load it in to our van, and drive 76 miles to the small town of Sandwich, Illinois for their after prom party that was scheduled to run from midnight to 3:00 AM.

At the time, we had a girl vocalist in the band (that didn't last for too long). Here's a picture of her sitting behind my Flat Jacks drum set. I really loved those weird looking drums. They were heavy as hell, quite loud, and packed up very compactly. Midway through our first set, the beater of my Rogers Swivomatic pedal broke through the bass drum head--the only bass drum head. I did not carry a spare bass drum head with me. So, I played the rest of the first set and the following two sets with no bass drum. I had to thump on the floor tom with my right hand while playing the ride cymbal with my left hand. That wasn't as difficult as it could have been if I had not been a lefty who played open-handed. Two days after this gig, I traded in the Flat Jacks for a conventional set of Slingerlands. I liked that snare drum so much that I bought one from eBay a couple of years ago

jmcohen 07-05-2019 02:31 PM

Re: Performance Disaster
The Kritters! Fantastic! The days of “the band van.” Totally groovy.

leedybdp 07-05-2019 06:54 PM

Re: Performance Disaster
2 Attachment(s)
Some bands thought that they would one-up the bands with a van. They would get old bread trucks to haul their gear. In the late 1970's my cousin and I auditioned musician/players to manufacture an all female band. We found some young women in Chicago who didn't know each other but were all very good musicians and singers. We even bought a gear hauler for the band. Long story short... take all of the stories you've ever heard about a "chick singer" in a band. Multiply that times five, and then by a factor of ten more times. My cousin and I managed to get out alive and not too badly in debt. Here's a picture of the band Jezebel and the 1958 Pontiac gear hauler.

jaghog 07-05-2019 08:39 PM

Re: Performance Disaster
Played a high school gig in my old band messiah
I think it was in Paris I’ll 1971
Had no cymbals or stands
The band guy let me use the there two cymbals they were very nice
And I had to rig them on music stands but we did it
Black sabbath was tough but handled it they wee dancing all night

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