There’s no greater high for a performing musician than to play a perfectly executed set in front of a large energetic audience. Those moments, though seem too rare, are the ones that stick in your mind and stay with you forever. On the opposite side, there is nothing more dreadful to a performing musician than when things go bad on stage. Real bad. Unfortunately those are the gigs that scar you for life and the ones you can never forget either. This is an ongoing feature that will highlight some of those not so great moments in the Connecticut Metal scene.
“Strangely, I haven’t had any gigs from hell since returning to the live performance front a few years ago (knock on wood), but my first gig ever truly sucked. My band “The Lost Boys” was playing the ’89 Bloomfield High School talent show (with other such stars as Anika “Disney Princess” Noni Rose), and we were doing a cover of Welcome Home (Sanitarium).
Michael Modeste of Dead By Wednesday fame was on rhythm guitar, but somebody unplugged him from his amp. Our “singer” (who approached Metallica as if it were They Might be Giants) decided to play as a backup, but lacked any way to achieve distortion for the heavy parts. I was playing a guitar with a floating bridge, and halfway through the song the E string popped and the entire axe fell out of tune.
So the grand finale consisted of me soloing like a dying cat while some other guy strummed away like it was a country song. It was totally craptacular.”
Sam Hatch – Sever the Drama
“Our worst gig so far has been the disaster that occurred on November 28th at Cherry Street. The gig started out fine, it was only our 3rd show. We got through 2 songs without any issues, then midway through our 3rd song the power monitor that’s playing our drum machine craps out. No drums are coming through the monitor. So our singer yells to the sound booth, but the guy wasn’t there. So finally the sound guy comes out after almost 2 minutes of yelling for him. He gets to the stage and sees that the monitor overheated and minimal to know sound is coming out. So he fiddled some knobs or whatever up there and the drums came through very faintly. I walked over and put my ear up to it so everyone could keep time with me. We only got through the first minute or two of the song when the promoter decided to pull the plug.”
Eric – Arduous Task
“To set this up I need to give you guys a little background: In the spring of 2010 I was talking to a “booking agent” on Myspace who said he could hook me up with something like 10 shows over a 14 day spread across New England. He required half up front and when all the dates were booked I would give him the rest. To make a long, dramatic story short, with a week or two to go before tour time I only had 5 dates. This is what I took the fall off from school for, 5 gigs. I didn’t end up giving him the other half of his payment, but resolved to tour anyways. The worst ORCumentary date of my career was at this one place in New York City (The National Underground I believe). It was at least a two hour drive to NYC not to mention finding a parking spot. Let’s just say that this place was not meant for my kind of music. I was kicked off after 3 songs. I was furious but I was able to keep my cool and merely say at the end of my set “thanks for listening and I look forward to all the other bands’ 3 song sets” and I left the second after I packed all my stuff up. The rest of the tour was pretty good though.”
Orc Adams – ORCumentary
“Every time I’ve played with Deicide I have not had a good fucking time. The absolute worst one was at Toad’s Place. We were supposed to open for Deicide and we show up and we’re the first band on, all the gears loading in, and Deicide decided that they just weren’t going to show up. It was a sold out show at Toad’s Place. Deicide saying, ‘Ah, we’re just not going to show up.’ Hate Eternal still played. Mortician played. We were the first band on and I had to be the one to say, ‘By the way, Deicide is not coming.’ All through our set it was just people chanting, ‘Fuck you, where’s Deicide?’ Nobody gave a fuck. Now Deadwait was not one of my favorite styles of music. It was a cross genre thing with Hardcore and Death Metal and I felt horrible just to sit in my own shoes.”
Frank Conners – Eyes of the Dead
“It was the TMT festival in New York at the Orange County Speedway, which I hear is pretty awesome. We showed up and it was very unorganized. They had bands like Suffocation, Goatwhore, Mushroomhead…there was a lot big names. We got to hang out with a lot of cool bands, which was awesome. We were running around trying to find a drum kit, because they told us that we didn’t need to bring one. The guy that’s running the thing is just showing up and telling us that 50,000 people were going to show up. We found one of the head guys who was actually doing something and he got us a kit and everything. It was Frank’s birthday weekend and we played in front of our girlfriends.”
Matt – Eyes of the Dead
“My wireless set up falling off. That’s why I have like six different velcro straps on my wireless now, because I was jumping around and all of a sudden I didn’t hear guitar. I look down and see it on the floor and I’m like “Oh well.” I just pretended to keep playing and yelled in the microphone until the song was over just to keep going. That was also a night where I was having feedback, cable problems and the people at the venue were dicks.”
Doug Lenington – Fear the Masses
“It was one of those things where I couldn’t move without throwing up. I had a stomach virus. I threw up before I left the house. My girlfriend had to drive me there five minutes before we started. I threw up right before I went on stage, almost threw up on stage, then threw up once I got off stage. I went home and went to sleep.”
Josh Moore – Fear the Masses
“We just did a show in Long Island. Each band was supposed to take 15 minutes to set up. This band took 20-25 and by the time we went on…we were supposed to go on at midnight…we ended up going on at 10 after 1. Nobody was there. They all left, because it was Easter weekend.”
Steve Zimmerman – Enemy Remains
Brenda: My friend that i went to highschool with, I haven’t seen her in 15 years, found me on facebook. She’s like, “Oh, I totally book shows for this art space and we’re doing a birthday party. They called it an art space, so we’re thinking like a warehouse room that they throw shows in or something like that. So we get there, in Greenfield Massachusetts, a 2 hour drive, and it’s a house that’s been build in the 1700’s. Do dreaded stinking hippies, don’t get me wrong…I like hippies, but 2 dreaded stinking hippies roll out with their Starbucks coffee, and I’m like; “Holy shit, they’re not going to get out of the van.” I didn’t think any of the guys would get out of the van, but they did. I told them that there was beer there. We get in there and we have to part the seas of pot smoke and smell. There must have been no body washing. You think, “Ok, hippies. They got a little bit of an o natural smell.”, but this was like hippies baked in the sun, left out for days, mixed in gym socks. And we’re in the room probably about the size of this hallway and the floors sag and we’re on the second floor. We had to bring all our gear up a flight of stairs. An acoustic lesbian duo plays before us, singing about seagulls and feelings and shit. I’m like, “You know we’re a Metal band, right?”.
She said, “Yeah, we wanted a mix.”
It was probably the worst. I don’t think I’ve not breathed so much in an entire gig. I only took air when it was necessary to live. Then they got so rowdy. It was a really crappy gig, but there was probably like 30 hippies in this attic. It was an attic in an old house. I was sweltering hot and it smelled like shit. They almost knocked over his whole rig. Needless to say we did not make any money at that show.
Bryan: You’ve never seen a band break down faster.
Brenda: We were out of there in record time.
Bryan: The 2 nicknames that got created was sticky scissors and “boots shit taco”. Sticky scissors was of course the lesbo duo, because you’ve got to figure that they have not showered after months at a time. That shit’s got to be like Elmer’s glue when they get together and do their little lesbo thing. To top it off, you know that shit’s got some beard on it that’s probably got beads or birds in it. You figure those things gonna get wrapped up around each other. You add in the model glue and now it’s all over. They’re not even gonna get separated. They need the jaws of life to get their shit apart.
Then there was “boots shit taco”. The other one. That was the guy that. if you walked by him, and I’m not exaggerating, he stank so fucking bad. When we were walking up the stairs, me and Jay, we were going to get the amps and bring them back down the stairs, Here comes boots shit taco with a big smile coming down the staircase, and you didn’t even smell it. It was actually like an electrical fire. Your eyes start burning first and then you can’t breathe. Sure enough, it finally catches up with you and it’s like someone took a giant shit on a fuel rod and stuck it inside his armpit. Fucking horrible.
Brenda: Standard, it probably takes us 15 minutes to change over and get out of everyones way. They did it in like 7 minutes. It was like a Nascar pit crew.
Bryan: As we were driving out, I didn’t know this, Brenda was behind us following us with her husband, and she’s like, “Did you know you have hippy hanging off the van for about a quarter of a mile?” At some point he fucking rolled off into the bushes. Then the next gig we go to play, the door in the back of the van is fucking busted. It’s out of alignment and all this other bullshit. No lie. We had to replace the van door.
“We were playing…I’m not going to mention the song. If you happened to be there you’re going to know what song it is. My wireless came unplugged. I lost signal from my wireless. I plugged it back in then it disconnected at the other end and pulled out and fell off my strap. It was just a complete nightmare.”
Matt Douglas – Crossing Rubicon
“Today for our EP release party, one of our biggest shows ever…I played in a cover band before this show on New Year’s Eve for a wedding. I open my drum case and I still had my Dirty Blonde drum head on my Crossing Rubicon kit so I had to have someone drive to Bristol today before the show and by Crossing Rubicon head. I almost shit.”
Brandi Hood – Crossing Rubicon
“It was a cover band and we played a lot of material. You mix a good dose of alcohol with a bunch of new songs in the set…I was a clusterfuck for half of the second set and I was mortified. When you can’t remember how to play a Bon Jovi song, that’s a problem.”
Jeff Miles – Crossing Rubicon
“Three songs in we’re going for a guitar change or something like that…my tuner kind of blew up…this was my first band that I’d ever been in so I kind of got…I wanted to quit, ya know. I can’t get this song, so every time I’m trying to tune it the tuner wasn’t responding and I’m sitting there and we can’t stop the show. Fortunately, I eventually got somewhat in tune, but I really wanted someone to shoot me.”
Zach Lambert – Crossing Rubicon
“We did have a guy vomit [on stage]. We found out later that he could do it on demand. He did it on purpose. That wasn’t fun.”
– Laura Nickerson – Staff – The Room
“Recently my husbands band played a show, right before christmas, where for some reason the drums kept moving forward. The lead singer from one of the other bands ended up actually sitting in front of the drums to keep them from sliding off the drum riser, and swears that following that he’s probably steril.”
– Laura Nickerson – Staff – The Room
“We were on a high rise stage and I was wearing heels the one and only time. They had a dip in at the edge of the stage and my heel caught it and I fell off the stage. Luckily we had some fans the caught me. I somehow didn’t miss a note, but I was very embarrassed and proud that I didn’t miss any notes either. I think that’s every one’s fear; falling off the stage. I had to get back up and sign and I just had to just conquer the fear.”
– Angelina Del Carmen – Vocalist – Charetta
“There was nobody there except for one other band and we were hammered drunk. A breaks is coming up…he jumps in the air lands on his feet and falls backwards and he smashed my entire drum set into my chest. I’m trying to keep playing the song with my drum set in my chest and cymbals all over the floor.”
– Mike Paré – Drummer – Welcome the Tide
“I think we were playing out in The Space at…where was that? Hamdon. It was just a totally wrong venue for us. Wrong genre. The crowd was pretty dead. It was pretty awful.”
– Nicholas Smith – In Amber Skies
“Getting my lip busted open by my boy Kyle swinging his guitar around like a fucking maniac.”
– John – Built By Machines
“One of our first concerts at the Webster Underground here I was playing the 3rd song in and my top string on my bass just broke right in the middle of the set. I had to substitute my high C for my low and it sounded like shit the whole time. That was my worst experience on stage for sure.”
Devin Bass – Atrophy
“I drove 20 plus hours to Indiana to open for Rob Zombie, who never showed up and I got food poisoning from the complimentary food.”
Cyn Freeman – Metal Cyndicate
“Musicians getting overly mad at their instruments for no reason. It’s annoying. Like its the instruments fault. It’s not. They’re like, ‘Oh dude its my head, somethings wrong head. Awe dude my cymbal stand keeps slipping. My keyboard keys are keying out of control. This one’s stuck. I’m not doing it.’ If it is your equipments fault make sure you fix it before you go on stage or else your set’s going to be shit. I see it all the time. Not being prepared.”
Jon – Metal Fan
“In my old band, Torn Asunder, I used to wrap a t-shirt around my hand and if you wanted it you had to come and get it. We played a show in Maine and I got my fingers broken. I ended up going out and buying a 5 knot dog rope and I would throw that into the pit during out last song. The kids would literally tackle and fight each other just to get this rope. Then we would give out a shirt. We played a show in Springfield; a place called the Fat Cat. A kid got it, took off out the door four blocks down the road. Kids went out after him chasing him., brought back him and the rope and preceded to keep fighting for it. We did a show and the kids were still fighting for the rope for the next 2 bands. They ended up on stage, in the green room, VIP area, almost did a lot of damage, so that wasn’t very good.”
Rusty Asunder – The Webster Underground
“I was hammered drunk at a Halloween show. I was dressed up like Pauly D. I was buying Jager bombs for everybody…didn’t realize how much I had drunk. I get on stage and started playing…nothing I was playing was making sense. It sounded like complete mud. Everyone was telling me I was playing the wrong parts, but no one wanted to listen to me. I didn’t want to listen to anybody, because I was belligerent…and I still had my wig on. I ended up having a $100 bar tab at the end of the night.”
Jeff Pritchet – Guitarist – Welcome the Tide
“During the 1st song right before the 1st breakdown I went to do a head bang and I split my pants from my ass crack down to my foot. I had to play an entire set with my boxer shorts hanging out. A 35 minute set.”
Steve Lemaire – Vocals – Welcome the Tide
“Last night we had a show…I had a complete mental block through one of our songs. Fucked it up real bad. It sounded like diarrhea. It really did. I was one of those days when you pick up your bass and it didn’t feel natural. I just wasn’t feeling it.”
Rob Tyrseck – Bassist – Welcome the Tide
“Playing an entire set at the Palladium out of tune and not realizing it until afterwards. We recorded the whole show live.”
Andrew Oliver – Guitarist – Welcome the Tide
“At the El ‘N’ Gee, The management treated all the bands like crap. They did not do any stage or sound check whatsoever. It was just really a horribly run show and it made us sound like crap. Granted we were a new band at the time, but the way the management handled the show and the venue… there were a lot of good bands there that night that just didn’t get an opportunity to really present there music, because the manager there…he showed zero respect for anybody. The drums just cut out while we were playing and I think we blew a speaker too. Thank god it wasn’t ours.”
Mykael Dugan – Vocalist – Forever Forbidden
“There was no moshing allowed [at The Space] and that’s a big thing for us. He couldn’t use his own drum set. The mix was ok, but I hate when a mixer is really cocky, like he was dissing on the guy…and the crew there wasn’t the greatest. I don’t know. It just wasn’t good. It was really bad, because we were playing with a bunch of Black Metal bands and that’s just not our style. But a show is a show I guess. So far that’s our worst experience.”
Troy Carpenter – In Amber Skies
“We were playing out and we were old school speed metal thrash, but then it was brand new. We got hired to play in a bar. We were young kids, like 16-17 years old. The other bands were older and playing covers and stuff like that. The club owner shut off the electricity on us and told us to get out because they were not having Satanic music here. That was my most traumatic fucking experience.”
Keith Letourneau – Vocalist/Guitarist – Shallow Ground
“We played this hole-in-the-wall club in Norwich called, The Wet Bar. We passed by it couple times before we figured out where the place was and entered the obscure door down into this basement bar you’d see on a low budget cop show. Their PA system was a 8 channel mixer…only 2 channels actually worked…better suited for DJ’ing and only halve the speakers worked. There were 4 bands playing that night and the single mic kept cutting out through out the sets. I managed to get it working by the time we went on, which was last, but by then there was no one left in the club, aside from the bar tender and 4 people sitting on a couch. Even the promoter had left by then.”
“I’ve seen the ever so popular, ‘I’m going to do a quick four count we’re all gonna jump into it’ and only one person jumps in. Trying to do the extended jam-out ending and you butcher your own song because you don’t know what you’re doing; no ones on the same page. Trying to get your buddy to come up and sing when he doesn’t know what he’s doing so he’s just babbling garbage. My favorite, not being prepared or ready to perform. That’s always a fun train wreck.”
Rusty Asunder – The Webster Underground
“On keys. Accidentally almost putting the mute button while playing on stage, or putting too much weight on one side and almost toppling over.”
Adam – Built By Machines
“If someone fucks up there part and someone in the band makes a face like “What the fuck”. It’s like, just keep playing and commit. Play it off as that’s what you meant to do. You’re already up there. don’t act like you’ve messed up even if you totally did.”
Beth – Metal Fan
“It was like right near the end of the last song my double bass pedals, the springs just busted and my pedals went out. I was like what the hell am I gonna do? I just had to finish through the set. The next show after that, to add to the carnage, I was in the middle of playing one of our songs and one of my toms just fell off. I use my toms a lot for that song and it was just like gotta keep going. I feeling really bad about it and just kept going. I remember one guy in the crowd said, ‘You don’t need it. You’re awesome.’ Then I was like ‘Alright. I don’t need it’.”
Jared McCleve – Drummer – Forever Forbidden