Possibly my top pet peeve on a gig... (what's yours?)


I just subbed on a pretty fun cover band gig the other week, got to learn a bunch of tunes I’d been meaning to learn anyway… (Rock With You by Michael Jackson being a highlight)

The musicians were generally great, some really great singing in particular, and everybody knew the songs… EXCEPT the keyboard player (who was also a sub). Song after song went by, where he was either scrambling to find his chart (even though we were following a very orderly set list), or revealing that he had taken no time to actually listen to the song and learn the parts that are on the recording but not necessarily on the chart.

It was so bad that one of the singers ended up singing a bunch of keyboard parts because our ears all hurt from not hearing them! Can you imagine playing Superstition by Stevie Wonder with NOBODY playing EITHER clav part?

Well, I can. Because it happened to me. Two clav parts to choose from, and this guy didn’t even try to learn either of them.

I of course sympathize with beginner/intermediate musicians doing the best they can and what not. I consider myself a player and teacher with above-average compassion for such things. BUT this was a professional situation (wedding) that paid quite a lot of money, and this guy actually had some musical ability. He had just clearly neglected to take care with the material. Which bummed me out, because I totally destroyed everything even though I had never played a lot of the material before.

So yeah… when people don’t take the care to be prepared, it says to the rest of the band “I don’t care enough about this gig to do it well”… and then, why be there?

What about you guys? Pet peeves? Guitar players who turn up all night? :stuck_out_tongue:

Share Your Favorite Bass Lines!

I’d have thought, (as a veteran of the covers band genres UK div.) that “Superstition” would be in the “Standard List”. You know that great book you build in your head with every passing show/practice/band. I once tried to figure how many songs I could play off the top of my head for my son, also a bass player. It ran eventually into the hundreds, given a few prompts I should add. In both of the last covers bands I was in the weekly total to be able to play was 50 or so in the Rock/Punk/Indie band and 50 or so in the reggae/Ska band. I’m so glad that these days it’s more about how I’m able to improvise a groove dependent upon feel from the drummer and the rest of the band. I have to know the core of the song thoroughly to get to do that. I’m also lucky that Dub requires serious bottom end so Sub1 gets a great place in the mix. Pet peeve would be the rather lengthy solos the come in on a 3 or 5 and leave the same way. The drummer and I looking at each other with “?” written on our faces.


Pet peeve… the moment a song ends and all you can hear is people chattering away. Not quite as impressive as the previous peeves :joy:


Yeah, really! Especially as a keyboard player… c’mon dude!

Haha yes that sucks! Not quite as bad as when you can hear people yelling over a quiet section of the song… while it’s still freaking going!!!


So many to choose from!
But, perhaps my biggest both on and off the bandstand:
Band members on the bandstand talking about what song to play next.
If you had any momentum, you just killed it.

The only time it is acceptable:
If you’re calling an audible from the set list, and you’re doing it to kick things into gear. Fine.
If a guest comes up, and there’s a moment to clarify things.

Otherwise - whether you have a set list or not, just play. Talk, banter, sip the beer… but don’t make me flip through a fake book with you on a bandstand.


My top pet peeve on a gig is when the host of a venue I’m playing at, calls me out in front of everyone to drop a bass line. I get so nervous…My hands get sweaty and I start to death grip my bass while I’m playing. I’m still not totally confident in myself yet to just start my band off with some random bass line, unless I know in advance.


Oof, yeah. This also makes me think about other momentum killers that drive me crazy, like when there are dead spots between songs and no plan for what to do with them. Crowds should be engaged during the whole show, not just during songs and occasionally between them.

Seems foolish to hope to get someone’s attention over and over rather than trying to keep it through the whole show. I am so all about running songs right into each other, bantering, and anything else that keeps a show being a show.


When you have a drunk in audience yelling FREEBIRD!


Lol, yeah people still think that’s funny after all these years.


Just thought of another one:
Unequally drunk/stoned bandmembers.

Great if everyone’s on the same page. TERRIBLE if you’re the sober one.


Oh man that one gets me. The one thing I can’t do is get drunk and play, I can handle the stoned part but if I’m being paid to play I feel I have to have some respect for those paying me and give a good account of myself. One of the best drummers I ever played with was pretty much a drunk and he started playing with us straight. It came to a big Festival gig - supporting Buzzcocks and Lee Perry - and he obviously couldn’t handle it without a drink. We get a few songs in and all ok then BAM. Started playing double time. Why, we asked afterwards, would you do that? He grinned and said the crowd looked “kind of bored” so he’d jazzed it up a bit. We covered it up ok, but that’s not the point right? He was gone by the next gig. It seemed a shame to me and a real waste of talent.

The Gigs! The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Been there, The pin drop moment when you wait for a little applause but the drummer is already on count for the next song, cos all he can see from the drumkit is a guy at the bar with a dog and the dog was paying more attention.