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?