In 2008 I was managing The Beggars’ Guild and booked a gig in south Georgia. The bar, the name escapes me, was a small town soldier bar and seemed right up our alley. “This”, as I emphatically stated with waving arms and supercharged emotion to the band, “was the perfect bar for TBG. This could be our home away from home!” Well, not so fast there Tits McGhee.
For this particular show I had 3 jobs:
- Bring and help sell the CD’s
- Bring the sound system and help run sound
- Get the band’s money at the end of the night
We’ve all heard the saying “2 out of 3 ain’t bad,” well, not when it’s the cable bag that you so expertly packed but forgot to bring it isn’t. So there we were setting up the sound and T.J. (Lead singer of TBG) and other members of the band realize what was happening at the same time. I was “That Guy!”
So I jumped in the car in search of a music store, at 8:30 at night. I found a Best Buy that had exactly one mic cable and two speaker cables in stock. I went to Walmart and they had exactly nothing in stock. And that was the end of the search because this town had nothing else open at that hour. I sat in the parking lot in front of the club for 10 minutes working up the courage to face the music. So I walked into the club and the band was sitting at a table staring at me with that “you’re a jackass” look in their eyes. So I did what I do best. I shot back a great big smile and held up the mic and speaker cables high in triumph and shouted “Crisis averted!” So we did our sound check and quickly found that one of my speakers was blown. Completely useless. So, It was a one mic, one speaker night and that would have to be just good enough to get us through the gig.
After sound check the owner of the club, whom I first thought was homeless due to her baggy paint stained sweatpants, hole filled tank top and dirty stringy hair framing her drawn up, mile ridden face comes up to my table and asks, “What the hell are you playing? Is that original music? These ain’t the kind of people that give two shit’s for original music. I didn’t hear one country song. Please tell me that you MF’ers aren’t going to play that shit all night.”
I reminded her of the package that I sent out and that it clearly states we are an original band and not a cover band. It references our CD. Also, the CD that was sent to her was not country. Her eloquent response was that she “didn’t give two shits about that. It’s your job to know that this is a cover loving country bar!” Those were her exact words. EXACT WORDS! She then get’s in my face and says, “And you better be bringing a crowd because there is an officer’s ball going on tonight and this place will be effing empty if not!” If there was one thing I could absolutely guarantee about this night, it was that we were going to draw not one single person that fine evening.
Off to a great start!
The band starts playing and it sounded exactly like you would expect it to sound when pumping a high energy rock n roll band through one medium sized speaker. So we get through the first few songs and it happens, every bands nightmare, the ecstasy fueled dancer makes an appearance. He is rolling on the ground, dancing with a lit cigarette like it was his fair lady. Everyone is now gathered around him and the band is an afterthought. He thrusts, gyrates, dramatically pauses for minutes at a time and even graciously simulates a bowel movement. This goes on for the entire first set and it was a gross miscarriage of justice. And it was also just plain gross.
As the first set ends T.J. makes an announcement that the band has CD’s for sale. The homeless hippie jumps up and runs to my table swearing up a storm and yells “What the hell is your guys doing. Are you serious…ARE YOU SERIOUS! You come to my bar and play your crappy music and then you try to steal money from my bartenders pockets by peddling your CD’s! YOU ARE STEALING MONEY RIGHT OUT OF MY BARTENDERS POCKETS. Jibble, at least that’s what it sounded like, has 3 kids.” She then starts getting teary eyed and whispers “Jibble has 3 kids you bastard. And you have the nerve to steal money right out of his pockets.” She stares at me directly in my eyes for what seemed like hours and walked back to the bar still locked on my pupils. She slowly turned away and ordered shots and sat at the end of the bar looking like she was going to collapse. I suspect that I too had that exact same look.
The second set starts and she comes over several time to tell me that she hates the band. Finally, I told her get away from me and to knock it off. By this time what little crowd was there were fully and completely into the band. One could say that it was going as well as could be expected. They would mostly be wrong, but one could say it. It’s a first amendment thing.
As the band was ending the show she walks over to the table and throws the check on the ground and informs me that “there is a good chance you will never be allowed to play here again.” I picked the check up off the sweaty floor and thanked her for a great night.