Personal Gig Trainwrecks


What are the most amusing trainwrecks you have had at a gig?

In my experience, the audience can be quite forgiving.

1. At my very first gig, I thought it would be cool to jump off a stage monitor onto the dance floor. I ended up landing in a puddle of beer, slipping, and falling on my derrière. I had to finish the song sitting in the beer puddle with a soaking butt. I was embarrassed, but after the show, some peeps came up to me and mentioned they thought it was so cool I kept playing and finished the song.

2. A drummer in another band I was in was into the whole flashy theatric drummer thing, sometimes at the expense of the song. At one gig, he got so lost, the whole band had to stop mid-song because we had no clue what he was doing. We turned, looked at him, looked at each other, then somehow magically picked up right where we left off without saying a word. I don't know if they audience realized we had a train wreck or thought it was planned, but they cheered wildly.

What are your favorite personal gig trainwrecks?


Rock Star
We lost the bass drum out of the bed of a pickup truck, on a highway, on the way to a 4-nite gig. Fortunately the gig was in the town where our other guitarist and a band friend were both living and going to college, so they were able to find us a bass drum for the gig. We were only 1 hour late. On the ride back home we scoured that section of highway and never found a trace of it. A driver had flashed his lights to get us to pull over and told us he didn't know what it was, but he saw it coming towards him and almost hit it with his car. As soon as we pulled over, Rob, the driver/owner of the pickup, and the one who had loaded the gear said he knew right away it was the bass drum, but he thought he had wedged it down tight enough in between some speakers. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯:facepalm:bag

Even though we got a bass drum, I can't remember why, but the feet that hold it in place weren't working for Rob, so it kept sliding away from him, and he had to reach down when he had a split second, and keep pulling it back toward him. Once I noticed it, me and the bass player took turns standing in front of it to keep it in place!

We still laugh about it! :rofl That was like, 40 years ago. (Damn I'm old!)
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Alex Kenivel

Rock Star
The 2013 annual Skate Till You Die event sponsored by Powell/Peralta and Spector Bass. Participants skateboarded between three destinations with gigs starting from Richmond (California, USA) to Freemont, and finally to San Jose (36mi total) with gigs at each location. Our band CHT was playing the final gig at a house. Cops were called, got shut down, relocated the gig, crazy moshpit, our singer got into a fight with a crowd member, got shut down again.

We eventually went on a DIY east coast tour (us being west coast Boys): sunk money into a van that broke down, played a single house show for some beer and experimental drugs, and barely made it back in one piece.
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Rock Star
Had a plastic nut fall off the jack of one of those beautifully designed and built 80s Marshalls. The shank of the jack is so damn short the nut only turns around it once if you’re lucky and the stock ones are plastic garbage. The jack fell into the amp. Puff of smoke then no power. 300 miles or so away from home.

Thank GOD I had my line 6 amp I used for lessons with me at the time.

Had a few straps and or strap buttons break from running around too much.


Rock Star
Late 1980s England...

I was playing bass in a band. I'm not even sure what the band's genre was supposed to be. It was a couple of hippies, a punk on drums and and me. I suppose it was verging on psychedelic rock, but a really bad, talentless and confused version of that.

My mum had discarded an old long-haired wig and I don't know why, but I used that for my stage persona. This is all so embarrassing and lame. I wore the long wig, secured to my head with a purple paisley bandana. Oh, and mirror shades. My face was mostly hidden.

We played supporting another band at a local community hall. It was dark and full of sweaty drunk 18 and 19 year olds.

We went on stage we were no doubt terrible; but that doesn't really matter, because it's par for the course at that sort of place. Teens just wanna hang out with their mates, get drunk and maybe find someone to snog or shag; they don't really care about the noise your band is making.

We played a few "songs", one of which concerned the excellent pharmaceutical qualities of mushrooms and then things got a lot worse. The local group of anarcho-punks had turned up.

These guys looked violent and I sensed that they were itching to start something nasty. The largest one, their "leader", a bear-chested man with big-ass dog leash chains hanging around his neck - I suspect he had necked a lot of booze, speed and possibly something else; well this guy started fire-breathing. I mean, real fire-breathing... no metaphors here. Let's call him Spike.

I don't know what he was putting in his mouth... lighter fluid maybe, but there was A LOT of it and whatever it was he was swigging - he was blowing huge flames high up towards the ceiling. The ceiling had what looked like polystyrene tiles on it. This was going to end so badly. Spike just seemed so full of rage and was baying for a fight, and even if he didn't get a fight, he was going to kill us all with fire anyway.

I don't remember much else, but things did get violent... a riot started and there were punches and chairs flying about. It was chaos with people running in all directions and it was pretty dark - there wasn't a proper lighting system.

My next memory is of being in the toilets. I'd pulled off my long wig, mirrored aviators, paisley headband and psychedelic shirt. I had short hair underneath and I looked different enough in my t-shirt, I guess. My bass was elsewhere.

Spike was in the toilets with me. I noticed that someone had smashed some toilet bowls already; probably Spike. There was large chunks of toilet bowl and water on the floor. He'd broken some doors and it looked like he was still wanting to smash s**t up. He was raging.

I was terrified. Spike spotted me and came at me, shouting, "Have you seen that hippy bass player c**t from that band? I'm gonna f***ing kill him".

I barely managed to get out the words, "Nah... I haven't seen him".

And then, as it dawned on me that Spike didn't know he was talking to the bass player, I blurted out, "Yeah, that bass player - what a c**t!". Spike looked at me confused for just 1 second whilst he tried to string 2 thoughts together; so I quickly pushed past him and made my escape.

Last thing I remember as I left the scene, was the sound of the approaching police and fire engine sirens. I think the other band members had already hastily bundled my bass and crappy amp into a car, so it was already gone.

I read about the riot in the local newspaper the next day. I think this counts as a gig trainwreck?
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Staff member
The two biggest that stand out to me were around the same time frame, the mid 00’s with the prog-metal band I started.

We’d often have to add a cover to our set to appease a bar/club owner, even though we were only interested in doing originals. Eventually we filled out our set enough that we could do a 4-hour gig mixing originals/covers and were able to make some money with the band. We were asked to cover Deftones “Shove It” for a gig and we all got f*cking shiiiiiiiiiitfaced at this gig. I was fairly cocky back then and had a “That song is stupid simple, we don’t need to practice it to death”.

We start playing it, I think this one of the few times I only sang and wasn’t playing guitar, I couldn’t remember a single lyric. I just remember the chorus coming up, my screaming “SHOOOOOOOOOVE”, and it was like all 4 of us started the chorus at different times. Total trainwreck. We all started laughing so hard we had to stop, made a half-ass apology to the audience (who were quite versed in our onstage drunkenness at this point as we made it ‘our thing’) and went to start it again…..same thing happened. I just said “F*ck this, sorry Cathy, we’ll do it better next time, I promise!” and went into Tool’s “Sober” which always worked out well for us.

The other time wasn’t so much a trainwreck as it was destroying the PA system. Our drummer had a half electric/half acoustic kit and triggered a bunch of our samples/bass bombs from the pads. We did the soundcheck and when he hit the 808 pad I heard the subs farting out, looked at the soundguy who didn’t seem to care at all and I told my drummer to just dial his output back a pinch. This was a Battle Of The Bands with the prize being put on the bill at a local venue where the international/bigger acts roll through.

We started our set with a sample from the movie Se7en and then some stuff we recorded that came to a crescendo where we’d start playing. Crescendo comes and I hear the speakers just dying, I look over at the soundman and he’s no where to be found. The chorus for the first song comes up, drummer hits that 808 pad and it sounded like the speaker literally farted. Every time he hit the kick drum it sounded like more farting. Then here comes Mr. Soundman running at us waving his hands, “YOU BROKE MY PA!!! YOU’RE PAYING FOR THIS!!!”

There was a good 15 minutes of people shouting at each other and pointing fingers, in front of about 200 people. We ended up finishing the gig without the subs, which sucked because those 808’s were sick. I still see that sound man every few months and he always points and laughingly says “Hey, I remember you! You broke my PA!”


First one that comes to mind, playing drums in a battle of the bands. We had to play on some kind of wooden stage and I didn't have a drum rug with me. Sure enough, the bass drum and hats and everything were sliding away from me the entire time. Might even have a video of that somewhere.

@DrewJD82 - my old band used to cover "Be Quiet and Drive". That was a crowd pleaser for sure.