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I drove to a jam Monday night. Pretty far from home. I sat there for some time and listened to people play. After the first set was a little break so some different players could get on stage. In the dim light I opened my tenor case and put the horn together. My anticipation was high having not played out for a while. Been sheddin' fiercely of late.

A palpable, physical jolt courses through my body when it appears my mouthpiece is not there! DAMN! Whatta stupid idiot ,oh well, fuggit. Go home,I guess. But then a repreive! It slipped under some junk in the case and YES! I found it! I get to play now. All was lost and then redeemed in a private, intense inner moment.

I sorta tripped on the depth of dissapointment in that instant. And the near elation after finding the 'piece. Heck, it was just a jam, no biggie. I've gone lotsa places and forgotten many things. Left my oars at home once on a kayaking trip. Honest. But it didn't give me that piercing through the torso feeling like Monday night.

I played pretty well. Very centered in the moment and yet very detached. There seemed to be great amounts of space between notes and my mental process was very clear. Maybe some of the Aebersolds are sinking in. Thanks Jamie.
 

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Your story haunts me always. I keep a back up EVERYTHING in my case for just these moments.
 

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Forgetting!

This disease eventually affects us all. Have a listen!!

http://www.youtube.com:80/watch?v=9yN-6PbqAPM


Saw Tom in concert a few weeks back.



58tenor said:
I drove to a jam Monday night. Pretty far from home. I sat there for some time and listened to people play. After the first set was a little break so some different players could get on stage. In the dim light I opened my tenor case and put the horn together. My anticipation was high having not played out for a while. Been sheddin' fiercely of late.

A palpable, physical jolt courses through my body when it appears my mouthpiece is not there! DAMN! Whatta stupid idiot ,oh well, fuggit. Go home,I guess. But then a repreive! It slipped under some junk in the case and YES! I found it! I get to play now. All was lost and then redeemed in a private, intense inner moment.

I sorta tripped on the depth of dissapointment in that instant. And the near elation after finding the 'piece. Heck, it was just a jam, no biggie. I've gone lotsa places and forgotten many things. Left my oars at home once on a kayaking trip. Honest. But it didn't give me that piercing through the torso feeling like Monday night.

I played pretty well. Very centered in the moment and yet very detached. There seemed to be great amounts of space between notes and my mental process was very clear. Maybe some of the Aebersolds are sinking in. Thanks Jamie.
 

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So true 58,OCD every time going to play and worse packing up after, trying not to leave anything in the club.
Performance anxiety is bad enough, but not having your mouthpiece?damn. Bet you played great after that.
 

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I remember playing in a session when a member of the audience walked up, reached up into the bell of my tenor and pulled out a tea-towel!
 

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I get so neurotic about forgetting my mouthpiece or neck that I tend to almost always pull off the the side of the road a few blocks from my house to double check. Also, I have found that the only time I have left anything behind after a gig is when others "help" my pack up. I have a system for packing up (this first, that second, this next, etc) and when I get "help" I lose track of what has been packed and what has not.
 

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On our last private party job we were deploying a lot of new equipment, and our minds (mine and those of my lovely wife) were concentrated on packing those things that we had never taken to a job before. Our kit is a tight fit in our Toyota Sienna, and the final load-out is always a complicated affair, with everything having to fit in just so.

We arrive at the venue four hours early, after eating a late lunch, and start the load-out onto the dance floor. Generally, we take the "odds and ends" in first, along with the piano and sound stuff, and only then haul in the tubs that contain "the book" (nine hundred arrangements). Once all of that is done, we then concentrate on setting up the stands and lights, the power system and the basics of the sound system.

Last of all for the sound system is the calibration of the mikes (which only takes a minute or two, along with one person to play the horn, in this case me). So, I start with the usual trouble mike, between Trp I and Trp II, point my clarinet at the windscreen and play - nothing. I ask my wife if the gain is turned up, and she says that it is, halfway. I ask her to boost it a bit and try again. Again - nothing.

I walk back to our "sound board", and only then do I see the problem. Our Yamaha "sub mixer" board, which feeds all of our horn instrumental mike output into one channel on the main PA head, is not there.

All of the microphones (rigged by me) were present and accounted for, with the cables run back to where they would have plugged into the Yamaha board. But, the board itself and the cabling to the PA head (set up by my lovely wife using a color matching system on everything) was simply not there.

Lucky for us, our house was only an hour away and we had more than two hours to spare. I completed the setup while she drove cross-town through the entire metro Houston area to the house to pick up and retrieve the board.

While this was happening, I was in a panic because I could not find the "long" sound cord to allow for the FOH right hand speaker cabinet to be rigged without an unsightly cable running through everything. The discovery of that cable occurred only moments before she would have left the house with the sub mixer; it was under the bag containing my formal wear.

Early on, I have tried to systemize my loading, performance needs, and so forth, this in order to ensure that all of the hundreds of things needed for a performance (and they range right up there) are at the gig when they need to be.

Aside from the obvious (horns, music, clothing, stands), you have to plan around the normal "things that go wrong": Among them:

• Not enough black ties/some other clothing item. This is the responsibility of the sidemen, but not one that I'll let slip by (presentation is important with about half of our clients.) So, there are six spares in a compartment in the "gig bag" (which only gets brought to jobs) Also included are six pairs of pantihose in black (three different sizes), for when a girl singer has a collision with a sharp edge just before going on stage. And socks - three pairs of black socks.

• Neckstraps. I've actually had one break during a gig (an over the shoulder one for the baritone) so I had a head start with this one. I keep one alto/tenor and one baritone Hyman style strap in my alto case cover (which generally only goes to jobs). Using a Hyman, narrow though it may be, beats using a pair of wire coat hangers twisted together, which is what I did when my baritone setup failed.

• Reeds. This should be a no brainer for any sax player, but I've had some of the best guys I've employed turn up with one reed (which they then managed to break) for a job. I have a "medium" assortment of clarinet, bass clarinet (and tenor in a pinch), alto and baritone sax reeds in my Yamaha baritone case, kept below the flute case in its slot. (I also dock them for the price of the reeds from their pay out at the end of the job.)

• Flashlights. This is an old sound guy recommendation, and one that you ignore at your peril. Fixing a sound problem in a darkened venue is no treat, and having a few small bright flashlights on hand makes it very easy to do. We have recently "restandardized" on the new Eveready triple LED lights powered by two AA batteries, a lot of light output over a broad area in a small package, and they burn a long time. They are scattered about over several "containers" (sound system cables, mike box, "the SOTSDO bag" (a carry all administrative briefcase) and in my baritone case. Real life savers.

• Cabling. I have a rolling microphone stand bag that has two large pockets, one at each end. Into these pockets go the long speaker cabinet cables. Since we would never use them at a rehearsal, and only occasionally at a job, they are kept in a container that only goes to jobs.

• The cooler. One of the items in our contract is a supply of ice water to be provided with glasses. Occasionally, the venue staff overlook this one, so I keep a small cooler with bottled water in the vocalist area, that way ensuring that no one dries up while we are waiting for the water to arrive.

Never in a million years did I think that I would be carting around a selection of pantyhose as part of my musical life, but on more than one occasion, they have kept one of my girl singers from going out on stage with a big white blotch showing on her legs. There's always something waiting around the corner to bite you, and thinking ahead helps.

I have an extensive checklist of what to bring all accumulated on my PDA, but sometimes when we are in a rush it doesn't get used. So, keeping the emergency stuff as part of our "go bag" for jobs ensures that, if the normal performance stuff is transported to the job, so too are the emergency items.

However, one thing you cannot plan against, as I discovered about three years ago on a downtown Houston gig. I let my wife park the van (we were at a downtown hotel with limited on site parking, and a three stage path to the ballroom, hard to negotiate with our gear) on the street, and she promptly did so in a valet parking zone.

Even with that, we almost made it out to the van after the job before it was towed. We saw it from the front steps of the hotel, way off in the distance, but by the time we had walked there it was off to the impound lot. So, now I park the van and she does the setup instead. A lot cheaper in the long run...
 

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Forum Contributor 2015, SOTW Better late than neve
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Last Monday I walked out of the building from my day job to go to a rehearsal. The door automaticaly locks behind me after 6pm. Woops, I left my sax in the office and I don't have a key. I took it inside because it was too hot out to leave it in the trunk. Duh! Senior moment I guess. I had to bang on the door till someone let me back in.
 

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Leon said:
I get so neurotic about forgetting my mouthpiece or neck that I tend to almost always pull off the the side of the road a few blocks from my house to double check. Also, I have found that the only time I have left anything behind after a gig is when others "help" my pack up. I have a system for packing up (this first, that second, this next, etc) and when I get "help" I lose track of what has been packed and what has not.
Man, this could be me! I have given up on putting my sax in the trunk just so I can periodically reassure myself that I still have it.
 

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Leon said:
I get so neurotic about forgetting my mouthpiece or neck that I tend to almost always pull off the the side of the road a few blocks from my house to double check..
LOL, I do the same thing. Actually, I keep mic cables, stands, a bag with mics, and other sound equipment for the band in my trunk all the time, so it's unlikely I'll forget that sort of thing. I also keep a spare mpc (one that I won't mind playing) in a separate bag that is always in the car. So as long as I remember to put the sax in, I'm all set.
 

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docformat said:
I remember playing in a session when a member of the audience walked up, reached up into the bell of my tenor and pulled out a tea-towel!
One time a jazz festival where I was playing tenor, clarient, and bass clarinet, so as we were walking up to the stage i rolled my music up and slid it in the bell of my tenor so i could take the other instruments. Once I got there and positioned everything, i had completely forgotten what i did with my music and freaked out! luckilly someone else noticed beofre the first song started.

and ANOTHER time just before we started to play, the alto player next to me told me i had a water bottel in my bell....MAN! how does this happen!? Its those stupid clarinets and sax/clarient stands fault, i never had enough hands.
 

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The only thing I've done is forget a neckstrap for a gig. I used a woman's purse strap the whole night. I had to tie a knot in it to make it the right length.

Ramsey, I did the same thing at the North Texas Jazz Fest because I had to carry Alto, Soprano, Flute, and Clarinet.
 

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OK - My turn

I've got two stories for you all. Enjoy

1 - I drive over an hour from home on a rainy evening to play a little dive bar out in the boondocks.
After arrival and meeting up with the rest of the band we go inside to see where and how we're going to set up.
Back to the van to start unloading equipment.
I open the back door on the van and fill with terror.
I FORGOT EVERYTHING !!! I usually get in the van, drive around back to my garage to load up and then leave for a job.
I completely FORGOT to stop in the garage and drove the whole way to the job with NOTHING !!
And I don't mean just a sax, I play keyboards and saxes in this band.
Band mates had a good laugh and I got two extra trips down dark rainy back roads at high speeds to go get my stuff and return.
Managed to start only a few minutes late.

2 - I'm sitting at home eating a nice dinner with the family when the phone rings.
It's the guitar player from the band calling to causally ask what I was doing.
Told him I was enjoying a nice evening with the family and asked him what he was up to.
He says "Oh nothing really, just getting ready to play this job."
WHAT !?!?!?!? WE HAVE A JOB ?!?!?!
I completely forgot and of course it's over an hour away.
I got there half way through the first set and the band was nice enough to put a chair on stage with a sign that said "Keyboard player wanted".
Oooops.
 

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That makes me feel a whole lot better about my embarrasing moment.

I often arrive "just in time", but for once I showing up recently in good time for an outside community band show for a local church with my wife and kids in tow (they like to listen when they get the chance, for reasons that cant be musical).

I had remembered to pack seats and sunbrellas for the wife and children, a nice heavy windproof stand etc, but totally forgot to bring my horn:(

Took half as long to get home and back with the horn as it did to get there in the first place. Doing over 100 in the 80 zone.


...100mph vs 80kmh
 

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(This thread reads like "Can You Top This?").

On one trip the trombone player rushed to Wal-Mart to get a pair of grey trousers, which he had forgotten, only to bump into the bandleader coming out of Wal-Mart. He had forgotten the band ties.

But top this one. Wait until it's your passport. A true story that happened to me.

http://www.alstevens.com/essays.html#E38
 

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I always bring an extra sax to each gig due to many mishaps over the years. Once I forgot a neck strap and played with the bottom of the sax sitting on a barstool all night. Just this past Sunday I left all my sheet music for the Worship service in the guitar case of the guitar I was practicing with all week. I decided Sunday morning to take a different guitar. I had to look off the music of one of the singers in front of me. I once lost a Brilhart Ebolin mouthpiece in the bell of my sax and ended up buying another one before I discoverd the old one.
 

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Clarinet player Chuck Hedges has a passport story of his own. He was traveling in Europe on a multi-country tour with Wild Bill. Somewhere along the way drummer Barrett Deems announced that he lost his passport. Chuck was given the job of helping Barrett get a replacement. The details of that story are harrowing. It took a couple of days. Replacing a lost passport in a foreign country makes my story read like a walk in the park.

After all that hassle (and you had to know Barrett to appreciate how it must have gone), Barrett got his replacement passport, and they were on their way. The next night in the next country in the hotel room, Barrett found his lost passport in his other jacket pocket.

Chuck wanted to kill him.
 

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I was playing a gig last Sunday, came back from our break just ready to start the second set. I sat down, had my horn ready to play, or so I thought. The conductor counted off, I went to stick my horn in my mouth and realized that my mouthpiece cap was still on. We only had a crowd of 400 people or so and I doubt too many people noticed, but it was embarassing enough to make it feel like everybody noticed.
 

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The one thing that bites us on about every other job is that the client forgets to tell the venue that we need twenty two chairs without arms. Often, the "chairs" part gets communicated just fine, but not the number and the "without arms" part.

So, when arriving at the venue, that's always the first question to the overworked and underpaid catering staff boss. The answers have ranged from "Over there...", pointing to a spot on the other end of a huge convention center (and no cart to move them) to "Chairs? What chairs?" to "Here you go..." with a wave of a hand towards a veritable sea of chairs, all of which are provided with arms. (This last one was the fault of the client, who thought that we would be more comfortable in chairs with cushions and backs.)

Even worse is the venue that provides the chairs...only carts them in about five minutes to downbeat.

Other fun "I forgot" items are not knowing where the power outlets are located, and not knowing where the circuit breakers for those outlets are located; not prearranging how and where the band will be fed, and interfacing with "party planners" who look at your flat black sound system cabinets and stands, and then start throwing a fit because they don't match the decor scheme they have slaved over for months; having the catering contractor set up their equipment such that it blocks access to the stage and you can't make your set up, and having the venue schedule two large events in the same subdivided space, which means you are up against the bleed-through sound from three guitars and a drum kit, all amplified to the max.

It was pretty hectic for the first year or so, until I finally hammered out the contract that we currently use. Some things (particularly the last one) even the client doesn't have any way of controlling, but if you cover all of the rest up front, and then scrupulously worry about it at the time of the job, you can usually get by.

One thing you can't worry about in advance is finding lost trombone players at the end of a break. A couple of the guys who play for me are pretty old, and apparently large hotels confuse them. I have one of the boy singers "sweep" the rest rooms on the floor we are on, just to chase them all back to the band stand on time.

One other good thing to remember to do: get some sort of ID on all of your property that you use for musical purposes. I have a band property label that states "Property of Sounds Of The South Dance Orchestra" with a contact telephone number, plus a hidden stamping of my initials and my Social Security number (from a special tool steel device I got many years ago) on anything over $10.00 in value. The stamping is almost microscopic but, if you know where it is, easy enough to point out to someone who's trying to make off with your sound system; once that's brought to their attention, they always say "Oh, I guess I was wrong" and drop the dispute. Even stuff like mike cables gets the stamp in a couple of places.

The property labels are a old idea, and one that had to be changed recently when my son mismanaged the installation of his DSL telephone line to our house (he is on the road about 70% of the time, and works out of our house for the remainder.) He allowed the phone guy to just change one of our two current land lines to the DSL, unfortunately the one that I had used on all of our promotional materials, web site, handouts and (really a pain) on every last property label. Quite a task to get them all replaced in orderly fashion.
 
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