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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Not to harp on the negative, but sometimes it's nice to share the times when you stumbled...helps others related to their struggles.

With that in mind....


What is your worst experience relating to playing the saxophone?

Anything is in play and since most of us will never meet eachother, feel free to get into the really embarassing stuff- like the time you were growling so hard in a solo you pooped yourself - or the time you auditioned for grad school and they asked you what your primary instrument was (I actually know a guy who fielded that question after a grad school audition). Anything ever happend that made you want to quit?
 

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Prodigal Son and Forum Contributor 2008
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Saxphomoric said:
I'll let you know as soon as I can "play". All I've been doind is practicing and learning. So many long tones I can probably pull an eighteen-wheeler with my lips...
Did you go to Brandeis?
 

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Saxphomoric said:
I'll let you know as soon as I can "play". All I've been doind is practicing and learning. So many long tones I can probably pull an eighteen-wheeler with my lips...
Actually, its the other way around. Pulling 18 wheelers will help your long tones.
 

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I don't have a good story, but my worst experiences all involve playing in niteclubs with professional musicians in NYC. There's never a rehearsal when pros are involved, just a gig (and I'm talking about original music, not standards.) I think these thrown together gigs are an insult to the audience...and I don't get the point of them. I won't play onstage without rehearsal(s) now.
 

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in the same way that every time i come off the bandstand when everything has come together is the best playing experience...........every time i come off the bandstand when i have'nt played well is always the worst experience....even when the audience is happy.
 

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definetely most awkward was playing in a hospital cafeteria with a 5 saxophone + rhythm section playing original funk/rock/jazz. took about 3 tunes before the hospital director came down to ask us to either play quietly or go home...
 

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Can't really beat the leper colony ..:D ;) but.. Parents in law wedding anniversary was pretty appalling. Played jazz standards for approx 2 hours with not even a murmur from the assembled throng. Then at midnight a bagpiper charges in and starts playing "Scotland the Brave" and everyone's suddenly dancing on the tables. Oh yeah, another: old folks home, a "critic" leaps to her feet approx half way through the show, wailing "Oh, why won't they be QUIET, why won't they be QUIET..".. She was dragged away and probably sedated..
 

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RootyTootoot said:
Can't really beat the leper colony ..:D ;)
Yeah, well, we were playing an Okinawan folk song and our idiot band leader starts clapping his hands in large, sweeping gestures, smiles at the audience and says "Now altogether. Everybody. Clap your hands...just like me."

:cool:
 

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gary said:
Yeah, well, we were playing an Okinawan folk song and our idiot band leader starts clapping his hands in large, sweeping gestures, smiles at the audience and says "Now altogether. Everybody. Clap your hands...just like me."

:cool:
Ouch... That must have been embarassing. My worst gig was marching in 120 degree weather in 100% wool uniforms with liners, while playing bari. I almost passed out three or four times, even after drinking gallons of water. We actually lost one of our tuba players fifteen minutes into the parade. He just fell... and rolled... tried to get up, fainted, and cost the school $1500 in repairs. Not a good thing. Needless to say, we never marched in that kind of weather again.
 

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I was playing a "Big Band Medley" at an evening church concert, it was really going well and then I made a stupid, noticable mistake, and was so shocked by it that I actually took the mouthpiece out of my mouth and said "SH*T"....and the congregation heard it. I immediately resumed playing and the rest of the piece was fine......but.....there was no effective way to recover from that kind of blunder. I am reasonably sure that God has "let it pass", but not some of my fellow church members.
 

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Mactenor said:
I was playing a "Big Band Medley" at an evening church concert, it was really going well and then I made a stupid, noticable mistake, and was so shocked by it that I actually took the mouthpiece out of my mouth and said "SH*T"....and the congregation heard it. I immediately resumed playing and the rest of the piece was fine......but.....there was no effective way to recover from that kind of blunder. I am reasonably sure that God has "let it pass", but not some of my fellow church members.
Went through the same thing but without the "SH*T" part (I didn't even have the presence of mind to say that:( )
 

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Mactenor said:
I actually took the mouthpiece out of my mouth and said "SH*T"....and the congregation heard it. I immediately resumed playing and the rest of the piece was fine.

Sound like a few of the songs I used to play in the band "BrainThrust!"
 

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I have a couple of band stories. Once the drunk couple tripped over the floor monitors (over backwards) banging into the harmonica player's stand which was holding all his harmonicas which went flying all over the floor, also hitting the harmonica player's mike stand which punched him in the mouth(he was also the lead singer). I almost laughed since I can't stand the harmonica but I was too busy backing up to escape any damage to my horn. Another embarrassing situation was the old, nasty looking drunk lady who decided to flash her b**bs at the band-I almost threw up in my mouthpiece! Then there was the insane guitar player who went bonkers on the drummer and threated to beat the crap out of him right in the middle of a song.(the argument started because the guitar zoid was taking the tips and giving it to the cute waitress in hopes of impressing her) The drummer started to get up to leave and the guitarzoid swore he would never work in the town again if he left. The drummer decided to stay but asked me at the end of the gig if I would buy him a gun, since he was from Israel.He just ended up leaving the country. I quit the band shortly thereafter. Just recently one of the bands I play in was hired to be the house band for a karioke contest. We were supposed to play before, during and just after the commercials(it was televised) like they do on the Tonight Show. The worst part, however, was we were supposed to pretend we were playing the songs the singers were singing, even though they were using pre-recorded songs. NONE of the songs had sax in them but I was puffing and playing away like there was! My most embarrasing personal moment was when we were playing Jr. Walker's "Hot-cha" for the first time and every time I tried to play the high altissimo notes my old reed would slap shut and all you could here was a loud farty noise each time. Unfortunately, the bass player taped the set!
 

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Mactenor said:
I was playing a "Big Band Medley" at an evening church concert, it was really going well and then I made a stupid, noticable mistake, and was so shocked by it that I actually took the mouthpiece out of my mouth and said "SH*T"....and the congregation heard it. I immediately resumed playing and the rest of the piece was fine......but.....there was no effective way to recover from that kind of blunder. I am reasonably sure that God has "let it pass", but not some of my fellow church members.
\\

Gary would have kicked your a** out and fired you for that classless blunder.:shock:
 

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Back in the '70s I used to travel around the southeastern US playing the 'chitlin' circuit with a funk band. One night we got a last minute gig to play at a club in Arcadia FL, which was about 4 hours from where I lived at the time.

We loaded up the truck, got everybody in and hit the road. It was a cold winter day in Florida (high about 50) and would prove to be a cold night.

We arrived in Arcadia, which was a small agricultural town and headed to the club. This place was amazing....everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) in this club was made out of concrete!!! The stage, the floor, the tables and 'charis', the bar....EVERYTHING!

After setting up, waiting for showtime, we started noticing how cold it was getting in club...when asked about turning up the heat, the 'manager' deadpanned us and said "What heat?" He meant it.

So, an hour later with the inside temperature hovering around 38 degrees, we started playing.

I noticed an interesting thing....there was nobody IN the club, but there were a WHOLE LOT of people just outside the door of the club, and occasionally people would come in, cross to the bar, buy a drink, and take it outside.

Later we learned that this was the modus operandi of the club's main clientele.....poor, migrant farm workers.

4 hours and $7 later, the gig was over. I'll never play a gig in Arcadia again....ever =:)

bigtiny
 

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Apart from fainting in the middle of a set, and being nicked "the fainting sax man" since then in the whole region, my worst experience was playing a set with a band that was still drunk from the day before. You see the audience cripple with every mistake, and I felt so helpless. I was more or less the only sober guy on stage, but there was nothing I could do. I've hit the roads only minutes after I played my last note.
 

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It was a boat gig about ten years ago on July 4th. There's a local tour boat line that our dixieland band used to do a ton of gigs with. They knew us and treated us very well, and though they were long gigs with equipment moves on long piers, they were generally enjoyable. But that ended when a North Carolina company rented out one of the boats for their own 4th of July party on the Chesapeake Bay to catch the local fireworks from the water. When the hostess saw us belly up to the bar prior to leaving port (remember... we're used to these gigs and are very familiar with the crew), she immediately cut us off after the first round and sent us up to play on the top deck; not in the air conditioned lounge. Well, the top deck was uncovered, and though it was late afternoon, it was still in the upper 90's with heavy humidity and not a breeze blowing on the bay. The 70 plus year old trumpet player was the first to pass out. Luckily, we had a doctor on keys (my father, who actually caught him as he was falling) and we got the trumpet player settled onto the piano bench for the rest of the gig. Now this job began in the afternoon (with early set-up) and went well past the fireworks (which didn't even start until around 9:30 pm) and the hostess refused to feed us, and didn't even want us off the unbearable top deck. Now I made do. Though we weren't supposed to mingle or speak to guests, there was an appreciative crowd of younger folks watching us play (most others were in the air conditioned, inside lounge) who realized our plight and kept bringing up drinks and plates of food and leaving them on a table near the band. Of course the hostess wouldn't dare come up top in the sweltering heat, so we were able to get away with that. With the older guys in our group, we were truly lucky no one died. Seriously. Worst gig ever.
 
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