My husband and I spent the afternoon and early evening today with a former bandmate of mine who used to work with my husband. He mentioned the time our band played a party celebrating his 25th wedding anniversary. He was reminded of it because he and his wife will soon be celebrating their 35th anniversary.
It made me think about another gig that took place about 18 or 19 years ago today. I was playing in a hard rock cover band with a guitarist, bass player and drummer. We had a pre-New Year's Eve gig booked at a club in a small town about four hours away. As usual, I drove and my passenger was the drummer: a huge, taciturn man with whom I had absolutely nothing in common.
We arrived at the bar and set up our gear at the far end of the long, rectangular room. As soon as we started playing, it became clear that none of the patrons were the slightest bit interested in the band. They all stayed at the end of the bar where the pool tables were and never even glanced in our direction. We could have set up cardboard cutouts of musicians and played a record over the sound system and it wouldn't have made a lick of difference.
Still, at the end of the night the bar owner asked us if we'd be willing to stay over and play the next night. She couldn't pay us much more, but our bar tab would be included. Young and stupid as we were, we agreed. (It was especially stupid for me because I've always had a strict "no drinking at gigs" rule for myself.)
We all crowded into one motel room that night. As the only woman, I got one of the double beds to myself. Unfortunately, nothing could drown out the sound of all of my bandmates' snoring.
Our drummer was such a notorious drunk that he was barred from every restaurant and bar within a 10-mile radius of his house. With an open bar tab available to him on New Year's Eve, he drank himself into a near stupor before we had gotten halfway through our sets. Every song was way too fast or too slow, depending on the mood he was in when he started it, and nothing could prompt a tempo change once he'd gotten going. Luckily for us, the crowd was just as indifferent as ever.
Once we'd ground through all four sets and gotten our money, the guys had to literally drag the drummer out of the bar. I'd never seen anyone that drunk before. I put my foot down and refused to have to deal with him in my truck all the way back home, so they stuffed him into the bass player's van and the guitarist rode back with me.
I don't recall that I ever had another New Year's Eve gig after that, but I've been to some pretty awful ones that my husband has played.
This year, neither one of us is performing, so we're planning on going to a party at some friends' house. I think that's probably for the best.
What are you planning for New Year's Eve?'