Bob “The Whale” Miller has been one of Peoria’s premier musicians for years. You can read his biography here (scroll down to the bottom.) He’s fronted and played in many bands through the years and his current group is called, Whale and the Planktones. Their next gig is January 26th at the Hilltop Grill. I’ll be there and so should you! In the meantime, enjoy one of Whale’s memories of a gig from hell! Take it away, Whale!
Location: Somewhere In The Central Illinois Area
Bassist Steve Jones and I were heading south on I 57 to a Saturday wedding reception gig in the Shelbyville area. We started talking about how lucky this incarnation of Ready Steady Go had been in avoiding horrendous gigs. Little did we know we were about to arrive at the white trash shotgun wedding reception from the steaming bowels of hades!
It was naturally in a four story building with no elevator and the "ballroom" was on the 4th floor. Oh well, a handtruck and sweat were part of the job.
We got set up and changed into our stage garb and things went smoothly for the first two sets. During the break, before the last set of music the father of the bride or groom (can't remember) came to ask us the cost of a fourth set of music. We agreed on a price and relaxed in the dressing room for a while.
A short while into our break, the father and some oversized goons in tuxes stormed in and bellowed, "I just paid you sons of bitches a lotta fuckin' money! Get your asses on stage!"
I was grinning and shaking my head at the backstage craziness when of the sloshed apemen got in my face and said: "Something funny big guy?" Oh, puhleeze!
We went onstage,ready to start set number three and get this fiasco over with asap. I noticed skirmishes and threats directed at us breaking out amongst the crowd. Jon Hill, our usually well-mannered, quiet rhythm player took the mike and screamed, ''HEY MOTHAFUCKA'S CHILL OUT!"
I thought we were dead meat...but surprisingly it worked and intimidated the schlocked hayseeds into peacefulness. We finished the set. Without incident.
Sometime after the third set, we found out that the bride was pregnant and the families didn't like each other. Geez, imagine that! By then we were anticipating another set of drudgery and drunken chaos. Then a sloshed-to-the-gills beehived wench (the mother of the bride or groom) crashed into the dressing room and cussed us out and slobbered some irrational threats. Much to my surprise, after her angry, pickled monologue, she slurred out, "How musshh dew eye owe u?"
I smiled and said "I'm sorry you feel that way ma'am, the total check should be for xxxxx dollars."
By then all the guests had left. So we packed it in and headed for home and didn’t even have to play one note from the fourth set that we had settled on, earlier in the evening, with the drunken hayseed dad.
For once the band didn't get stiffed. In fact, we ended up with double pay and a bonus! I phoned our booking agent and he roared with laughter as I recounted this tale to him and he said: "Serves 'em right."
Amen. See you all down the road, soon!
Bonus Photo From Gene Rubbico!
MBIP Contributor, Gene Rubbico was out doing some research for his monthly bar-crawling columns and came across a wood ceiling at Slainte Irish Pub in Baltimore. He asked if I had ever seen a wooden ceiling in a bar, and I don't think I have. But now I'm determined to find one! Here's the photo of the aforementioned wooden ceiling at Slainte. Thanks for the photo Gene, cheers!
Bonus Photo From Lindsay Wengler!
MBIP friend and commenter, Lindsay Wengler was recently in a pinball emporium in California and took a shot of this pinball art. Look closely and you'll see why she sent it in. (Hint: Look to the upper left.) Too funny, thanks for sending this in, Lindsay!