The response was great, and I started writing these tales weekly. If you really think about it, strange stuff is happening to musicians all the time.
I finally started to write crazy gig stories again after a long hiatus, which has been super fun. I’ve got many new ones to share, including several from the world of teaching, but for now I present you with some of the stranger ones from the past. Enjoy!
In what may quite possibly be the worst gig story ever, I attempt to recall a very surreal night several years ago in words and hand-drawn pictures. Sometimes you drive home from a gig listening to the radio and smiling. Sometimes your car starts on fire and exploded on the south side of Chicago as you run screaming down the Interstate. This story is about the latter.
Sending a bass section into a hysterical fit of the giggles during a performance is not exactly the hardest thing to do, but I remember a moment a few years ago that will definitely stay with me for years to come.
I probably shouldn’t have put the exact orchestra in which this happened in the post (I stopped doing that eventually). This is one of my second-hand stories (but from a credible source). This documents a very funny series of events surrounding a performance of Mahler’s Second Symphony with the Louisville Orchestra. Contains some…ahem…adult humor.
Some places just aren’t built for classical music concerts. This story is about a curious tradition of the Spoleto USA Festival–an evening concert on the edge of a massive swamp. Darkness…bright lights…giant swamp…read the story to find out what kind of a horror show these factors produce when combined.
Kind of precursor to Road Warrior Without an Expense Account, this story documents some of the complete insanity that I went through as a freelance musician, documenting my nutso drives from Memphis to Milwaukee in the middle of the night. This is an early post of mine, and my writing certainly got better over time, but it’s describing a pretty surreal experience.
Sometimes Russian musicians take over commercial airliners and fly them. I’m not kidding.
I heard this great audition story a few years ago firsthand from the people who were involved. This was one of the rare times where I actually knew both the committee members and the audition candidate in this story.
- Who Knifed Me In The Face?
- The Babbling Conductor
- Ripping Off Your Teachers
- Bye Bye Basses
- They’re Throwing Knives at us in the Pit!
- Falling Off The Stage
- Bugs Bunny is My Mortal Enemy
- Panic on the Podium
- Messing with the Trumpets is Fun
- They Locked Me Inside and Made Me Conduct Violas!
- Massive Musical Disaster in the Nutcracker Pit
- My Big Stupid Mouth
- Flowers for Linda Eder
- You’ll Never Play in This Orchestra Again!
- Look Out! Here Come the Violas…
- My Big Moment
- The Tale of the White Jacket
- You Play Solo…I Dance!
- Georg Solti and the Kitchen
- Concert Programming, Idiot-Style
- My Fancy Dancing
I’ve also done This American Life-ish audio versions of some of these stories. I had a great time putting these together and might tackle more audio renditions in the future.