Share your tale of turning lemons into lemonade

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by lfmn16, Jul 29, 2021 at 9:52 AM.

  1. lfmn16


    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Tried posting this on another very active forum, but didn't get a single response. Maybe it's too touchy a subject.

    A thread here reminded me of a time when I got kicked out of a band. This was back in the early 70's and I got kicked out for wanting to play music that would get us gigs. Even though I loved the music we were playing, we were having a tough time getting a lot of bookings. I was playing bass back then and they kicked the guitarist and me out. About a week later, the guitarist gets a call from a friend that has a gig that night, can he play it and does he know any bass players. We wound up joining the band and I was playing with them for the next several years. I paid for my college, my equipment, my car and a ton of beer and unprescribed pharmaceuticals. I started playing full time with that band and that got me started as a "professional" musician.

    Anyone else have a similar story?

    Tales of woe also welcome. Sometimes there just isn't enough sugar to make the lemons sweet. I have another story which doesn't have such a happy ending which I'll share later.
  2. Not quite as exciting as your "lemons to lemonade "post, but our drummer recently had a motorcycle crash ( broken shoulder, collar bone, ribs and perforated lung ).

    So our guitarist and myself started looking for a "temp" drummer. After a few days of knock backs we decided to see if we could change our pop-punk / alt-rock covers set to be "unplugged".

    We now have a really unique set of acoustic versions of songs by Green Day, Blink 182, Alkaline Trio, Queens of the Stoneage, Biffy Clyro ( and others ) that sounds tight, has nice melodic bass lines under the acoustic guitar and twin vocals/harmonies.

    Performing it in a few weeks and will probably keep it going for a several months until our drummer is back to fitness
  3. 1st Bass

    1st Bass

    May 26, 2005
    Forest Grove, OR
    I suspect that, given all the shut-downs, layoffs, closures, etc. of the last 2 years, there will be a whole lot of “lemonade” stories coming.

    In my case, in January of 2020 I was laid off from the job/career I had held, pursued, and excelled in for 33-1/3 years. I decided, on the spot, that I was done with the steel fabrication trades, and that I would not use my (considerable) credentials to find similar employment. Rather, having been making violin-family instruments (Violin, viola, cello and double bass) for 20 years, as a “side-hustle,” I chose to make that my primary vocation.

    Of course the fact that the pandemic would put virtually all of my prospective customers out of work had not dawned on me, as no one knew how far-reaching the shutdowns might become.

    At any rate, my beloved wife persuaded me to change course slightly, and focus on the five-string variants of the violin family.

    The results have been encouraging, and a few of my instruments have sold. Their chorus of satisfied accolades from those customers, online, have begun to attract the attention of professional players, and I am nearly out of “ready-to-ship” handmade 5-string fiddles!

    Good problem to have! I will be 67 in a few months, and I'm not as fast as I used to be, but the quality of my work has continued to improve, so I’m feeling as though the “lemonade” is pretty tasty.

    I have never regretted the decision for a moment. I began six new 5-string fiddles this week, which I hope to complete over the next five months.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2021 at 10:28 AM
    BlueTalon, HolmeBass, ezstep and 19 others like this.
  4. lfmn16


    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Very cool. How about some pics?
    Nuage420 and WI Short Scaler like this.
  5. Lemons to lemonade, two different times stand out.

    Early 90's, we were newly married and long story short I was kicked out of a band, lost alot of equip and $$ in that deal. The equipment loss sucked but the $$ was harder to deal with since we were just starting out in our life. I literally put the bass in the case and shoved it under a bed and didn't touch it for at least 4 years. Two lemonades came from that. 1)my wife and I made the agreement that all $$ I made from gigs was mine to spend as I wish which has turned out well. Never again did I offset my pay on behalf of the band to pay for group bills. And when I was finally coaxed out of retirement by some new people in my world I had a wholly renewed interest.

    In early 2020, the lead singer/cajon player in our band quit again, for the 4th time. This time the guitarist and I decided we were not going to pull him back from the ledge but let him fall on his own. He was a very talented singer so we assumed the group was over. But one person that he had dated early in the band's history was a lady I had known in high school that I'd lost touch with. I knew she was a fabulous singer and one night after running into her and running through a discussion of what a turd that guy was it struck me that maybe she would be interested. I sent a text to our guitarist and got his blessing. The virus shutdowns came at a time where she could spend time learning the cajon and our songs, and we could learn ones she was interested in. It was a year in March '21 that she was our 3rd member. The drama is less, her work ethic and talent are superior to her predecessor and we've have more fun than we could have hoped for. You never know when that opportunity may come along.

    I'll never be famous or a player that anyone is envious of my talents. But the gigs are fun, the $$ is good enough to buy "toys" as I wish and I get to do something that not everyone gets the chance to do so it's all good.
  6. 1st Bass

    1st Bass

    May 26, 2005
    Forest Grove, OR
    It took me a bit to remember how to post pictures, here...but...
    Here are a few pictures of the recently sold instruments, in the order they were made:
    finished%20front_zpsfsygehmb.jpg finished%20back%20side_zpsanbfikpe.jpg
    completed_front.jpg completed_back.jpg
    front_for_provenance.jpg back_for_provenance.jpg
    finished_front(1).jpg finished_back(1).jpg

    The larger five-string instruments have not attracted as much attention, and have not sold, yet. I suppose it is mostly fiddlers who are interested.

    Here is a five-string 16-1/2” viola, though…
    finished_front.jpg finished_back.jpg

    The 5-string Double Bass with removable neck is still not ready to ship. Making a travel-case for it now. (Far from will essentially be a big suitcase, with wheels, handles, etc.)
    And the Bass:
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2021 at 11:39 AM
  7. I know nothing about those type of instruments, but looks like some well done craftmanship was done in their construction.
  8. 1st Bass

    1st Bass

    May 26, 2005
    Forest Grove, OR
    Thanks. Still adding sugar, but the lemonade seems to be coming along. :)
    JRA, WI Short Scaler and lfmn16 like this.
  9. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Not music related but I started a job March 2, 2020 and somehow survived all their layoffs. But it came to a sudden end and I was caught in another big downsize last Friday. Today is Thursday and I got an offer with a small raise! So thanks for keeping me employed through the pandemic and thanks for the new opportunity to compete against the company that laid me off haha. And since this is TalkBass I can say covid pandemic coronavirus vaccine government election and not be reprimanded! So that’s lemonade.

    Also simple syrup makes better lemonade than stirred sugar because it’s easier to control the sweetness. For fun try muddling a mint sprig.
  10. Blues Daddy

    Blues Daddy

    Jul 1, 2016
    LONG STORY: In the mid 1990's I was invited to audition for a wedding/corporate event big band (10 pieces). Before then, I was somewhat well known locally as a competent bassist in a few good 3-5 piece "bar bands" that played mostly blues, southern rock, rockabilly, classic country, etc. (lots of I-IV-V arrangements).

    I was interested in the wedding band opportunity because they always had a lot of high dollar gigs booked and were in demand all over the state. The drummer was a friend of mine and I had previously helped roadie for some of their out of town shows which were all-expenses covered and lots of fun.

    I prepared for the audition which was like 10 pretty simple songs, and was excited to be selected as the new bassist - and then I realized that I needed to immediately learn about 200 songs! Most of the tunes were top-40, pop and rock music that I may have heard on the radio but never really paid attention to - and frankly these were styles that I didn't personally care to listen to so I was unfamiliar with a lot of them.

    I had less than a month before my first gig with the wedding band so I began to studiously work on this extensive catalog of new (to me) bass parts. Every evening after I got home from my day job, after dinner I was in the music room working on a wide variety of bass lines, riffs, styles, patterns, and strange chord progressions (the Stevie Wonder songs alone were making me nuts). It didn't take long for me to get overwhelmed and become frustrated and tired of working on this stuff. Some of the parts seemed technically beyond my current abilities and I began to think of ways that I could simplify the lines or kind of 'fake it till ya make it'. And the worst part was that I was beginning to get resentful of the music itself.

    We had a couple of rehearsals that were so-so on my part and I think some of the other band members were doubtful of my skill set. I was savvy enough to know that any half-assed attempt on my part wouldn't cut it on an actual job so I had a long conversation with the BL and confessed that I may have bitten off more than I could chew and he may want to look into other options for a bassist. But, he was very encouraging and said that I was doing well on at least half of the songs already and even offered to have off-schedule rehearsals with just me, him and the drummer - which we did and helped me quite a bit.

    In the end, I survived (barely) the first several gigs, kept doing my homework and eventually learned all the tunes required. I played with that very successful band for over 15 years, learned a lot more songs, earned a lot of $$$, traveled a bit and had a bunch of good times (oh the band stories!). But the biggest take away for me was the confidence I gained as a bassist that I could properly learn the part (even if I didn't like the song) and provide the necessary support and drive that makes the bass so important to the quality of the product.

    SHORT STORY: I once joined a band that was way out of my comfort zone. It was very hard work for me at the time and I almost threw in the towel. But I stuck with it and in the end my abilities as a musician and skills as a bass instrumentalist grew immensely, and the rewards I attained are memorable and meaningful to me still.
  11. lfmn16


    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Great story.

    I was playing guitar in a band where I felt I was over my head and aways dreading the, "we're going in a different direction" talk. After one gig I actually apologized to the BL for having an off day. She says, "What are you talking about? We love your playing." Then she tells me about the previous guitar players they had and the insane antics they pulled. I started taping the gigs and realized that it was no where near as bad as a I thought. The bottom line was that I was letting a handful of mistakes ruin my entire night.

    Good for you for pushing through.
  12. mrjim123

    mrjim123 Supporting Member

    May 17, 2008
    Years ago we played a gig at a VFW. It was cold outside; might have been New Years Eve. When it was time to load out I discovered that I had locked my keys in my van. So, I stacked my gear outside the VFW's back door, everybody else had left, and I called roadside assistance to unlock my van. While waiting for the guy to show up I paced the parking lot to stay warm. I looked down and saw a one hundred dollar bill laying on the pavement! Not a bad paying gig! :woot:
  13. Obese Chess

    Obese Chess Spicy Big Dad Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2005
    Portland, OR
    My last band fizzled out due to irreconcilable differences over how we thought the band should be run, but it was a really wonderful five years. I got kicked out of the band before in the middle of a tour and then the other members of the band quit in protest of the BL's treatment of me. About an hour after I finished loading my stuff back into my apartment, on a whim, I logged into a music forum to see if anyone needed a bass player. From an hour before - "Metal Band starting in Portland, OR seeks bass player." The guitarist came over a day or two later, showed me some songs, decided he liked me and that I could play, and that was that.
  14. I prefer turning limes into limeade, but ymmv :angel:.
    Nuage420 likes this.
  15. Nuage420

    Nuage420 Supporting Member

    Dec 7, 2014
    You sound like someone who has been zucked a time or two haha
  16. smtp4me


    Sep 30, 2013
    Philadelphia, PA
    In April of 2020, I ruptured the bicep tendon in my left arm. In other words, the tendon that connects your bicep muscle near the elbow, tore completely loose from the bone. This was my fretting arm/hand. Not fun.

    Anywho... after surgery, a recover period, and some physical therapy, I got better but was not immediately able to flip may hand over with palm up, and therefore could not play bass yet. But it was easier to flip my hand over with palm down (does not engage bicep nearly as much). So... I decided to use the time to play piano/keys more than I normally would. I was learning songs whose keyboard parts I always enjoyed - think Billy Powell of Skynyrd, for example - challenging enough to pickup parts for both hands by ear, let alone to play. I can read sheet music but wanted to use the opportunity to continue to sharpen my ear as well as keyboard chops. Lemons to lemonade.

    Edit: I just started playing bass (and acoustic guitar) again about 3 months ago. The hiatus allowed me to come back with a fresh approach. More lemonade.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2021 at 2:26 PM
    TheReceder and Gothic like this.
  17. Crash 56

    Crash 56

    Mar 13, 2014
    Spokane, Wa.
    Those are truly beautiful! What tuning does the five string fiddle use?
  18. Liko


    Mar 30, 2007
    DFW Metro
    My journey as a professional musician (meaning I'm getting paid for it) is all about making lemonade. For the better part of about 15 years, me playing an instrument in front of other people has been all about acoustic guitar in P&W groups at church. Never saw a penny in personal compensation and didn't expect it; it's how I gave back. Never really expected it to go anywhere and that was fine, I have a career that pays for the gear and a nice house to store it, who's to say a man can't have a hobby?

    Cue February 2020. I had just bought an IR loader to run my acoustic through for a better DI tone, and the week I was going to use it, pastor sent a video email to the whole church saying "we're shutting down; no more in-person worship, everything's going to be livestreamed". Bassist moves to his more rural vacation home, says he's not coming back to civilization until COVID is totally over, and so far he's still there, so all the church has called for since along the lines of guitar has been the lead singer/guitarist who was getting paid to run the group for the church (and has other gigs in the afternoons and evenings, a true professional that pays the rent in gig money).

    Well, that sucks. That IR loader's still in the gig bag for my acoustic, which itself has seen the outside of that bag maybe twice in the last year and a half.

    But, maybe three weeks into COVID, my wife finds a post in the local FB group, asking if anyone around plays bass. Hand raised, I take my brand-new-to-me Ibanez BTB to the audition, it craps out halfway through and I finish with the guitarist's bass that he hasn't touched in 3 years. Got the gig, and the Abbey Munk Band had fairly regular gigs anywhere that would have us once the worst lockdown restrictions were lifted. My current primary bass, amp and most of my pedalboard were purchased specifically to play in that band.

    Fast forward again to March-ish 2021. The eponymous frontwoman for the band was getting pushed hard in all directions by her parents, especially with things opening back up, and decided that music had to go. That happened just after we played our last concert at the bar where we had our first concert with me on bass. At our last gig, we just so happened to be opening for another up-and-comer, a little further along in her career, Kadie Lynn. A week or two later, I get a call; turns out Kadie's bookie/manager/drummer had gone through two bassists in as many months (one a druggie, another a political extremist that refused to play a benefit for the FOP local because "f**k the blue"), and the bassist that night was a fill-in that got pretty much the band's full take that night just to show up. He heard Abbey Munk Band broke up, sorry about that brother, but would I be interested in auditioning for Kadie Lynn? Another hell of a first impression later (tell you that story some other time) and a couple gigs, the rest of the band huddles, and tell me the gig's mine if I want it.

    The rest, as they often say, is history.
    BlueTalon, bbh, lfmn16 and 1 other person like this.
  19. i worked with a band in the mid 70’s right after I got married. The band was pretty good with a great singer and front man, the gigs were good, and paid enough to by a house. After about 4 months, I walked into the dressing room at a gig and saw the drummer and organist shooting up. I had no clue I was working with drug addicts and immediately quit after the gig, but I had had a new wife and a mortgage. So that launched my career as a financial advisor that lasted of 40 years.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2021 at 3:15 PM
  20. Peteyboy


    Apr 2, 2018
    Los Angeles
    When I was 28 I died and they subbed in a clone who was better than the original in every way. And, in a classic case of robbing Peter to pay Paul, my narrative was stolen and exploited by some Englishman. Kookookachoo.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2021 at 2:50 PM
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Jul 30, 2021

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