I saw 'em twice. I'm that kind of guy. Once was at a place in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Had to be fall of 1992. fIREHOSE was doing a 50 states, 50 days tour, and this was the Sioux Falls date, with Madder Rose the first of three bands. Bassist had a natural Jazz bass with a 45rpm record as a pickguard, which looked way cool.
Anyway, he's bomping on the low E and it goes pop. This is odd. Bass strings last a while. But, he moves it up an octave on the A string and goes to town, which really brought the song forward, put more life into it.
Then the song was over.
And he had to beg, borrow or steal a replacement bass or a spare bass string so he could continue the set. Now, 15 years after the events, I can say it felt like 10 minutes before the set continued with him carrying someone's black P-bass.
The next time I saw 'em was at Nick's in West Lafayette, IN. They were headlining there. And they had another guy on bass.
The Madder Rose bassist had the talent, but didn't have the spares. He sucked.
If you haven't been burned by this one, you haven't been playing out. There will eventually be something that you needed that you don't have. So, in your gig bag or gear box or whatever you use to transport your stuff, you should have spares of
- power adapters and/or 9-volt batteries (does anything other than musical gear run on 9-volts anymore?)
- straps (yup, I've forgotten the strap at least once)
- effects pedals, especially if they're necessary for what you do
To finish the story, fIREHOSE is playing and Mike Watt pops the G of his big blue Thunderbird. Ever see how hard he bangs his bass? With him, I'm not surprised. But Mike had a spare string, so he changes it. (I have that string somewhere in my garage.) But first, he introduces George Hurley, who does a far better drum solo than you'd expect from a punk band, and after he's tuned, he stands there, between Greg Norton and me, then looks at me and nods over at the drum kit, as if to say "Hey, that's my drummer. Isn't he cool?"
He had his stuff together. He had the spares. He had a plan. He kept the show rolling. He didn't suck.