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mrmando

Screwed in the name of ministry

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This is a variation on the "gigs from hell" thread that seems to crop up on every music-related discussion board.

Just wondering how many of us have ever been involved in a CCM band in a past life, or in some band that played gigs for Christian promoters, and gotten screwed in one way or another by managers, promoters, or the like.

I have my own tale to tell, but it's still ongoing so it might be a while before I can prudently share it.

I'm having a good time here in Athens, but I do miss my cyberchums.

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Back in the mid-'80s, when Steve Taylor was the cover story in The Wittenburg Door, he had a line to the effect that (paraphrasing from distant memory), "Most of the guys in my band are veterans of secular bands, so they are used to getting screwed, but they are not used to people expecting them to smile while it happens."

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Two come to mind, but I'm sure there are more... One secular the other nice and churchy

Secular: 1987. My first road trip/tour opening for Dreams So Real in Atlanta at a place I believe was called the Metroplex (? an old train station converted into a club) Very little money for our band of schlubs, but we were guaranteed "first class" sleeping arrangements for the evening. Terrible show only to be ushered to our promised "suite", a dope and orgy room upstairs with two couches and plenty of human... uh...waste, around. Two nights later. Greenville (?), South Carolina a club reminiscent of Bob's Country Bunker that was used one night a week for "alternative" acts. Unfortunately we were booked on the wrong night and played a raging set to drunken yahoos and truck drivers who hollered expletives for the duration. No flying bottles, but close. We packed up and hauled butt outta there!

Church: Summer 1994. Our praise and worship trio was booked to play a church in central Florida months in advance. The growing congregation was anxiously awaiting the ministry time we were told. Unfortunately, about a month prior to our concert, the church had been to some Rodney Howard Browne meetings and were in the midst of a glorious "revival". We arrived two hours early for setup, only to open the sanctuary door (with guitars in hand) to a service already in progress with folks laughing, sprawled on the floor, twitching, etc... and some geezer ranting through a hot, hot mic. After about 45 awkward minutes sitting in the back with our gear, while the proceedings continued to get more and more bizarre, some elders approached us and condescendingly told us that our show was being preempted by the "spirit". Also since it was apparent we hadn't been "flowing in the river", they didnt want us to quench the holy ghost. For some unknown reason, i argued with them and they finally agreed to let us play... around 10:30pm (!) after the laughing sputtered out and the people had been scooped up off the floor. With arms tightly folded, this annointed gang quietly tolerated our tunes... until the geezer could take it no longer and felt impressed to interupt with prophecy and prayer... The instruments were sheepishly put away and we were prayed for for about an hour. "Get in the river!!!" laugh.gif

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Don Francisco has a song about this on his VERY ANGRY "Vision of the Valley" album. It's cutting and deep, and I can't remember the title or the lyrics right now... smile.gif

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Not a story of my own but an excerpt i read on the internet here (http://www.skeypub.com/SimpIntro.pdf

-you need adobe reader) from Mark Solomon (of The Crucified and Stavesacre fame), he talks about his encounter with the youth pastor at a church that stavesacre was playing at and how he gave him a hard time for getting in the way of 'preaching the gospel', interesting to see how the incident played out from the point of view of the band and what happened when the youth pastor ran into Solomon again.

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I kind of roadied / played the (very) odd bit of guitar / operated the backing tracks for a Hip-Hop band back in the early 90s - they were pretty much the first British Christian Hip Hop band, and being white and from Yorkshire didn't really help.

The years subsequently have dulled the memories of most of the bad gigs, but two still shine through. The first was in a massive church that had literally less than ten people turn up. Most of them stayed at the back and did nothing. Two of them came right to the front and used th gaps between songs to ask the DJ if he had any rave, particularly any Toxic Two - which he didn't and wouldn't have played if he did. At the end of the gig the organiser, rather than apologising for failing to attract anyone to the gig and having us perform to an almost totally empty room, moaned instead about how much we charged as he begrudgingly paid us (oh and there was another gig at a festival which still somehow runs where they gave us a cheque and then a while later cancelled all the artists cheques!)

The other story was the gig where the crowd was pretty hostile, although it wasn't until we were clearing up afterwards that we found the coins that had been thrown at the stage. Nice.

Matt

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A few years ago, there was a big Christian music concert/festival in Omaha. There was the main stage, which featured bands like Christafari and Petra (who were headlining). Then there was the side stage, which was being sponsored by this really cool Christian music store, and featured Upside Down Room, MxPx, and Stavesacre.

Everything went great until Stavesacre's set. Shortly after they started playing, Petra took to the main stage, and apparently fearing that another band might distract from their set, the promoters made Stavesacre stop playing after 15 minutes (nevermind that 99% of the people at the side stage probably had no interest in seeing Petra at all). Stavesacre played one last "song" (it was actually a medley of 3 songs) and then got off the stage. I talked to Mark Salomon after he got off stage, and needless to say, he was quite bitter about it.

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The Don Francisco song I mentioned above is called Righteous Disgrace, and here are the lyrics, courtesy of DonFrancisco.com:

Righteous Disgrace                                                                                 

by Don Francisco and Michael Banta                                                                             

Lord, You and I know that

I gave 'em everything I had

Now I'm headin' for home,

but again I'm feelin' angry and sad

I did my best to preach Your Word and sing

But they ripped off part of the offering

When your dealing' with your brothers,

you shouldn't have to feel so bad

Lord, I'm gonna keep tryin'

caue Your Body's in desperate need

But I get so tired of the abuse

the deceit, and the greed

It's what I expect from the world outside

But not from the men

who're preparing Your Bride

And they keep gettin' fatter

While the sheep are just left to bleed

It's a righteous disgrace, it's a sin and a shame

All of this garbage in Jesus' name

I know we have to wait for You

to burn up the chaff

But what can we do for the sheep

When the wolves are on full-time staff?

Lord, I want to thank you

for every godly women and man--

For every pastor with a shepard's heart

and clean, lovin' hands

Give 'em the strength that they need today

Answer every single prayer they pray

But come like a fire, Lord, and burn the rest away

Lord, You and I

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"If you're doin' business with a religious son of a bitch, get it in writing. His word isn't worth s***, not with the Good Lord tellin' him how to f*** you on the deal."

--William S. Burroughs

Found this quote attributed to Burroughs in several places. What I want to know is when he ever did business with a religious son of a bitch.

Love the Don Francisco line about the wolves on full-time staff.

Edited by mrmando

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I remember playing this show a few years ago at a church. I always felt wierd playing shows at places where I didn't know the people putting the show on directly if it was a church. But some other bands I was friends with were playing too.

Anyways we get there and the youth pastor was a total jerk. He was said something like if we played over our set time he would make sure we get shut down and just had the worst attitude I have ever seen in Youth Pastor. And right before the show he had some of the kids spray dye his hair blue or green or something. And then of course 200 kids show up and they decided not to pay the bands a cent.

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My band played a gig at a ("Christian") club in a city 30 minutes from where we live...at the end of the show, we went to the owner to get paid, and he said: "So, what happened, guys? Why didn't you bring anyone out to see you?" We had been the opening band (due to other bands getting there late, we played for maybe 20 minutes, and the only kids there to see any of the bands were youth group kids who would have shown up no matter what). He paid us approximately eight dollars. That was disappointing.

Then again, we once got paid $700 for playing for less than an hour at a mega-church...

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Um...I do feel for you guys, getting screwed and all, especially by those who should be demonstrating Christ's love...but what's the point of this thread? Just to complain? That doesn't seem very constructive. While I've never played a "Christian gig", I've been through a Christian college and have my share of cynicism. Maybe we should be looking into the roots of this cynicism and that which causes it. What's the best way to respond to getting screwed like this. It's happened to all of us...if not in music performance, then in something else. Or we could ask how youth pastors and others justify their behaviour. Give it some thought...

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Um, Jeff, the point of this thread was to see what the general level of bad-gig experience is among the group. This helps me to assess whether what I've been through in Athens the past two weeks is just an ordinary bad gig or the hellaciously Mephistophelian seventh-level-of-Hades gig I believe it to be. It helps me decide whether I should just blow off the promoter/manager or try to warn other musicians about him.

I've played lots of Christian gigs and most of them have been great. I have to believe the majority of most musicians' gigs are positive experiences -- else why keep doing it? The real cynics are the guys who screw you and then say, "Welcome to the Christian music industry" (a phrase I've actually heard in the past week), not the musicians who take a licking and come back for more.

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