Monday, August 8, 2011

My Worst Gig Ever - Tina Weymouth, Talking Heads

Here's another of those celebrity gig horror stories, this time from Tina Weymouth, the bass player from Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club. In it she describes the last gig with Heads in 1984, which it turns out fell far below anyone's expectations, as well as a disaster gig in New York. You can read more "worst gigs" at the Guardian.co.uk.
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"Our supreme Spinal Tap moment was with Tom Tom Club. They were celebrating the Howl! Festival in New York. We agreed to do it because we thought it'd be great to do something for the community and the arts. The opening act was a band called Mini Kiss: a group of dwarfs, or midgets … little people, whichever is the politically correct way of saying it … dressed in full outfits and makeup, but with no instruments, lip-synching to Kiss songs. By the time we went on, most of the 30 people had left. The band was almost larger than the audience. And we went out there and played our hearts out. At the end of the gig our crew backed our rental truck into the marquee and every penny we made had to go to the replacement of that. I can laugh about it now, but at the time it was almost tragic.

The absolute worst gig ever was the last Talking Heads show. We were headlining this tour in Australia and New Zealand. Opening for us were bands like Simple Minds, INXS, Eurythmics, B52's, Pretenders … It was a phenomenal lineup, and we were the headliners, and it was a fantastic opportunity. But we couldn't go on stage because David Byrne, without telling anyone, had let on a couple of crazy girls – who I suppose had their hearts in the right place – who were trying to promote this freedom for Maori people thing, but it was the wrong place and the wrong time. People were booing and throwing things at them, and that was difficult enough. Anyway, we finally got on stage and we were five songs into the show when David Byrne ran off and refused to come back on. He said: "I'm not going to play for a bunch of people dancing in the mud." Go figure. David had a lot of temper tantrums when he got to be a big star. He couldn't stop it; fame and the whole diva thing was just overwhelming for him.

There was meant to be a great big party afterwards and David didn't even show up. It was just this really sad, dismal affair where people got quietly drunk in the corner. The tour ended not with a bang but a whimper. It was awful that everything we'd been working towards ended like that."

Care to share any of your own "worst gigs ever"? Either post a comment or email them to me.
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