Who were the drunkest performers you saw on stage?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by spencer1, Sep 26, 2019.

  1. Paul b

    Paul b Forum Resident

    New York City
    Seeing Traffic in the early 70's at The Academy of Music in NYC.
    Chris Wood could barely stand and sat on the piano bench for first half of concert. In trying to get up he then fell off stage and was escorted as he left the show from there.
    Winwood apologized for him and band, on WNEW-FM radio, the next day.
    Vic_1957 likes this.
  2. Gammondorf

    Gammondorf Forum Resident

    Boston, MA, USA
    Bobby Keys was playing a showcase in NYC with his new band a few years before he died and tried to drink the nerves away. I've never seen someone looks worse on stage - pale, sweaty and shaky. At one point during the show he threw up behind an amp, wiped his mouth, put that horn to his lips and played the most beautiful solo imaginable. He played perfectly all night, with a lot of sway-ing.

    RIP BK!
    Mr.Sean, hiterss, ExHead and 5 others like this.
  3. Liam Brown

    Liam Brown Forum Resident

    this is about a small canadian group called the stand gt. i was friends with these guys and we were both playing at a festival in ontario sometime in the late 90's. they and i spent the hours before they were due on stage sitting in the locker rooms at the hockey rink they were playing at getting very drunk. i went out front when they got onstage and there was one moment during their set that their singer had the microphone in one hand held up beside his head while he was singing into the empty clip on the mic stand. he didn't notice what he was doing for a longer time than seemed possible. just an incredibly wrecked band, they sounded like a backfiring truck.
  4. irender

    irender Forum Resident

    Do you remember who else were on the bill at that show?
  5. bgart13

    bgart13 Forum Resident

    Mundelein, IL
    I just realized I forgot to mention one of the most notorious drunk performers of all time -- David Yow! I wasn't at this show, but this is a well known incident where he got clubbed in the head with a bottle and was knocked out, but came too and finished the set.
  6. peacekeeper

    peacekeeper Forum Resident

    Jeffrey Lee Pierce november 1988 live in Holland, not a pretty sight.
    Grampire likes this.
  7. Roosevelt Sykes

    Roosevelt Sykes Forum Resident

    Freddie Hubbard.
    Saw him at the tiny Yoshi's in Oakland playing with Bobby Hutcherson on vibes.
    His playing at first was pretty phenomenal -- just ripping. But the bell of his horn starts hitting his mic and instead of adjusting the mic or moving the horn, he kind of starts following the mic as he bumps it, and contorting his body in the process.
    You can tell the band is kind of ticked and this continues for a while. Then he storms off the stage and retreats to the kitchen in the back of the house. While in the kitchen he starts singing, in a drunken fashion and at the top of his lungs, "What is this thing called love?"
    Everyone is looking at each other, kind of funny, but kind of not. Meanwhile, Hutcherson is visibly pissed and hitting his vibes like Hubbard's face is on each of the keys.
    Hubbard then walks back out of the kitchen and then out of the club.
    Yoshi's promises a refund and everyone left, but we hung back and the band, after apologizing, played for about another hour, just jamming for our table. It was pretty awesome.
  8. pool_of_tears

    pool_of_tears Music Appreciator

    Eastern Iowa
  9. rick harper

    rick harper Forum Resident

    michael clarke, a hero from the byrds, playing w/ flying burrito bros., the version w/ Rick Roberts at Georgetown College, Transylvania College (?) KY circa '70. He got busted for drunk driving on the way to the gig. chris hillman: "tighten up on those drums, clarke!"...i've heard that was the bands' last gig...byron berline was w/ them as well...
    Gabba Gabba and D.B. like this.
  10. CatchAsCan

    CatchAsCan Forum Resident

    Ray Davies in 1978. It was his birthday, so maybe that contributed to it. I never saw the Kinks again after that because he was so annoying (though saw him as a solo years later, and he seemed sober).

    Dean Martin on the opening night of the Rat Pack tour. He was semi-incoherent, didn't sing very well, and threw a lit cigarette into the crowd. He left the tour early.
    pudgym likes this.
  11. The Panda

    The Panda Forum Mutant

    Marple, PA, USA
    a guy in college saw Traffic around this time. Wood was embarrassing. Staggering. Walks to the mike, honks the sax, smiles, walks off stage, drinks, staggers back on.
    During Barleycorn, he falls off the stage around 10 feet. Nothing broken, but he's out cold. Winwood finishes the song solo
    squittolo likes this.
  12. Sneaky Pete

    Sneaky Pete Forum Resident

    The crazy thing is Winwood can’t work with Dave Mason but he would tolerate Chris. Go figure.

    Anyhow in some ways Chris was a tragic figure and seemed to be lost outside of Traffic.
  13. boe

    boe Forum Resident

    buffalo ny
    I think it was only $7.50. That would have been in line with ticket prices back then. I remember when the Stones finished their U.S tour in 1975 with a stadium show near Buffalo. Tickets were $12.50 - the first concert I knew of that broke the $10 barrier. Looping back to the topic, the drunkest I’ve ever seen someone on stage is Eric Clapton at the same stadium the year before (w/ 40,ooo people - the Band opened). He stumbled onstage and announced “I’m so f****** drunk I can barely stand.” A few songs in he hit the deck and needed two roadies to get back on his feet. The show was a ramshackle meandering through starts and stops, an appearance by Larry Legs Smith, and thankfully, a few songs by the great Freddie King. The next summer he played a much smaller (10,000) venue nearby and even with Santana opening, so many people had been burned by the 1974 show that you could by tickets at the door. I went on a whim and was glad I did. He opened with a smoking version of Layla and played the best show I’ve seen from him. I also saw Van Morrison in 1979 when he played a desultory 50 minute set, threw up in a bucket, and wandered into the night. But he seemed stone cold sober compared to how blotto Clapton was.
  14. Fullbug

    Fullbug Forum Resident

    The bass player is really angry... you can see him scanning the crowd at the end of the song trying to see who threw the bottle.
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  15. The Panda

    The Panda Forum Mutant

    Marple, PA, USA
    Did you read the book? It tries to be sympathetic to CW, but it makes no excuses for his behavior.
    The book does detail Mason's ego trips as well.
  16. Sneaky Pete

    Sneaky Pete Forum Resident

    No I haven’t but I will eventually. Great band and I’m a fan of both Dave, and Steve’s solo work. Unfortunately Dave’s songwriting muse burned out fast.
  17. Chee

    Chee Forum Resident

    I forgot three more: Stevie Ray around '85 at Red Rocks, Eddie Money but that was in Thousand Oaks non performing, and Bocephus somewhere in Florida.
  18. smith6552

    smith6552 Forum Resident

    Highland Park, IL
    I saw him around the same time in a bar outside of Chicago. He did the same thing and spent the whole show sitting on a stool because he couldn't stand up. He still performed though.
  19. MikeT

    MikeT Prior Forum Cretin and Current Impatient Creep

    New Jersey, USA
    Jerry Jeff Walker - but he put on a great show

    Lynyrd Skynyrd - mostly Ronnie Van Zant. Most of the band was downing Jack Daniels (of which there were multiple bottles on top of the piano) like it was soda. I was in the front row at the Beacon Theater in NY, Ronnie Van Zant could hardly stand up straight. Regardless - a great show.
    squittolo likes this.
  20. MrSka57

    MrSka57 Forum Resident

    Syracuse, New York
    Not drunk but Frankie Valli noticeably coked up as the second half of a bill
    with the original Four Tops opening.
  21. black sheriff

    black sheriff Forum Resident

    Joe Walsh late 80s. He only made it through about 20 minutes of his set, but it was a pretty amazing 20 minutes.
    hiterss likes this.
  22. uncarvedbloke

    uncarvedbloke Forum Resident

    UK - Stoke
    Mark E Smith
    John Cooper Clarke
    hiterss likes this.
  23. Greg(ory)

    Greg(ory) Some Stupid With A Flare Gun

    Guided By Voices in the 90's and The Replacements in the 80's
    squittolo likes this.
  24. sleepjar

    sleepjar Forum Resident

    A buddy of mine told me he once went to a show where Gord was so drunk he fell off his chair mid-song, passed out, and had to be revived and propped back up, while the Canadian audience respectfully applauded.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2019
  25. Guy E

    Guy E Senior Member

    Antalya, Turkey
    The Pogues played Maxwell's in Hoboken, where I worked. It was after the second album... there was a real buzz about the band and the place was packed. Starting early, Shane had a bottle of whiskey in his hand the whole night, on and off stage.

    The crowd was pretty rowdy and after the show there was some kind of scuffle outside the club on 11th Street. The police were called, which was very rare at Maxwell's. I was outside watching the cops bring things under control when Shane walked out the door wearing a derby hat and overcoat, swigging from a bottle of whiskey. A big cop looked at him in complete WTF?!? disbelief. Shane snarled, "Aw jeez, it's the coppers!!!" spun around and ducked back inside.

    I'm glad to hear that personal health has become a priority for him. But that moment on 11th & Washington is a deliciously cinematic memory for me.

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