Cover Band Soap Opera: Lead Singer Leaves the Stage; I am Forced to Sing, Practically at Gunpoint

A while back, I blogged about a time when our lead singer was sick and his voice just gave out about 10 minutes into a four-hour show. Well, this past Saturday gave me flashbacks to then. My cover band was playing a show on Saturday night in Cincinnati and the lead singer was/is battling a “toothache from hell.” So our gig was supposed to last until 2 a.m., but at 1:30, our singer simply declared he was “done.” The announcement was made in the microphone and that was that.

The final song ends (and, yes, it was “Zombie,” as always) and the lead singer up and leaves the bar. Our bassist tells the drummer and I everything is going to be OK and that we’ll just tell the bar owner to take $100 off our price for the night in exchange for this hassle. Uh … well that plan didn’t work.

I wanna rock right now
I’m Chuck and I came to get down

The plan seemed good until the bar owner walked up and whispered some words into the bassist’s ears. The bassist turns to me, spooked, and says “Chuck, you have to sing right now. I’m not kidding, dude, you need to sing like right now or we’re all dead men.”

OK … but what about the lyrics? And what about how I can’t really sing? Taking a quick look over the set list, I pick out a few songs that I can barely pull off: “Alive,” “Margaritaville,” “Johnny B Goode,” “I Want to Be Sedated.” So off we go. I make an explanation to the crowd and then set off into some Pearl Jam.

And what happens? The crowd digs it. They seem to realize instantly that our bus no longer has a driver, and they’re singing along with me, dancing more than before, trying to show some enthusiasm and keep the party going. In fact, when 2 a.m. finally rolled around (Thank you Jesus), the dance floor was packed. My bandmates thanked me afterward for saving the show, but the truth is the crowd saved the show. They could have thrown rotten tomatoes and little packets of Splenda at us. But no. They were kind, and that’s a nice memory to have.

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0 thoughts on “Cover Band Soap Opera: Lead Singer Leaves the Stage; I am Forced to Sing, Practically at Gunpoint

  1. Lisa Lane

    I love it–better than fiction! I could see it as a scene in a book or a movie….

    As someone who has sung both lead and backup in a few different bands, I know how "stuff happens." Glad it turned out well for you; sounds like a fun experience.

  2. Anne Gallagher

    Chuck, in case this ever happens again, don’t sweat it. You can’t go wrong with dance tunes, especially Pearl Jam, ‘Sedated’ and ‘Johnny B. Goode.’ And remember, by 1:30 no one cares if you can’t sing, they just want to dance.


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