First off, you have to understand the band prank mentality: If the prank was probably survivable, it was “Inbounds”.
With that in mind, during the sound check for the San Antonio show I mentioned in the last post, the sound engineer, John starts checking the bass, which means at some point Joe is thumping ¼ notes on the E string.
Now the Hammond can get low . . . real low. So low, in fact that probably one of the most important aspects of playing it in a band, is learning how to keep your left hand from stepping all over the bass player. So–and I have to admit that to this day I still have no idea what sparked the idea–Joe is whumping out low E’s, and I start mirroring what he is playing. Except I hit E#.
John looks up from the board and says to Joe, “Hold it, you’re out of tune.” So Joe tunes the bass and starts again. E E E E . . . except it’s really E-E# E-E# E-E#, which sounds just G’d awful. John’s yelling, “Stop. Still out man, get it tuned!”
Joe tunes bass . . . E-E# E-E# E-E#. “STOP! For f***s sake get it in tune man!” Now John is getting frustrated, Joe is losing his mind because he can’t figure out what’s out of tune . . . and at that point, he looks over at me and sees me doubled over laughing.
There is an unmistakable sound that a bass guitar makes when it hits the floor in anger, sort of a Bwwwwa-ang and then the strings keep ringing. I heard that sound, followed by the also unmistakable sound of angry footsteps heading across the stage in my direction . . . I had to flee for my life!