That’s movie and entertainment writer Jon Niccum‘s new found claim to fame. Niccum, as you may know, is the dude who essentially took Robert Butler‘s place reviewing movies for the Kansas City Star. He’s also the former entertainment editor of The Pitch and Lawrence Journal World.
Not a bad resume, but there’s more.
Some time back Niccum started a website called The Worst Gig. It’s mission: assemble and document a collection of ridiculously gawdawful stories from famous artists and musicians ranging from Tori Amos, Wilco and The Flaming Lips to Jane’s Addiction, Pat Metheny, Ted Nugent, Grace Potter and Dweezil Zappa.
You know, to name a few.Now it appears Niccum’s Worst Gig ship is about to steam into port. In the form of a book gig with Sourcebooks slated to hit stores a year from now.
“I’m basically collecting stories from musicians about the worst gig they ever played,” Niccum says. “Def Leopard, the Sex Pistols, Rush, Henry Rollins, Alice Cooper. They’re usually pretty funny and I was pitching the book as a humor book but Fugazi has this one story where they were in Poland and it lead to a skinhead riot.”
“I’ve also been working on this with CBS trying to turn it into a television show, but television is not very fast. Of course my book deal might change that.”
Take this little gem from Kansas guitarist Rich Williams:
“One of the most memorable ones we played was up in Wisconsin called Nudestock. It was a nudist colony. Foreigner was on the bill and Alan Parsons. But you expect up in Wisconsin there’d be all these beautiful blonde women. But the reality is never what you imagine. You get there and it looks like you walked into a Piggly Wiggly grocery store and suddenly everybody was naked. And you’re standing there playing and there’s some guy with a baseball hat and tennis shoes standing in front of you, wiggling around and playing air guitar with his pecker swirling around. It bothers you.”
Or this from Chad Smith of Dumptruck Butterlips:
“We were at a festival — which we will not name — and someone had a tray of chocolates, like truffles. We all took one because the girls love chocolate. Then we went onstage about 30 minutes later.
About 15 minutes into our show, we all looked at each other and noticed we were all tingly. Everything was getting weird. My guitar neck started snakin’. These girls looked white as a ghost. We kept looking at each other and laughing. We didn’t know if we were in the song or if we were still playing or not. Then we’d just bust into the chorus and all of us would sing together.
We ended the set, and people came up to us and said, “Wow. That was so amazing. I’ve never seen you guys play like that.”
We were totally freaked out. We thought we’d just played the worst show of our lives — we still think we played the worst show of our lives.
We think it was psilocybin (magic mushrooms) or something. They were the best chocolates I ever had.”
“I was performing with the Steve Miller Orchestra at a 50th wedding anniversary celebration when a man at the front table suffered a heart attack. The band immediately stopped playing, but as people rushed to the gentleman’s aid, the host of the party came up to us and said, “Just keep playing, keep playing!”
As they were assisting him, I was belting out, “Life is a cabaret, old chum …”
The paramedics showed up almost immediately. As they were taking him out on a stretcher, I was singing those classic Kander and Ebb lines, “No use permitting some prophet of doom/To wipe every smile awaaaay …”
As is often the case when it is most inappropriate, the girl singer began to laugh. She stifled herself, jumped up and ducked behind our oversized floor speaker until she could compose herself.“
Unleash your Worst Gig for Niccum’s book (and maybe TV) at firstname.lastname@example.org.