Jerry Leiber, 1933-2011
The Guardian has just published a piece in which musicians describe their "worst gig ever". Among them are these items from Tina Weymouth of Talking Heads,and Suzi Quatro. Weymouth describes the Sweetwaters festival of January 1984, and Quatro a New Zealand gig when she was peaking in 1975. Monitor: KW.
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.
We'd been in America with Alice Cooper as special guests on his Welcome to My Nightmare tour, that was 80 shows, then we went to Scandinavia, then we flew to Japan for some shows, then to Australia for a month, then we went to New Zealand – we were on the road for about six months non-stop. You're talking tired. New Zealand was the last port of call and we were flying through the night when I noticed a little spot on my leg – I thought I'd got bitten. Then I woke up and the spot was travelling up my leg in a line: it was blood-poisoning. This was the day of the gig. The doctor had to cut me, but I still went onstage with the poison pouring out, in all my leathers! It's called being a pro. The show must go on and all that. But this was the only time I ever thought I shouldn't have gone on. It was really painful. I was on painkillers and the dressing had to keep being changed.