a while back Last Girl on Earth (she’s a professional musician) wrote about an interesting gig she had in the past. she calls it a gig from hell. ever since reading the post, i’ve been meaning to write about my experiences with various bands in the past. of course since i’m not a professional, i don’t have the depth and variety of stories as someone like Last Girl. and currently i have the luxury of playing every sunday (with rehearsals on thursdays) at the same place (church) without all the hassles of lugging equipment around, going from gig to gig like other musicians have to do. it’s a luxury but then again, i don’t get exposure to different settings, venues and people which would probably lead to funny or interesting gig stories. but let’s see now…looking back, i’ve played in bars, parties and clubhouses with various cover bands in high school and college. and then over the years with several p&w bands, i’ve played at numerous retreats, oh and a farm dedication and of course different churches in the area. but one special summer back in the mid-nineties, i had the opportunity to play with other musicians from across the country, meet up in montana and go on tour in the czech republic as an outreach praise and worship band. that was an experience that i’ll never forget. it was through the musician’s summer of service program with YWAM. I initially auditioned as a guitarist but since the team i wanted to be in had that spot filled, i volunteered for the bass guitarist spot. They were definitely doing me a favor because as a bass guitarist, i wasn’t all that good. i just knew the basics. all the musicians that were to make up four different teams had to meet in montana for rehearsals and training. since we were sort of isolated up there in the mountains, all of the musicians, singers and dancers got to know each other pretty well. it was tough on the ego there with me fumbling through on the bass while all the other folks were experts in their craft. anyway, We spent a month there and then the teams were sent off to different countries. the latin rock band went off to south america. the pop band went off to azerbaijan. a U2-inspired rock band was sent to ireland. and of course our P&W band went to the Czech Republic.

we spent the next month going from town to town, staying either in hostels or with host families playing in a variety of locations. mainly town centers but also, churches, open fields in front of large towering apartment complexes, revival tents and then of course there was that one occasion at the lake. yes we played to sunbathers at a lake. it was tough on us young guys in the group trying to be spiritually-pure and not let the scantily clad women on the beach get to us. as you can see the in the photo, most of the guys have the eyes cast toward the ground for some reason. as for me, i couldn’t see much anyway due to the sun glaring in front of me. (that’s my story and i’m stickin’ to it…)

it was a once in a lifetime experience. meeting a bunch of fantastic and interesting group of people, seeing a part of eastern europe, the old architecture, hearing and experience a different culture and language, sharing the gospel, experiencing a new level of spiritual warfare and being a part of something so positive. it’s something that will never leave me. i guess it’s basically the polar opposite of Last Girl’s gig from hell.

here’s part of the team enjoying some czech goulash and some real pilsner beer.

here’s my buddy Dan Kush and me working on our super cool musician’s goatee. … OK, so mine looks pretty pathetic. hey, i’m asian!