I always made it a practice to never turn down any gigs. I was glad to get called for any gig, living in the same town with Buddy, Hal, Weldon and so many other monsters. So over the years I played with great bands, mediocre bands, bad bands, and with guys who should have had their guitars confiscated by the County Music Police. But I had to draw the line somewhere, I really did, no matter how desperate I was for free beer or the experience or just the practice time.
So I did turn down two gigs. You might not want to work them, either.
I got a call form a guy I didn’t know (can be risky) to play a little bar in East Nashville, and I said, sure, I’ll do it. It was summer, the temperature was in the 90’s, and I drove down to the gig that evening and cruised past the bar. The door was open. Oh, shit, I thought, no A/C. I could see the bandstand, such as it was, just a small raised square of wood about 10′ x 10′ on which were perched a singer with a flat top and a spoon player. A goddamn spoon player! Holy shit, I’d never worried with a spoon player, I guess he was in lieu of a drummer. So I just kept driving.
Another time I got an email from a guy who told me that he couldn’t really afford a steel, since they were working for the door, and he mentioned all the great steel players he could get if he wanted to but that I was welcome to drop by if I wanted to. I did drop by, and I watched him bitch at the sound man for half an hour and just generally make an ass of himself. Three people left because they didn’t like his attitude. I didn’t, either. I had a beer and left, too.