This is going to be a pretty harsh rant against the bands called Menaya and Kampai, both of whom Mahasa (with me playing bass in lieu of Choy, who was recuperating from health problems) had the misfortune of playing with earlier this evening. I might not have all the details down pat - I may have put an extra spot swap somewhere in the story - but this is pretty much how everything happened.
The Mahasa boys have played with these two bands in the past, and while we might not have much to say about their music, there wasn't anything remotely annoying about them back in our first encounter. Heck, there's hardly anything annoying about someone you've just met, usually. So when the Kampai bassist (I think he was the bassist) went up to me and asked me if I were from Mahasa - I think he recognized me from way back - I didn't think that there was anything up at all - even when he pulled up a chair. I thought that maybe hey, he just wanted to sit and chat, have a drink. He was wearing a nice hat, too.
But lo and behold, a few seconds after he sits his ass down, he gets straight to business and asks for a schedule swap.
Earlier that night, at around nine in the evening, to be exact, we arrive at the arcade where the Pasong Tamo branch of Pier One could be found. There was hardly anybody there - there was just this one band outside, hanging out, and there were these people from the production hanging out at the smoking area of the bar. Bruce goes up to Tony, our contact, and asks him what time we were playing.
"Pare, di pa nagisimula," he says with a grin. "Gusto nyo, third band na kayo?"
Of course we agreed. We'd all had long days, and we were itching to get back home. Also, Bruce needed to chauffeur his aunt to the airport later at two in the morning, so playing early was advantageous for us. We had dinner at the Big Apple Pizza Company, hung out around the arcade, and when the first band started their soundcheck routines, we brought our equipment up and settled down for what we thought was a relatively short wait.
Of course, when the Kampai dude was talking to us about the spot swap, it was pushing to twelve midnight, so we were pretty much mistaken there, huh?
Sometime during the second band's set, Tony comes up to us and asks if we'd mind being shifted to fourth spot, since one of the bands needed to play a little bit earlier. And we were cool with it. These things happen, anyway. If it wasn't an inconvenience for anybody, and if they were nice about it, Mahasa'd gladly swap spots for most people (operative word being most).
This was the start of a very long wait, and a very frustrating night. But we didn't know that at the time. We thought we were just being friendly folks.
Then this band Menaya steps up and asks for another spot swap, which would make us the fifth band. Again, we agreed. Another bad call. I don't exactly know why they needed to step up one spot earlier, but the thing is, if you know you had another engagement in the first place, why commit to a gig? Or, for that matter, why the hell would you arrive at the venue late? Are you guys retarded or something?
Which leads me to the last event of the evening, where the Kampai bass player was talking to us. I told him to talk to Bruce, since my days of managing the band were as extinct as the dinosaurs. And personally, when I heard the words schedule, deal and could we, I took that as my cue to exit from the negotiations table.
What did they want?
Why, another spot swap. For the dumbest reason I have ever heard.
Apparently, the two bands, Menaya and Kampai both had a deal with the bar: the two bands would be playing one after the other. So, say, if Menaya had to play third, Kampai would play fourth. Which I don't get: are you guys big shots? Is the bar paying you to play? Will droves of people flock to your gigs wherever you go? If not, then where in all the nine hells did you guys get the balls to come up with an x-deal like that? YOU. GUYS. ARE. FUCKING. RETARDED. You're only giving the other people playing a hard time, and for what? For a slot that's thirty minutes earlier. Genius.
Like I mentioned earlier, it was nearly midnight when the bass dude came up to our table and tried to cut a deal. Mostly because Bruce had to split, but also due to the fact that the entire evening was turning out to be a big fat waste of our time, we decided to call it quits for the night.
So yeah, kids. I like Kampai's bass player - he has this other band that plays really awesome music. But what they did that night was one of the biggest, most unprofessional moves I have ever seen. Their manager can kiss my ass and shove his foot up his mouth. The fact that I didn't have to play - which was a good thing, since I was really, really off with Mahasa's new sound - is cold comfort for the fact that assholes like those manage to get away with murder.