A few years back, I used to ask every performer I interviewed about their worst gig ever. I don't do it in every interview anymore, but it's still pretty reliable for generating memorable anecodotes. Like the priceless nugget below from Jack Johnson.
For more talk about less-gross things, see the interview in Friday's paper. And if you're going to the show, you might want to allow extra time to get there.
"It was the first time we played in New York in 2001. We'd been opening for Ben Harper for a month or so, and we were doing our own headlining show in New York at a small place called the Mercury Lounge. It was snowing, but the show sold out and we were excited about that. Then I got food poisoning that day. I could go about 45 minutes, then I'd throw up and feel fine for a little while.
"I didn't want to cancel because all these people had come out in the snow. So I threw up right before the show, and went on to play. There wasn't really a backstage there; more like a sidestage, and you had to go through the crowd. I made it through about 40 minutes, then I felt it coming on mid-song. I didn't know what to do because people were pushed up-front and there was no exit off the back.
"My brother was at the show and he saw my eyes and knew what was about to happen. He had on a Ben Harper beanie hat he'd bought, so he took it off and tossed it up to me. I caught it, turned around and threw up in that in front of about 200 people. And it was just like out of a movie where all 200 of them went, 'Oooooooh.' It was pretty gross, but I felt fine. So I played another 45 minutes, felt it coming on again and said, 'That's it.'"