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March 7th, 2010
04:30 pm


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Talking With The Band (or how to influence others without making friends)
Band advice to club patrons
by Alec Fraser

The best time to discuss anything with the band in any meaningful way
is at the middle of a song when all members are singing at the same
time [such as a multi harmony part]. Our hearing is so advanced that
we can pick out your tiny voice from the megawatt wall of sound
blasting all around us, musicians are expert lip readers too.

If a musician does not reply to your question or comment during a tune,
take this very personally. Singers have the ability to sprout a
second mouth to talk with you and sing at the same time; if the
singer doesn't, it's because they are purposely ignoring you; if this
happens, immediately cop an attitude, we love this.

When an entertainer leans over to hear you better, grab his or her head and
yell directly into their ear, holding their head so they cannot pull
away from you, this is an invitation to a friendly game of tug of war
between their head and your hands. Disregard any respect for the
musician's hearing.

Musicians are expert mind readers. Only refer to your requests with
the phrase "play my song!" We have a chip implanted in our
heads with an unlimited database with the favorite tunes of every
patron who ever walked into the bar, so feel free to be vague, we
love the challenge. If we do not remember exactly what tune you want,
it's an intentional ploy to offend you. Remember, entertainers live
to be offensive; we stay up all night thinking up ways to do this; we
also never get enough abuse so any abuse that you add will keep us in

If a band tells you they do not know a song you want to hear, they
either forgot that they know the tune or they are lying to you. Try
singing a few words for the band; if one member halfway knows part of
a chorus, the rest of the band will instantly learn the entire song by
osmosis. Knowing this, if the band still claims to not know your
song just keep requesting the same song ad nauseum.

Never try to request another tune the band actually knows. Scream your request
from across the room several times per set followed by the
phrases, "AW COME ON!" & "YOU SUCK!". Exaggerated hand gestures
expressing disapproval from the dance floor are a big help such as
the thumbs down or your middle finger. Put downs are the best way to
jog a band's memory. This instantly promotes you to the status
of, "Personal Friend Of The Band".

If your choice of music is a complete departure from what the crowd
loves (and cannot get enough of), i.e. if they play original Blues, ignore this.
Simply put a lot of money into the tip jar to bolster your
argument; this will circumvent any lack of knowledge they have about
your requested tune. The more money you tip the band with, the more
power you have to dictate what happens on stage. Feel free to use your
money to bully the band. Entertainers are notorious fakers and never
prepare for shows, they simply walk on stage with no prior thought to
what they will do once they arrive. An entertainer's job is so easy,
even a monkey could do it, so don't let them off the hook. The band
and club's income does not depend upon numbers of people patronizing
the bar, screw them, your request is all that matters.

If a metal band had played at the club for the last few weeks, the next band
that follows will automatically know every metal tune the previous
band played, even if the current band is a blues or country band.
It's the law. Feel free to yell "AC DC" or "SLAYER!" to a band that
plays strictly originals or blues for example. Conversely, Deadheads
may yell for Grateful Dead tunes at a dance or metal band.


If you inform the band that you are a musician in a garage band or
singer in a Karaoke bar, be sure to let them know that you can run
rings around them and they need you in their band. In fact the sole
reason the band has not exploded onto the charts is because they do
not have you as their big break And besides that black guy singing
the blues is just copying Downchild and Clapton in spite of the
fact that he's 63 years old. Tell the band, unequivocally that your
mere presence as a member of their band will save them from the
depths of mediocrity and assure them of success beyond their wildest
dreams. This works every time.

If the band continues to refuse your repeated demands to perform with
them, stand on the dance floor and perform with every tune they do. Do
everything you can to be louder than the band. If they won't let you
perform with them, be disruptive. Nothing asserts your superiority
like an out of tune harmonica, vocalist or a tambourine played out of tempo.

For extra credit, use these instruments in tunes that do not have them
in the original recording; musicians love to play cover tunes with
instruments that do not belong there; they will overlook how badly you
play and will wonder how they have gotten along all these years
without you.


As a last resort, wait until the band takes a
break and then get on stage and start playing their instruments; even
if you are 86ed, you have made your point. The band will call you
immediately the following day to offer you a position.

(7 comments | Leave a comment)

[User Picture]
Date:March 8th, 2010 12:40 am (UTC)

People do this sh&^?

When I actually have enough money AND enough time AND enough money AND childcare to go see a band, all I want to do is hear the band.

I get irritated (and potentially homicidal, depending on the band/musician) when people holler anything during a piece. This includes the drunken or over-enthusiastic "WOOHOOOOO" right in the middle of a soft or "unplugged" number.

Further, Nakia and I assume that a band has created a particular set list for a particular reason. We don't request songs unless the group says, "So, what do Y'ALL wanna hear?" which has happened only...twice?...that I can recall.

[User Picture]
Date:March 8th, 2010 01:12 am (UTC)
Yup, they do.

At gvdub's gigs I meet people who figure, hey, since I'm married to the guy, I must hate to hear him play and would much rather listen to random drunks tell me how much they like Stevie Ray Vaughn.
[User Picture]
Date:March 8th, 2010 12:11 pm (UTC)

Hey... I've always wondered, and never had a gig-playing musician (or related person) to ask: How DO musicians feel when they start some emotionally and musically powerful soft number and some drunken audience member hollers, "Woooooooo!" right in the middle of it?
[User Picture]
Date:March 8th, 2010 09:09 pm (UTC)
I try and take it in the spirit in which it's intended. I'd rather that than have nobody showing any appreciation whatsoever. For me, it shows that we're doing at least some small thing right to get a powerful positive reaction. Of course, the drunker the person is, the easier it tends to be, so the size of the grain of salt increase proportionally with the amount of alcohol that's been consumed.

Especially for a band like Gruppo Subconscious, where it's almost totally improv and the more feedback we get from the audience the deeper we tend to dive, positive reaction from the listeners is A Good Thing(TM).
Date:March 8th, 2010 10:12 pm (UTC)
Ok, I can understand that.

I dunno...it just breaks the spell for me.

I'll appreciate until I'm hoarse before and after...or during very upbeat, loud songs. But when Thom Yorke's in the middle of "True Love Waits," it's distracting. Maybe it's more of a listener thing and than a performer thing.
[User Picture]
Date:March 9th, 2010 07:04 pm (UTC)
Was this all in one night?
[User Picture]
Date:March 10th, 2010 01:44 am (UTC)
No, but like the asteroid hit, I fear it's out there somewhere.
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