This is hilarious reading, because we have all been in those situations.
I used to try and be polite, but I don't anymore.
There are 2 types - the one who asks (you can shoot him down immediately).
The other is the one who rush's the stage during your set. I have no love for these people and spend my spare time planning ways to combat their attack with humiliation. (evil, I know)
What will usually start this, is asking someone you know to come up and sing. Around here, we are all musician friends and we see each others shows, it's like a family. Sometimes we do have sit in's, it's polite and a way to show our appreciation of what they do.
Unfortunately, there are those that think they can crash gigs.
Sunday night, I had an intoxicated lady come up to the stage after we had started a song. As usual, I will always lean into them and see what they want. They are usually just wanting to request a song. Quick and simple.
We were on a 4 foot high stage, so I bent down to her and she pulled out some forms for me to fill out and started telling me about her "Blues Organization" that she wanted the band to become a part of.
We were still doing the intro of the song and the rest of the band was waiting for me to jump up and start singing like I normally would do after taking a request. She just kept talking.
I had to tell the lady, "Excuse me... I am a bit busy at the moment" and I stood up and started singing the song. She approached the stage a couple more times over the course of the set with gestures to me while I was singing, making me aware that she had more literature that I should also read.
we finished the set and I went backstage to get a bottle of water and here she came.
I told her right off the bat, we are not a blues band, but a variety band that plays a couple blues tunes. Nothing I could say would stop her from talking about her organization and how we needed to be in it.
I spent my entire break trying to get away from this woman and failed. Intoxicated people make me nuts. At one point during our conversation I told her, "I'm not a blues musician, but I am starting to get the blues now..." she didn't catch it, I guess.
She just smiled and said, "Yeah, we all live it dude"
"The Cubs" - The all Bose band by Choice. If Bose had not designed the "L1", we would not be playing. (Rick - Guitar/Vocal)
I make so many comments about them, they don't want to ever get near me again. I am almost like a <ticked> off comic that has been heckled. They are drunk Let em have it.
ken-at-bose changed a raw word: substitute is in <brackets>This message has been edited. Last edited by: Ken-at-Bose,
I went through this for years, until (cue choir of angels) I started using a wireless headset microphone. (Crown CM311) And still a few drunk women have tried to snuggle up to me and sing into it....with varying degrees of success.
You can usually tell if a person is a pro musician by the way they converse with you. Most pros won't ask to play, they wait to be asked up.
My favorite is the guy who shows up with a harmonica in every key, asks to play, when we decline sits near the stage and over-plays as loud as he can ! Usually our crowd of followers drags him off and discards him somewhere, unless he is good and then WE ask him up.
Unattended tamborine players are immediately bounced!
The same night as Dicky Ray's "blues lady", I had a pretty, but wholly inebriated blond come up during a song and asked if we had a tambourine. Looking around at my TrapKAT, I said "...uh...no"
She scowled briefly, then shot back "do you have a wireless mic"? Again, I shook my head...no. She gave me a look as if we are the only band on earth who wouldn't honor those two simple requests.
We had a very cute twenty-something bartender approach us during the first break and ask to sing with us. Her resume included the fact that all the bands that play here let her sing and after all...she's from TEXAS!!! Well, alrighty then.
She had a lot of friends rooting for her and was pumping us full of free hooch so we put her off til the last set where the damage would be minimal.
We started the song of her choice and not only did she have no clue as to when she should start singing, but couldn't find the key if it was taped to her forehead.
So I helped her along and by song's end the place was all smiles.
Now go get me another beer, honey.
New here and just caught your comments with interest.
My solution is to have two rules...
1- No-one uses my gear if they have a drink in them
2- No-one can sing unless they have attended a rehearsal with me prior to the show, so I invite them to rehearse if they are serious.. no-one ever does when the drink wears off.
Best way to deal with the runner coming at you on stage is to block the first run with a straight palm in the centre of the chest, and then help them with a slight pull when they charge harder the second time. Always done with a smile and a request for a friend to help the poor guy back to his feet. I'm just a small guy so the smile is my best weapon followed by the brain.
Hey David A,
I hear ya. See my other post
Okay, I'll be the odd-ball. The typical reply I've read so far is "It's my show and I'm an artist not a sell-out" No offense to anyone here, it's just my impression. Here's my take.
I've been at this musician game, like many of you, a long, long time. I'm a relative new-comer to the soloact world but have performed in a lot of major-league venues, backing bonafide "stars" as a sideman. The artistry side of this just doesn't connect for me. I think I know what an artist really is and me crooning out covers at some bar or party isn't an artist. I'm a working-class musician that's there to help everyone else have a good time. I focus on the money for one reason; it enables me to stay in this game, long term.
I personally encourage, at least at private parties (NEVER in bars-you blow off those wannabes unless they have serious cash in hand) to have people take part. I'm happy to let them sing. Even if they're off-key, the people I've actively invited up are the big-dogs at the party. By getting Mr/Mrs Popular to have the guts to sing it instantly draws the entire crowd into what I'm doing without me having to dance around, pretending that I'm a star. I also make certain to setup a "guest mic" for just such a situation, usually a wireless. They NEVER get my mic away from me. They get the guest mic. End result, I'm always thought the nice, friendly entertainer and usually always end up with a large tip at the end of the night by a very happy host. Yea, I'm doing it for the money. So what?
Past that, it's a balancing act. You certainly can't just let Mr/Mrs drunken stupor run wild all night but 1 or 2 songs sung badly never hurts anyone and I certainly won't be thrown off by somebody sharing a mic with me (badly). When you're ready to be rid of them you either thank them publicly over the mic (big send off) or you just take a break and change the flow of what's going on. Personally, I love having guests. I do an hour or two of my thing, spending breaks lining up some singers, then just play host and let them have fun. If they fumble words or entrances, I'm there to help. It's host-assisted karaoke and it never fails that I end up with plenty of chances to get the mic back except now I have the rest of the party wrapped around my little finger instead of ignoring me, over in the corner.
Your mileage may vary
Nice reply Ryan. It sounds like you have a good handle on it.
Yes sometimes it can get a bit crazy, but Public thanks and recognition sounds like a great way to wrap it up. With worst case going to a break, (unless you've only been back up for 10 minutes)sounds like a good idea also. Or if its The Villages, FL go to a line dance and get them all back up.
Hello RickRyan ,
I like your honest and non-pompous attitude - J.D.
I'm with you, RickRyan.
I don't cover as many tunes as you seem to, so taking sing-along requests really isn't my thing. On the occasions when a bad singer wants to participate, though, it just makes me sound better by comparison, so I take it with good grace.
A sense of what the crowd wants to hear lets you know when it's time to boot the singer off the stage with an announcement of "let's have a big round of applause for Little Frankie Warbletone!" Usually works, even with drunks, and the audience will definitely be on your side.
|Bose Live Music Team Lead Rep|
Guitar, Vocals, Bass, Percussion, Noise
I keep a cheap (i.e. $29) mic hooked up at the back of the stage for "guests". If they're HORRID, I can always mute them and take over. If they get mad and drop the mic or whatver, no skin off my back.
Radio Shack makes an alright mic for that price that gets a decent tone through the "Handheld Mics" preset. I've used it for when a harmonica player shows up, or sax player, or for the drunken "I FRREEGEN ***LOVE*** THIS SONG" guy.
I agree with some of the last comments. If they're good, that's wonderful for all. If they are not so good, man do I look talented.
Now, if they want to play my guitar...not so much.
I recently invited someone onstage to do a duet. She didn't ask.
I was playing "As Time Goes By" at an Elks Club (trippy experience that) and I looked out and saw this 80+ year old woman singing along. She obviously knew ever word. I called her up onstage (some people helped her) and we sang the song as a duet. She was great. My heart melted.
That goes into the top 10 things that I've experienced at a gig.
I used to have them sing into the bass player's mic but I'd mute the house sound and they would still be able to hear themselves thru the floor monitor.
Bose screwed that up on me with the L1. Hahahaha.
Hey Earthworm ,
My hats off to you , you are a true entertainer . Your love for music flowed out and repaid you . Fantastic - J.D.
OK...I'm as old as dirt. I admit it. I can remember when "live music" used to mean "live musicians". When you walked into a bar and heard 4 guys doing their thing.
This was long before deejays or karaoke or whatever it is that they call it when someone plays an instrument to pre-recorded tracks.
With the advent of karaoke, now everyone and their brother thinks they have what it takes to get up in front of the crowd and sing. Sure, it can be entertaining at times, but go do it down the road, not here where us old dogs still have pride in what it is that we do: LIVE MUSIC.
Hello JD1 ,
You are in the Solo Acts part of the forum , where a lot of Solo acts use backing tracks or Karaoke tracks . You need to be in the Ensemble forum , for full band discussions . Your welcomed here as well , but your views may appear as the outsider down this road . All respect - J.D.
No need to get upset, fellas.
The sad thing is that some solo musicians can't get booked without backing tracks in some parts of the country. I've been there & done that & am glad to be able to make a living doing what I do without the backing tracks. I thought it was fun while I was doing it, but eventually it felt like a trap for me. I eventually found a place that said, "We just want you without all the background stuff." I was thrilled!
Now back to those interesting "sit-in" moments. I once had a guy basically push me off the mic to play his harmonica & sing along. Luckily one of my fans came to the rescue & demanded he sit down NOW & shut up. It's great to have friends in the crowd.
Reminds me a bit of a redneck bar near Orlando, quite a few years back. I checked with the doorman about the new band. He said, "Yeah, we got rid of that computer band and got these 4 guys", "These Rednecks would rather have live music, no matter how bad it is". They were as loud as they were bad.
Interesting, while I have played 3 to 5 piece gigs for many years, it provided the freedom to play the same songs over and over from a small playlist to the point of boredom.
I was lucky enough to find a vocal and personality compatible partner for our Duo, that has been going into 2 years together.
We have a playlist of about 3600 tracks (cut down from 12000) and I must admit, we have grown tremendously with the variety and challenges of so many songs. We pride ourselfs on at least 20-30% fresh material at each gig.
Yes we have the standard requests, but I am happy to say there is no 8:15, their playing "After the Lovin, followed by Kansas City" etc,etc. It just so happens variety and spontaniety replaces repetition and the associated boredom of the same old songs of some 3-5 piece bands.
Fortunately we set a policy for controlled guest appearances, where we either rehearsed with you, know you from previous shows, or we ask that you contact us for an audition. This has worked out very well. It takes care of the "How come she got to sing, but I can't", issue.
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