National Buffoon correspondent - Hammond Organist Extraordinaire with The George Jetzon Band
TALKING WITH THE BAND
The best time to discuss anything with the band or any of it's members is at the middle of a song when all members are singing at the same time, such as a multi-harmony part. This is the very best time to ask if you can play tambourine out of tempo, or request a song they don't know.
The hearing of band members is so advanced that they can pick out any tiny voice from the megawatt wall of sound blasting all around them. Musicians are always expert lip readers, too. So if a musician does not reply to your question or comment during a tune, take this personally.
Pout, throw things, flip them the bird, trash the merchandise table, throw your drink at them.
They love this! They only pretend they do not.
Everyone knows 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 he is purposely ignoring you; if this happens, immediately cop an attitude and yell "you suck"...musicians love this.
When an entertainer leans over to hear you better, grab his head and yell directly into his ear, holding his head so he cannot pull away from you. This is an invitation to a friendly game of tug of war between his head and your hands. Disregard any regard for the musician's hearing. WTF? They don't need it for anything important.
Musicians are all expert mind readers. So only refer to your requests with the phrase "play my song!" Band members have a chip implanted in their heads with an unlimited database listing the favorite tunes of every patron who ever walked into a bar, so be vague as possible; musicians love the challenge. If they pretend to not remember exactly what tune you want, it's an intentional ploy to insult and offend you. Remember, all entertainers live to be offensive; we stay up all night thinking up ways to do this. The more people we offend the more popular we become. Also we ourselves never seem to get quite enough abuse, so any abuse that you can add will keep us in line!
If a band tells you they do not know a song you want to hear, they either forgot that they knew the tune or they are lying to you. Try singing a few approximations of the 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! and, YOU BLOW! 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 get the band to play your song. The rest of the audience is plotting against you too! Throw up, fall into the band's monitors, knock their mic stands over, & pee in your pants.
This always results in the band playing that song you want to hear (that you can't recall the name of , or who did it originally). It also will make you very popular on the dance floor.
Nothing quite like spilled beer, dribbles of vomit on your clothes, and bleeding cuts to attract a dance partner! Oh and never brush your teeth, they love that! There's nothing quite as artistically inspiring as having someone with extreme halitosis get up inches from your face and yelling OOOOOZZZZZZZIE! or FREEEEEEBUUUUUURRRD!
Your choice of music should be a complete departure from what the crowd loves and cannot get enough of, i.e. if they're playing original blues, ignore this... demand to hear some country line dance or Lady Gaga (especially if the singer is a male and there are no synthesizers!) Now 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 with which you tip the band, the more power you'll have to dictate what happens on stage. Feel free to use your money to bully the band.
Get really pissed off when they don't know your tune. (They are obviously liars!)
Entertainers are notorious fakers, and never prepare or rehearse for shows. They simply walk on stage with no prior thought to what they will do once they arrive. They rely entirely on people to help them through the gig by insisting to sing out of key, play an accordion, kazoo, contra bassoon, or bang on a tambourine out of rhythm. While your at it, bring up your neighbor's kid who's had 2 or three lessons and insist he play the guitarist's beloved '59 Les Paul. If he gets popsicle juice all over the strings or drops it so much the better. Musicians love this. Better yet
bring that nephew who got a set of drums last week for his birthday and insist he replace the regular drummer for some tunes. The musicians will love it when he pokes holes in the drum heads, throws sticks at the bassist's head, or spits his gum on the microphone. Tell him to sing too. Everyone knows if you have a microphone it makes you a singer, there is no need to practice or take lessons or know any tunes. All audiences are thrilled to hear someone babble in monotone incoherent tongues rather than the band's vocalist. You will be their personal friend!
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. So if the current band is a blues or country band, it's the law that you must call out AC/DC or SLAYER!! Conversely, yell for Grateful Dead tunes at a dance or metal band. If there is a singer/songwriter or folk band, demand some Nine Inch Nails.
If there is a hardcore, reggae, or industrial act, call out ABBA tunes, Barry Manilow, and polkas.
If there is a female singer insist on a Doors tune.
If the stage is low enough try grabbing a band member by the crotch, especially during his solo. Musicians all are doubly inspired by the distraction and will play much better.
BONUS TIP: As a last resort, wait until the band takes a break, and then get on stage and start banging on their instruments; even if you are 86'ed, you have made your point. The band will call you immediately the following day to offer you a position.
HELP THE BAND
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 old guy singing the blues is just copying SRV and Clapton, in spite of the fact that he's 63 years old. Tell the musicians 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. If they still won't let you perform with them, be disruptive. Do everything you can to be louder than the band. Nothing asserts your superiority like an out of tune harmonica or vocalist, or a tambourine played out of tempo.
Scream as loud as you can. Bring one of those emergency boating air horns and toot it as often as possible, badger everyone in the band until they let you on stage.
Once you've made it to the stage, lean way back and "truck" around dramatically with a tambourine while spilling beer in the monitors. Knock the guitarists mic stand into his face.
Trip on the cables and fall into the drummers kit knocking it over while yelling "Rock And Roll".
Remember to bring a tuba, bodhran, or lawnmower. You will receive 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.
During breaks go sit behind the drums and play a bunch of crap. When they ask you to stop, play the drums with razor blades. Though you've never touched one before, play the bass. How hard could it be?
There's only 4 strings. When the bass player asks you to put his bass down, push him off the stage. (If the stage is outdoors near a body of water push him in. If he's drowning, throw him his amp.) Kick the singer in the throat and use those razorblades on the guitarists fingers as they throw you out.
Now that you've helped the band, it's time to go help the sound man!