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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Life of the Party

Hello to you wherever you are, good peoples! Performance-wise, this is the busiest summer of my life. The last two weeks I played 15 shows. Gearing up for a meager 6 show week starting tomorrow, but you never know what can come down the pike...

Feeling disconnected a bit from songwriting - honestly it can get boring in these long corporate gigs playing my own songs because a) only occasionally does someone really listen to them so it is just for my own practice or vanity and b) frankly, my original music up to this point is the exact opposite of "The Party" (of which it seems I am constantly the host). I am not putting down my songs! Many of you enjoy them and I am very glad about that. I just want to write new ones and I need more settings that are appropriate for playing them. Both of which I am working on. UStream concerts! and new tunes.

But the singing and rhythmic guitaring is feeling better than ever. Just got this machine called an interferential stimulator (heh heh heh) which I will be using to calm my tired strap muscle behind the left shoulder blade.

So much to do on this my one day off. I am accountant/entrepreneur/husband/father/son/friend/hired musician all at one time. But I wanted to post and say Hi. So Hi. :-)

Funny gig story. Made $90 extra letting this old man sing 4 songs along with me. He was nearsighted and couldn't read the words so his wife and daughter-in-law were helping him. I will be honest and say that I really hate being a human karaoke machine for anyone except friends. For friends, I will play the guitar and you can sing your favorite song. For strangers, it's $20. Which these "people" were willing to pay. They cleared out half the bar (which the staff, lord love em, did not hate me for). They had the time of their lives. The funny part is that the blond daughter-in-law drank so many martinis so quickly that she passed out face first on the bar and had to be carried out fireman-style by the son. End of evening.

I type this and I feel shitty. I want people to have a good time. I hate it when they leave mad because I won't let them sing. Or stay and sulk because I told them they couldn't. I don't want to be that person. I want to be the fun "life of the party", the guy who sings that song you haven't heard in years and gets you up shaking your booty for the first real taste of FREEDOM you've had in weeks.

My friend Kimya Dawson lets all sorts of fans come up and sing with her at her shows. However it is different - I am not playing my own music (if it were my songs, you could all have mics and sing along), most of her fans aren't stinking drunk (EVERYBODY I deal with is drunk), and many of her fans are children. I let a child with a congenital heart defect sing a Christina Aguilera song a cappella. The mother thanked me weeping. And then later, when the mother tried to push her way to the mic to sing the chorus of "Africa" with me, she got angry that I told her no and stormed off.

I HATE THAT. I hate the whole situation. It's not fair to the people who pay me to play to inflict these crappy drunken idiots on their ears, let alone the staff. It's not fair to always have to be the one who kills the buzz and ruins someone's night. Let alone, and I KNOW I am alone in thinking and saying this, but PLAYING COVERS IS AN ART and however arrogant it may be, I think of myself as an ARTIST. Most people you see doing it phone it in, but I try to muster up as much passion and commitment as I can and really freakin nail it to the wall with my own style. Right now I do it for the money and for a chance to play all the time, but some of my covers are brilliant pieces of art. So don't come pee on my art, beeyotch!

The main reason though that I don't let people sing is that anybody can be a human karaoke machine but not many people can do what I do. Sing for hours and hours with soul and conviction and excellent musical taste. lol go me. It is so rude to presume that somebody playing their guitar with their equipment is their for your personal pleasure. But I have been dealing with this same situation almost every night for a month. And people react the same way, they all get mad.

Here I am frothing at the mouth at 1 AM. I think I'm going to start to get creative in my responses:

"Can I sing a song" "I don't know, can you?"
"My friend wants to sing" "And I'd like to bang your friend's girlfriend, think you can make that happen?"
"My dad's an excellent singer." "Really? Tell you what I'll do. I'll leave my guitar on stage and go out to my car for the next 3 hours. Your dad can sing whatever he wants. Let me know when you're done, and break whatever you want, it's insured."

and if a pushy customer comes up to the stage:

"Ladies and gentleman, here he/she is: Miss/Mr. Jersey Shore Herpes 2009!!! Give it up!!!"

Yes. I am tired with WAY too much to do. Cheerio.

4 comments:

  1. Oh Chris, I'm dying here. That is too funny and sad at the same time! I honestly had no idea people actually came up and asked to sing. (Yes, yes, I don't get out much.) I mean, really? WTF is that? Do you knock on the door of an OB and say "Hey can I catch the baby?" Do you walk up to a mechanic and say "Hey can I use the impact drill?" That makes no sense! You're doing your job (and a fine one at that) and asking to sing just seems odd. *I preface this with when we get you down to NOLA, I will scream, sing along, and promote my ass off but I am NOT singing with you, no way no how.*

    I hope many more gigs for you man and to get my little ducks all in a row (and back in school) so I can have more time to spend on HuffMusic world domination!

    Oh and man oh man indeed does singing covers an art!
    867-530niiiiiiiiiiine....

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  2. As someone who has actually been to one of your shows (and who wasn't in the least bit intoxicated!), I can honestly say that it was the most enjoyable evening of listening to incredible singing ever. EVER. Really.

    You've got some amazing talent and are absolutely an artist. You're also a genuinely nice guy. So, yep, it would be absolutely frustrating and annoying to have people want to sing. Your comeback lines are pretty funny though...Dan especially liked the girlfriend one. Ha! =)

    I think you will quickly get to the point where you can be the life of your own party. Where you're playing your music, your way, and people are coming *just* to see you...where it's not a corporate function, a happy hour, or a reunion, etc. Hang in there! =)

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  3. I was a bartender once upon a time so I feel your pain with the drunk people. Thankfully, we just had a juke box and they could compete with artists on vinyl. That's a much better situation for the artist.

    What's funny is what's to keep them from singing from their seats? I've seen that and it is annoying when they're really drunk but nothing like trying to grab the mic.

    By the way, I think it is fine to piss off drunk people by saying "no."

    I like "Can I sing a song?" "I don't know, can you?" also if you're feeling fresh.

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  4. Thanks for the validation, all! :-)

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