Hey, kids! Welcome to Free For All Friday, where we throw random stuff at the wall to see what sticks. It’s like a musical food fight! What’s on the menu today, you ask?
Today we feature the Bar Band Edition! Our selections include:
1 – A hilarious guide to audience cover song requests
2 – A funny but true-to-life timeline of how every bar gig ever has played out
3 – The best bar band in America
It’s only rock and roll, but I like it!
Play Some Skynyrd
This is a subject that is near and dear to my heart. It’s funny and, from my own experiences, pretty much spot on!
Guitar Squid was kind enough to provide a handy-dandy chart for any cover band trying to figure out just the right song to play, given the age demographic, but more importantly, the drunkenness level of its audience.
Example: “Margaritaville” is appropriate for older, relatively drunk crowds, while “any Nickelback song” is better for younger, very drunk crowds.
As you would expect, “Freebird” fits every age demographic and drunkenness level. Good to know that there are some things you can just count on.
From my own bar band experiences, I give you a favorite “sort of” song request:
Standard drunk chick: “Hey…what are you gonna play next? Are you gonna play anything good?”
No. No, we’re not. (sigh)
Timeline of a Bar Gig
Again, thanks to Guitar Squid for being on fire this month!
This time we’re treated to a timeline of how every bar gig EVER has played out. If you’ve played any bar gigs – ever – you know that this is pretty true to life!
All you really need to know is placed at the beginning and end of the timeline. Everything in between is gravy.
We start off with the endless attempts to get in touch with the booking dude for the venue…classic. And we end up with the owner trying to weasel out of paying the band the full amount. Double classic, FTW!
My personal favorite is, “Douchebag guitar player in audience approaches stage and gives guitarist backhanded compliments on tone and playing.” It’s like they’re reading my diary! Here’s a scene from my own life for your amusement:
Douche: “Hey, you’re pretty good.”
Me: “Um, thanks.”
D: “I play a Taylor myself. I think I prefer the tone of the Taylor to your Gibson, though, to be honest.”
Me: “Um, okay.”
D: “But the Gibson still sounds good. (awkward pause) Yeah, you’re a good player. And you’ve got a great voice. I will say that.”
D: “You’ve definitely got a better voice than me. But if I really started practicing again, I think I could play all the stuff you’re playing.”
Me: “You’re probably right. I gotta go pee.”
Boy, those were the days, huh?
Yeah, I didn’t think so.
Read ’em and weep, fellow bar-banders – it’s funny and sad at the same time!
“The Best Bar Band in America”
Ok, so most of us will never play in a bar band quite as cool as The Hold Steady.
Called “the best bar band in America” by David Dye (host of World Cafe on WXPN in Philly), The Hold Steady is the quintessential American indie rock band, with tight hooks and big choruses. And we’re not in it, which kinda sucks to be us, ’cause they’re kind of a big deal.
She said, ‘It’s good to see you back in a bar band, baby,’
I said, ‘It’s great to see you’re still in the bars.’
(from “Barfruit Blues”)
Anyways, one night they are headlining the 2900-seat Beacon Theater in NYC and two nights later they play the 200-person capacity Mojo 13 in Delaware. The story about that night at the Mojo is captured in Ryan Cormier’s Pop Culture blog on DelawareOnline.com. Fun to read and gives hope to bar bands everywhere!
Finally, a little shout-out to one of my students for turning me onto them – yo, Alex!
As Craig Finn would sing, “Stay positive!” See you next Friday!