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Opinions please: stopping a song and starting over


Ross Brown

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We had a great gig on Friday. One thing happened that I have an opinion on but wonder if I should keep it to myself. We started a song and the guitarist played it in D and I played it in E. It is supposed to be in E and naturally it sounded a little off (bad). I have played with this guy for years and when something like this happens he eventually adjusts. He is very good, just had a brain fart. :whistle:

 

The drummer stopped playing because it was "off". :freak: I say keep playing no matter what. Half the folks won't know it is wrong (or at least why) but if we stop, everyone knows...

 

Opinions please, would you stop and start over or keep going.

 

BTW, if you say stop and start over, you are wrong... :mad:

"When I take a stroll down Jackass Lane it is usually to see someone that is already there" Mrs. Brown
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We have stopped and started before. The only reason was because the singer and myself started one song, and the drummer and the guitarist another. We all laughed.

 

I think it is BS that people that play in bars take themselves so seriously that if a major mistake happens in the beginning of song that they shouldn't just stop. Not every song, but maybe once or twice a year. It happens. Those folks don't give a rats ass if the song is wrong or not. If you keep going and it doesn't eventually come together, what would you do then?

 

That's my opinion and I am wrong!

How do you sign a computer screen?

 

 

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I think that this is something that should really, really be avoided if at all possible. But there are occasions when I think that it is the thing to do. To be honest, the situation you describe is one of those occasions, in my opinion. You simply cannot play in two different keys, so unless you can transpose to D on the fly, you need to start again. If you otherwise really have your act together, most audiences will be pretty understanding about this, I think. More understanding, anyway, than they'd be about a full-on assault on their eardrums. Don't fool yourself--the average Joe may not be able to put his finger on exactly what is wrong, but he'll probably know that something is wrong when it is.
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Clearly it depends on how bad of a train wreck it is, and how soon into the song the brakes get put on. (And how much you're getting paid?) If you stop 6 bars into the train wreck, have a little laugh and you start over and then do a great job on the tune, the audience will get a kick out of your goof and will get over it real quick.

 

Evidently, I am wrong also. But I am wrong with conviction.

Things are just the way they are, and they're only going to get worse.

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I think that this is something that should really, really be avoided if at all possible. But there are occasions when I think that it is the thing to do. To be honest, the situation you describe is one of those occasions, in my opinion. You simply cannot play in two different keys, so unless you can transpose to D on the fly, you need to start again. If you otherwise really have your act together, most audiences will be pretty understanding about this, I think. More understanding, anyway, than they'd be about a full-on assault on their eardrums. Don't fool yourself--the average Joe may not be able to put his finger on exactly what is wrong, but he'll probably know that something is wrong when it is.

 

No biggie for either one to transpose on the fly... we have done it before. The problem is who is going to change...? BTW, we are normally very tight. I just hated stopping more than giving it a few more bars, if needed. Also, I did not pick up on it right away since the acoustic in the room can play tricks on the stage level. Sometimes it sounds off and it is not... I am not quick to react, therefore.

 

 

"When I take a stroll down Jackass Lane it is usually to see someone that is already there" Mrs. Brown
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Stopping and starting over should be avoided at all costs. It is bad and people tend to notice things like that.

 

I have only been on stage once with a band that has stopped a song due to complete train wreck. It was one of my last gigs with that band oddly fitting that it happened. That whole band was a terrible awful train wreck. If I wasn't already leaving that band and completely checked out I would have died a little inside. As it was I just shrugged it off and didn't care.

 

The train wreck? The lead guitar player decided to call an audible for the last song and do a cover of "Pour Some Sugar On Me" instead of whatever we were going to end with. We'd done the song a bunch of times before but it had been a while. I play it nightly with my 80's cover band so I didn't think anything of it.

 

The rhythm guitar player started a half step flat and stayed there because he was so sure he was right. The lead guitar player started a half step sharp and stayed there because for some unknown reason he thought he was right - even though he is the worst person (self admitted) ever at remembering cover songs. I was playing the proper key and trying to get those clown to change. They didn't. Things got way awesome when the prechorus hit and there was sustained disonance that would make Edgar Varèse blush. Lead guitar boy stopped the train wreck and we just played something else. What a mess.

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There was only one situation in my years of performing where a band I was in stopped and started over.

 

It was a small gig in a parking lot. It was our opening song. 12 bars in, we had to halt.

 

1) I broke my low E (was playing guitar at the time) 8 bars in. Anyone who's ever played metal can tell you, the low E string breaking is NOT something you can just play through....

 

2) (and the lucky one) The sound guy had forgotten to mic our drums up (this was a multi-band show) - so no one could hear the drums...

 

So we stopped, they got mics, I grabbed another guitar, and we started over.

 

The crowd shock over this band they'd never heard of hadn't yet worn off from our first start, so it was almost seamless, despite a full 90 seconds going by....

 

Basically what I'm saying is, don't ever restart unless it's a complete FUBAR situation that has to be stopped.

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wife just told me that everyone in the crowd at the gig thought it was the drummer that forgot how to play the song....YES!!!!!
"When I take a stroll down Jackass Lane it is usually to see someone that is already there" Mrs. Brown
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I've been in a bar when the band is playing in 2 different keys. I would have really appreciated it if they had stopped and and restarted the song. Or just stopped and moved on to the next song, coming back to that one some other time - or not.
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Don't get me wrong. It's a bad thing. It's really bad. I've only had it happen at one gig (& it was not my idea!), with a pretty poor band that I've just quit.

 

I remember one time (with a different & far better band) when a guitar player started a song by himself, and the keyboard player caught my eye & mouthed "no capo!" Yep, the guitar player usually capoed for that song, but not this time. Fortunately, there were just enough bars left before my entry to figure out what key that meant he was actually playing in. Likewise for the keyboard player, and we all came in on the right notes & played the song through, nobody was any the wiser. That was sweet.

 

But then there are times when that's just not what happened, now, is it. (Oh, sure, you can transpose...but fact is, nobody did.) And then I think this advice is true:

 

I've been in a bar when the band is playing in 2 different keys. I would have really appreciated it if they had stopped and and restarted the song. Or just stopped and moved on to the next song, coming back to that one some other time - or not.

 

If you want a hard & fast "never," I think it should be: Never play something that is painful for people to listen to. Never.

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It's situational. I heard TS Monk, the drummer and son of Thelonious, stop his band once and had them start the tune over. He did it with humor and grace and it worked.

 

Now, I couldn't tell what they weren't doing that had him concerned, but he wasn't pleased. He was more pleased with the new start.

 

I did not mind in the least. No one seemed concerned.

 

It's best not to stop, but I don't think it should be thought of as a hard and fast rule.

 

Peace.

--SW

 

spreadluv

 

Fanboy? Why, yes! Nordstrand Pickups and Guitars.

Messiaen knew how to parlay the funk.

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On our last gig, we started playing "all these things I have done" and our singer completly forgot the lyrics, sang the same verse twice sang twice the bridge and the song ended 1 and a half minutes shorter. People did notice and he had to play it down a bit and say that he couldn't remeber the lyrics and so on. Everyone was cool with it, but at the end of the show we all agreed that things like that should be avoided. So we will be working on that during this week before our next gig.

 

One of our guitar players has the worst memory ever, so he writes the initial chords before the song on the set list just to make sure he doesn't get them wrong.

 

 

www.myspace.com/davidbassportugal

 

"And then the magical unicorn will come prancing down the rainbow and we'll all join hands for a rousing chorus of Kumbaya." - by davio

 

 

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Well we've done both: drag ourselves through train wrecks, and just start over again. Initially we played on valiantly but we found that for some reason, we never quite get it together. As per our (3) fans' requests, we decided to start over from then on. Next gig, our singer showed his utter contempt of timing by coming in WAY too early on "Hound Dog", so we stopped and restarted that one. He tried to blame it on the drummer :rolleyes:

"I'm a work in progress." Micky Barnes

 

The Ross Brown Shirt World Tour

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OK, you should try and play through, but sometimes a stop is the quickest and best way to fix things.

 

It also depends on the circumstance IMHO. If it's in the first few bars then it's not such a biggie to stop. A recent example: the drummer started one song while the guitarist started another. 10 seconds' worth of playing - stop - 5 seconds of sorting it out - then start again. No problem.

 

It also depends when in the set it happens. If it's going well and you've built up some goodwill with the audience, then it's no biggie. If it happens in the first or second song then you've got more of a problem.

 

Cheers

 

Graham

www.talkingstrawberries.com - for rocking' blues, raw and fresh!
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Some starting/stopping stories (all from the same gig):

 

1.) We lost power maybe 45 seconds into our first song of the night; naturally we started over when the power came back.

 

2.) The PA (supporting vocals only) was lost on our first song of the second set, we kept playing. It kicked back on shortly thereafter.

 

3.) The singer forgot the lyrics to one song in the third set; he made them up, and we kept playing.

 

4.) We were asked to stop playing with only 1 song left in our last set after the police were called due to a fight. We finished after they left, with probably only our significant others remaining in the bar.

 

1.) Tie your mother down

2.) Jailbreak

3.) Sin City

4.) Welcome Home (Sanitarium)

 

 

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We have had songs where the singer could not come up with the words. We made it an instrumental and finished out the song. Depending on the night we sometimes come back to it later. Doesn't happen very often.

 

We are getting a good reputation as a good, tight band. When we stopped we got booed and a bunch of crap from the crowd. Doesn't fit with how good we are (IMHO) and I am certain playing through would have been better than that.

 

Ended up being a good night anyway though....

"When I take a stroll down Jackass Lane it is usually to see someone that is already there" Mrs. Brown
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If you want a hard & fast "never," I think it should be: Never play something that is painful for people to listen to. Never.

 

If I never played anything that was painful for people to hear, I'd basically never play.

 

Having said this, stopping and re-starting that painful noise should be avoided whenever possible. It's bad, mm-kay?

\m/

Erik

"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."

--Sun Tzu

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Your bar crowds are a lot more sober and attentive than the ones I'm playing for. We could stop, change clothes, have dinner, restring and then start up again--as long as the next song was "Sweet Home Alabama" (or some other southern rock bar staple the drunks could go "woohoo" to), no one would notice the difference.

 

If you had the skill set to salvage it, do so. If you didn't, start over. If you could just soldier on with half the band in the wrong key and the audience actually think that was better than a restart, how much could they really have been paying attention to the music anyway?

 

The groove is in the spaces.

 

 

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