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Blues gigs - protocol


Ross Brown

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If I play in a blues band, does this mean I should be open to having other players sit in at our gigs? From some folks I hear its a blues thing (to have others sit in). I am of the view that when I book a gig with a venue they are getting my band and not a jam session.

 

I am not opposed to other bands having it be something they like to do cool for them. I know it happens a lot around here. Just not my thing.

 

What is your experiences/views on this? I ask because I want to know if I am way off base on this. Is it "a blues thing?"...

 

"When I take a stroll down Jackass Lane it is usually to see someone that is already there" Mrs. Brown
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Blues thing, my ass.

 

If you don't want people to sit in with your band at a paying gig where you're expected to provide a certain level of professionalism, you have that right.

 

You don't see B.B. King letting Joe "Howling Douchebag" Blow sit in with him at his gigs because it's a "blues thing."

 

I say it's your gig--you decide if it's cool to have people sit in with you.

\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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I've got some friends who have blues bands. And I do periodically get asked to sit in for a couple of tunes at their gigs. It's fun and I don't think it's a big deal. But I also don't get a cut of the door for sitting in for 2 or 3 tunes.

 

But I think it's entirely up to the band with the gig to decide whether or not someone is going to come up and jam. I think they would obviously need to know whoever it is that's going to sit in. As a form the blues lends itself to improvisation. But you also want to make certain you play a good gig. If it's your band...do what you want!

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You don't see B.B. King letting Joe "Howling Douchebag" Blow sit in with him at his gigs because it's a "blues thing."
And yet Howling Douchebag has let B.B. sit in several times. It's just not fair.

 

Speaking as a guy who is in a "blues thing" band: We don't let anybody sit in unless we know them and are sure they're not going to detract from our performance, only enhance it. This does not happen often.

 

The other exception is bar owners who play or sing some but decided to open a bar rather than join a band. Right now that's only two; one insists on singing "Born To Be Wild" and the other gets up and plays guitar on "Mustang Sally."

 

Anybody else can tell their story walkin'.

 

 

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It's most definitely a "blues thing." It will probably be expected by many. However, it is entirely your decision whether or not to let them sit in. Be prepared, though, for odd reactions from people who didn't even consider the possibility that you'd turn them down.
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If it's an important gig, too bad for "Howling Douchebag." If not, and if he's not too drunk, and if he didn't make too much of an ass out of himself asking("I am Joe "Howling Douchebag" Blow, and I am a blues legend!", or "the bar owner said let me sing/play/shout obscenities over the PA/you-name-it, or else!"), one tune, maybe more if he's not a complete waste of time. Why not? Let's one of our guys sit out for a while...

Always remember that you�re unique. Just like everyone else.

 

 

 

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...I think it's entirely up to the band with the gig to decide whether or not someone is going to come up and jam. I think they would obviously need to know whoever it is that's going to sit in. As a form the blues lends itself to improvisation. But you also want to make certain you play a good gig. If it's your band...do what you want!

 

+1

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...I think it's entirely up to the band with the gig to decide whether or not someone is going to come up and jam. I think they would obviously need to know whoever it is that's going to sit in. As a form the blues lends itself to improvisation. But you also want to make certain you play a good gig. If it's your band...do what you want!

 

+1

 

+2

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The Blues scene is pretty big here and there are lots of players that wander the various jams and open mics. Most of these guys are mediocre, some are very good and a select few are truly amazing. However,there is a difference between jam sessions and a bands gig and all but the most chemically challenged around here understand that.

 

 

Nothing is as it seems but everything is exactly what it is - B. Banzai

 

Life is what happens while you are busy playing in bands.

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It's one thing for folks to sit in at a jam and another for that to happen at a gig. An invited friend sitting in is not the same as someone who expects to sit in with you.

It's your gig, protocol is what you make it.

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www.themojoroots.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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"get asked to sit in " Exactly, asked by the band.

 

If it's a paying gig, and the guy, let's say his name is Eric and he brought a black Strat with him, by all means. Otherwise, only if you know the guy can play/sing/blow harp for real; do not feel obliged to let someone sit in with your band.

 

Open mic/jam nights are a different thing from a paying gig.

"Call me what instrument you will, though you can fret me, yet you cannot play upon me.'-Hamlet

 

Guitar solos last 30 seconds, the bass line lasts for the whole song.

 

 

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I don't play blues, but I used to live in a part of town that was ALL blues - on just about every corner bar, and there were a lot of them. So I used to watch a lot of blues bands.

 

I was often surprised after talking to some of the bands on their breaks that they would INVITE me to sit in. I always declined because it just wasn't my thing. I don't let people sit in with our band. I think if you're professional, you don't let anybody on stage with you until you've verified that you can put a good show on with them and they have something to contribute.

 

That being said, I haven't seen a lot of "sitting in" with the better bands. They DO have a lot of "Guest Appearances". But like mentioned above, it's different than some stranger sitting in. It's usually somebody fairly well known around town and is a treat to have them sitting in.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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Jeez, I can't believe no one has done this yet.

 

 

'You're a Howling Douchebag'

 

Thank yew, thank yew vurry mush.

 

 

The 'tones can be referred to as a 'blues band' - we often make people upset when they come to see us, many customers cry into their beer during our songs, there have been a few suicide attempts during our between-songs banter...but no, 'it's a Blues thing' only works at an Open Mic or a Blues Jam (advertised and conducted as such).

 

I was in the house-band for a weekly blues jam. You gotta know, it was the most boring job I ever had. 'Hey, I'm a Guitar God - i'm gonna do 128 bars of lead, then my two guitar-god buddies are going to do the same!' There were times I almost fell asleep on stage. We gave everyone 20 minutes and some of these wankers didn't get thru one song in that time.

 

At a gig where the 'tones are booked, we'll invite someone on-stage to do one song, and only if we know them, know their ability, the crowd is into it and it's clearly understood what the limitations are. The key word here is 'invite'. If someone invites themselves, they get fed back to the crowd.

Play. Just play.
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It's a "blues thing" to allow players you know and admire to sit in occasionally at your discretion.

 

It is not a "blues thing" to allow anyone who wanders in off the street to sit in just because they want to and they tell you they're "really good."

"Tours widely in the southwestern tip of Kentucky"
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The Blues scene is pretty big here and there are lots of players that wander the various jams and open mics.

We call them "Scab Jams" because as a rule they are comprised mostly of folks not good enough to be in a real band. I am going to one tonight to check out a drummer for a new original project I am in. He was in the band that won the county battle of the bands this year. There's an exception to the rule.

 

I sit in with my old bar band once in awhile if my girl and I are out and about. It changes her chemistry on a very basic level, if you get my meaning. They always ask - I never invite myself.

 

There are a couple local guys who show up to gigs and sit in without invite but they are good enough to pick and choose who they play with. One is an amazing sax player and everyone is always happy to see him.

"He is to music what Stevie Wonder is to photography." getz76

 

I have nothing nice to say so . . .

 

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I'm wondering why these so-called amazing players have enough free time to go out and sit in with bands. Why aren't they already in a working band?

 

I've had some terrible experiences with nationally-known players sitting in with bands I was in. I will not mention names. One was drunk, took the guitar, turned up all dials on the amp to 10, and let it rip. We almost lost the gig because of that.

 

Number two was a name drummer. We called a song (Yes We Can Can by the Pointer Sisters) and he didn't have a clue as to what beat to play.

 

Number three was an entire name band. The hotel manager told us "this band is staying at the hotel...let them sit in." Their manager came up to us and asked so we said yes. The band members walked up to the stage and took our instruments without saying a word. They then played a one chord jam for an hour. Afterward, the club manager said, "you guys got pretty loud that last set." We had to tell him that it wasn't us playing.

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JC touches on something that I also think about in this situation. I am out bustin' my butt to get these gigs. Sit ins get all play and no work. It is hard work (beyond musical talent) to be in a good band that is out giggin'.
"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'm wondering why these so-called amazing players have enough free time to go out and sit in with bands. Why aren't they already in a working band?

The ones I know around here are either freelance players, play in several bands or have steady gigs in a band or two and are well known because of that. Everybody has a night off once in a while. The guys here aren't hanging out every night looking for somebody who'll let them on stage.

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What he said. Gigged up guys or retired touring pros.

 

For some reason people like to live up where I do. It's quite a retirement community.

 

Names? The sax player is Barry Duncan. I had the pleasure of being in a working band with him for many years after he moved to the area. He retired from touring and bought a small print shop. He toured with some pretty big names.

 

Mickey Shine, Joe Bellamy, Steve Smith, Lydia Pense, Nedra Russ, are a few people who can walk up and sit in with just about any band around here and do so from time to time.

 

Use the Googles.

 

 

"He is to music what Stevie Wonder is to photography." getz76

 

I have nothing nice to say so . . .

 

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  • 1 year later...

I went to a local blues gig

And no one would let me sit in

I said I went to a local blues gig

And those bastards just wouldnt let me sit in

Its a cryin shame yall

They treated me worse than unwanted kin.

 

I begged and I pleaded

But it didnt do no good

I said I begged and pleaded

And it didnt do no good

Those rotten bastards

Treated me like I was a hood.

 

I got the No Jam Blues

I aint jammin tonite at all

I got the No Jam Blues

Somebody gonna take the fall

 

So I walked out to the parkin lot

All tanked up on gin

I said I walked out to the parkin lot

All tanked up on the gin

I commenced to whoopin up on their rides

And I finally found my grin.

 

I banged their fenders BAM!

I banged their hoods .. BAM!

I banged their girlfriends .BAM!

I and let me tell ya it felt soooo good!

 

I got the No Jam Blues

I aint jammin tonite at all

I got the No Jam Blues

Somebody gonna take the fall

 

You can stop now -jeremyc

STOP QUOTING EVERY THING I SAY!!! -Bass_god_offspring

lug, you should add that statement to you signature.-Tenstrum

I'm not sure any argument can top lug's. - Sweet Willie

 

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