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Song Requests


HAMEGZ

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I was watching a local blues act in a little corner bar once when a guy tipped $1 and requested a song. What transpired next is possibly one the most entertaining things I've ever seen. I won't be able to do it justice teeing the story on here, especially since about 99% of it was the delivery. The band continued doing a 12-bar blues jam while the singer proceeded to ad lib. A dollar? Wow, thanks....hey guys, if we split this we each get 20 cents. A dollar! (The waitress is passing by) "hey sugar, how much is a soda? A dollar fifty?!?!?" He went on for a good few minutes and had the whole place rolling laughing. The guy eventually came up and gave him a 10 spot and they played the requested song.

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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This list gets shown on FaceBook from time to time by some of my more, ahem, discriminating muso friends, most of whom don't play as many gigs in a year as I play in a month. my response is always the same: It ain't about ME, it's about doing the GIG well and being asked back, so sit at home while I play the request, take the $$$ and smile. but then again I've been accused of being a musical mercenary on more than one occasion....
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I'm with you Area51, I am always mindful of how much attention bar owners or managers pay to the opinions of the regular drinkers as to how good the band was. If one of em likes hearing Mustang Sally every Saturday night you play it.

MainStage 3 | Axiom 61 2nd Gen | Pianoteq | B5 | XK3c | EV ZLX 12P

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Well I told this story once before. Usually when people yell freebird, they're heckling you (at least around here). So all night this drunk guy kept yelling freebird, and we just assumed he didn't like us. Finally at the end of the night he comes up with a $100 and asks us to play freebird. We had never played it together before, but for $100 we'll figure it out. The sound guy was a bass player in another band and knew the songs, so he was calling out chords to us through the drum monitor, lol. I guess we did alright - the guy cheered loudly and didn't ask for his hundred bucks back.

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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Yes, a guy kept asking for Sweet Home Alabama & Surfing USA never played 'Surfin USA' before. He came up one night and offered $100 so we played both of them. We googled the lyrics off of my iphone.

 

It doesn't happen often but people appreciate it when you play a request for them and they usually convey that appreciation to the manager. This guy always shows up when we play that club and always asks for Sweat Home Alabama, we hate playing it. But the guy is always asking the manager when do we come back because in his words 'They are the best band in here'.

 

Yes its a pain, but a gig is a job! And keeping those folks happy and drinking is your primary purpose for being there. If you want to be an 'Artist', then play original material wherever you find the a gig. But if your playing covers in a club, your job is to keep the customers happy and spending money.

Boards: Kurzweil SP-6, Roland FA-08, VR-09, DeepMind 12

Modules: Korg Radias, Roland D-05, Bk7-m & Sonic Cell

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I was playing a jazz gig once, and some guy jokingly requested Freebird. So we went into a reggae groove, and I sang it in a Homer Simpson voice. He got a kick out of it, especially since we bailed out of it before the endless guitar solo at the end. Nobody asked for the song again. :laugh:

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Steve

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Finally at the end of the night he comes up with a $100 and asks us to play freebird. We had never played it together before, but for $100 we'll figure it out.

 

HA! The country band I play in had the same experience at last year's Christmas show at a Worcester MA bar. Yeah, for $100 we'll play it (and we did!).

Kurzweil PC3, Yamaha MOX8, Alesis Ion, Kawai K3M
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Freebird makes an excellent reggae.

 

As a solo piano act I was always getting requests for Freebird and Inna-Gada-Da-Vida, so I learned lounge-piano versions of them just to always have the upper-hand.

 

The worst thing is to have someone standing over you while you are playing with "do you know blah-blah-blah" or "how about blah-blah-blah"? so I made up a song sheet with 200 songs and left off the crap like Brown Eyed Girl etc. - the jerks would circle 20 or 30 songs and hand it back to me and I would ignore it, the serious people would circle one or two songs and hand it to me with a tip.

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"The worst thing is to have someone standing over you while you are playing with "do you know blah-blah-blah" or "how about blah-blah-blah"

 

That is a pet peeve of mine, what makes a person think they can walk up to a stage or on the stage and start talking to you mid song? It doesn't matter if your singing through the mic! I don't ever remember anyone sober doing that prior to about 1995. That is a quick way to have any song you ask for NOT played. I don't care if you come up between songs to the front of the stage, but coming on stage mid song is a lack of respect!

 

If you are not sober, then we usually have a 6 ft 7 bouncer who will never let you get that far. But it seems to be a normal trend for the un-inebriated!

Boards: Kurzweil SP-6, Roland FA-08, VR-09, DeepMind 12

Modules: Korg Radias, Roland D-05, Bk7-m & Sonic Cell

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Played a gig at a venue where the band was on the same level as the dance floor and half way through the night two well endowed mid 30's chicks danced over and lent over the keys to ask for a song. I was soloing at the time and looked up and my nose was about 2 inches from the 2 sets.

 

I lost it at that point and we all laughed. For the rest of the night every time I started a solo they would head on over, they got a result every time, although I managed to hold out after a while so they had to keep the shimmy going for longer.

MainStage 3 | Axiom 61 2nd Gen | Pianoteq | B5 | XK3c | EV ZLX 12P

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Yeah the Freebird thing. As mentioned before its usually a form of heckling. So: play the first verse and stop and say that's all you get for free, the rest will cost $50.00 . That will almost always end it. If they then heckle for something else, you say you haven't put up for the first song yet.
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I'm with you Area51, I am always mindful of how much attention bar owners or managers pay to the opinions of the regular drinkers as to how good the band was. If one of em likes hearing Mustang Sally every Saturday night you play it.

 

You bet their opinion is important. When I was doing a one-man band act back in the 80's playing the Hotel Circuit, I was playing the Holiday Inn in State College PA. One of the regulars loved "Georgia on my mind". He was an influential person in town and he tipped me well the first few times I played it for him. The last time he handed me a tip I told him it wasn't necessary to tip me for a request, it was my pleasure to play it for him. I got to play it for him on just piano and sang it, which was a pleasure for me. At that point in music technology, it was all getting to be drum machines, harmonizers,and sequencers in order to sound like a band instead of one man. I spent more time on programming and operating equipment than practicing. That got old.

 

I really enjoyed playing a favorite song for the man, he was a gentleman. Not alot of those in bars as I remember.

 

 

Mike T.

Yamaha Motif ES8, Alesis Ion, Prophet 5 Rev 3.2, 1979 Rhodes Mark 1 Suitcase 73 Piano, Arp Odyssey Md III, Roland R-70 Drum Machine, Digitech Vocalist Live Pro. Roland Boss Chorus Ensemble CE-1.

 

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Hahahahahahaha!

 

But you know what - I'd play Freebird all night for half that.

 

Apologies if I've told this gig story before:

 

Dundee pub gig with a funk band. Huge hairy rocker guy (my age) comes over in the break - bit drunk - and asks our clearly terrified Stevie Wonder loving singer "ye ken any Skynyrd? Freebird? No"

 

The guy was just an old biker - a huge old biker - he didn't mean any harm - but I can smell poo from the rest of the band so I got up and said ...

 

"We don't do Freebird ... but if you Gimme Three Steps Gimme Three Steps Mister ..."

 

He picked me up and kissed my forehead and said "ken that's a better song eh" - set me down and wandered back to the bar.

 

The young band are just looking at me going wtf just happened.

I'm the piano player "off of" Borrowed Books.
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Best I ever did was at a local Philly institution called Bob and Barbara's. Total dive, cash only, but on Fridays and Saturdays they have a jazz organ trio as this joint has it's own in-house B3 and 122.

 

Place is usually full of suburban white kids who appreciate the tunes but don't know them.

 

I waited until they finished a tune, went up, dropped a five-spot into the tip bucket and said to the organist, "How about Jimmy Smith's 'The Preacher?'"

 

He gave me a look, turned to the band and called for The Preacher.

 

Walked back to the bar and my girlfriend said to me, "Did you just get a request in? That NEVER happens here!"

 

They tore it up, too. Some nasty tone to that old B3.

Nord Stage 2 SW73, Kurzweil PC3LE7, Moog Sub 37, Alesis Ion, Rhodes Stage 73, Moog Werkstatt-01, Yamaha CP-300

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The list is funny, but IRL I feel like area51 and markay, a gig is not about playing songs I personally love or love to play - hopefully that happens at least some of the time - but on the whole, playing songs you don't love, hate, or are sick of playing and hearing, is sometimes part of the job of being a paid working musician - a job I'm always keenly glad and grateful to be able to have. In fact it's always been a pet peeve of mine since the beginning - when at rehearsal or a band meeting or email discussion, a song idea comes up and someone (usually the singer) objects "I hate that song" - that just viscerally riles me up - like - who cares?

Rich Forman

Yamaha MOXF8, Korg Kronos 2-61, Roland Fantom X7, Ferrofish B4000+ organ module, Roland VR-09, EV ZLX12P, K&M Spider Pro stand,

Yamaha S80, Korg Trinity Plus

 

 

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