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Double-barreled Rant: Unpreparedness & Wanking. WTH?


Winston Psmith

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Yes, unprepared wanking is not a good idea because, like Abraham Lincoln said, "You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people ALL of the time."

Even excellent musicians doing free form improvisation doesn't always work - and I'm talking about people who are perfectly capable of playing in a structured way.

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For anyone curious about the deleted post, I was ranting about a show where two acts were unprepared, to the point where one guy struggled to bring ANY sound at all out of his rig, and a third guy spent forty minutes committing noise, with nothing else to show for his efforts.

 

I work hard to get ready for a show, because I don't think people are spending money, or committing their weekends to watching wanna-be's try and get their shit together. I can't imagine walking out the door without a plan for what I'm going to play, or without knowing that all my gear is in working order.

 

There were five acts, this night, and IMO, three of them should have stayed home until they were ready to play in front of people. You might have had a better night at one of those painful grade-school musicals; at least a bunch of little kids have a ready-made excuse for not acting like professionals, and who knows, some of them might surprise you.

 

Thanks for listening . . .

"Monsters are real, and Ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win." Stephen King

 

http://www.novparolo.com

 

https://thewinstonpsmithproject.bandcamp.com

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There are all sorts of wankers out there, attempting to play music. A friend of mine told me about a show he was playing at where the guitarist for one of the opening acts had a huge pedal board with over twenty pedals on it. Now, I don't see anything wrong with that, if you need a lot of those pedals for all the different sounds you need to make. But this guy apparently just used a couple pedals. What a wanker.

 

A band I watched a couple years ago had a bass player who was one of those "Hey everybody, forget the rest of these guys, just watch me" type of players. I told the band's manager that his bass player was playing in his own world up on stage, and that he wasn't playing on the beat, in key, or even in the same song. The manager sadly agreed, but pointed out that the rest of the band sounded great. That bass player was a genuine wanker.

I rock; therefore, I am.
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There are all sorts of wankers out there, attempting to play music. A friend of mine told me about a show he was playing at where the guitarist for one of the opening acts had a huge pedal board with over twenty pedals on it. Now, I don't see anything wrong with that, if you need a lot of those pedals for all the different sounds you need to make. But this guy apparently just used a couple pedals. What a wanker.

 

I could see having a set-up where certain sounds/pedals were for certain tunes, so depending on the set that night, you might not use all the pedals on the board, but for some folks, it's like Amp Stack Envy; they see some Guitar God with a massive pedalboard, or a huge amp back line, and feel like they have to emulate that, even if they don't really need it.

 

Then again, some people just think it looks cool to have all that gear; wankers, indeed.

 

To be perfectly honest, it's entirely possible that many people would not enjoy nor appreciate what I do when I perform; not everything is to everyone's taste. Given that, I don't see any need to test or abuse my audience and my fellow performers by doing something better left to the privacy of one's own home . . .

"Monsters are real, and Ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win." Stephen King

 

http://www.novparolo.com

 

https://thewinstonpsmithproject.bandcamp.com

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@ Winston, it's always good to practice and be prepared before playing to an audience. I doubt those 3 acts will ever be invited back again. I think it depends on the venue. Is it a paid gig? A few beginners and wankers should always be expected at open mic's, jams, karaoke, etc., and it can be part of the fun! However, no one should be allowed to tie up the stage making noise for 40 minutes LOL! A 3 song limit is a good thing. We always try to support the beginners who are just starting out and you get to know who the regulars/pros are and they are always invited back... :cool:

 

ps. HAPPY BIRTHDAY DANNY! :thu:

Take care, Larryz
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+1 DBM, even if playing for free, one should be prepared...most open mic's limit you to 3 or 4 songs but you should be prepared to play 6 or 7. When you get to the party, someone else may be covering one or two of the covers you had in mind LOL! Also, when there is a short list, the host may ask you to play a few more tunes or have you back up on stage. Many times there will be a jam at the end with guys and gals called up and you really don't know what the song will be. Usually it's a well known tune or a simple I IV V thing that just about anyone can keep up with. That's when improv comes in handy... :cool:
Take care, Larryz
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I wouldn't get up on stage even for a free show unless I had it worked out to almost perfection. I agree even though I did not see the show.

 

Thank you, DBM; my point exactly.

 

In one sense, no show is free; the audience is giving you their time and attention. They deserve your best, and so do your fellow performers.

"Monsters are real, and Ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win." Stephen King

 

http://www.novparolo.com

 

https://thewinstonpsmithproject.bandcamp.com

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This all reminds of how when Jefferson Airplane and the Dead were starting out, they'd stretch out their songs with jams because they ONLY KNEW A FEW, LOL! Of course, they learned a bunch more later.

I love to hear good improvisers, but the good ones have done their homework and know both their instruments and the material - they're not just wanking.

If a guy can play a long solo and keep it interesting, great! Often, of course, the interplay with the rest of the band is a major factor in keeping it interesting.

Unfortunately, a lot of people can't do so (including me), at least not on tune after tune. So please don't just run on forever and repeat yourself OVER and OVER and OVER...

I mean, even John Coltrane got boring after a while, LOL.

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I pulled the plug on a band not long ago for a number of reasons - mainly the bass player and singer never being prepared for rehearsal, but I had some issues with the other guitar player as well. He was the lead guitar, I only played Rhythm on some of the songs, keys being my main instrument. But I played with him in 2 other bands and had the same experiences. We would show up to a gig and everybody would be set up ready to sound check and waiting on him while he tries to figure out something wrong with his pedal board. He's one of one guys who loves his effects and IMO overdoes it. I think he makes his rig overly complicated without first getting the basics like e right tone, in order to load it up with all kinds of cool effects. He ends up trying to find places to use his cool effects instead of making sure that his tone is good and he knows the song. I wanted to say dude, just ditch all that crap and get a halfway decent amp. Once you master that I'll let you star adding pedals one at a time if you can prove they won't screw you up! I was playing through my lowly first generation pod am a hack of a guitar player and sounded better. Sometimes he'd come up with some sound that just made me literally cringe uncontrollably.

 

But back you the topic, I can't tell you how many times at a gig....no sound, either that or it's all jacked up. Sometimes it happened in the middle of a set and we'd just go on without him (one of the bands had 2 guitar players - I was on bass in that one). And then sometimes all of a sudden, he comes in blazing loud because he had turned everything else up and whatever was muting him came on. Thing is, he was a decent player with good vocals and everything. Just because technology exists, doesn't mean you have to use it..,..especially if you don't know what you're doing. Some of the best guitar players I've ever played with play through an amp and maybe a couple pedals. Their shit always works.

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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I pulled the plug on a band...

 

I pulled the plug on a keyboard player in a band I was in, literally reached over and pulled both the instrument-cable and AC power-cord, on-stage in front of an audience, he was playing so badly!!

 

Seriously, he was playing so off-key that I and another guitar-player thought at first that our own respective guitars were out-of-tune. This key-masher had been hastily invited into the band, against my vote, and he really had no business being on a stage. It was unanimously agreed that I'd done the right thing, though!

 

But back you the topic, I can't tell you how many times at a gig....no sound, either that or it's all jacked up. Sometimes it happened in the middle of a set and we'd just go on without him (one of the bands had 2 guitar players - I was on bass in that one). And then sometimes all of a sudden, he comes in blazing loud because he had turned everything else up and whatever was muting him came on. Thing is, he was a decent player with good vocals and everything. Just because technology exists, doesn't mean you have to use it..,..especially if you don't know what you're doing. Some of the best guitar players I've ever played with play through an amp and maybe a couple pedals. Their shit always works.

 

I've had an amp unexpectedly fail on-stage before, and (usually) when it was in any band that I was in, I had a back-up head that I quickly switched to and went on from there. I used to bring a double for as many things as I could manage.

 

One time, many years ago, without a back-up amp on hand, after a perfectly satisfactory sound-check earlier in the evening, when the all-originals band that I was in at the time launched into our first song of the first set for our gig, there was no sound coming from my Twin's speakers or from the monitors... ?!

 

Now, the amp was miked, AND had a D/I device of the sound-op's own creation connected to my amp's built-in XLR Line-Level Direct-Out. We kept playing, while the Sound-Guy was frantically trying to figure out what was wrong. Oddly, somehow, apparently my guitar could be heard somewhat if very lowly by the audience through the PA. Frustrated, I just hammered away at it, and when it came time for it I played one of the most pissed-off live solos that I ever have, to the delight of some people in the far back, who cheered me on,

pumped fists and "devil's horns", and yelled "Guitar! GUITAR!! TURN IT UP!!" :D

 

Inexplicably, the sound from my amp's speakers and the monitors and everything came back on again as I noodled around testing it just before we went into the second song. The mysterious problem was never sussed-out. It was generally considered a rocking performance by all, in spite of the strange sound issue.

 

The moral of the story is, though gremlins attack, never stop playing in the middle of a tune on-stage in front of an audience, never train-wreck, always make your way and play through things as best you can.

 

Pedals? They're great tools, but you can't build a house with only a HAMMER!! Look into getting a good screwdriver and a saw or two, and of course, a good BALANCE can't help...

 

Troof! :2thu::cool:

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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I was playing at a multi-band event a few months ago when there were issues as to who was setting up where on stage and using which amps. We were forced to use the backline rather than our own stuff, after we had set it up. Anyway, I had been ready to go, then had to move across the stage. I plug in, and no sound. A little bit of hiss and static. checked a bunch of pedals & connections; no source discovered. After a bunch of frustration, I ended up just going through my HBE Germania treble booster, since it's battery powered, into the amp. Later that night I check the board and discover the culprit: When moving things, the power supply attachment to the CMAT Mods buffer came loose. The buffer is mounted under the board, so it went unnoticed & unchecked. GRRRRR! If I had been allowed to stay where I was, all would have been well.

"Am I enough of a freak to be worth paying to see?"- Separated Out (Marillion)

NEW band Old band

 

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^ I had a similar experience Danzilla with some one stepping on my strip and knocking my One Spot power supply loose cutting my pedals off in mid song in front of 400 people! I couldn't tell it was loose on the strip at first as all the pedals went out I figured it just went out. I ran a bypass by going direct to my amp sans pedals and finished the set. I found the "culprit" plugged in and was back in business by the start of the next set! I learned to keep my stuff tucked away where people would not trample on them LOL! I also learned the value in being able to play without any pedals just in case there is a patch chord, power chord, power supply, etc., problem... :cool:
Take care, Larryz
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@Danzilla and Larryz - Electronic Music shows are cable-intensive, which is part of the problem. You get into what I call "Murphy's Law of Thermodynamics"*. The more cables & connections you have to deal with, the more ways there are to screw things up, and it just takes one bad connection to derail the whole thing.

 

 

*Over-blown, pseudo-scientific jargon here: (Attempting to combine two or more complex systems into one greater meta-system increases the potential for entropy to enter the system as a whole.)

"Monsters are real, and Ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win." Stephen King

 

http://www.novparolo.com

 

https://thewinstonpsmithproject.bandcamp.com

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+1 both of you-I have made the same point.

Some pedals do what they do better than possible with a multifx unit-I get that.

But more connecting cables not only increase the chances of `lights out`, but pick up more noise-the worst was when I played on a stage with a neon light. Harsh on the eyes and major noise interference. Then there`s the `two left feet` problem. Say what you want about Kip Winger, he may have been onto something with studying ballet... :D

Ya, I had a night when my whole rig went dark-turned out to be the drummer adjusting his chair. Every adjustment pulled a little more on my main power cable, which ran under him. Finally-nothing happened.

Same old surprises, brand new cliches-

 

Skipsounds on Soundclick:

www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandid=602491

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I've also found part of the problem is a lot of guys don't use any kind of logical troubleshooting. They'll randomly check one thing or another rather than use a systematic approach that quickly identifies the problem.

 

For instance, bypass the pedalboard and plug into the amp. Does it work? Great, plug into the last pedal in your chain, does that work? And so on and so forth working your way backwards until it doesn't work, and there's your problem.

 

Of course, the issue with my friend with the multi-fx processor was just that he didn't really know how to work it. When it's all in one box and something isn't working, you gotta use a similar approach to troubleshooting except going through the menus instead of plugging cables.

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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