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Semi-OT: should I play this song?


dcr

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To many of you this will seem like an odd question. But to some of you it won't, & I'd like your take on it.

 

I've started playing with a pair of singer-songwriters whose material I really like. I also think they're good guys & I enjoy playing with them. However, there's a song they do that I'm not sure about. It's called "F--- Off." It starts off like a touching ballad, & in the choruses the character of the song is told to...you know. It's a surprising twist in the song & it has a comic effect. Yet it's actually more serious than it may sound; it's about a fellow who's regularly shunned by those he reaches out to, everyone from his own family to strangers from outer space. As the song it is, I don't think it's badly written. My problem with it isn't artistic, I guess. (Although I'm not sure how much of the "artistry" is picked up in the audience's response.)

 

My problem is that I don't feel comfortable putting myself behind this. For a while, I figured, "Hey, it's their song, I've just been asked to come in & play my instrument." But that's not working out; I feel very uncomfortable about it. Especially since I'm a Christian, I don't want to stand behind something I shouldn't. I ask myself how I'd feel if certain friends who know me, also saw me playing this song, & it's not good. That suggests to me that in playing this song, I might be untrue to myself. We had our first performance last night, & did this song. I felt really rotten about it. (I talked to one of the guys about it today (not the one who wrote the song), & he thinks it matters that I feel that way, but doesn't really get why I do.)

 

What do you think?

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A song, a song, high above the trees with a voice as big as the sea.

 

Personally, I'd have no problem with it. Afterall, it is just a song. However, if you feel so strongly about it, I'd say that you should stick to your guns and ask them to please not play it.

 

What sucks is there are serious consequences to sticking to your morals. Fortunately, I'm not the one who has to weigh the options.

 

Go get 'em.

In Skynyrd We Trust
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I might understand your feelings more if I was asked to sing the offensive part. All you're doing is playing notes. Notes aren't offensive.

 

I wanted to cover Living Colours' 'Bi'. The guys refused to play it after hearing the lyrics. "We're not gay, so we shouldn't be playing that song."

 

I know this is different, but do you have to agree with the lyrics in every song you play?

 

At least you were honest enough to bring it up. If you were in my band and felt that strongly about it, I'd at least address your concerns.

 

btw, I have a song that has the f word in it twice. I warned my mom about it when I gave her the CD. She's a devout Christian. She wasn't offended because of the context I used the word.

 

Maybe your friends will give you a similar benefit of the doubt knowing you didn't write the song.

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I am a practicing Christian. None of the songs in my band's list are overtly vulgar. Nothing worse than the occasional "hell yeah". However, several month's ago during a gig at a bar in Charleston, SC, the manager told us that he would pay off our tab if we would play a song called "F**k You" by Ani DiFranco. Our singer/guitarist is a lady who happens to know about 99.9% of the DiFranco catalog. She started the song and the drummer and I came in later (we had never heard the song). We ate and drank for free. :cool:

 

The song, as I recall, is sung from the point of view of a jilted lover. In such a case, I consider a good "f**k you!" to be quite reasonable. The song is cathartic. We were in an adult environment, the crowd was totally receptive to the song, and the manager requested it. Happy to oblige.

 

I had no problem with this. Had it been a different situation such as a festival, dinner time restaurant gig, Bar Mitzvah, wedding, or churh picnic, I would have refused to participate. And the rest of the band would have been O.K. with that and not done the song. It is an understanding that the three of us have. We are friends first, and musicians second. I should count myself lucky in that way.

 

If your position is that of hired gun you may have a hard decision to make. My personal take on playing music is that I am part of the song that is being played; not just the bassline. Whatever message that may be going out to the listener is going out through a band and not just the vocalist. In an adult situation my standards are more liberal.

 

As a side note, I will not be a part of any recording that I wouldn't let my kids listen to.

 

I hope that this made sense and helps a little.

My whole trick is to keep the tune well out in front. If I play Tchaikovsky, I play his melodies and skip his spiritual struggle. ~Liberace
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It's just me, but I wouldn't do that song. I'm not religious or anything like that - I'd just not be comfortable with it.

 

Also I wouldn't sing a song that might offend some the the rather parochial audiances you sometimes come across over here.

 

Geoff

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the World will know Peace": Jimi Hendrix

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=738517&content=music

The Geoff - blame Caevan!!!

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Personally I have no problem with language and as Billy Connelly says sometime no other word fits or works better.

 

However if you feel uncomfortable with this tell your bandmates, they should respect your feelings. There are sometimes more creative ways to say F**K of than the direct way, maybe challenge your band mates to express this emotion in another way.

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I think it's important to understand why you are uncomfortable with this song. Is is just a word, repeated? Or is it the thought behind the lyrics?

 

I myself end up sometimes playing songs in already-formed bar bands where I consider the lyrics somewhat crude or suggestive of moral stances I think are not so healthy (and many of those are more about attitudes about misogyny or violence and not just the presence of certain words). If I am a regular member of the band I try to get those songs replaced with ones that I think are better.

 

The common listeners seem to be more interested in what words are than I - I'm mainly tuned into the music itself. But I do appreciate a message that is well-said and will try to make allowance for any trifling little formations of letters that in this culture seem to be such a threat - yet so for some unknown reason, so useful and loaded with alternate meanings.

 

For some reason I've found the attitudes behind words more important than the words chosen to express them, regardless...

.
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But you still would appear to be a member of the band, at the same gigs. And then there's those other troublesome affiliations with the unwashed nationalities, races, the human race. It's a no-win situ, I tell ya ; }
.
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Thanks to everyone for giving this such careful thought & providing really excellent feedback. I think Scoot got it on the first try.

 

I think I'm right, that I really don't want to do this song. (It turns out the song's author has misgivings, but likes the idea behind the song, & isn't sure it can be gotten across if the song is altered.) For that matter, there's another song in the list that I have very similar worries about (language is OK, but the topic is, basically, lasciviousness). And there are songs not on our list, but in the writers' catalogs, that wouldn't feel right, either... This could potentially come up quite a bit.

 

So that makes me wonder whether I shouldn't just back out. This is their thing, & I'm in a support role. I don't really want to compromise, & I don't think it's appropriate to come in & start telling them how to make their music.

 

This will be difficult, since I got involved after hearing their demos of original music & really connecting with them. (The first demo I heard, and really went wild for, would get only a PG rating, btw.) I also like them personally. I think we sound good together, & I was excited about doing originals. But that's life.

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I would not play bass on it. You could however play guitar, every one knows guitarists have no morals.

 

 

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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I am in a christian metal band, and if we were ever asked to play a song with bad language we would say know. We know how God feels about that. Stand up for what you believe in. We had a cover gig a couple weeks ago and we made sure not one song had swears in them. Only one song did and we replaced the swear with a different word, so it was all good. They can make fun of you and disagree all they want, but at the end of the day God will be smiling because you did what he would do, and that is the greatest reward you can recieve.

 

Good luck with that, I hope all goes well.

"All things are possible through Christ." (Matt 19:26)

 

My band: http://www.purevolume.com/fadingsilence

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Things are just different for us dcr. As Christians we are called upon to take the high road. Not that we think we are better people (for those non Christians reading this), but if we ask ourselves "what would Jesus do?", then most times the answer is right before us.

Your conscience is giving you the answer you need.

BTW, you are planting seeds my friend!

I pray that things can be resolved for you in a positive way.

Jim

Visit my band's new web site.

 

www.themojoroots.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I was in a similar situation with about 85% of the songs in the last band I was with. I enjoyed playing with the drummer, the guitarist was alright, nice enough guys, etc. I had misgivings about quite a bit of the subject matter in quite a few of the songs.

The selling point for me was that I was getting paid, and so I treated it like a job. I showed up on time, did what I was there to do, and headed out. Not the first time I've played almost purely for the money.

 

However, even at that, the misgivings always nagged at me, and were ultimately one of the reasons I left that band.

 

Religion or not, moral or not, good or bad, whatever. If it's not right for you, you know it.

Act on that.

 

Good luck.

 

Peace,

 

wraub

 

I'm a lot more like I am now than I was when I got here.

 

 

 

 

 

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If it made me feel bad i wouldn't do it. This is not a lofty maxim to work from when deciding upon action but I think it is a healthy one. Not a moral question for me though and if i want to tell people to f off i reserve the right to do that without being labelled immoral!
Derek Smalls: It's like fire and ice, basically. I feel my role in the band is to be somewhere in the middle of that, kind of like lukewarm water. http://www.myspace.com/gordonbache
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I'm not religious in the slightest. People usually don't know my spiritual beliefs because I don't advertise them normally. But I guess this is relevant. It's not a part of my life that's important in knowing me I feel. That being said.

 

My guitarist is a very religious person. I write the lyrics for my band as I'm the vocalist. At times, it's frustrating because I wanna say a few things that I know my guitarist wouldn't feel too good standing behind. So I don't. At times it's limiting, but I get over it. And no it's not using foul language. Though I won't say I've never thrown in a bad word or two. Not to a huge extent. Seeing I write about emotions mainly and I feel I write them intellegently...sometimes a bad word conveys emotion or strength. But that's my take. I completely undersatnd how others would feel differently.

 

Though I teach church songs all the time to my students, I don't feel too comfortable playing church songs myself. And that's how I think it when it comes to my guitarist.

 

Analyze your position in the band. If you are full blown member than it's time to make waves if you care about the band and you feel you have nothing else to lose. Otherwise, all you can do is make a request. Maybe an accoustic version? If you are worried it'll just come up time and time again, then you know what to do.

 

Best of luck.!!

Mike Bear

 

Artisan-Vocals/Bass

Instructor

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I once played bass to back up a singer-songwriter. When we were talking/rehearsing, and she found out I was a Christian, she said that she would just do the "naughty ones" solo. I respected that. But as was stated before, I was just a hired gun for the night; not a "frequent flyer" or band member. Definitely bring it up and have an open discussionl see where it leads you. Speak the truth in love!

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

NEW band Old band

 

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Originally posted by Mike Bear:

My guitarist is a very religious person. I write the lyrics for my band as I'm the vocalist. At times, it's frustrating because I wanna say a few things that I know my guitarist wouldn't feel too good standing behind. So I don't. At times it's limiting, but I get over it.

That is a hard thing to do I'm sure but putting your guitar players feeling in mind, I really respect you for that and I'm sure he does too.

"All things are possible through Christ." (Matt 19:26)

 

My band: http://www.purevolume.com/fadingsilence

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i've told songwriters i wouldn't perform songs based on lyrical content, but it was always in situations where i was advertised as part of the whole. i don't want to promote ideas that i don't believe in and if by being identified as part of the authoring party words are being put in my mouth that don't belong there and i will refuse. if you get a particularly opinionated jerk who thinks everyone's entitled to his opinion (unfortunately common amongst songwriters) then it will be an issue. if not then it should be smooth sailing.

 

in this particular case i would do the song because a word itself does not offend me. it's how they're strung together that could bother me. in this instance the song sounds like the kind of thing that is about subject matter far deeper than any single word. if the author has misgivings i would find out why. if the song is purely fictional then he would have no reason to object to your refusal to play it. if it means something to him and his doubts come from the misinterpretations on the part of the crowd you may have more of a hard time getting his understanding of your problem depending on the venue.

 

but in the end, you're the one who has to live with yourself. if you don't like the way you feel about yourself after playing a song, don't play it. if they insist on doing it, let them perform it as a guitar/vocal duet. not like that's never been done before.

Eeeeeehhhhhhhhh.
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Being mostly in cover bands since I picked up a bass, and being rather picky, I've had to adjust to a lot of lyrical content that just seems stupid, boring, sappy without redeeming quality, or foreign to the way I wish things were ; } ...But if I'm playing up a storm with just an occasional background vox interjection to add, I don't notice the ca-rrrrazy word stuff half as much as when I'm supposed to be singing those strung-together snippets of er, wisdom.

 

When I choose songs that I want to sing lead on it's usually because I can do a better job on those particular songs than the ones I can't or don't want to relate to.

.
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I figure if you're enough of a nutjob to spend time worrying about it, you're enough of a nutjob to need not to play it.
For sale: 1992 or 1993 Carvin LB20F fretless 4-string with lines. Black with black hardware. Good player, fair amount of wear. $250 shipped.
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