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Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by warrent, Jun 15, 2018.
This turned up in my instagram feed it's kind of neat
A guitar IS a party!
The party's over when I start playing.
I refuse to play impromptu guitar at parties. The expectation is too high, and it really doesn't much matter what is played - it rarely serves to perpetuate the party. Unless you play some pedestrian sing-a-long like Margaritaville, most people may be generally impressed by your talent, but the context is not there to increase the mood, simply by plucking out an acoustic tune.
I did have a friend who wrote a comedy song a few years ago, specifically for these situations. It's called "Talulla Ray" and it's about his escapades with an ex-girlfriend who was a red-neck with no teeth, living with her kids in a trailer park. It was absolutely hilarious, and he could simply do that one song and kill it. Then set the guitar down, and be a hero for a while.
A house party is perhaps the worst environment to try to play anything. I keep falling into the trap, and each time it gets more painful. I wrote parody/short-story about it in my UPCOMING BOOK (tell your friends).
Many years ago I was asked to bring a guitar and an amp to a house party to jam with others. The minute I set it down someone else picked it up and it made the rounds to others as if it were a drunk lap dancer the whole night. I played the keyboard the entire party.
I know of at least two guitars stolen at parties. Can't enjoy yourself when you are on guard duty all night.
Yes, or badly damaged. I would spend most of my time guarding my guitar. I wasn’t rich and couldn’t afford to get it repaired if it got damaged, and people at parties are notorious for imbibing substances that lessened their inhibition! Ruined the party for me every time. Finally just left it at home.
But in Louisiana...
My idea of a party is four or five musicians who can trade songs for a couple of hours without lyric sheets, playing with one another. An audience is unnecessary.
Quite a few years ago, I was along for the ride with my wife at a baby shower. My wife knew people, but I didn't, so after initial introductions, there wasn't much for me to contribute. As I recall, the only other guy there was the husband/father, so he had to be directly involved and "Ooh" and "Ahh" over every gift. I definitely felt like a bull in a china shop. Then I spied two guitars hanging on the wall. They weren't anything special, and I guess were more for decoration than anything.
I inquired about them, and got permission to play them. I wasn't trying to perform for anyone; I wasn't trying to draw attention to myself. On the contrary, I was trying to distance myself from the event that was more oriented to the women present. it was like a self defense mechanism to ward off the boredom I would have otherwise felt at that party. I didn't sing anything, I just noodled around, playing some instrumental medleys that I use at restaurant gigs. I call it my "Music to Ignore Me By" repertoire.
On the one hand, I felt a little worried that I might be perceived as being rude. But on the other hand, I felt much more comfortable passing the time that way than feigning fascination at the unveiling of each present. But well into the party, the hostess and the couple being "showered" thanked me, saying they enjoyed my playing and that it enhanced the evening for them.
I've used that party coping technique several more times since over the years. And each time it has been received much the same way. The trick is to not think of it as a performance. And in my experience, the host/hostess and party-goers have no problem letting me play in the background. Most Americans treat musicians playing at a party as though they're flesh covered radios anyway.
I know a few guys who are very good at that. Playing a guitar for an hour or so and getting a group of random people to sing along. I usually would fill in with some gems and a few of instrumental tunes but I alone don't have a repertoire to hold the mentioned group of people at attention for a longer time.
Funny thing is, in the early days, those guys would play mostly to impress girls at the beach in the evening, but they'd end up in the corner alone with their guitars, and the guys who were in the listeners group would get all the girls.
I definitely don't attend the same parties as some. While a guitar is viewed as a good thing at a party, a fellow who can think of songs that are fun to listen to and cause others to join in is never ridiculed...in my old circles anyway.
It's my experience that most people who play music do it to see others smile, rather than to impress. I know I sure do. There are exceptions. Lucky me, I've steered clear of em'.
I like parties where a few people play and others sing along or listen while conversing with friends. I'd rather have that then recorded music.
When people ask me to play guitar at a party or a social gathering of some kind, what they're really asking is for me to sing something. I always beg out of the opportunity.
I suppose that’s more flattering than being asked to play “background music.”
Actually, I've done better when playing "wallpaper music" of my own choosing than attempting to read a classical sheet music book from too-far away, to "accompany" the viola-player-host knew by heart (yes - train wreck - I had no idea what those obscure Viennese pieces were)
Live and learn - I hope. . .
Peace - Deeve
I don't sing, so I don't play guitar at parties - full stop!