Sit Ins: A Mini Rant

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by stephent2, May 13, 2013.

  1. stephent2

    stephent2 Poster Extraordinaire

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    We had a guy last night, local player, a pro I thought,... ask to sit in. He'd never been in on one of our gigs and I was surprised and a little taken back.

    Pros don't ask to sit in, that's amateur territory.

    If there's someone we want to sit in, we'll ask and it's generally reserved for folks who we know and those who come by to listen to the band.

    But I didn't want to make a big deal out of it, he offered to bring his amp and guitar in, I said No. But I told him, if he wants he can play my guitar on a couple tunes, no problem, I asked him up, he did and sounded fine.

    After the set I told him we don't make a practice of having guys who've never been at one of our gigs to play w/ us, but we liked him and went ahead and did it.

    I guess I'm having a hard time w/ the mindset. I know if I go out to hear a band, I'm there to listen. Seldom will I sit in when asked, it's their gig. I don't need to hear myself with them, I know how I sound.
     
  2. TC6969

    TC6969 Friend of Leo's

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    I never ask, (And I think anyone who does is committing a serious social error) but I consider it a great honor to BE asked and to say no without a VERY good reason is an insult.
     
  3. Kineada

    Kineada Tele-Meister

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    I thought this was going to be a thread about hippies sitting around protesting something. I guess I was very much mistaken.
     
  4. kelnet

    kelnet Telefied Ad Free Member

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    How about this:

    "Well, it's an actual a gig for our band. It's not an open mic or a jam."

    I don't understand the reluctance to say no. The guy's not in your band, has never played with your band, and from what I can tell about the post, is not particularly close friends with anyone in the band. In fact, it sounded like he was just some random guy who spoke to you before the gig.

    Just say no.
     
  5. Reverb Dude

    Reverb Dude Tele-Meister

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    I never ask but always get asked to...
     
  6. getbent

    getbent Telefied Ad Free Member

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    It is no win territory. If you 'hold the line' you look like a jerk and too many people won't understand AND they will misread your response.

    I try (and it takes every ounce of impulse control) to do exactly what you did and realize for a couple of days it will bother me.

    It is on the guy asking though. Don't let anyone tell you that you need to be tough blah blah blah. It is no win territory. Just a crappy part of the gig.

    One thing I have a ton of success with is smiling and delivering a very friendly negative to the request... I say, "You know, and you have probably heard, that sometimes were able to have guys sit in, but we have some stuff going on tonight and I just can't do it tonight. I have heard (or know) what a really great player you are and I very much want to hear you... maybe next time."

    This seems to salve over the 'no' and get me down the road.

    When I go to see friends play, I won't sit in. I want to be entertained by them and I don't want the hassle of possibly having someone uncomfortable. I tip the band and pour on the praise.... but, there is no need (for my ego or anything else) to go up and 'tear it up' for a song or two...

    never easy to see some true colors!
     
  7. a.miller

    a.miller Tele-Meister

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    I always say no. It's a lot to ask a band to put their reputation on the line so someone can have a few minutes of glory.

    As someone said above, pros never ask to sit in -- they have had to deal with others doing this too many times on their journey to professionalism.
     
  8. voodooblues

    voodooblues Friend of Leo's

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    This. If they're any type of seasoned musician then they would understand, especially if they don't know anyone in the band. Then again, if they were any type of seasoned musician, they probably wouldn't have asked in the first place.
     
  9. Toto'sDad

    Toto'sDad Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I know I'm skating on some pretty thin ice here, but maybe some of you who watch the Marty Stuart show have noticed that sometimes Marty tactfully, sometimes maybe not so tactfully turns down people who just show up and want to join in.

    Case in point, and this is where I'm apt to get in trouble, George Jones showed up a while back, and Marty did just like Getbent suggested. Marty said something to the effect we're so happy you could be here and the next time you stop by, we'll have you do a number with us.

    You could see George was not real good with that, but Marty did let him have some space to ease back to the audience without embarrassing him any further. I know damned well Marty and the Superlatives could have backed George on about any of his songs without any practice and George knew it too. What other reason would George have been there but to do a number?

    I'll bet that Marty has thought about it a lot since George has passed, maybe wished he'd have let him go ahead, and just cut something else out. I don't know what Marty was thinking, that's his business, but I do know I've seen George on some TV shows in recent years, where he might not ought to have been, knowing Marty, he was probably as concerned for George, as he was for his own show.

    I've also seen a number of people who were dressed for the stage, and not for the audience who showed up and got to take a seat on the hay bales without ever doing anything. It's obvious when you're wearing something with fringes and bright red, and your best yellow cowboooyyyyy booots you aren't there to look good sittin' in the audience.
     
  10. kelnet

    kelnet Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Maybe George was drunk.
     
  11. McGlamRock

    McGlamRock Friend of Leo's

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    Yeah between George's breath and Marty's hair spray they are probably extremely flammable- one spark away from a terrible disaster!
     
  12. Guitarzan

    Guitarzan Poster Extraordinaire

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    Dang, I am so broken up to read this thread. I was thinking about coming over on Sunday night and asking if we could sit in...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5iAZU5R0Ewc

    :):)
     
  13. rideit

    rideit Tele-Holic

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    no, that dude was an amateur.
    A REAL pro would have demanded to sit in, and get part of the nights pay!
     
  14. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Marty Stuart's show is set up in a way that potentially allows someone to come up onstage like that? It is not edited or planned?

    One guy in town does a once a month blues event that I really fun. He plays a set with his own band. After a break, various people come up in different combinations, sometime involving the "house" band, sometimes with their own guys. Everyone who comes up will have already arranged it earlier in the week. It really is fun. Except for one harmonica player who plays three songs, all with harp all the way through, including vocals and other soloists. I have wanted to leap over the tables to strangle her.

    A friend and I drove up to Seattle from Portland to hear Bill Evans in a club there. We got there early, and the only people in the room were us, Bill, and the manager. The other two band members were sort of drifting in. I was horrified to witness the club owner absolutely berate Evans as if he were a 5th grader, "No sitting in!!! People are paying to hear you, not other people. Do you hear me?? No sitting in!!!" I can understand the point, although I wanted to know how many songs the sitting in happened with. I would be very interested in hear local guys play with someone like Evans, as long as he thought the quality was high enough to merit it. I would expect that it wouldn't go on like that all night, but for 25-30% of the gig, that could be interesting, again, if the quality were high enough."

    I used to go to the Checkboard on 43rd St. in Chicago. It was owned by Buddy Guy, who quietly tended bar, while Jr. Wells sipped cognac as his band warmed up. Led by the great Dion Payton on guitar and vocals, no one, but no one sat in. Until one night, when a young guy stood off to the side of the stage, which was on the floor, quietly playing trombone. Finally, Dion motioned for him to step up to the mic. The guy sucked, not in an out of tune, rhythmically incompetent way, just nothing going on. After a few bars, Dion just kind of sidled him off the stage and went on with the song.
     
  15. TeleTex82

    TeleTex82 Friend of Leo's

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    At least he wasn't there to cut you.
     
  16. william tele

    william tele Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I don't know for sure how to put this topic into context. I guess I'm thinking most all of the con votes against someone sitting in are coming from arena caliber acts...because in the era I'm from (late 60's, 70's and early 80's) and the region (northeast Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa) the practice of having others sit in were a huge part of the magic. Quazy, Shiloh, Billy Legate, Jim Casey and the Lightning Band, Leland Band, Leafy Spurge, Red Eye, Young Country and 20 other bands I can't even recall. Any member of any of these bands might be up for a song or a set.

    Granted, ASKING to play is not too cool. But if any members were in attendance they were always called up. If it weren't for getting asked up for a song or set I'd sure have missed out on a big part the brotherhood of music. Guess it was just a regional thing...
     
  17. DrumBob

    DrumBob -------------------------

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    I'm almost always asked to sit in when I go see a local band, (which isn't often, because I'm usually playing), and I know the guys in the band. Likewise, if a player I know comes to one of my gigs, I always ask him/her to come up and play a bit. I travel in a pretty wide circle of working musicians, and we all like to sit with each other's bands when we can.

    I think the general rule of thumb is, don't let strangers sit in. I learned the hard way; years ago, our singer/guitarist let some no-talent harp player sit in, and he was so bad, people started leaving the bar. The owner stood there and watched all the dollar signs walking out the door. At the end of the night, we were invited never to return.

    There's a local guy who plays guitar in a country/rock band, and he always comes to see us when we play at one of our regular joints. I can tell he's a decent player. Just his vibe, I guess. I saw him a few weeks ago, and told him to come and sit in next time. I could see he was pleased to be asked.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2013
  18. cowboytwang

    cowboytwang Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I'm the same, but sometimes I go out and hear a band and think "man I would love to play a couple songs with those guys". If I do feel like that, then I'll show up to a few of their gigs, then after they are done for the night, tell them that I would like to sit in sometime, when/if it would be alright with them. Then totally leave it up to the band to talk about it and decide, and never put them on the spot right at the gig.

    I did years of playing Casino gigs, where most of the time you had to sign a contract for liability and for 1099s. So it was always easy for us to turn down people who asked to sit in. We would just ask them if they could go to HR and fill out all the insurance and tax forms, then we might be able to let you sit in, other than that as soon as you step foot on stage an armed security guard will be right at your side escorting you off property.
     
  19. suave eddie

    suave eddie Tele-Afflicted

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    EXACTLY
     
  20. Tim Armstrong

    Tim Armstrong Super Moderator Ad Free Member

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    One of the necessary hazards of playing in a resort town bar band was folks asking if they could sit in. If we were really engaging with the audience, we'd generally say "no, but thanks for asking", but if it was a slow night, we'd often say yes, even though most of the time it resulted in a trainwreck. Every once in a while, though, someone would just blow us away, which was always fun.

    Johnny Knoxville of "Jackass" fame showed up at an afternoon tiki bar gig of ours, and sent one of his minions up to ask if he could play some songs during our break, using my brother's treasured Martin D-41. The answer was a resounding "NO!!!".

    Tim
     
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