This was sent to me years ago by guitarist/composer Adam Mitchell. It’s tongue in cheek, but OH! the truth. I still have fun reading it from time to time and remembering the times when it has indeed been the way things went.
(photo by David Hughes)
How to Request a Song from the Band
When requesting a song from the band, just say “Hey! Play ……. (my song)!”
We musicians have chips implanted in our heads with an unlimited database of the favorite tunes of every patron who ever walked into a bar and all songs ever recorded so feel free to be vague, we love the challenge.
If we say, we really don’t remember that tune you want, we’re only kidding. Bands do know every song ever recorded, so keep humming. Hum harder if need be… it helps jog the memory. Or, just repeat your request over and over and over again adding the words “You know.” You know?
If a band tells you they do not know the song you want to hear in Croatian, they’re just putting you on. Of course they know it. Try singing a few words for them. Any words will do. They’ll pick it up right away.
It also helps to scream your request from across the room several times per set followed by the phrases, “AW COME ON!” and, “YOU SUCK!” Exaggerated hand gestures expressing disapproval from the dance floor are a big help as well, such as the thumbs down or your middle finger up. Put-downs are the best way to jog a band’s memory. This instantly promotes you to the status of “Personal Friend Of The Band.” You can bet your request will be the next song we play.
Entertainers are notorious fakers and jokesters and never really prepare for their shows. They simply walk on stage with no prior thought to what they will do once they arrive. We don’t actually make set lists or rehearse songs. We mostly just wait for you to yell something out, then fake it.
An entertainer’s job is so easy, even a monkey could do it, so don’t let them off the hook easily. Your request is all that matters. Once you’ve figured out what genre of music the band plays, please make your requests from a totally different genre. The more exaggerated the better. If its a blues band playing, yell for some Metallica or Slayer
or Pantera. Likewise, if its a death-speed metal band, be sure to request Brown-eyed Girl or some Grateful Dead. Musicians need to constantly broaden their musical horizons, and its your job to see that it happens….immediately.
TALKING WITH THE BAND
The best time to discuss anything with the band in any meaningful way is at the middle of a song when all band members are singing at the same time. Our hearing is so advanced that we can pick out your tiny voice from the megawatt wall of sound blasting all around us. And we can converse with you in sign language while singing the song, so don’t worry that we’re in the middle of the chorus.
Musicians are expert lip readers too. If a musician does not reply to your question or comment during a tune, it’s because they didn’t get a good look at your mouth in order to read your lips. Simply continue to scream your request and be sure to over emphasize the words with your lips. This helps immensely. Don’t be fooled.
Singers have the innate ability to answer questions and sing at the same time. If the singer doesn’t answer your questions immediately, regardless of how stupid the question may seem, it’s because they are purposely ignoring you. If this happens, immediately cop an attitude. We love this.
When an entertainer leans over to hear you better, grab his or her head in both hands and yell directly into their ear, while holding their head securely so they cannot pull away. This will be taken as an invitation to a friendly and playful game of tug of war between their head and your hands. Don’t give up! Hang on until the singer or guitar player submits. Drummers are often safe from this fun game since they usually sit in the back, protected by the guitar players. Keyboard players are protected by their instrument, and only play the game when tricked into coming from behind their keyboards. Though difficult to get them to play, it’s not impossible, so keep trying. They’re especially vulnerable during the break between songs.
HELPING THE BAND
If you inform the band that you are a singer, the band will appreciate your help with the next few tunes, or however long you can remain standing on stage. If you’re too drunk to stand unassisted, simply lean on one of the band members or the most expensive piece of equipment you see. Just pretend you’re in a Karaoke bar. Simply feel free to walk up on stage and join in. By the way, the drunker you are, the better you sound, and the louder you should sing. If by chance you fall off the stage, be sure to crawl back up and attempt to sing harmony. Keep in mind that nothing assists the band more than outrageous dancing, fifth and sixth part harmonies, or a tambourine played on one and three and out of tempo. Try the cowbell; they love the challenge. The band always needs the help and will take this as a compliment.
Finally, the microphone and PA system are merely props, they don’t really amplify your voice, so when you grab the mic out of the singers hand be sure to scream into it at the top of your lungs, otherwise no one will hear what a great singer you are. Hearing is over-rated anyhow. The crowd and the sound guy will love you for it.
As a last resort, wait until the band takes a break and then get on stage and start playing their instruments. They love this. Even if you are ejected from the club, you can rest assured in the fact you have successfully completed your audition. The band will call you immediately the following day to offer you a position.
See you at the next gig…