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Song requests and tip$

notINtheband

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Recently we played a gig where the back of the stage was at the entrance to the venue.
So patrons entered the place and walked beside the stage to get inside.
No big deal.
But that also meant patrons could stand beside the stage, not just in front.
Still no biggie.
But then here he comes.
The inebriated guy that wants to make a request.
He stands beside our bass player, shouting obscure requests that I’ve never heard a band cover. (Remember the CW McCall song ‘Convoy’ (1975))?
Anyway he spent 10 minutes badgering our bassist and looking up lyrics to songs he was shouting out as we played.
Numerous attempts to shake him off with polite and then more forceful ‘NO’s’ went ignored.
Here is a screen grab from the video showing the situation:
B3FF24B5-4713-4AB2-8BDB-DE076CAE23F6.jpeg
Anyway it got me thinking.
I really don’t want to play requests. I’d rather perform songs we have rehearsed.
Then again when someone drops a $20 in the tip jar and requests a not-unreasonable song that fits the evening, we don’t usually deny them.
I wouldn’t dream of shouting out a request at a show unless I knew the band and knew they played the song and really wanted to hear it. Even then my first move is to their tip jar if they use one.
What’s your experiences/thoughts on requests and/or tips?
 

bassanddrum84

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If someone ask us for a request and we know it we play it if we don’t know it we usually tel them we will Play it later. Depending on the song we sometimes will listen to it on break backstage and try it live. If people tip it’s cool if not that’s cool
Too!!
 

Tornado

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We try to play requests. They pretty often turn out pretty OK. It's the obscure stuff that irritates me, and it's almost always from a drunk who thinks you're lying when you say you don't know it. Like, I promise we don't speak Spanish, and we've never listened to that song before.
 

Drdrumdude3009

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We try to play requests. They pretty often turn out pretty OK. It's the obscure stuff that irritates me, and it's almost always from a drunk who thinks you're lying when you say you don't know it. Like, I promise we don't speak Spanish, and we've never listened to that song before.
I remember one drunk trying to get us to play a Doors song that none of us knew. Of course he became belligerent, and was thusly escorted from the bar and police met him outside.
 

notINtheband

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3 weeks ago a guy that knew me from childhood (I was a lifeguard, he was a regular kid at the pool), threw in a $50 and requested 3 songs we didn’t know.
We looked them up between sets and ran a quick melody of them that wasn’t tight but also wasn’t terrible.
He was so pleased he dropped another $50 in the jar and asked us to play one that was actually already on our set!
Needless to say we crushed that one. Lol
 

mydadisjr

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Had a pool player guy come up one time... semi-drunk.

He shouted out loudly "HEY, PLAY SOME CLAPTON... BUT NOT THAT STUPID 'COCAINE' SONG! I HATE THAT F*#&ING SONG!"

At least he was specific, I guess. We did not play any Clapton.
 

Squirrel Man

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Had a pool player guy come up one time... semi-drunk.

He shouted out loudly "HEY, PLAY SOME CLAPTON... BUT NOT THAT STUPID 'COCAINE' SONG! I HATE THAT F*#&ING SONG!"

At least he was specific, I guess. We did not play any Clapton.
You should have yelled back "HEY - DRINK THAT BEER!"
 

CSR

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A big band that I played with at wedding receptions had a similar problem with inebriated party guests. One would stumble up to the band leader and request something like a Jimi Hendrix number from the big band. The leader wouldn’t want to say “no”, so he’d say, “ I don’t think we have that number in our book, but will play another song that has a lot of the same notes for you.“ The drunk party guest would stumble off perfectly happy.
 

owr

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Man that sucks, seems like someone from the venue should have stepped in at that point to enforce some space. I remember a very informal gig at a local pub, I jumped up between songs for a quick bathroom break and came back to find some random guy jumped behind the kit. I guess he thought it was an open mic session. Being lefty, I have a secret weapon when these yahoos who can play "a little" but not enough to notice ahead of time that my kit is set up backwards. I usually let it go for a minute or two and let them make a fool of themselves.

Song requests in general - depends on the situation. If its a real musical gig and we are playing a set of originals or well thought out covers that we've put a lot of time into, I'll smile and say maybe and never get to it. If its just a bar gig / party type event and we're there to entertain the audience more than anything else, sure why not if we can pull it off halfway decently. As the drummer I can usually slop my way through most straight forward stuff. It all comes down to for me how it supports the mood in the room, and if its a group of people who know each other well and its a song that means a lot to them, even a sloppy performance will make everyone real happy real quick.

I remember a wedding I went to for a high school friend that had a lot of our class attending, and we hadn't seen each other or gathered like that in a long time. For whatever reason back in high school at parties when "Piano man" would come on the radio randomly, it turned into a rambunctious sing-along. So 5-6 gin and tonics into the night I tried to get the dj to play it. All he had to do was push a button, but refused. Finally he told me "no way, its not a good wedding song". I told him to play the f-in song and watch, and when he finally did, it turned into a drunken sing-along with about 100 people. Sometimes you gotta trust whoever knows the room.
 

notINtheband

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Last fall we played a gig in Southern Alabama and a drop-dead gorgeous 20-something walked up to our singer as we were about to sound check.
She asked if we would play Tennessee Whiskey.
Our singer (who plays mostly originals with a few covers mixed in) of course knew the song as we all did. But the sets were tight and flowed well and we had been hired and promoted under his name as an up and comer.
He tried the polite route, “we might do that one as an encore if we have time between sets.”

She smiled and responded,
“Why don’t you just play it now?”

Apparently, and understandably based on her looks, she wasn’t used to being refused.

Our singer, a happily married man with a new baby and one on the way, smiled right back at her, leaned in, and replied….no. :)

She smiled all the way out the door.
 


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