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The RECKONING DAY: Tomorrow is my first time playing live!

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corbind
(@corbind)
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My hands are starting to sweat already and my stomach if getting butterflies. :cry: Many of you may know I went down to Florida for 16 days and even brought my guitar to practice so I'd be ready for my first time “playing out” or playing for other people. Like an audience. Well, the block party the band was practicing for was going to be July 31st but the drummer got the date wrong and it's really August 28. Phew, now I get like 6 extra weeks to prepare.

There is an even called the Riverside Jam happening this year out in Mass. hosted by Dr. Hodge. I was planning to have that be my first attempt to embarrass myself playing in front of others. Well, I got a call this week about a block party in Chicago that's tomorrow noon-10pm. I was frustrated because I threw out the address by accident and was upset if I did not attend because of my error.

A couple of hours later, I called the guy hosting the block party and got the address. I just printed out the directions on MapQuest. It's a 64-mile/2 hour round trip. But now I'm REALLY nervous. Literally my hands are sweating when I think about it. I have so much to get ready and remember. I'm probably going to have a heart attack on stage and forget every chord I've ever learned.

I make mistakes in practice and I know I'll make 3x that playing live. I suppose my only saving grace is that the people I'll be playing with are wickedly supportive of a newb like me. And they may let me play through a Fender Deluxe so that will help a bit. Oh my, playing live. I'm gonna drink a lot of beer tonight knowing I can't until after I'm done playing tomorrow. But that's not my nature—when the guitar is in hand I have a beer within reach. Guess I'll have to drink water.

Ahhhhhhhh. I'm so nervous. Tomorrow is my first time. July 31st will be my first time playing in a bar, and August will be my 3rd time playing a closed block party. It reminds me of how scared/terrified I was in speech class in high school and college. I still detest public speaking in front of lots of people.

Oh, I guess enough moaning/sweating. I'll let you guys know how it went Sunday night. I'm sure I'll have some stories to tell of the war!

:roll:

Dennis

"Nothing...can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts."

 
Posted : 17/07/2004 1:54 am
Mike
 Mike
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Don't drink to much tonight, you want a clear head for the gig. Have fun and rock out like nobodies their. I know that's going to be hard to do BUT, this is what you have been waiting for..... your big chance! Make it happen.

Try not to sweat the details. Remember if you weren't ready you wouldn't have made the commitment. So make sure you take your deep breaths when you start to feel uncomfortable and then........ ROCK ON BABY!!!

And remember your out there to have fun!

 
Posted : 17/07/2004 2:08 am
NoteBoat
(@noteboat)
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How very cool, Dennis... and I'm gonna be in Chicago tomorrow! Where are you playing?

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL

 
Posted : 17/07/2004 3:03 am
Musenfreund
(@musenfreund)
Posts: 5108
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8)
Break a leg!

Well we all shine on--like the moon and the stars and the sun.
-- John Lennon

 
Posted : 17/07/2004 11:49 am
slothrob
(@slothrob)
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"So you want to be a rock and roll star... Just pick up a guitar and learn how to play."
Have fun!

 
Posted : 17/07/2004 12:51 pm
Wes Inman
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Yeah Dennis, don't drink too much beer before a gig. It is important to be properly rested before a show. I almost always take a nap before we play(like I need an excuse), but really, it is very important to be rested. You will be less nervous and much sharper mentally.

I realize you are very nervous, but try not to be. Being nervous can cause you to make more mistakes. Just relax and have fun. Do some deep breathing exercises, they really help. Tell yourself you are not going to be nervous and you are going to have fun. Then put a big smile on your face. I really believe that an audience feels the same way as the performers. If the players are up there having fun, the listeners do too.

I often will have one beer before I go on. BUT JUST ONE!

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis

 
Posted : 17/07/2004 2:11 pm
corbind
(@corbind)
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I think I was more nervous last night. My stomach was in bad shape. Today I feel better but I know I'll start getting butterflies when I park my car. Tom, it's up by Devon & Sheridan (by Loyola University on the north side). I have most of my stuff packed and in my car already. I guess it's just time for a shower and take the ride out to the city. It's looking overcast out here so I'm hoping it won't rain. It was supposed to be a 20% chance. What would Neil young say? “No rain, no rain….”

Oh yea Wes, is that one beer just 12 ounces or do the 32 ounce bottles count? :?: Just kiddin'. :lol:

"Nothing...can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts."

 
Posted : 17/07/2004 5:27 pm
NoteBoat
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Dennis, I'm doing a party about 2 miles north of there this afternoon- I'm leaving in half an hour. If I have time, I'll drop by and see where the music is coming from :)

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL

 
Posted : 17/07/2004 7:28 pm
TwistedFingers
(@twistedfingers)
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YAY! Corbind! ALright, how did it go? Come on fess up. You were killer.

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -- "WOW--What a Ride!"

 
Posted : 19/07/2004 11:54 am
corbind
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I though I already posted my reply somewhere. I remember typing something up in Word and deleting the document before I copied it.

Well, I have to leave in an hour to the Van Halen concert in Chicago. My buddy gave me a free ticket so I'll go for that. Therefore, I don't have time to make a proper reply. Besides, I have to jump in the shower, go the the ATM, go to the store. So I'm off. Back later or tomorrow!

"Nothing...can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts."

 
Posted : 19/07/2004 9:27 pm
corbind
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I was really nervous the day/night before but I mellowed out as the day came. I got my directions, loaded my car, and took the expressway in. I missed the exit and ended up in downdown driving on relatively small streets for miles to get to the destination. An hour ride turned out to be 1:45. But I got to experience ‘little Mexico' and ‘Chinatown.' I could not read the store signs in either area but I saw a picture of some burritos (and I love them) and almost pulled over. But I was late and still nervous.

The block party started at noon but I got there at 4pm. I parked, walked up and saw I knew most of the players. They asked if I had my guitar and I said, “Yea, it's in the car.” So I lugged my gear out and waited to set up until about 5pm. My guitar had acclimated to the climate and was ready to tune. More importantly, I had acclimated. It takes me awhile to settle into things.

So I tune up (everything was off) and hook everything up. I set up on the far left of everyone so my amp would be also to the left and behind the PA. Actually I put the amp 4 feet behind me so I could hear what I was playing. Since I had a keyboard amp I ran one channel into it with the processed signal and the totally unprocessed signal into channel 2. I just adjusted the volumes of each depending on what I wanted. Either way, I knew I would be underpowered.

I did not see all the amps there but one was a Fender 4 x 10” 60w, another Fender Deluxe 1 x 12” 40w, and some others. All were tube amps and had some horsepower. The PA was nice and loud, too, to carry the drums and vocals down the block. None of the amps were mic'ed so they had to produce their own volume.

Let's see, there were 3 bassists, 4 guitar players (including me), 1 drummer and (later) a harmonic player. The guys had been playing awhile before I showed up and it was good for me to hang and watch for an hour to see how these things go. They kept on encouraging me to play but I waited. Finally when a song came up I sort of knew I got in. Or if someone called out “blues in E” or traditional things.

I had my amp ramped up to 5 and it still was not enough juice to hear with the PA and other individual amps. But at least I could hear what I was playing (that is, most of the time). I could not find something that sounded good to me. I've never played an amp outside. It seemed the treble was too high so I knocked that down. I put the bass up and that worked marginally.

Many songs I played palm-muted bass chords rather than full strums. Since I knew few of the song I played on few of them. We had a community binders that had song lyrics and chords in them. Someone would call out a song and I'd look in the book to see if it was there. About 1/4 would be and we'd go from there. On the other 3/4 of the time I'd not know what to play unless someone called out the key (or if I asked) and then I only had general idea but at least in the ball park.

The crowd loved the two Country songs back-to-back. That really surprised me being Chicago and all but the guys played those really well. Man they are good players. At dinner break everyone stopped and grabbed some huge grilled burgers. Quite tasty. There were many grills in the street with people grilling all kinds of things. It's nice people can just walk by, grab a burger, dog, corn, whatever, and just enjoy. It was a sharing kind of thing.

But during dinner, one of the bassists turned his amp on and was noodling. After about ten minutes he went into the Star Spangled Banner. ON BASS! He was staring up into the sky while playing and was wondering what was going through his head. That was beautiful, though.

After dinner there were many more songs. I believe the last (or close to) was Sweet Home Chicago. About 8pm the wind really picked up and I thought it was going to rain. The band decided to stop playing and pack up. By 8:40 I had all my stuff packed away and was back on the expressway leaving the city.

All in all, it was a great event. I love grilling and music. And it was great to see many of the guys I know. Also, it was a good learning tool so now I know what to expect when our band plays the block party in August. At that party I'll be playing all the songs and won't have the option to just not play songs I didn't know like I did in Chicago.

Things I learned:

1. Tube amps sound great indoors but don't reach their potential until you get them outside. They open up more and get that warmth.
2. The amp I used was not sufficient to play at those volumes, rather, would be used better as a monitor to shoot back at me to hear the mix better. I'll need a loud amp for August so it'll likely be a Fender Deluxe
3. A sturdy music stand is essential. The main music stand blew over countless times. Fortunately mine is heavy duty and can withstand the wind. It may seem too sturdy for indoors but it came in handy outside. Even at band practice the bassist knocks over his little folding stand lots.
4. Speaking of wind, having spring clips to keep pages clamped to the music stand worked well. I bought some at the hardware store hours before the event. The pages in my binder didn't flip in the wind because of those 2” clips. Best $4 I spent.
5. Tune often. At times I was in the sun and other times not. It made a difference in the tuning.
6. If I only know the key of the song, I'll just listen to hear for the chords changes in the intro and verse. I palm muted and that worked okay coupled with lower volume so it doesn't scream when I made mistakes.
7. A long guitar chord is need to go maybe 20' away from the amp to hear how it sounds to the audience. It sounds very different at my feet than when I'm 20' away from the front of it.
8. Have fun. I didn't play much but realized I didn't have to. It was a party and a time to have fun.

So, the block party was a great way to see how things work. Now I'll have that experience to bring with me forward.

"Nothing...can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts."

 
Posted : 22/07/2004 7:39 pm
Chalmodo
(@chalmodo)
Posts: 11
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Sweet! :D

all you need is to be human to be able to rock.
just dont be sad if some of us are more human than others.

 
Posted : 22/07/2004 10:37 pm
Ignar Hillström
(@ignar-hillstrom)
Posts: 5349
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Cool! I would so totally HATE to play songs I don't fully know, great you found a way to go through them without too much problems. Keep on rockin'!

 
Posted : 22/07/2004 10:58 pm
Wes Inman
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Dennis

It sounds like you did pretty good to me.

That 4 X 10 60W was probably a Fender Hot Rod Deville, big brother to the Hot Rod Deluxe. The 1 X 12 40W was probably a Hot Rod Deluxe, all they say on the front is Fender Deluxe. If it was a really old amp it might have been a Blues Deluxe. Those are awesome amps.

You played it the way you should. When you don't know the song, don't mess it up. And that's just the way you played it.

Yeah, you just need a good 30-40W tube amp and you'll be all set. You will be surprised how much better you play with a good amp. It makes a big difference.

Sounds to me like you did very well. With a little more experience playing in front of crowds you will learn to relax and have fun. Then you will Rock!

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis

 
Posted : 23/07/2004 5:44 am
corbind
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Well, I feel inadequate when I don't know most of the songs. It seems like the other players have heard the songs and played them before. I suppose, if I were adventurous, I could download mp3's for a buck a pop and listen to the songs in the “big book” I was given that have many of the songs. It's a community book that say 10 of us have. None of them have all the same songs but it's a start.

That would take quite some time to go through them. But I know when I go to informal jams with the group often we'd look through the book and play songs. Someone would make a suggestion and we'd go from there. I also like that some of those players would just wing it. I don't have the experience or chops to wing things yet. Maybe in a decade I'll be able to wing thing.

But, yea, I like to play songs I've played many times before. Why? I'm familiar with the song. I've moved my fingers through the chords and likely have a fair strumming pattern for it. But I'd imagine it's all about getting older with the instrument and playing with others.

One guy plays many odd fingerings so I can't look at what he's playing to follow along. Sometimes you have lefties and that takes time to reconfigure what they're playing in you head to then put to the fretboard. Even in the band, sometimes they'll throw out a song I don't know and I'll try to watch the bass players fingers. Often I can't see the other guitarist's fingers (except for the back of the neck), so I watch the bass player. Even then, he has a 5-string bass so it throws me off visually and that takes precious moments from my mind figuring out he's playing a C rather than a G note because I have to compensate for that unused bottom string.

On my drive home just now I started thinking, “Am I better than I was one year ago?” I pondered that. Yea, I've played a little over a year on top of that so I have more experience in everything. Or just being around the guitar. I know I have the basic stuff down a year ago and I had the chords. So it seems you learn so much in your first year that much of everything else is refining how you play. Yea, you learn new stuff here and there but a player with a half-year of experience can sit with a group and play. I just find the growth seems slower.

So, yea, the block party at the end of August will be a time I can play because I know the songs (unless the band tries to do a couple of originals which I've not learned because I was not with them when they played them). They are planning to do at least two originals. I've heard them when I used to show up and just watch before I ever played with them but I still don't know the chords to them.

Life is quite a diverse collection of moments... :)

"Nothing...can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts."

 
Posted : 23/07/2004 5:51 am
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