Sunday, April 02, 2006

Drunk Wrangling....

So if you've played any bar or club gigs at all, you've probably encountered the problem of drunk customers. I don't mean a little drunk, I mean the one's that are totally blitzed and want to jump on stage and sing or play your instruments. Most clubs have a bouncer or security guy to take care of the violent ones, but what do you do with the borderline "friendly" drunks?

For the most part, stay cool. Try to give them back to their friends in a friendly manner. Gently pry your tambourine from their fingers and encourage them to sit down. When the plastered guy keeps trying to talk through your mike, take it back and keep repeating "no...sorry....can't....." until he gives up. Sometimes these people are a great source of comic relief for the show, but there comes a point when enough is enough!

If you're at a jamming club or out of control party where your playing at ground level or the stage is very low, Protect Your Teeth! People will slam into your mike stand without a thought and Wham! I know people that have had teeth chipped by a microphone in just such a situation. Keep alert and sing with your lips covering your teeth if you need to.

Perhaps you have a friend or roadie that helps with these kind of situations. Here are a few of my favorite techniques for "drunk wrangling". The key to most of these techniques is to never let the drunk know your aware of him. Don't look at him or show any awareness. Eye contact could change a friendly drunk into a real problem.

Dance them out of the way: You dance out on the floor between the drunk and the band (never lookin at your target) and then slowly "dance" him away by slowly backing up until he's at a safe distance. He (or she) just thinks your having a good time and probably doesn't realize he's being "herded".

Pull them by the back of the clothes: This takes a little finess. Stand next to the drunk. Look where he's looking. Reach behind him and grab his shirt very gently with your fingers. Pull back ever so gently. Eventually he'll stumble backwards (away from the band/microphones/trouble). If you do it right, he'll never even know you touched him.

Tell them someone bought them a drink: This is one of my favorites. When the drunk simply WON'T stop slobbering over your lead singer, tell them that someone hot bought them a free drink down at the far end of the bar. Then let the bartender or bouncer know that you have a "problem child".

I guess the best policy is stay nice and deal with them with as little fuss as possible. After all, they're probably the clubs best customers.

Please let us know if your have any great drunken patron stories or advice of your own!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Be prepared for anything....

Saturday Night was one of the weirdest gigs we've ever had. It was our first night at a new club, Ricky Gene's down by the beach, and we wanted to make a great showing. However, the gods of all things mechanical seemed to have other ideas.

Initially, the house PA system took a dive during the first set. A speaker jack came loose and actually fell into the speaker, cord and all. So we stopped the set early and I got my PA out of the truck, which I had fortuitously brought along. So we started the second set and other guitarist Paul's incredibly cool and expensive amp set up decided to quit. No smoke or loss of power, just...nothing.

So, being the kind of guy I am, I quickly lend him my spare amp (that I fortunately had brought) so that we could proceed. I then took my amp off of standby only to find out that, yeah, you guessed it, MY amp was mysteriously not working either. At that point I didn't feel that I could ask for my spare back so I finished the set playing my guitar straight through the PA system. Not the best sound I've ever had I probably don't have to tell you.

Paul got his Amp working by hitting the front panel with a shot glass, and I reclaimed my spare. It actually turned out to be a really great gig, the audience was really cool and I'm sure we'll play there again. I still have no idea why we had all the strange and freakishly unusual problems, but I guess the point of the whole incident was...... BE PREPARED! Bring spare stuff whenever possible, especially if it's a new club and you don't know the house equipment and quirks.

By the way, both of our amps worked perfect the next day.