re: multitalented Gus

Date: Fri, 26 Sep 2003 06:49:55 EDT
From: Diachrome@xxxxxxx
Subject: multitalented Gus

I've been hosting a local blues jam on and off for 5 years now.
There is a guy that use to come in and blow harp from the audience on every
tune using a C  harp no matter what key the tune is in.  One night he really
p.o.'ed me because he sat right across from me blowing the ^&**( thing.  I
cursed him out at the top of my lungs using every curse word in the book. He
just  stared at me like any brain dead person would and started gussin'
again until  the song was done.
He had no clue that it was inappropriate.

Jumping ahead 2 years later I see him again at the jam. This time he brought
a tambourine. His harmonica must have died. So now he Gusses on the
tambourine. At least he can keep time with the tunes.<sigh>.

Michael "Fathead" Easton
Chromatic and diatonic repair and restoration @

Well... at least he's upgraded his instrument.  :-)

I haven't run any jam, I've never held my own gigs.
I've helped with the sound desk quite a bit at a local open mic, and
occassionally stepped in when someone was having technical difficulties and
no one else did, so with that in mind...

Have you tried approaching him politely during a break, introducing
yourself, explaining your role, asking about what he does musically and what
he enjoys, then gently move to the subject of "playing out of turn" ?

I once got chatting with a singer who was very hot under the collar about
why the rest of the musicians treated singers with less respect.

She was adamant that the voice is a legitamate instrument too... and so
forth.   I took the time to agree it is, and then explained if they behaved
like musicians, and took their turn, then let others play, and not interrupt
or sing over everyone's solos, and so forth, then that singer would be
treated as an equal.
She didn't bite back when I'd finally finished gently explaining my point
... not easy to do with the heat coming from her direction, and the noisy

I was told later that I was a very brave man taking her on.
And yet she treats me with respect ever since, and I think her behaviour
since demonstrates that she took on board what I said.

Not everyone is capable of taking this on board, or more likely, they just
don't care whether or not they're pissing everyone else off.
But sometimes sucking it in, and giving it a shot can make the rest of the
years jams a whole lot more tolerable all round.  :o)

We have one or two musicians who are put up on the stage early on in the
open mic evening and given their own 3 songs with good humoured patience.
They finish feeling happy and satisfied, and the jam resumes.  I like to
join in and solo with these people because its good practise and helps make
the 3 songs pass quicker for me.  Maybe I'm no better.

Reminds me.  The last time I saw Brendan play live was for a local Irish
music club.  By the third song in half the crowd insisted on stamping their
feet to the music.  I find that annoying myself, but they had organised it.

Brendan started another simple song and actively encouraged people to stamp
along with it.  Then the next one he asked if anyone could stamp or clap 5/7
rhythm, and not surprisingly not many if any could.
He good humouredly explained it took him several years to learn how, <crowd
laughs>, and he proceeded with this tune in an odd meter.

The rest of his performance went without so much as a toe tap after that
until it was time to applaud.  Really professional behaviour, neat trick.

GB "Attack Dog" D.

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