As opposed to the usually informative element that appears in my articles, I have taken the liberty of diverting from that particular element for this month, as I wish to convey a major concern that I find troubling at the most inconvenient of times and, namely, during performances.
Now I suppose that most entertainment artists, at some point in their careers, have been accosted with stage fright. And I venture to say that this sentiment occurs at the beginning of most such careers. And as I had taken a twenty-year sabbatical from performing to represent fellow artists in promotion and publicity of their careers, upon returning to performing, I believed that I would experience a major fright of stage.
However, that was not the case. In fact, upon taking the stage again, it was as if I had not missed a beat (pardon the pun) with how comfortable I was on the stage once more. And after realizing that the normal performance stage fright experience was nowhere on stage with me, my only regret became how long I had remained off stage.
However, since returning to the stage, there exists a new element of the stage that gravely concerns me. And, the more people in the band with me at any given time, the more grave the concern can tend to be. As such, I have elected to list ten incidents that I have borne witness to and experienced at some point that may serve to inspire my exodus once more from live performance, in the interest of safety, security, and other such nonesuch.
My 10 New Stage Fears:
1. A drummer who brings a single pair of sticks to the gig, then breaks one of them (“I can use this broken one to stab Dracula.”).
2. A guitarist who plays an entire song a half-step up and I can’t get across the stage to tell him so (Ridin’ a little high, aren’t you?).
3. A 4-string bass player who breaks one of them, with no backup bass to switch out (” High time for that 5-Stringer, if only for the reserved string.”).
4. A lead vocalist who forgets an entire second verse (Alzheimer’s, or Dementia?…Your Choice).
5. Any player who is overly accompanied by either Mr. Jack Daniels or Mr. Jim Beam (Sic!).
6. A fight that I see break out in the audience, with a subsequent brandishing of glistening metal in the air in the form of…not a knife, but in the form of an L or the number 7 (“Hit the Deck!”)
7. My missing Bass after the show (Once arrested, an apology campaign ensues…”Bass-ically speaking, I believe I picked up your bass by mistake, Sir. Will you drop the charges please?”).
8. An unfamiliar request titled “Roley Poley, Gotcha In Ya Holey” from a drunken 300-pound, 6 feet-5 inch guest who also insists on singing it on stage with the band (“I know it! I can sing it BETTER than your damn lead singer!”)
9. A snuff-dipping, tobacco-chewing woman who has a maximum of 10 teeth, and who has just thrown her panties on stage (“Uh, ma’am, that’s so 1970s. Janitor! Housekeeping! Fireman!”)
10. A constant knock at the rear stage door as we sing Paul McCartney’s “Let ‘Em In.”).
Editor’s Note: Dr. Kenneth Love serves the Entertainment industry as a musician, writer, promoter, publicist, and consultant. For more details, visit his websites at http://www.kennylovejazz.com and http://www.1waypr.com.