banter

On any stage, the front person's job is two-fold. One - entertain the audience while performing. Two - entertain the audience while not performing.

Breakfast of Champions

Location: 
Rapid City, MI, USA
Type of Gig: 
Bar



About 30 years ago, we were playing in a small bar out in the country between two towns. An older couple were in the audience and were getting kind of frisky. The man was average in height and build, and the lady was quite slender. During a song our bassist was singing, the lady approached him and pulled her top up to her chin. "What do you think about that," she said. He leaned off the mic between phrases and said "Sure, I like fried eggs," leaned back to the mic, and finished the song.

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126 users have voted.

The warden 'cordially invited' a prisoner...

Location: 
Terre Haute, IN, USA
Type of Gig: 
bar



I was playing drums in a four-piece country band at the time. One night, we began playing Merle Haggard's Sing Me Back Home, the opening line of which is: "The warden lead a prisoner down the hallway to his doom." For some reason, our guitarist/singer sang, "The warden THREW a prisoner down the hallway..." causing the rest of us to bust up laughing!
To our credit, the laughter didn't drastically affect our playing, but from that moment on, the singer would often substitute words like "kicked" or "forced" in that opening line, always with a mischievous smile back at me. The band isn't together anymore, but on almost every occasion the singer and I see each other, we always mention that song!

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204 users have voted.

At least he didn't become a blueberry...

Location: 
Los Angeles, CA, USA
Type of Gig: 
bar



Mid 1980's. While playing in an original band in an L.A. club, in mid song, my guitar rig suddenly went silent and somehow ended the song gracefully. Here I was desperately trying to find the cause of my sonic blackout, while my VERY quick-witted bandmates launched into a hilarious a cappella rendition of the Oompa-Loompa Song from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I found the cause just in the nick of time as the song was ending (a patch cord in my effects loop vibrated loose) and was able to carry on with the show.

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226 users have voted.

Amplifier Envy

Location: 
Indianapolis, IN, USA
Type of Gig: 
bar



I was fortunate enough to be in an opening band for one of my guitar heroes,
and was hanging out with the band after the sound check, when The Legend walks
up and sits down at our table, setting a newly-bought Pignose practice amp in
front of him.

"Oh, I see you've got a Pignose..." said the bass player.

Without missing a beat, the Guitar God replied, "Yes,....but you don't have
to be so bloody personal about it." (rim shot)

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150 users have voted.

Moonlighting as a Serenade

Location: 
Midwest, USA
Type of Gig: 
wedding



We had a 4 piece rock band (guitar, bass, drums and female vocalist) in the 1980's and did a lot of wedding dances...a lot. Although we played mostly top 40 tunes, we would occasionally get a request for country, old rock, etc. Because we all had a varied background in music, we could usually pull it off until one night at a wedding dance, an elderly couple came up to the stage after we had just blasted out a Fleetwood Mac tune and wondered if we could "..play In the Mood by Glenn Miller, only slower."
Without skipping a beat, the bass player said, "Yes, we would be glad to play that for you but we left the horn section home tonight. Sorry."
They smiled and said "O.K., thanks."

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226 users have voted.

Party Animals and Other Uninvited Guests

Location: 
Clearlake, CA, USA
Type of Gig: 
bar



I played in lots of cover bands over the years... too many bars to remember! I always remember the weird stuff that happens while playing in bars though.
One night at a local bar, we were mid-set and mid-song when this Beagle came running in the side door. It ran right up onstage, ran the length of the stage (Between our legs!) then ran off the opposite side and back out the door. I just could not function at that point because THAT kinda stuff just slays me with laughter.

Another time a cat came meandering in and slowly walked around the dance floor. Our Frontman didn't miss a beat! He said into the mic "Um..bartender would you please give that cat-a-tonic?

Yet another gig, at a lakeside resort / bar, we were mid-set and an Elvis Impersonator walked in, jumpsuit and all. Not only that, his buddy is with him , and this guy is a Roy Orbison impersonator! He's got the "Roy" hair, thick dark frames, the whole bit. "Elvis and Roy" are dancing together to us doing Sharp Dressed Man, and it's pretty clear that "Elvis" is way hammered. Later he came up and informed us he was leaving cause we wouldn't let him sit in, and of course we had a minute of on-mic fun with the whole "Elvis has Left the Building" bit. We watched him and Roy stagger down to the boat docks, where Elvis promptly fell into a skiboat head first.

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269 users have voted.

Slow Motion Walters

Location: 
Boise, ID, USA
Type of Gig: 
Bar



We all get `em.. requests from our precious patrons in the bar. You never really can tell what's going to happen. One night in a Boise bar, around midnight, a quite drunk fellow approached the stage waving his arms back and forth trying to get us to stop in the middle of a tune. We kept going, and when the tune was over he said "hold on a minute guys, I KNOW you know my favorite song."

"O.K. shoot," says the lead singer.

"Slow Motion Walter" yells the patron. "Everybody knows that one."

We looked at each other on stage and all shook our heads no. "Sorry dude, we don't know that one."

"C'mon guys, "Slow motion Walter, Fire engine guy!" the patron yells, a little pissed now.

He meant Smoke on the Water!! We laughed for a good five minutes on that one.



Another time, in El Paso, TX, "Bingo Jed had a light on," yelled a waterbag. The band looked around to see if anyone on stage knew "Bingo". Turns out it was Steve Miller's Jet Airliner. I know you people reading this are singing the chorus right now..

Ever since then, if it appears on our band's set list, it's written "BINGO"

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155 users have voted.

In Complete Control

Location: 
Topeka, KS, USA
Type of Gig: 
bar



In the 80's, we had a punk rock band that was terrible...don't get me wrong, we rocked, and we always had a good crowd who loved us in our hometown, but taken out of that environment, we sucked!!!
We were asked to play with another band in Topeka, only 30 or 40 miles away from home, but a million miles away from what we were used to. It was a two night gig at the local hot spot, the first night we opened, the second we closed.
The first night went pretty well, we played decently and half the crowd enjoyed the set, with the other half getting involved by heckling us. A pretty good show!
I should say our bass player was quite a literate, quick witted smart aleck who loved to respond to hecklers, and even encouraged it!
The second night, after the local band played, the half of the crowd that had liked us the night before had gone home.
Before we even got on stage, the banter began, with even more people leaving, afraid that the evening might turn violent. The bass player was in rare form, never losing his temper, egging on the small crowd between every song.
About 6 songs into the set, one of the bartenders started setting his buddies up with wet bar rags tied into balls, and they soon started flying at us...with more egging on by Mr. Bass! After a couple of songs, being bombarded by flying wet balls of cotton, Mr .Bass told the throwers that if they didn't like us, they could PAY us to stop. After the next song he really started in on them, calling them lazy and cheap, and to put their money where there mouth was, as well as many other choice things...
We finished the next song, and the main thrower walked up with a wad of cash and handed it to Mr. Bass. After it was counted by him, he looked at us and shut off his amp...I turned my amp off, took off my guitar and started to wrap up cords, our drummer stood up and started taking his drums apart. Show over!!!!
We loaded up quickly, drummer got our take from the doorman, and we got out of there!!!

We made $200 from the door, but they paid us another $300 to STOP PLAYING!!

We felt, and still feel, that we were one of the most punk of the punk bands around; to make MORE money to STOP playing than we did to play! Rock n roll, baby!

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156 users have voted.

Better Seen and not Heard.. or Said

Location: 
Arizona, USA
Type of Gig: 
Biker Bar



Our cover band has been blessed to play at a well known biker bar very regularly over the past couple years. The staff is great, drinks are cheap, and the crowd dances and has a good time.

Being a bar frequented by biker gang members, they have very experienced security every night. One of the bouncers is a really sweet, kind, and fun man, but he's physically intimidating. We'll call him Mike (not his real name). Over the dozens of gigs we've done there we've gotten a kick out of mocking him over the microphone: "Hey, tonight is Grab Mike's Butt Night" . . . "Mike is giving free hugs out by the dumpster tonight" . . . "Meet Mike in the Men's Room Night". Or we'll introduce a song by saying "This is Mike's favorite" and then play Ricky Martin's "Livin' La Vida Loca."

Being the great guy that he is, he just takes it like a man.

Being the loudmouthed musicians who like to drink a bit, however, we did push it too far one night. A chemically enhanced patron came up and offered to buy us a round. Our complex order confounded him for a bit: "Four shots of cheap tequila!" but he eventually sauntered barward. Five minutes later Bouncer Mike is gingerly using the patron's head to open the exit door and escorting him out.

Of course, we made mention of the incident: "Hey, what the hell?! You could have let him buy us our tequila first and THEN shoved him out the door!" Oops.

Next break, Mike walks up to the stage and calmly but sternly advises us to never, ever mention a security action over the PA again. The idea that doing so could jeopardize anyone's safety never crossed our beer soaked minds.

We learned our lesson that night.

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187 users have voted.

Hello... Cleveland?

Location: 
Bakersfield, CA, USA
Type of Gig: 
bar



On our first night of a 3 month national tour, we found ourselves in a cool venue, with a decent crowd of strangers kind enough to listen and dance. Killing time while we tuned, the singer mistakenly addressed the audience "How you feeling, Fresno?"

Turns out the cliche rock n roll joke of naming the wrong city is not that funny, even when its an honest mistake.

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136 users have voted.

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