On a whole, most bands that play at a bar suck.
Self-centered, egotistical and with a heaping overdeveloped sense of self worth would be a generous way to describe the wide swath of twittering twangers and croaky crooners that find their way to the little wooden stage at the bar I work at.
Now I don’t claim to be the grand funk champion regarding all things music and the heroic plight of working bands. Just because I play guitar doesn’t give me the right to snark fantastic about a group of people, joined together to make crap music. This column does though.
There are a few groups that play at the bar, namely Trunk Monkey, Misty and the Mobys, Buzz Bombs and Franklin Lounge, that really understand their role when they’re playing at a bar on a weekend night. They’re onstage to help the bar staff increase sales and help to ensure that the customers are having a good time.
They’re professional, show up on time, stop playing when we ask, and are adept at keeping their volume to acceptable levels.
Witch’s Tit is also a customer and staff favorite, but I think if I called them professionals, that would hurt their feelings.
If you follow those simple rules and use basic common sense, it means you most likely will get invited back. Hence the term “working band.”
Then there are a few bands that I’d like to flying-kick in the teeth. It pains me to even think that we give free alcohol and cash to these people. I’ve even been pushed so far as to pick up a whole lime with an intent to throw it from behind the bar and smash the lead singer in the face. Nice huh?
The volume a band plays at will either have the staff singing your praises or wanting to punch you in the throat. What those loud, worthless bands don’t understand is that we have to still communicate with customers and other staff. Just ‘cause Mommy bought you an overpriced amplifier doesn’t mean you need to ruin our hearing too.
Here a few helpful tips to those energetic folks out there who want to be included in the “working band” category. Take notes.
1. Show up on time. You’re not a rock star. You have a job just like I do. Remember that we’re paying you. That money will go away if you can’t remember that you’re not Axl Rose and your crap folk rock band isn’t Phish.
2. Volume. Like I mentioned earlier, if you think you’re not loud enough, you are. If you think you might be too loud, you are. Turn it down. Or risk getting hit in the face with an unripened lime. Hard.
3. Play covers. That’s why we hired you. To play songs people know and like already. I really couldn’t care less about your original sap funk diatribe about how your wife hates you. We hate you. Now play “Sweet Home Alabama” again.
4. You stop playing when we tell you. If you beg and plead and whine about playing one more song, that will indeed be the last song you play at the bar. Ever.
So to all your band members out there, the next time you feel like Bono and his smooshy band, just remember that you’re actually playing in a little dive bar by the beach. Know your surroundings and the job you’re being paid to do, and I promise I will (try) and not hit you in the face with hard green citrus.
Filed Under: Doorman Diaries