Sitting in (vs. jams)

Jimbeau theowl@IX.NETCOM.COM
Wed Jul 30 15:09:17 EDT 1997

>I have never, ever gone to another band's gig and (a) brought my
>with me and (b) asked the band to 'sit in'.  This, to me, is arrogant

Interesting. In the mid-70s I lived in Cape May, which is a lttle
resort town on the Jersey shore. There were 5 or 6 clubs that had
bands, and I used to go to them all and ask the bands if I could sit in
on harp. There wasn't a single instance when I was refused. Maybe it
was rude and arrogant of me to ask to sit, but it certainly was never
treated that way by the bands I dealt with.

BTW, I was always asked to come back, and some bands developed routines
around me. There were nights when I would play with 3 or 4 different
bands a night in different clubs. Quite literally, I played with dozens
of bands over the course of three years.

>If you're good enough and recognizable in the crowd, it might be
>the band's pleasure to invite you up to play.  But it's their
>to invite, or not, period.  Like Vincent, I go to see a band do their
>thing, not to use their stage to showcase *me*.

I also lived in Ithaca NY in the mid-80s. Ithaca is a college town with
lots of clubs and bands. When I first moved up there, I didn't know
anyone, so I was unrecognizable to the local musicians there. Again, I
was never refused the opportunity to sit in, and I played with a great
many bands there. And 9 times outta 10, I was given an open invitation
to come back and play with those bands anytime.

>We (Gate Street Blues) get asked al the time, by strangers in the
>if they can 'sit in' with us. I just can't fathom this! And I swear,
the guys
>in the band are so laid back they're inclined mostof the time to say
>come on up!  AAAAAAAaaarrrrrggGGGHHHh!  That's bullshit, and I tell
'em so.

First of all, a lot of bands LIKE having different people come up. The bands I
played with in Cape May, for example, were mostly rock bands playing the Jersey
shore club circuit. After awhile, things would get a little stale for them. And,
since I was a harp player, they would invariably play their "blues" tune, so that
was a change of pace for them. It allowed them to have some variety without having
to pay an extra band member. The audiences always seemed to enjoy it.

>I politely tell the person asking, "Please, I don't ask to help you drink
>your beer, please don't ask to play with my band. I'm sorry, but I don't know
>you and the club is paying _US_ to play, let us get to work."

I'll try to be as polite as possible saying this ('specially since I like ya, Rick),
but maybe the WAY you say the above is "polite", but the words are certainly not
polite. The fact that you've had to have management throw people out of the clubs
may be because you've pissed them off.

Having said all of the above about sitting in, I only do it now when I'm asked to
(gee, maybe I'm "recognizable" now ;-). And in my heyday, I never asked to sit in
with a name band. If I've come to see a particular performer, I feel I've paid out
good money to see them play, not some wannabe.

And the shoe is on the other foot for me as well. Having had some talentless jerks
get up and spoil otherwise great sets, I'm not too inclined to let just anyone get
up and play with my band anymore. So I can readily understand your point of view.

>All that having been said, my thanks to my bro' Ron Kraemer and his band,
>The Hurricanes for giving me tons of room to be a show-off at The Blue Heron
>at Pocono the other night! :-)  I figured with al these Blues-Lers in the
>room, the time had come for Riffin Rick to "put up, or shut up!"  :-)

I wish I'd had the opportunity to see you. I've also had the pleasure of sitting in
with Ron (at his invitation). Ron is a great player. In fact, Rick, you were the one
to introduce us, via e-mail.

Anyway, I post this in the hope of convincing you that there might be another way to
look at this.


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