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Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig

Little Neophyte 11 Mar 01 - 06:58 AM
wysiwyg 11 Mar 01 - 07:31 AM
Eric the Viking 11 Mar 01 - 08:34 AM
Callie 11 Mar 01 - 08:41 AM
gnu 11 Mar 01 - 08:41 AM
Big Phil 11 Mar 01 - 08:47 AM
wysiwyg 11 Mar 01 - 09:17 AM
MARINER 11 Mar 01 - 09:26 AM
GUEST,Gern, who regrets loss of cookie 11 Mar 01 - 09:47 AM
bill\sables 11 Mar 01 - 10:04 AM
Willie-O 11 Mar 01 - 10:33 AM
Jon Freeman 11 Mar 01 - 10:36 AM
Jeri 11 Mar 01 - 11:25 AM
jofield 11 Mar 01 - 11:44 AM
Naemanson 11 Mar 01 - 11:56 AM
wysiwyg 11 Mar 01 - 12:53 PM
Roger in Baltimore 11 Mar 01 - 01:17 PM
Murray MacLeod 11 Mar 01 - 01:40 PM
GUEST,pmharty 11 Mar 01 - 01:48 PM
Sarah2 11 Mar 01 - 02:15 PM
Lonesome EJ 11 Mar 01 - 02:20 PM
Eric the Viking 11 Mar 01 - 03:53 PM
Rick Fielding 11 Mar 01 - 04:16 PM
Justa Picker 11 Mar 01 - 04:21 PM
wysiwyg 11 Mar 01 - 05:34 PM
Bill D 11 Mar 01 - 06:54 PM
Naemanson 11 Mar 01 - 07:29 PM
menzze 11 Mar 01 - 07:47 PM
Sarah2 12 Mar 01 - 12:42 AM
Kim C 12 Mar 01 - 01:17 PM
Wesley S 12 Mar 01 - 01:53 PM
GUEST,UB Dan 12 Mar 01 - 02:02 PM
John J 12 Mar 01 - 02:11 PM
Naemanson 12 Mar 01 - 02:17 PM
JedMarum 12 Mar 01 - 02:19 PM
JedMarum 12 Mar 01 - 02:26 PM
Jon Freeman 12 Mar 01 - 03:18 PM
GUEST,UB Dan 12 Mar 01 - 03:30 PM
Big Phil 12 Mar 01 - 03:55 PM
Little Neophyte 12 Mar 01 - 03:57 PM
Jeri 12 Mar 01 - 04:06 PM
Jon Freeman 12 Mar 01 - 04:18 PM
Little Neophyte 12 Mar 01 - 04:18 PM
Kim C 12 Mar 01 - 04:35 PM
Jeri 12 Mar 01 - 04:53 PM
Uncle_DaveO 12 Mar 01 - 05:03 PM
Jon Freeman 12 Mar 01 - 05:03 PM
wysiwyg 12 Mar 01 - 05:07 PM
GUEST,Roll&Go-C 12 Mar 01 - 05:13 PM
kimmers 12 Mar 01 - 05:28 PM
Murray MacLeod 12 Mar 01 - 05:41 PM
John J at home 12 Mar 01 - 05:56 PM
GUEST,Sarah2 (at work in the dead of night, woe is 12 Mar 01 - 11:55 PM
Ebbie 13 Mar 01 - 12:39 AM
GUEST,UB Dan 13 Mar 01 - 08:52 AM
Jon Freeman 13 Mar 01 - 09:20 AM
Jon Freeman 13 Mar 01 - 09:32 AM
UB Ed 13 Mar 01 - 11:13 AM
Gray Rooster 13 Mar 01 - 11:56 AM
mkebenn 13 Mar 01 - 11:57 AM
Mr Red 13 Mar 01 - 12:00 PM
Steve Latimer 13 Mar 01 - 12:21 PM
Pseudolus 13 Mar 01 - 12:35 PM
GUEST,Blind Desert Pete 13 Mar 01 - 03:09 PM
GUEST,Norton1 13 Mar 01 - 11:36 PM
GUEST,Dita (at work) 14 Mar 01 - 02:29 AM
JennieG 14 Mar 01 - 05:51 AM
clansfolk 14 Mar 01 - 09:16 AM
CamiSu 14 Mar 01 - 09:50 AM
KingBrilliant 14 Mar 01 - 09:57 AM
Jon Freeman 14 Mar 01 - 10:28 AM
RichM 14 Mar 01 - 10:49 AM
Jim the Bart 14 Mar 01 - 11:00 AM
cait 14 Mar 01 - 11:11 AM
Pseudolus 14 Mar 01 - 12:00 PM
GUEST 14 Mar 01 - 12:52 PM
GUEST,UB Dan 14 Mar 01 - 01:19 PM
Jon Freeman 14 Mar 01 - 01:52 PM
wysiwyg 14 Mar 01 - 02:01 PM
Bert 14 Mar 01 - 02:31 PM
UB Ed 14 Mar 01 - 02:47 PM
Kim C 14 Mar 01 - 03:05 PM
Grab 15 Mar 01 - 07:15 AM
John J 15 Mar 01 - 08:36 AM
GUEST,Terry Allan Hall (a guest?...I'm honored!) 15 Mar 01 - 09:09 AM
Jon Freeman 15 Mar 01 - 09:23 AM
GUEST,Patrish 15 Mar 01 - 09:27 AM
Midchuck 15 Mar 01 - 09:33 AM
KingBrilliant 15 Mar 01 - 09:43 AM
CamiSu 15 Mar 01 - 09:58 AM
truprice 15 Mar 01 - 10:43 PM
53 18 Jan 02 - 10:05 AM
Steve in Idaho 18 Jan 02 - 10:18 AM
SharonA 18 Jan 02 - 12:23 PM
Murray MacLeod 18 Jan 02 - 12:45 PM
Ringer 18 Jan 02 - 01:13 PM
SharonA 18 Jan 02 - 01:14 PM
Murray MacLeod 18 Jan 02 - 01:15 PM
Rustic Rebel 18 Jan 02 - 06:25 PM
53 18 Jan 02 - 07:21 PM
John J at home 18 Jan 02 - 07:37 PM
53 18 Jan 02 - 07:58 PM
*#1 PEASANT* 19 Jan 02 - 03:00 PM
Dave Bryant 20 Jan 02 - 07:18 AM
Amos 20 Jan 02 - 09:04 AM
GUEST 20 Jan 02 - 10:13 AM
GUEST,Emer 20 Jan 02 - 11:29 AM
Marc 20 Jan 02 - 01:31 PM
GUEST 20 Jan 02 - 02:15 PM
WyoWoman 20 Jan 02 - 03:36 PM
53 20 Jan 02 - 03:51 PM
GUEST 20 Jan 02 - 05:47 PM
GUEST,Marc 20 Jan 02 - 08:09 PM
Murray MacLeod 20 Jan 02 - 09:00 PM
Dave Bryant 21 Jan 02 - 06:31 AM
SharonA 21 Jan 02 - 09:39 AM
GUEST 21 Jan 02 - 09:44 AM
JudeL 21 Jan 02 - 12:14 PM
53 21 Jan 02 - 08:33 PM
GUEST,Desi C 28 Dec 16 - 06:31 AM
The Sandman 28 Dec 16 - 07:59 AM
JMB 28 Dec 16 - 11:53 AM
GUEST,Malcolm Storey 29 Dec 16 - 07:44 AM
The Sandman 29 Dec 16 - 11:06 AM
GUEST,Modette 29 Dec 16 - 12:59 PM
GUEST,John from "Elsie`s Band" 30 Dec 16 - 07:29 AM
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Subject: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 11 Mar 01 - 06:58 AM

Recently I attended an evening of music where I watched the performers drink a bundle. You could see they had quite a 'buzz going'. It kind of bothered me to see them drink so much. I was adviced when performing best to keep the celebrating to after I was finished. Okay, maybe a glass of wine or a beer to take the edge off but I was told it is wise to stop after that.
Did the alcohol affect their performance? I'm not too sure. Yet I would have much preferred listening to these folks play with out so much booze involved. Seems there music was fine but I did not find them present with the audience.

Maybe it is just me. I'm not much of a drinker although I love a glass of wine (or two).

Bonnie


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: wysiwyg
Date: 11 Mar 01 - 07:31 AM

Bonnie, start trusting your gut more! YES it affected their music-- see what you wrote.

Unfortunately there is not much you can do about dysfunctional behavior, except remember not to go back to pay to hear people who are heading down that spiral.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Eric the Viking
Date: 11 Mar 01 - 08:34 AM

Stick to orange juice and soda water!! That's all I do, Can't say it makes me sound any better, but it can't make me sound worse. There's nothing worse than some one with a skin full or high trying to believe they are The Superstar!

Soberly.

Eric


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Callie
Date: 11 Mar 01 - 08:41 AM

A musician to whom I am very close insists that when he gets drunk or stoned he makes much better music. Sounds better to him maybe, but not to the audience! I think he would also be a lot more popular with gig organisers if his musical talent was matched with a commitment to staying sober for the performance and the audience.


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: gnu
Date: 11 Mar 01 - 08:41 AM

WYSIWYG is right on ! The equation is simple. You won't affend anyone by not boozing, but you almost certainly will offend some of the crowd if you do. If you get dry throat like I do ( even when it's just some new people in the kitchen ), water is best. AND, if I had actually paid to attend, I would have felt slighted by the arrogance and rudeness of the performers.

A trick - if you play a pub and you think the mood and the crowd and the client warrant a bit of "let's get things going", tell the bartend prior to the gig that you want ginger ale in the glass or water in the beer bottle and that it's "our little secret", even when someone in the crowd buys the band a round.

gnu


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Big Phil
Date: 11 Mar 01 - 08:47 AM

Every one to their own.a little of what you fancy will not harm you, too much probably will.... Pleasantly happy..... Phil


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: wysiwyg
Date: 11 Mar 01 - 09:17 AM

Lovely thing is, it's your choice in the audience. Someone may tell you they are perfectly fine-- how many times have you heard that? But you get to vote with your feet and your seat.

Reminds me of the time Hardi and I watched Emeril tank up during a cooking show. We loved that show, watched it every night, laughed our asses off. And we loved Emeril. Until the night he did a show on "cooking with spirits" and sampled quite a bit of each item as it went into the recipes. You could see it all go past the point of acceptable fun right before your eyes.

We don't like it anymore-- it wasn't that he got loaded, heck-- we have a time or two. But it's not OK with me that he had that show aired, after seeing it all edited, sober. It's not OK with me that the producers expected viewers and the children in the live audience to laugh along with the funny, funny man. It's not OK with me that a kind, funny, talented man was marketed and then a mean, stupid-sounding man was put up in his place as though nothing was different. It was the craziness factor, not that he was having a few.

It was that we were expected to endorse what should have been regretted. Because we had not signed up to get loaded together at a party. We had signed up to learn some recipes, and maybe let our mouths water a bit with anticipated good tastes.

Whatever someone tells you about the shape they are in-- it's your OWN gut you need to hear loudest, even if you or someone else thinks you are being completely silly.

Women in particular are conditioned by our society (by mom's and other women's expectations as much as dad's and other men's), to ignore that uh-oh feeling, to stay in a situation to figure it out, go along until you can HELP of FIX what seems off. Don't ignore it. It's what your body was designed to be guided by. It's what keeps you as safe as you can be in dark city streets, what keeps you from getting into a drunk-driven car, what keeps you from hooking up with the worst nightmare of your life.

It's what keeps you from letting someone enter your heart through the powerful force of music and then leave you with a bad taste all through your soul.

Do you want that bad taste associated in your mind with, of all things, music? I don't.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: MARINER
Date: 11 Mar 01 - 09:26 AM

Last year I saw a world famous folk singer in concert. He had tied a few on before the gig and downed a few quarter bottles of wine during it.It didn't effect his performance in the least.But he is the only exception to the rule I've ever seen in over thirty years of gig going.Anyone else I've ever seen in that condition make a mess of their performance.


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: GUEST,Gern, who regrets loss of cookie
Date: 11 Mar 01 - 09:47 AM

I know I'm not the only one to be embarrassed by the drinking of fellow bandmembers. It's tough to be the only one sober, and to know that you too are assumed to be trashed. Some have told me they need a few to overcome stage fright, to "loosen up" and to help the crowd achieve that mood which heightens audience enthusiasm (lowering standards in the process.) I've wished I had a bag over my head when singers have slurred, staggered or worse. I don't intend any self-righteousness here -- I've done things I regretted too. But I've never seen a performance enhanced by alcohol, and have seen and shared plenty that were ruined by excess. This is how we musicians earned our tacky reputations.


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: bill\sables
Date: 11 Mar 01 - 10:04 AM

I dont drink alcohol at all but I am unfortunatly classed as an alchoholic by motor insurance companies in the UK. When I was insured as a musician I was loaded up to four times on premiums because they said that as a musician I must be a drinker, or that I was in the habit of carrying "Superstars" around in my car.


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Willie-O
Date: 11 Mar 01 - 10:33 AM

Wow--that's pretty bizarre bill/sables! (Sounds like legally challengeable discrimination by association, or something, depending what country you're in).

I think there are considerable parallels between drinking and driving, and drinking and performing. (I used to do both, now do neither.) Not meaning this as a judgmental thing, because I am not an absolutist on either issue. I think both drivers and professional or amateur performing musicians should act like mature adults not reckless teenagers on their first taste of pushing boundaries.

See if this sounds like something you've heard: "I can play (drive) better when I've had a few beers than most people can, I'm a professional."

That might even be true, but few would argue that you're at your best. I've come to believe that if you're serious about the music, or staying alive on the highway, you want to be at your best, not merely better than some other people of dubious talents. Largely because music, like driving, is NOT a competitive activity--it's a spiritual communication between you and your muse, and the audience if there is one.

I used to have strategies, back in the drinking days, to do the best I could under the circumstances. One was not to start on the booze till later in the evening, or alternate with near-beer or ginger ale. If I wanted to play the fiddle, or sing "Rocky Road to Dublin", I should do it early in the evening because later on as I got more of a buzz on, fiddle intonation would elude me more and more, as would the lyrics of the latter. After awhile, it occurred to me that if I couldn't play fiddle worth a shit when shit-faced, my other instruments were probably not getting what they deserved out of me either.

I've noticed that at a decent Celtic session, the real players generally drink just enough to wet their whistles, and not necessarily alcohol, despite the availability of sometimes-free Guinness. It's a demanding musical form and cultural myths to the contrary, great Celtic ensembles are close to or at classical level of technique, which does not come without sacrificing self-indulgence. You don't see a symphony orchestra drinking onstage.

Smoking pot, although fun, is a problem too. Singers who can't remember lyrics are not highly sought after.

Willie-O


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 11 Mar 01 - 10:36 AM

Bonnie I think what is more to the point is that it affected your enjoyment of the performace. Whether they were performing well is another matter, some can get away with it, others (most people) can't.

I tend to judge with my ears and am not really worried about how much drink or other drugs a band may have had - that is their life and as long as they entertain me, I'm happy.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Jeri
Date: 11 Mar 01 - 11:25 AM

This is my own opinion, perhaps most strongly influenced by my own generation and culture. I do drink, but not a lot. I was one of the lucky ones who boozed it up when I was younger, managed to escape addiction and just sort of grew out of wanting to be drunk.

Back to the 70's, when I got into folk music, drinking was part of the culture. We stayed up all night and consumed mass quantities of alcoholic beverages, got stupid-drunk and laughed a lot. There are stories of musicians passing out mid-tune and regaining conciousness to pick up where they left off. These are recounted with respect and a bit of awe.

Flash forward to now. We see how the drinking was fun right up to the point where we realized that we could "grow up" and stop and some of our friends couldn't. We see the people who maintained this lifestyle, the ones who haven't died of alcohol related problems, as physical and mental wrecks. We talk of them and say "It's a shame...had so much potential..." We hear stories on the news of kids dying from acute alcohol poisoning and think how similar their story is to the one about the guy who passed out in the middle of the tune, the only difference being he woke up and they didn't. We see the drunks on stage now as people to be pitied, because they don't have enough self control to make it through a gig - a job -without getting plastered.

Maybe it's the wisdom of age, or just hindsight. Maybe it's because when we're young, we're immortal. We don't worry about picking up habits that will one day make us miserable and perhaps kill us, because it will happen to someone else - not us. Or maybe it's because society really has changed, and getting loaded is no longer seen as acceptable fun. Whatever has happened to make our views change, we look at a drunk musician on a stage, and see all sorts of things besides a drunk musician on a stage. Sometimes we're just embarrassed for them. Sometimes we can see the ghosts of people we've known who were killed by drunk drivers or drinking. Sometimes we can see someone who's pretty far down the road to their own hell, if not already in it, and it's just hard to simply put that aside and just enjoy the music.


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: jofield
Date: 11 Mar 01 - 11:44 AM

I agree with nearly every word here. But then we have certain wonderful exceptions. I am thinking if Lightnin' Hopkins, who ran on artistry and Fleischman's gin. He never, ever seemed drunk -- but trying to keep up with his nipping was not a good idea. And what a singer!...God, he was good.

A similar situation is that of Jimmie Reed, who was usually so pickled that his wife had to sit behind him at recording sessions to whisper the words in his ear. (You can hear her on some of his cuts.) But Mike Bloomfield had a theory that you could not get Reed's totally unique harmonica sound without being wa-aay under the influence.

But to get back to the original point -- with some very special exceptions, which I can safely guess nobody here is, it never helps. Even when I was drinking, I knew this and held off until the end of the evening. I'm sure our closing sets stunk as a consequence.

And the musical landscape is littered with very gifted musicians who lost the respect of their fellow professionals and finally their audience because it gets to the point where putting up with it just ain't worth it.


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Naemanson
Date: 11 Mar 01 - 11:56 AM

Back in the '70's I saw a double bill at POGO (the Portland-Gorham Campus of the University Of Maine) consisting of Tom Waits and Maria Muldaur. Tom made a point of looking like he was half sloshed and, at that point in his career, may have been (but I doubt it). Maria kept nipping from a bottle of Southern Comfort. The crowd loved it.

But, as Jeri has pointed out, that was then and this is now. Our culture has changed and this is no longer considered appropriate behavior. And the myth that you can do anything better with a few belts is just that, a myth.

Stay sober, enjoy moderation, and enjoy a long life.


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: wysiwyg
Date: 11 Mar 01 - 12:53 PM

There is also the fact that in the advanced stages of alcoholism, you can drink like a fish and seem nearly normal, because you are drinking now not to get high but just to fly straight and stave off the shakes. At that point one's main caloric source also is the alcohol-- food has ceased to be part of the daily routine. So yes, at that point, you might need to sip all evening to play at all, but that does not mean the drinking has anything to do with the playing. It has more to do with the person's ability to keep from crashing due to lack of food and their need to earn a buck for the next fix.

The mystique that gets attached to legendary drinkers usually is a smokescreen people agree to subscribe to during that short period in the drinker's life, just before they bottom out, when it seemed like they might actually be someone you could deal with in mutual responsibility. But it's just a smokescreen. It's just the behavior that the drinker and others surrounding them agree to pretend is OK, so that the status quo need not change and the drinking can continue.

By the time one needs to drink to do anything, one has passed the line of truth long since. It doesn't help them any to agree with the view that alcohol "helps" anything. Alcohol has one job-- to impair some part of us. Some people enjoy the result of that as a recreation, but that's all it really does. It's our agreement to let alcohol and its use stand for other things that make for the messes in dealing with it. That's what destroys the lives around the drinker-- the illusions passed off as truth.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 11 Mar 01 - 01:17 PM

Can't say I've ever enjoyed watching someone get drunk on stage.

For those who think they play better high, I offer a word of caution. Alcohol affects reaction time and motor skills. Alcohol also loosens inhibitions. That's how the concept of "liquid courage" came to be. If you had some stage fright, some alcohol could disinhibit you and allow you to go on stage.

The references to artists who perform well under the influence have perhaps moved into addiction and developed "tolerance" to alcohol as ~S~ mentions. My experience from watching others is that some people who do well despite their drinking do even better when they become alcohol free. They can move from good to great. It's just that no one had ever seen them sober before.

Rogerin Baltimore


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 11 Mar 01 - 01:40 PM

That is probably a very valid point Roger. I don't want to name names here, but there is a world renowned Scottish/Irish band two of whose members used to perform regularly in a state of total intoxication, and you would never have known it. I have heard since that they have both gone dry, but my point is that they were still brilliant even when they were drunk. Maybe they are even better now, I don't know, haven't seen them in years.

Me, two beers and I start fouling up. Undoubtedly, for the vast majority, the rule is, stay sober.

Murray


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: GUEST,pmharty
Date: 11 Mar 01 - 01:48 PM

I remember seeing Jack Elliot so drunk that he did the same set twice. I was annoyed that he did not have enough respect for his audience to exercise some self control. Another time Ian Tyson became belligerent to the audience for no reason that I could discern.

However, I also find that performing music at its best (to me, at least) is an "ecstatic" experience, not a "thinking" one, kind of "in the zone".

It seems that many performers drug and drink to get to that state. Unfortunately, drugging and drinking is an inexact science and "taking the edge off" may leave you unable to tune or to communicate with band members or the audience. And it is compounded when more than one indvidual is under the influence. If you are in doubt, tape your performance, tape recorders don't lie.


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Sarah2
Date: 11 Mar 01 - 02:15 PM

The best musical partner I ever had, with whom I did a duet for over 10 years, was a lush. When we finally broke up, it was because of the booze, and I'll be the first to say that I let it go on way too long, trying to cope and trying to get him to stop drowning whatever it was he drowns. I should have quit playing with him the first time he got too drunk to keep up with the songs, help break down and load the equipment, or drive home. Or at least put my foot down about his ever drinking on the job again.

I myself am not married to strict sobriety at a gig, especially when playing for a room of drinking folks, but I have an hard and fast rule that I take no more than one drink an hour if I'm performing, and I'm going to nurse each one. I usually tell the bartender I want water or ginger ale and, if available, a slice of lemon to clear the throat. And if anyone wants to show they appreciate us, they can put money in the tip jar.

And I won't stay and be polite about performers who get soused or stoned and expect me to join in their "fun." I'm outta there, and asking for my money back on the way out the door. I don't think it's doing them any kind of favor to be polite about having spent my dollars to see a sloppy show.

Sarah


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 11 Mar 01 - 02:20 PM

I'm pretty careful at bar gigs to drink only pop or water until near the end. The last set I usually have a beer or two.

I remember a Warren Zevon concert I attended where he kept the audience waiting for over a hour, and when he showed up he was absolutely a babbling incoherent drunk. The music was fine, in part because he had a top-flight backup band. Warren's between-song blitherings had the crowd totally baffled, though.

In Tucumcari last summer, I went to a bar where a "One Man Band" was featured. The performer had a guitar, a fiddle and a drum machine, and he sang like Hank Williams. His wife worked as a waitress while he sang. They were a traveling all-purpose bar act I suppose. He drank double-rum and coke all night long, and as he came up to the bar right by me to get his drinks, we carried on a conversation through the night. He was an outwardly cheery fellow, but as the night wore on he told me "I learned fiddle from my brother. I'm nothing compared to what he was. He was murdered three years ago, but he's ok now. He's in a place where everything is so fine we can't imagine it. This world is a shit-hole." He continued the drinking until he was incomprehensible, while his wife helped him to his seat on breaks and sat holding his hand. His performance was flawless though. He played Orange Blossom Special like Bill Monroe, and sang I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry with tears in his eyes. The small crowd was focussed entirely on him, because he laid his soul bare, sad and twisted as it was.


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Eric the Viking
Date: 11 Mar 01 - 03:53 PM

Went to see John Martyn at York Uni once- I got sat in the front row in front of him, he was passing out real good joints, in the end-it didn't sound to us that much was wrong except that he kept mumbling and swaying. The rest of us in the front were as stoned as him, by the end so it was ok. I suppose if your going to get pissed or stoned on stage, get the audience that way aas well and then nobody'l notice or care!!


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 11 Mar 01 - 04:16 PM

At the end of your career (or life) do you want to be known for the music you made or for the number of shows you missed, and how much booze you could pour down your throat?

The thread on the late John Fahey is scary and not untypical. One Mudcatter gathered several articles and reviews about John and decided NOT to post them because the thread was already so sad.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Justa Picker
Date: 11 Mar 01 - 04:21 PM

I once quit a very well known blues band after auditioning for them, and doing a 2 month tour of bars and concerts. Their drug and booze intake was far more than I could handle or was accustomed to, and I sensed a sharp decrease in my life expectancy and musical abilities if I had decided to stay with them. Broke my heart. They made great music and had a great sound (when they were all reasonably sober.)


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: wysiwyg
Date: 11 Mar 01 - 05:34 PM

I keep thinking what a wake-up call this thread must be to some of the people reading it and not posting. I'm having trouble myself believing the articulate and thorough agreement most of us seem to be sharing. It was scary to post as strongly as I did.... and I'm so glad to see this issue discussed.

I don't think most communities are real solid until they confront issues of dysfunctionality-- tiptoeing around the elephants in the living room, and all that.

But I'd like people who are struggling wiht this to know I am thinking of you, too. I bet I am not the only one among those posting, or not posting, who has tried to help in the past. If not you, someone like you. There is help out there. You know where it is, too... I wish you the best life can offer, you know. You can count on me to be in your cheering section if you decide to change your life. I promise... it really can be better. There IS a part of you, however small and hurt, that knows that... and if you let that part of you be in charge, you can really DO IT. You will be surprised how much help there actually is, too, once you get honest with yourself.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Bill D
Date: 11 Mar 01 - 06:54 PM

the point is, some people can pace their drinking, and some can't..I've heard performers who were undoubtably 'enhanced' and more into it by having a drink, but if they start sounding stupid and babbling, then it does no good.

When I attend a sing, I usually have one beer..maybe two, in a 3-4 hour session, and it is just relaxing & convivial. Any more, and my memory, reflexes, and attention are affected too much.....yep, I know there are those (referred to above) who have a MUCH greater tolerance and capacity than I do, but they are also hurting themselves, even if they can 'perform' while legally drunk!

It ain't easy...I love my booze- beer, wine, whisky, rum in moderate amounts....and hate to tell anyone NOT to imbibe, but I am lucky in that I don't like to get drunk and can control it. I have a brother who can't.

Perhaps some of these people would drink even if they weren't singing, and we might as well hear them make such good music as they can, but boy, I wish there were a magic pill to ease the effects!


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Naemanson
Date: 11 Mar 01 - 07:29 PM

Actually, Susan, I don't think this thread will be a wake up call for anyone. People do not recognize what they are doing to themselves. My mother is a diabetic and an alcoholic. She is the only person who can not see that she is drinking too much. My father, who is usually pretty disengaged, even made a point of going in to talk to the doctor about her problem. It will kill her but there is nothing anyone can do about it.

I expect the band members mentioned above are doing the same thing.


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: menzze
Date: 11 Mar 01 - 07:47 PM

As I told you on the Fantasy Wanted!!!Thread I had a band called Oaktree for 15 years. We used to drink a lot during the gigs and there are quite a bunch of moments I'm really not proud of.

I even had a couple of shows I can't recall the last hour of but the audience loved it and as I was told later I did it in a perfect way.But I can't remember a fucking thing which made me mad about myself.

It took us some years to overcome this behaviour(our average age was 23-26 at the time)and a remarkable thing for us was to experience the fact you can play more intensive and closer together when you're sober. A beer or two might be alright before and after the show but if you do it pissed I know by now you loose the ability to really get a connection or feeling to the guys you play with.

I'm not against alc, I love a good glass of Irish whisky or dry red wine and I confess there are a fistful of events per year I'm drunk too(coz it don't takes much to get me there)but I don't like it on stage no more.

A month ago I've seen the Oysterband in Stuttgart with the singer coming on stage like a zombie. You could clearly see that he was pretty pissed. He had another 3 or 4 beers during the show with one of the roadies taking care only for his supply. The music was fine, he sang without any mistakes but the picture he gave to the crowd destroyed at least half of the pleasure they brought to us with their music.

To my opinion too much of anything can be no good.

menzze


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Sarah2
Date: 12 Mar 01 - 12:42 AM

Too true, Naemanson. For those last few years of my duet partnership, I tried almost everything prescribed to bring home to my partner that he had a problem. Nobody was better at denying it, to himself and everyone else. He could handle it. He could quit any time. He just wanted to have a good time (this one usually turned into an attack of some kind on whoever was trying to get him to slow it down). It got so very wearing...

If I'd quit him long before, he might still be getting sloshed, but I wouldn't be carrying around the feeling that I was somehow an enabler. Hindsight, though, tells me that at least some alcoholics might just be better at facing it if more people would "give up on them" and tell them, "I really care about you, but I'm not trained to handle this. So call me again when you're ready to face life and get off the booze." There's a point when being nice is just feeding the disease.

Sarah


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Kim C
Date: 12 Mar 01 - 01:17 PM

If we're just hanging out in the backyard, well, that's one thing. I am my father's child and in spite of my littleness I can put away quite a bit. HOWEVER, if I have too much I fall asleep and that's hardly conducive to making music. I can drink and sing at the same time, but I simply cannot drink and play an instrument. My fingers get all wonky. And like I said, if it's just some pards getting together for a good time, no problem. But if we're talking about a real live performance where people expect something good, a little nip is all I'll have, if even that. We always have water handy, though.


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Wesley S
Date: 12 Mar 01 - 01:53 PM

I would like to think that a musician would consider themselves "working" and "on the job" when they are performing in front of an audience and respect that audience { and themselves } enough to stay sober and give their best performance. Anyone who says they play better when blasted is fooling themselves. They need to sit down and listen to some tapes of performances both "off" and "on" in order to hear the difference. Booze does work for a while to loosen up a performer and to get them to relax but once the abuse starts it tends to have the exact opposite effect that the performer wanted in the first place. If you want to fit in you will eventually isolate yourself. If you want to be creative you will eventually find yourself in a rut, and so on. All of this is my own opinion but it comes from many years of experiece.

If any of you drink to excess { or think that you do } please feel free to PM me so we can talk about it. Thanks - Wesley S.


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: GUEST,UB Dan
Date: 12 Mar 01 - 02:02 PM

Look, alcohol abuse is a serious problem whether or not you are playing music. I know it is sad to see someone you know ambrace a self destructive lifestyle.

That said, I think this thread is getting a little to strict. I play with a band, we play in a pub and we enjoy some stout and whiskey while we do so. Granted we are much more of a hobby band (we all have day jobs and do the music as a side). The pub is fun, the music is fun, and the Guiness is good. Granted I don't believe we will be remembered years from now for our music, but neither will we be known for our drinking...too many people have done both with greater intensity.

Music is a way of celebrating, it is a wonderful cathartic release. It's the fruit of the soul... I don't want to fall down drunk and miss the experience, but neither do I want the audience and the band to act like we are attending a funeral.

p.s. I saw Shane McGowan a couple of times...he was drunk...the show was brilliant


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: John J
Date: 12 Mar 01 - 02:11 PM

A few years ago while playing at a ceilidh (I'd had 2 - 3 pints of quaffing ale, ie. not strong) I turned to one of the band members ( a friend whose opinion I value)and commented how well we we playing that night. His reponse was that we (I) sounded bloody awfull. I was convinced I / we sounded brilliant. I haven't drunk beer at a ceilidh since. I now drink a rather nice Organic Lemon Cordial, and save the beer for playing / singing in sessions. A paying audience deserves the best you can give. Even a pint effects my playing. I always think the playing improves, true friends will tell you the truth. Don't get the idea I'm anti-drink, I enjoy a skinfull of decent beer as much, if not more, than anyone. I get my buzz out of playing well, then having a few pints later....provided I get a lift home! John


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Naemanson
Date: 12 Mar 01 - 02:17 PM

Sarah2 wrote: '...some alcoholics might just be better at facing it if more people would "give up on them" and tell them, "I really care about you, but I'm not trained to handle this. So call me again when you're ready to face life and get off the booze."'

I've tried that with my mother and it doesn't work. The withdrawal becomes another undeserved attack. Denial should be listed as one of the greatest powers on Earth.

UB Dan, you are doing nothing that this thread is pointing to. From your description you are not getting falling down drunk. You are having a few while in the pub. We do something similar at the Press Room in Portsmouth. But we aren't being paid to entertain. We are there for a beer "...and, oh by the way, here is a song..." If someone was paying me to entertain then I would have to agree with Wes who says the performer should look on it as his job and stay sober. There is little entertainment value in watching someone get drunk. You can do that in any bar, any night of the week.


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: JedMarum
Date: 12 Mar 01 - 02:19 PM

This is an interesting topic. I don't drink at all anymore because of medical condition, but even when I did I learned early on that drinking was for after the performance. The simple truth is, excessive drinking stunts your growth. If you just wanna please the crowd in a rowdy bar or festival; then dinking may not hurt you. If you want to be the best you can be, as a performer, any amount of drink will diminish your abilty.

The truth is, at those shows where your music is all about party and fun, and the crowd is drinking heavily (eg. Saint Paddy's day), you can still have just as much fun performing without drinking. I ahev stayed up all night, jamming with musician freinds, many of whom are drinking to excess - and had every bit as much fun as anyone, and I was not hung over in the mornin'!

One more thing ... I am certain that every msucian friend that I've had who used that tired excuse, "I play best when I'm stoned or drunk " is a liar. That lame excuse is commonly used, but, I suspect, never true. I love the Bonny Rait quote - when she went to Stevie Ray Vauhn perform for the first time since he got sober, she said she wondered if he'd play with the same intensity, and she said she was floored ... because his show was so awesome, "he burned a hole in the sun." It inspired her to get sober as well. Great story, and to the point.


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: JedMarum
Date: 12 Mar 01 - 02:26 PM

I left out one more point, in my post above. Performing on -stage is always a bit of a crap shoot. Things go wrong. Some gigs are pretty predicatable but most have some unknowns over which you have no control. Drinking anything reduces your ability to cope with those kind of problems. I have seen a lot of musicians bithc bitterly about these things, call the club owner or stage manager an idiot - and sometimes they have a beef, but a lot of times, it's just the nature of the perfomance world. Equipment breaks, acts ahead of you go long, or play material you had planned to play, strings breaks, batteries run out ... any of these little issues can really throw a curve ball to a performer who is already partying.

If you really wan to be a good performer, save the partying for those most appropriate moments - to me that means almost always off-stage.


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 12 Mar 01 - 03:18 PM

Naemanson, UB Ed appears to me to be reffering back to the original post. I have read nothing in Bonnies post to suggest that indicates what sort of state the performers in question were in - all I know is that Bonnie sensed "a bit of a buzz" which could have been simply down to here seing them drinking and she doesn't seem to be sure whether it effected their performance - in fact, it appears that it didn't mucically to any discernable degree.

As for comments on nerves, it is a fact that some people suffer from them and they will play better using some drug when uner pressure. Although I am in trouble with alcohol, I would sooner a glass or two of beer than some of the alternatives such as beta blockers.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: GUEST,UB Dan
Date: 12 Mar 01 - 03:30 PM

As Jon Freeman points out...I was under the impression that the thread was referring to anyone drinking anything at any time...Which brings us to the question

Is 1 drink 2 many...is 2...or is it just anyone who drinks more than you...(like the saying that anyone who drives slower than you is an idiot and anyone who drives faster is insane) or are we talking about a certain amount of impairment or some generally lifestyle of abuse whether playing or not? I'm not being sarcastic, I'm interested in what you all think.

(Jon, I am UB Dan, though I know UB Ed...And I know he has a few drinks when he plays also...he tuned me into this whole mudcat thing but i'm still 'guesting')


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Big Phil
Date: 12 Mar 01 - 03:55 PM

b


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 12 Mar 01 - 03:57 PM

Jon is right about my initial posting. The musicians I was referring to had 'a buzz on' but they were not drunk. Someone menitoned above in an earlier posting about it being a concern for their health and wellbeing. This is true. It bothered me to see people drink so much while on the job. It wasn't just the buzz I noticed, it was the volume of beer they were drinking.
I felt badly for them and I felt that they were not engaged with the audience because of the alcohol. Maybe they are the type who never engaged with the audience even if they were not drinking in excess. I don't know. But I do know they were not drunk and from what I could see the booze did not affect their performance. But it bothered me.

Bonnie


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Jeri
Date: 12 Mar 01 - 04:06 PM

IMO, Bonnie said they were drunk: "Recently I attended an evening of music where I watched the performers drink a bundle. You could see they had quite a 'buzz going'." (The bolds are mine.)

In any case, what she was saying was that it interfered with her enjoyment. It's not about how much, if any, drinking is OK. It's about whether it bothers us to watch it.

Personally, I don't mind if someone is a little buzzed. Unfortunately, if someone's up on a stage and is drunk, my first reaction is embarrassment. I can't get that feeling of "oh shit - he's making a compete ass of himself" out of my head.


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 12 Mar 01 - 04:18 PM

I can't stand whatching someone making a complete ass of themselves either Jeri, but as Bonnie has just clarified, it does appear that a number of people read more in to Bonnie's words than she had said and that UB Dan (got it right) was pulled up for responding correctly.

As for the welfare, sure drinking to excess does no-one any good and I know that as well as anyone. Having said that, as long as I feel I am entertained, they have done thier job and I do not feel a responsibility for the performer's welfare.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 12 Mar 01 - 04:18 PM

Jeri is correct, they drank a bundle, had quite a buzz but they were not drunk.


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Kim C
Date: 12 Mar 01 - 04:35 PM

Oooh! What's an Organic Lemon Cordial? That sounds tasty.

For me, ONE DRINK pre-performance is enough. That's it. I may not even have that. Depends on where we are.

Afterward, well, that's another story.


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Jeri
Date: 12 Mar 01 - 04:53 PM

I was only half right, Bonnie. ;-) You know what strikes me is the different definitions we all have. I would have said those folks were drunk, but Bonnie says they weren't. Same thing goes for ability to not be bothered by drinking. Me, I'm a lot less of a prude than I sound, but it does bother me if I can't ignore it. Other people probably can't stand it if they're aware of ANY drinking, and others would probably have a good time even if the folks on the stage couldn't find which end of their guitars had the strings on. Who knows what the average opinion is, or if there is one...


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 12 Mar 01 - 05:03 PM

On the subject of when is somebody drunk.

Little town in Texas. A local feller is settin' there, whittlin', and looks out, sees the sheriff come up to a man lying prostrate in the middle of the street and start to drag him away.

"Whatcha doin', shuruff?"

"I'm taking Ole Joe in for drunk!"

"Hell, shuruff, he ain't drunk! I jest seen his fingers move!"

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 12 Mar 01 - 05:03 PM

Jeri, this is how I work: the only paid performance I walked out of may or may not have involved drink (there was no drinking on stage). It was a Fureys concert and I believe the last venue before they returned to Ireland. Quite frankly, they were awful and to piss me of further, 1/2 the audicence seemed to be encouraging them to play even more quickly and wildly. When it reached the point that I realised that the reason I hadn't recognised the LARK IN THE MORNING was that they were playing badly, I went.

You tell me, was it drink or not? My guess is that it was.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: wysiwyg
Date: 12 Mar 01 - 05:07 PM

I don't see anyone here saying that the Booze Police ought to be called in to control performers... I see people saying the truth of what they know from their own experience with The Beast. The Beast is the dysfunctionality and pseudo-reality that goes with abused substances.

Bonnie's opening post was general enough to have allowed people to say what they thought needed to be said on this subject. I don't see that anyone's post has been inappropriate to her opening thoughts. In fact this has had, I think, ZERO thread creep. It's been a fine discussion with good attention to the topic itself.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: GUEST,Roll&Go-C
Date: 12 Mar 01 - 05:13 PM

Then there's all our lovely enabling and outrageous drinking songs, which most of my group sings cold sober. I'm not sure what to do with these songs. I love to sing them and will continue to do so but the usual message is terrible, and yet I'm not sure what kind of disclaimer would be effective even if desirable. A case in point (no pun intended) is how many temperance songs became robust drinking songs.

I certainly agree that most performers do not enhance their performance or their personalities by drinking. But then there are people such as Stan Hugill who I cannot conceive of singing without his rum bottle (was it filled with tea?). How Stan managed to survive as long as he did was a major miracle. But many other musicians, and aspiring musicians, have ruined themselves and put their close friends through hell in the process.


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: kimmers
Date: 12 Mar 01 - 05:28 PM

In college, I used to get together and play a bit of music with friends, quite informally. I was briefly member of a group that got a couple of paying gigs. I also used to play at various stuffy University receptions with a friend who played the flute. We did an eclectic mixture of classical, modern folk, and a few odd bits.

At one of these receptions I decided to help myself to a small glass of wine (maybe all of four ounces) during a break. We weren't doing vocals, just the instruments, so there were no voice effects to think about. We had been told by the prof who was hosting the reception to help ourselves, and I was of legal drinking age. I intended to sip that one small glass and make it last.

My flute player was furious at me for doing this, and made no secret of the fact that she thought it was totally inappropriate. Looking back, I think she just saw it as the first step on a slippery slope; maybe she had been publicly embarrassed by someone who drank excessively. To me, that small amount wasn't an issue.

I got even with her by launching into "Mexican Hat Dance" and making her play along... which made her even madder.


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 12 Mar 01 - 05:41 PM

The fact of the matter is there ARE a (very) few performers who can still perform brilliantly even when they are totslly rat-arsed. As long as they entertain and don't embarrass , good luck to them. For everybody else, one drink beforehand is one drink too many IMHO.

Murray


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: John J at home
Date: 12 Mar 01 - 05:56 PM

Kim C: Organic Lemon Cordial is exactly what it says. You can buy it from Tesco's or Sainsbury's, it's made by 'Rock's' and is brilliantly refreshing and tasty....a zillion times better than the rubbish drunk by, say, tennis players. If you catch my drift. Sure, it's more expensive, but there's no funny chemicals in it either. I hope you manage to try some. BTW I don't work for, or have any interest in, Tesco's / Sainsbury's / Rock's. I just like the product. John J


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: GUEST,Sarah2 (at work in the dead of night, woe is
Date: 12 Mar 01 - 11:55 PM

Sorry, Naemanson, I should have said if more of their friends would "give up on them" -- I didn't mean to suggest that you should abandon your mother. Of course, the manipulation of family members by alcoholics is another story completely...been there, too. But I meant to be talking about musicians, mostly. I do get vague sometimes.

Sarah


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Ebbie
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 12:39 AM

Townes Van Zandt comes to mind. He drank before, during and after his concert here and his face was pasty, his body language defeated. That's what I remember of that night, not his music.

Alcoholism is a pitiful thing. And we imprison potheads.

Ebbie


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: GUEST,UB Dan
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 08:52 AM

Ebbie, alcoholism is indeed a pitiful thing...any addiction is pitiful and it is sad to see someone try to escape reality in anyway...

But the use of alcohol is not by definition an abuse of alcohol.

I am surprised that the overwehlming consensus is that one drink is the start of a steep decline to an alcohol induced coma on stage.

The band I play with does get paid to play, we play regularly and we have drinks when we play. Maybe the difference is that we play in a pub...but generally, the people who enjoy us enjoy the craic as much as the music...We make jokes, we interrupt songs, we talk alot...and it has never been a distraction, it has only added to the show.

Perhaps I have a very basic different idea of what a show should be...I loved seeing Kiss in concert, I loved seeing Shane McGowan, I loved seeing U2, I loved seeing InOBU and his group as well and on and on...I'm not saying they all drank alot but they all gave me something live that I can't get on a record.

I'm not condoning shoddy playing, but if the performer wants to play a song differently or mix it up some, it shows that he is not lipsynching or sleepwalking. Why do we have to treat perfomances and jam sessions as totally different entities. Play. Laugh. Love. Hate. Live a whole life in the course of one song and worry left about whether the 2nd note in the 11th stanza was perfect pitch or well-tempered...and order me a Guiness while you're at it


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 09:20 AM

Have a Guiness on me Dan!

I am also amazed at some of the conceptions people seem to have concerning alcoholism - it does not always work the way people think. I have the problem and am currently trying to tackle it - you know what, I have had more temper tantrums since cutting right down than I had when I was drinking like mad - I think some of my over-reactions to PalTalk rows bear witness to some of that...

Sticking with Paltalk, I have never been on it live without a couple of pints before hand yet I seem to have a reputation of being a good admin who handles problems well when we have the occasional spot of trouble there.

I let myself go and had about 14 pints on Sunday in PalTalk and played mostly jigs and reels, I know people are polite anyway but I got lots of "WOWS" and I think that I was on better form (although still not as good as I can be) than I have been in ages. I can't help onder how the same music would have been responded to if people had seen me drinking like a fish.

Please don't get me wrong, alcoholism is not nice and it is no fun watching your health suffer and being dependent on drink to face things - I just get pissed off when people make assumptions about what alcoholics are like.

Jon

PS. At the moment, I am in church counselling and most of the time, I am doing pretty well for me - 2 or 3 cans per night and nothing during the day. Maybe I'm going to have to take more drastic action but for now, I will stick with that.


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 09:32 AM

I should have added this to the above. People may have noticed that I recently moved from North Wales to Norfolk, England. The main reason for that was because of my drinking - I have family here and less stress to cope with which is helping.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: UB Ed
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 11:13 AM

Wow. Bonnie got one going here. Nice to see UB Dan weighing in; now if he can get over this cookie business, maybe he'll join the Cat.

Several themes run through this discussion: 1. If music is your job, you shouldn't get wasted while you're working (Makes sense for all the other jobs too). 2. If you're getting wasted on the job, you're letting other people carry you and that's not fair to your coworkers (band) or customers (audience). 3. Any addiction is a terrible thing.

That being said, it also seems a number of folks are carrying their preconceived notions regarding acceptable levels of behavior, and, I'm getting the sense that notions outside their own are NOT acceptable. I can certaintly understand the loathing to work with a drunk (incompetent). However, having a couple of drinks with the audience (and participatory toasts) doesn't seem incredibly wrong to me. I would hate to be JUDGED as inconsiderate, incompetent or in any other way because of that. I don't believe we should be so quick to judge a group that "seems to have a good buzz." Could it be part of the routine? Am I a pedophile becuase I sing "As I Roved Out?" I think not.

For us, we respond according to our crowd. If they're drinking, we'll have our own; otherwise not.

Another aspect to consider during performance is when do you have time to drink? After we kick into the first set, many is the time I don't get back to my pint until Finnegan's wake at the end. There's just no time.

If you drink, drink to moderation, keep your wits about you and (Dan) your guitar tuned (You should check out that b string thread). Be not quick to judge.

Peace.


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Gray Rooster
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 11:56 AM

If you go to bar with a band in Texas playing country or blues, more often than not, at least one of the members is drinking, on or off stage. What do you expect? Many are sponsored by beer companies, some overtly, some kinda behind the scenes (or they wish they were). Catch 22 number one.

In some respects, it is the bands job to promote the sales of alcohol in an establishment that sells it. Catch 22 number 2.

Are you in a concert situation? Catch 22 number 3.

Is the drinking part of the act?? Could be. I used to watch Frank Sinatra with a drink in one hand and a smoke in the other deliver a great show. Dean Martin used booze both while he was drinking and after he quit as a prop.

There have been many studies done on the effects of alcohol and mental abilities. Motor abilities are reduced after one drink and go down from there.

Audiences differ on the quality of music heard based on an old stage adage, delivered from the bands POV:

The drunker you get, the better we sound. **BG**

Performers differ according to this old adage:

Never be the only sober person in a drunk crowd or the only drunk person in a sober crowd. **BG**

I've had drinks or not depending on many factors. If there isn't a bar at the place I'm playing, I don't drink period. If there is a bar, I may or may not.


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: mkebenn
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 11:57 AM

Jon, Thy Beast is mine, at about the same distance, also, yet I see his eyes in the mist..Mike( humming last verse of Nancy Whiskey to himself)


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Mr Red
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 12:00 PM

Humphrey Littleton says:

"Alcohol doesn't make you play any better but it makes everyone else sound better"


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Steve Latimer
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 12:21 PM

I saw Joe Cocker in about '76 and he was legless. I actually felt pity for him. He couldn't do anything right, had no vocal range, no power in his voice. But he was pissed when he came on stage and continued to drink through the show.

Most of the live music I see now is in clubs and most of the performers have an ever present pint. I have heard some wonderful performances, but I think that a performer would have to literally swill beer or get on to the harder drinks to get intoxicated at a gig. Usually it's a five minute song, a quick sip, another five minute song etc. I really can't remember the last time I've seen a performer in a state that I would consider drinking to excess and ruining their performance.


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Pseudolus
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 12:35 PM

I agree with Steve and UB. when is there time? For me, I'm a solo act, I am either talking or singing and short of having an IV, it's not likely that I'll get intoxicated. I suppose when it's a band and only one person is talking the rest of the band between songs and on breaks can pretty much tie one on and I've seen that. the closest I've ever come to overindulging (at a gig that is) was when I hosted an open mike night and I had all of that time while others were performing. After my third beer, I realized it was only 10:00 and usually I have my second beer while packing up at the end of the night. I slowed down, drank some water, adn relaxed. good thing, we ran out of singers around 11:30 and I had to get up and finish the night.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: GUEST,Blind Desert Pete
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 03:09 PM

UB Dan seems to make the most sense. If ya cant tell it shouldnt bother anyone. Wasnt Franklin a big lush,Winston a bigger one and Adolph a teatotal vegetarion?


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: GUEST,Norton1
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 11:36 PM

Anybody ever hear of George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, or some of the folks of this era? Where I played getting drunk was self-defense! It's called an "Altered State of Learning." If you learn it impaired you can only do it impaired. After I stopped drinking and drugging to excess I had to learn to play and sing all over again. Can't say I'm any better now than then. One person's opinion. And opinions are like buttholes - everybody has one. Kind of a shame to remember great singer/musicians for one or two negative performances and not the hundreds of good things they did - most likely while impaired. That's my butthole's worth :-)


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: GUEST,Dita (at work)
Date: 14 Mar 01 - 02:29 AM

One well known Scottish trio had (presumably still has), a "no drink before the gig policy."
If a group member drank before a show, that nights fee was split between the other two.
"You want to drink and play - no pay".

I don't know about it making me play better, but a few drinks sure make the audience look better.
Good thread. I agree, it's horses for courses, no drink on a concert platform, pint going flat during set, in a club, rowdy pub gig - a few beers of six.
love, john


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: JennieG
Date: 14 Mar 01 - 05:51 AM

I attended a dance at a folk festival a few years ago...some of the band members were drinking on stage including the leader who was calling for the dances; he had a bottle of red wine that he kept swigging from. As the evening wore on he was becoming more confused about what he was supposed to be calling - he would call a dance movement then contradict himself. The dancers voted with their feet. Pity too, because I think (it was hard to tell!) they could have been a good band. It would have been more appropriate to have waited until they hit the session bar after the dance finished!

Cheers
JennieG


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: clansfolk
Date: 14 Mar 01 - 09:16 AM

There's a big difference between having a drink and being drunk - If the artists is under contract (verbal or written) and cannot complete his side of the contract because he is drunk - he will (or should) lose his fee. I often drink alcohol on stage but have never been drunk whilst performing (and very seldom when not!)It must be down to the individual and/or the social occasion, I'm sure if the artist's regular performance was disliked because of his drinking, bookings (unlike the artist) would dry-up. If the artist is enjoyed whether or not he drinks the drink is about as important as the colour of his underpants!!!! Lets also remember that most of the folk music came from social occasions and gatherings where alcohol was flowing like water.....

Pete (Clansfolk)


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: CamiSu
Date: 14 Mar 01 - 09:50 AM

As a non drinker, I cannot speak to how people feel about their own performances, BUT I have witnessed some awful concerts when people were wasted, and which wasted my time and money. True,it's probably not easy to GET that way starting from cold sober, if you are playing all the time. But often people don't start out sober, and it goes downhill from there. I once had Norm Kennedy on my stage at a festival. He can be a wee bit difficult to understand at best, but when intoxicated it was IMPOSSIBLE. And when you're telling stories, there is not a back up band...

And Jon, while your performances on Paltalk have been excellent as far as I've heard, have you noticed that even people who need a bushel basket for their tunes still get applause? As near as I can see Paltalk is a group gathered in the living room for fun, encouragement, and enjoyment. I can't play any instrument as well as you can and will applaud, but I don't know your playing well enough to judge if you're at your best...

CamiSu


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: KingBrilliant
Date: 14 Mar 01 - 09:57 AM

I don't mind watching someone who is a bit drunk performing, so long as it doesn't ruin the music too much. But where I personally draw the line is at paying to watch a self-destructive drunk perform. That makes me feel like I am encouraging them to ruin their life. I remember watching Johnny Thunders (ex-New York Dolls I think) many years ago - and when he started dribbling vomit as he sang I just felt guilty at colluding at his state. Really sad.
I've drunk an enormous amount over the years - and am still at the stage of regularly giving up (getting more & more sucessful at it now - esp since I've developed some nasty side effects when I do drink). I generally enjoy myself much better when I'm not drinking now. So whilst I wouldn't presume to tell anyone else not to drink - I would like to make the point that abstinence can make you a happier, healthier more confident person & can improve performance. Its always worth a try....
I think a lot depends on what kind of drinker you are - some people can manage moderation, some can't. Unfortunately I usually can't - so drinking & attempting to perform are a mistake for me & I expect that I'd become increasingly painful to watch/listen to.
Looking back at the original post it seems part of the problem was that they weren't 'with' the audience - perhaps they were using the drinking to seperate themselves from the audience (ie like a little club of their own)? - drinking can sometimes be used almost aggressively to reinforce a 'them & us' division.

Kris


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 14 Mar 01 - 10:28 AM

Camisu, I did recognise that everyone on Paltalk gets applause and they deserve it IMO.

As for my playing, it has deteriorated badly over the last 4-5 years due to lack of practice and enthusiasm but I have never played at my best after great quantites of alcohol and have found myself completely unable to play on several occasions.

The biggest problem I have playing in front of others (and even recording myself) is nerves though - the hardest parts being trying to stop my right hand from shaking like mad and I also have concentration problems when I am nervous. For those reasons, I can assure you that I play better in front of others after about 4 pints than I do sober - I still shake but not as badly and that has been the sort of level of alcohol I have aimed for when I have taken on paying work.

BTW, I should have said whith my 14 pints on Sunday that I had 2 drinking sessions with a few hours sleep in the middle - I probably drank about 8 over the PalTalk session.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: RichM
Date: 14 Mar 01 - 10:49 AM

If you find drinking helps pre-performance nervousness, see your doctor about using a beta blocker. These medications are commonly used by people with chronic high blood pressure - like me; but also is prescribed for professional musicians to prevent shaky hands during performance. It works!

Rich


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Jim the Bart
Date: 14 Mar 01 - 11:00 AM

Think about what it's like to stand up in front of a room full of people, feeling that they're only there to "see the monkey dance" - for the millionth time. When the money's good, the monkey-boy will do whatever it takes to get through the dance one more time.

Alcoholism is a horrible, defeating thing. But, in my opinion, if "This world is a sh*thole" sums up your life view, alcoholism is not the real problem. My Polish family had quite a few elder males who were undoubtedly functioning alcoholics. They held down jobs, went to church on Sunday, didn't abuse their wives or children (that I know of, anyway) and died after enjoying a good long life.

People self-medicate for a lot of reasons - boredom and fear are just two that come to mind - and it's not always through booze or drugs, either. Sex, gambling, various adrenaline triggers, obsessions of all sort (religious zealotry, too, perhaps?) can start out as coping tools and become inescapable traps.

It's not an easy world; you learn as you go. If you had a good upbringing, and you're lucky, you avoid the traps and develop the life skills and playing skills (I believe it was Rick F. who used those terms in the John Fahey thread) that you need to be a well-rounded human being and a respected performer.

Bart


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: cait
Date: 14 Mar 01 - 11:11 AM

I'm pretty new here, but will throw my thoughts in. The name of this thread is 'performer's EXCESS drinking', right? That says it all right there. I was offered a spot as singer in a group that a good friend was putting together, but I knew he was quite a drinker (and smoker, another can of worms), so I turned him down. He tried several times to get me to change my mind. I went to a couple of rehearsals which helped me to stay firm. When drinking, not only did his playing suffer, but his personality underwent a great change. He became overbearing and somewhat abusive. I don't know why the other players tolerated him, except that the bass player was in love with him (she is nursing a broken heart now). He played over my solos, and when I tried to sing backup for his songs, he would change the lyrics and timing, then accuse me of being too rigid. Anyway, it's not just the performance that's affected. I never joined that band and was treated to accounts of gigs that went well, but more that did not, all due to drinking. In other bands, there was a drunken drummer who would forget to come to rehearsals...and a lead guitarist who thought he needed to toke up for 'inspiration' (often backfired). Haven't you ever wanted to join a team that was fully functional to see where it could go? It has to beat making excuses for why it didn't work out... btw, I'm looking for a spot as a singer with celtic/blues/folk players in the lower Hudson Valley area of NY. heh... -caiti


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Pseudolus
Date: 14 Mar 01 - 12:00 PM

I think it all depends on what the individual wants to present publicly to an audience. to drink or not to drink (in terms of the performance) is not much different than to rehearse or not to rehearse, to buy a new instrument or not etc. etc. All of these things can affect how you come across to an audience. I believe that comfort plays as big a role as anything. The drinking issue is different because there is always potential for drink/drugs to affect your health and well being so we look at that issue differently. If someone drinks/drugs to the extent that it affects their performance or their attitude during a performance, than it shows both lack of judgement and lack of caring about the audience. These are the performers I would soon stop going to see once I realized what was going on.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Mar 01 - 12:52 PM

...on the other hand, some legendary performers delivered memorable, albeit sloppy performances probably in part due to the influence of the chemical cocktails they were ingesting, not in spite of them. Until the drugs eventually took their toll, these artists tended to lose their edge when they stopped living on it....

If the audience is expecting surgical precision in the execution of evenly spaced eighth and sixteenth notes, then altered states of consciousness are not going to be beneficial. However, in certain venues some listeners are interested more in coming away from a performance changed by the raw intensity brought on by the breakdown of inhibitions that drugs can sometimes induce, and care less about a few wrong notes or slurred words; even less, musically speaking, about the performers' personal addictions or the private hells they may be experiencing.


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: GUEST,UB Dan
Date: 14 Mar 01 - 01:19 PM

As one of you pointed out, the thread is titled excess drinking and I think that we all agree that drinking too much is bad. I think I just have a different view of what too much is. Most of you seem to object to 1 drink and I think 3 would be scandalous.

I maybe misunderstanding, but it seems like there are only a 3 reasons considered for why someone would have a drink.

1. To separate themselves from the audience and create an "us & them mentality"...this may be true if the band in the original posting was playing in a church hall, but not if they were playing in a pub. Having a beer would probably connect them more (think of all the examples given in this of singer's using "prop" drinks)

2. To overcome nerves...this may sometimes be true but it ends up sounding like "granny" from the Beverly Hillbilly's TV show grabbing a drop of her medicine for her rhumatis'...playing more often settles nerves or bringing a friend probably better than a drink. I don't think this is the best reason to drink and if it were the only reason I might side with the majority of you.

3. To destroy oneself - It is sad to see alcohol, drugs, gambling, or any number of things tear someones life apart, and I my heart goes out to you who have suffered or have watched a loved one suffer

What is suprising to me is that hardly anyone thinks that they would "enjoy" a drink...its either medicinal or suicidal. That's not why you have a glass of wine with your meal, or a drink at a pub with your friends. Performing is a party, its fun...at least it is supposed to be. A performance is supposed to have energy and be dynamic. Drinking isn't a neccessity, but neither is complete abstinence.

I keep going back to the original post and all I can see is

"Did the alcohol affect their performance? I'm not too sure. Yet I would have much preferred listening to these folks play with out so much booze involved."

The drinking didn't hurt the sound, it was just off putting to Bonnie. I respect her opinion. But from there we jumped to assuming anybody who has more than 1 drink is a sloppy inconsiderate lout.

Ceol agus craic (music and fun), let's not separate them.


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 14 Mar 01 - 01:52 PM

Not sure I agree with #2. Bringing a friend would increase anxiety for me. As for playing more it is debatable as I have never found it overcome the hand shake bit. I guess much of it comes down to ones own feelings of confidence - with me, to sing - I like nerves - possibly I do better with the voice changes that occur when I am nervous, to thrash a few chords out on guitar (mostly all I do with one), no problem but to try to play triplets in jigs and reels with a shakey hand - no way and have not overcome it.

The only thing I have found that helps me there is having a solid player with me but sadly, most of the people I have played with have blown it worse than me (this includes people who don't regularly drink as much as me turning up in worse states than me) and rather than the saftey net, I have found myself trying to pull some semblance of music together.

Re the beta blockers which I and rich have mentioned, I knew a player using them and alcohol. They are prescribed, as far as I know have no mind altering qualities and are not addictive but I fear I would end up using and abusing both and abusing the beta blockers scares me more than alcohol.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: wysiwyg
Date: 14 Mar 01 - 02:01 PM

I see people saying one drink is too many FOR THEMSELVES. And I see a remarkable, laudable paucity of people telling others how much is too much FOR THEM, even from the audience viewpoint.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Bert
Date: 14 Mar 01 - 02:31 PM

OK WYSI, I usually have a beer or three, or maybe four, for Mudcat Radio. Is it noticable that I have had too much?

When Marty was here a week or so ago I noticed that she didn't drink until the show was over. That may be a wise move to copy.

Bert.


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: UB Ed
Date: 14 Mar 01 - 02:47 PM

Well, Susan, as soon as I got back from the dictionary looking up "paucity", I gotta tell you I'm seeing a number of folks passing judgements without a full consideration of a broader perspective. Bonnie says their copious drinking bothered her but they were not drunk. I think if they had engaged the audience, it wouldn't have occurred to her something wasn't right. But they didn't so it must be the booze. Maybe, maybe not, we simply don't know.

Another post referred to a dressing down for one glass of wine. Seems a little extreme to me.

I feel the problem we're having is imposing our myopic and singular view of right and wrong to the whole world. Its just not that black and white. I believe a better approach is to withold judgement until we are certain destructive behavior is occuring or the performer is so impaired that we can rightly demand a refund.

Ed


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Kim C
Date: 14 Mar 01 - 03:05 PM

Waaaaah! We don't have Tesco's or Sainsbury's or that other place in Nashville! Probably not even in the U.S. :(


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Grab
Date: 15 Mar 01 - 07:15 AM

Doesn't it more depend on what you want to do? Someone pointed out that motor skills go with alcohol, so your fingers start to lose it, but there's voice-only songs which aren't a problem.

My reckoning is that 1 pint is fine for guitar work (Guiness is best, since you tend to drink it slowly anyway). 2 pints, and I can strum fine. 3 pints, and I stop playing guitar and do voice-only stuff bcos although I can still play, I don't have the same accuracy of rhythm or intonation. 4 or 5 pints, and I stop singing (or just join in on the chorus). If I want to drink, I'll limit what I play accordingly. If I want to play, I'll limit what I drink accordingly. That's just my personal guide - anyone else with lower or higher alcohol tolerances may think differently.

But this is for fun stuff in pubs. If you're performing publicly, dropping back to strumming really isn't acceptable. The audience are paying for you to be there, so you have a duty to perform continuously well. If you know you can still perform to your normal standard with 3 pints (especially the case for lead singers), then fine. But make sure you can still perform with 3 pints in you, both from how you feel and from what your friends say. I wouldn't object to someone drinking on stage, only to them failing to perform adequately after I've paid to see them - and I don't really care if that failure is due to alcohol, drugs, hangover, jet-lag or a straightforward cold.

Grab.


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: John J
Date: 15 Mar 01 - 08:36 AM

Re: EXCESS drinking, well my comments about drinking on stage / during a performance were relevant to me, and I still won't drink during a performance. After the performance, well that's a different matter altogether but I hope I don't to (too much) excess. Kim C, what a shame! I've tried to find website details of Rock's Organic Squash (cordial) but without success....so far. Reading the details on the label, the drink consists of: Water, organically grown sugar, organic whole oranges (or lemons), citric acid, organic orange oil (no such oil in the lemon squash). Perhaps you could make it youself? I'll get back to you if I can find more details. John


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: GUEST,Terry Allan Hall (a guest?...I'm honored!)
Date: 15 Mar 01 - 09:09 AM

Pros DON'T get tanked/wasted/etc. on stage or before...period.


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 15 Mar 01 - 09:23 AM

Terry, how do you define a pro? I would have classed Shane McGowan as a pro (and would have loved to have seen the Pogues in concert).

Jon


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: GUEST,Patrish
Date: 15 Mar 01 - 09:27 AM

I saw a performer at Whitby drink a glass containing 10 double gins and lime before he went on stage. His act was ok - although a bit unsteady on his pins
A friend told me this same performer was so drunk at a gig that he vomited during a song and carried on as if nothing had happened!
I have been known to drink a glass of beer myself - on special occasions, and it does nothing to improve my singing. However, not having a drink does nothing to improve my singing either!
I think it all comes down to moderation, especially if you are a professional singer.


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Midchuck
Date: 15 Mar 01 - 09:33 AM

My present rule of thumb for a paying gig is: One pint when I get there, while setting up. Two if they feed us. One more after the gig, or during the last set if it's a long one. (Bigchuck likes to drive late at night, and has less trouble staying awake than I do, anyway.)

It was not always thus. I came to moderation only with the onset of middle age.

When I first played guitar, I played Carter-style with a thumbpick and fingers, or fingerpicked. I switched to a flatpick, mostly because I was greatly attracted to the instrumental sound John Herald and Ian Tyson got on the early Ian and Sylvia records, but also to avoid pain. We would be singing in a bar with a group of friends, and I would hurry out to drain off excess beer, and forget to remove the thumbpick....

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: KingBrilliant
Date: 15 Mar 01 - 09:43 AM

Jon, I've seen the Pogues at their height & they were fantastic. I've also seen Shane McGowan when he was incoherently drunk, and hopelessly depressingly pathetic - which made me very sad for him (though he was probably quite happy...).
He surely must count as a professional (since its his profession) - but he was certainly short-changing his audience that day. (It was a festival though, so didn't have that bad an impact, to be fair).
It must be quite rare for a professional to stay in the profession if they are regularly in that state. With Shane I suppose it is part of the mystique - but then I felt bad for buying into that.
Kris
PS. B*ggered if I know what my point is....


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: CamiSu
Date: 15 Mar 01 - 09:58 AM

Jon I too think the applause is deserved by anyone who performs in Paltalk. I was just saying that it does not necessarily indicate how well you did on an absolute or even relative scale. (I have attended or sung in choral concerts that were definitely NOT up to snuff, and there was still applause. The performers were not fooled.)

I also understand the shakes. Usually I can keep it out of my voice, and if I'm playing guitar it will show up as missed chords. If I'm soloing in church though, the music shakes, and I have to concentrate on the words, and drop into storytellig mode. Drink is not an option. (Besides I hate the taste of beer & ale...sorry! More for everyone else)

CamiSu


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: truprice
Date: 15 Mar 01 - 10:43 PM

My take, after years of fiddling and drinking: I dare not touch a drop before a gig begins. A couple of good swallows is excess. It doesn't hurt the singing, but makes the fingertips dull and slow. Once I've begun to sweat, it's different; hands are working, and in the break I grab a glass for nourishment during the second set: it seems to strengthen the heart. That's usually the limit, until quitting time, when everyone goes home and I have a huge thirst. I remember Bukka White sitting in our house years ago with his private fifth of Jack Daniels. He seemed to just get better/wilder/better until it was empty. He must have had quite a habit.

One other subject was mentioned, Beta Blockers. I took them for several years because of chronic headaches (which were caused, we eventually learned, by consuming sodium nitrite preservative in certain meats). I had the distinct impression that during that period I was less bright & less creative: they took the edge off. I know the literature says it is not an effect, but personally I would never take them if I could avoid them.


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: 53
Date: 18 Jan 02 - 10:05 AM

i know that merle haggard drank a lot in his earlier days, but i've also heard that he can't sing unless he's holding a guitar. do you reckon this is true? BOB


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Steve in Idaho
Date: 18 Jan 02 - 10:18 AM

Mr. Haggard did drink a lot in his earlier years. It was what led to him going to prison. But he can certainly sing with or without a guitar on his person. I was fortunate enough to be his bodyguard many years ago at one of his concerts. Once the performance started I was directly in front of the stage. He wasn't drinking at that time and sang both with and without a guitar. And a nice person to boot.

Steve


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: SharonA
Date: 18 Jan 02 - 12:23 PM

'Way back in March (before I'd ever laid eyes on the Forum, Grab said, "Someone pointed out that motor skills go with alcohol, so your fingers start to lose it, but there's voice-only songs which aren't a problem."

LOL! "Motor skills" include the movement of the lips, tongue and jaws while singing! If your fingers aren't strictly obeying your brain's commands due to an excess of alcohol, that's a clue that your mouth probably isn't working as well as your brain thinks it is, either.

I find it uncomfortable to perform at bars and even to participate in open mikes and circles at bars because (aside from what the cigarette smoke does to aggravate my health problems), even though I almost invariably drink ginger ale there, I feel that I am promoting drinking and driving. Someone mentioned in this thread that bar owners hire bands in order to bring in customers to drink, and this can be extended to all musical programs scheduled at the bars. Whenever I participate in one of those programs, I can't shake the feeling that I'm endorsing a harmful (and illegal) activity – when the listening drinkers around me drive home still impaired – and playing a part in putting them and other people on the road at risk.

Of course I'm not forcing anyone to drink too much... but am I not enticing them to do so if they come to a bar to listen to me, even if I'm not drinking myself? How much more so if I were drinking myself, as people on this thread have mentioned (making the audience "comfortable" by drinking along with them)???

And my car's not big enough to drive them all home!

So I very rarely play any music at bars anymore. In fact, I can't recall the last time I did; last spring, maybe?

Sharon


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 18 Jan 02 - 12:45 PM

Sharon, you lay too much guilt on yourself. By the same token, I could say that just by walking into a bar I am encouraging all the women there to be unfaithful to their husbands .............

Murray


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Ringer
Date: 18 Jan 02 - 01:13 PM

Good one Murray. I wish I'd said that. LOL


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: SharonA
Date: 18 Jan 02 - 01:14 PM

Murray: Hmmm... how do you know you're not? *BG* Depends on how studly y'are, I suppose!

As to my self-guilt, I'm not sure about that. I mean, what kind of friend would I be if I told all my friends to come out to my gig at a bar, and one of those friends got arrested for DUI on his way home, or had an accident because he'd had too much to drink while hangin' out at the gig just to be "supportive" of his friend? (And what kind of "employee" of the bar would I be if I said, "Come on out, friends, and drink ginger ale all night"?)


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 18 Jan 02 - 01:15 PM

You will, Bald Eagle, you will ..........

Murray


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Rustic Rebel
Date: 18 Jan 02 - 06:25 PM

It's all a matter of what you can do. CHOICE is my preferred word. If you can play loaded-ok. If not-ok. I can't play guitar loaded, but 2 shots of tequila before I go on stage to play harmonica,that is my "breakdown of inhibitions".


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: 53
Date: 18 Jan 02 - 07:21 PM

thanks for the info about merle, i knew one of his former bass players, and he use to tie it on real bad before the show. BOB


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: John J at home
Date: 18 Jan 02 - 07:37 PM

I enjoy beer lots. Five or six years ago the ceilidh band I used to play for were performing at a particularly lively dance, the normal fee was waived, we were to be supplied with beer instead.

I chose to drink the weaker brew. At half-time, when I had drunk 3-4 pints, I mentioned to our fiddler, a musician I hold in very high esteem, that I thought the band sounded really good that night.

He told me I sounded bloody terrible.

I haven't had a drink when performing for reward since.

John


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: 53
Date: 18 Jan 02 - 07:58 PM

i know musicians who would not play if they couldn't get drunk, and those bastards are the ones who give the rest of the musicians who work for a living a bad name. BOB


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 19 Jan 02 - 03:00 PM

No such thing as an excess of drink but plenty of excesses of sobriety as reflected in these messages.

It depends what you want to do.

Do you have to be a slave of the workplace...ok then its a workplace and you get down on your knees and dry out.

If you are free to live life then make your own choice but there is nothing in the tradition that insists on any level of sobriety....

I dont interfere with tea totalers and they should not interfere with me.

Conrad


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 20 Jan 02 - 07:18 AM

As a singer who is known for drinking out of a quart (2 pint) pewter tankard on stage, I suppose I ought to add my half gill at least. A lot depends on the type of gig we're talking about. I notice that the thread says "THEIR GIG" from which I assume that it means when they are the main artist. I can actually remember several memorable gigs when the guests have consumed large amounts of alcohol - Noel Murphy and Alex Campbell (when he could still handle it) come to mind. I think you also have to take into consideration the sobriety of the audience. Most UK folk clubs tend to be on licensed premises - this is not so true in the US. The song "Reunion" by Cyril Tawney points out that it's not fun being sober when everyone else is not. While I still believe in moderation, being in a state slightly nearer to your audience can definitely help comunication. I must admit that for top instrumentalists even small amounts of alcohol could affect their playing - but as a singer I don't feel that I am quite so vulnerable. My standard of guitar playing is hardly that high when I'm stone cold sober, so I don't suppose a few pints makes it any worse. THIS THREAD WILL NOW BE SATURATED WITH ENTRIES CONFIRMING THE ABOVE STATEMENT.

I have noticed that one of the problems can be when performers are doing spots in concerts at festivals etc. It's difficult to spend a whole day at a festival without having the odd drink or ten, and especially if concerts are re-arranged at the last minute, performers can get caught out.

Finally drinking should NEVER be discouraged at sessions, singarounds etc. It is the oil that makes them work. We all can recall those wonderful harmonies, brilliant bits of syncoption that happen spontaineously. I'm still trying to find out who it is that re-edits our recording of them and makes them sound so crap......


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Amos
Date: 20 Jan 02 - 09:04 AM

Sharon:

Why not entice them all to drink ginger ale, then?

A


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Jan 02 - 10:13 AM

The thing that interests me more than anything in this thread is the shrill intensity of those who defend drinking while working.

I can't imagine this conversation taking place in regards to say, working in a bank. How about drinking while teaching schoolchildren? Or drinking while operating electrical equipment (anyone ever heard of those sorts of nasty musical accidents?) or heavy machinery? How competent at computer keyboard skills are you drinkers after one, two, three, five, or eight drinks? And should we allow drinking in all workplaces, to allow for more people to have fun on the job?

Why is it that so many of us believe that drugs and alcohol go hand in hand with performing? That professional musicians should be allowed to work under the influence, if that is what they feel like doing?

Sure, there are plenty of musicians who drink and perform. But the most telling story here is the one from a professional musician I saw perform many, many times over the years, and met personally both before and after quitting drugs and alcohol: Bonnie Raitt. At a post-concert party of hers I attended after she quit, she talked about "the problem" with being a professional artist making a living on the road, where the peer pressure to drink and take drugs, from both the audience and one's fellow musicians, is incredibly intense. Any profession that has that sort of peer pressure isn't a healthy one, and it takes a whole lot of discipline to withstand it.

Bonnie Raitt's main point that night was "sure, great musicians like Sinatra could get away with it for awhile, just like she had. But she also knew that even the great musicians (many of whom keep getting mentioned here as examples of musicians who could drink and still perform well) had their careers cut short, because they had damaged their bodies to such an extent that they could rarely perform well after age 50. Great muscians like Christy Moore, Johnny Cash, etc. all fall in that category. Lucky for Sinatra, he didn't need the money. Most musicians just aren't that lucky, though.

It isn't just the drink on stage that is a problem for musicians. It is the drinks, the coke, the weed, the black beauties, the downers, etc. that come before and after the performance as well.

As to whether drink effects a particular performance--well, unless you have seen the particular performer in question many, many times over an extended period, you aren't going to know how much or how little drink effects their performances. Some nights, the effect may be negligible to non-existent. Other nights, they may be barely functioning.

I find much more tolerance for drugs and alcohol while performing among British and Irish musicians, BTW. Their societies, until very recently, were hugely tolerant of such behavior. Many musicians haven't caught up with the times, and the changing standards. Where drinking before a performance or while performing was once tolerated almost everywhere in Britain and Ireland, more and more nowadays there is little tolerance for professionals to turn up to perform having had even one drink.

Professionals with integrity just don't do it, because they know it will eventually effect both the quality of their performance (as it has been medically/scientifically proven to do with any performance criteria for any job), and their livelihood as well.

Anyone drinking eight beers "for their nervousness and the shakes" doesn't have a stage fright problem, they have an alcohol addiction problem.

I'm plenty of fun, I drink in moderation, don't do any other drugs (anymore) but *never* consume before, during, or after (post-concert parties) while working. When I get home (on the road, this is back to my hotel), I may or may not have a drink. But I have very high standards for my performances, which simply can't be maintained while under the influence. Period.

As to many people believing that certain great musicians sound fine under the influence, I can only say, how do you know if you never heard them when sober and at the top of their game?


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: GUEST,Emer
Date: 20 Jan 02 - 11:29 AM

Dunno if the Scottish/Irish group who shall not be named is Capercaillie or not, but a year or so ago on their official website message board, an audience member from one of their British gigs complained of the band drinking on stage and the performance being bloody awful.

And of course, all their "true" fans came out in defense of the band drinking on the job, or claiming they just had an off night.

There have been rumours of those problems for years about the band, though I've never known if they were true, or which members are said to have suffered the problems with drink. It sounded to me (from the message board) as if all or most band members were drinking on stage.

I think people who are, shall we say, not all that discerning when it comes to performance standards of their favorite musicians, have much higher tolerance of bad performances than those of us with higher standards who aren't enamoured of the musician/band doing the performing? Something to think about.

BTW, the person who posted the complaint about the gig was someone who claimed to be a newcomer to the band's music who had heard how fabulous the band is live. Might be food for thought for those professionals among you who think you sound better after a few, than you do without.


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Marc
Date: 20 Jan 02 - 01:31 PM

Accually "GUEST", it is my understand that up untill not to long ago. It was not uncommon for working men (and woman) to drink a bottle of beer or wine depending on culture) during breaks, particularly noon meal break. The world was not piled high with dead injured work people. We are presently living in a very puritanical age when any indulgence to any degree is bad. This happens occasionaly, Public opinions swing back and forth. Why should a person performing in a establishment which is in the bussiness of providing a product for its patrons not be aloud to partake in said product, with the audience. Providing they are capable of using discresion.

Marc Bernier


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Jan 02 - 02:15 PM

Actually, the world *was* piled high with dead, injured, and disabled workers. What has changed that is workplace safety training and standards, which are still hard fought for, and often not one...carpal tunnel syndrome comes quickly to mind as to one of the main disabling work injuries many have suffered from which are rarely compensated.

Part of the worker safety issues most important to anyone who is a blue collar worker IS that your co-workers don't show up drunk and under the influence. Because when they do show up under the influence of drugs and alcohol, they are putting other workers' safety at risk. The same way selfish musicians who insist on their right to perform under the influence, the rest of the world (including their work colleagues) be damned.

Several people in this thread alone have said they have left music acts over this issue.

Puritanical age? Thanks, I much prefer it to disability, and in a musician's case, the ability to maintain a professional reputation so I can support myself and my family doing what I love. And that doesn't even get into the issues related to having high performance standards for one self and one's colleagues you perform with being dragged down by musicians who care more about what they perceive as their god given right/inherited tradition to get shit faced in order to perform.

If that sounds harsh, so be it. I'm trying to earn a living at this, and this "anything goes on stage as long as I can pull it off" crap don't fly with me. In case you can't tell. ;-)


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: WyoWoman
Date: 20 Jan 02 - 03:36 PM

I vehemently defend the right of adults to intentionally get stupid if and when they want to, by what means they wish, as long as what they do doesn't endanger other human beings or run the risk of making themselves wards of the state.

However, I've sung drunk, I've sung after a drink or two and I've sung sober. I favor sober, if it's a jam I care about and certainly if it's a paying gig. I have enough trouble remembering words and chords and entrances as it is -- no sense making myself intentionally stupid to boot. However, if it's just a getogether with friends, I'll drink a few beers while we jam -- but always with the long drive home in mind.

I am consistently amazed at the people who are able to perform really well when utterly blotto. I'm such a lightweight ...

ww


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: 53
Date: 20 Jan 02 - 03:51 PM

i agree with you guest about not drinking while you are performing, cause just like you said it's a job, could you inagine a u p s driver or a federal express driver drinking on the job like some so called musicians do, hell no they would be fired on the spot, if i ran a club and one of the band members was caught with a drink before of during the gig, i'd fire the whole band, and just have a jukebox, and it would probaly be less of a fucking headache. BOB


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Jan 02 - 05:47 PM

WyoWoman,

I disagree that adults have the "right" to be drunk and/or under the influence of drugs "if and when they want to, by what means they wish" so long as nobody gets hurt.

In the real working world, that just doesn't fly, and if you show up for work drunk or under the influence, you get fired. As it should be. There is time for work, and time for play. Anyone who can't appreciate the difference between the two likely has the maturity level of adolescent "rebels" with a need for attention, IMO. And many musicians, in my experience, sadly and pathetically fit that description all too well.

If only they knew how pathetic they look and sound, and how little they are admired by the music lovers (as opposed to diehard fans) in their audiences.


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: GUEST,Marc
Date: 20 Jan 02 - 08:09 PM

Quest, Will you perform for folks who drink,or are you opposed all together? No offense intended, I'm just curious. Marc Bernier


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 20 Jan 02 - 09:00 PM

GUEST Emer, the band to which I was referring in that post was <notCapercaillie. The band I referred to was (and is) much more eminent collection of musicians.

Murray


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 21 Jan 02 - 06:31 AM

Following on from my previous comments, I agree that for big concerts, recording sessions etc., performers should be somewhat careful if or how much they drink. On the other hand I'm one of those folkies who is more likely to be found in a bar-room singaround or musician's session. Let's not forget that most of the material (at least that from the British Isles) would have traditionally been performed in close proximity to the demon drink. Perhaps the alcohol was the equivalent of atomic radiation producing the mutations that became the most survivable. Do we really want to sterilized our music and distance it from it's roots too far? Will it still have any pretence to being Folk Music? The gigs that Linda and I do tend to be Folk Clubs and these days more often in pubs with no club involved (they usually pay more !). I will probably get through 3 or 4 pints of ordinary (< 4%) draught bitter and Linda 2 or 3 pints. In very hot thirsty weather the quantities might be somewhat increased. We enjoy our singing and judging from our re-booking rates so do our audiences. Yes I deplore EXCESS drinking, but I get fed up with all the people who suggest that NO DRINKING should be the rule. I wonder what the turn-up at Stony Stratford would be if it was planned as a DRY event - there's probably more reference to booze than Folk Music on the thread !


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: SharonA
Date: 21 Jan 02 - 09:39 AM

Amos: I'm not sure whether your question from yesterday was in earnest (why not entice the audience to drink ginger ale at a gig I would do in a bar), but I'll answer anyway: Because the owners of the bar wouldn't appreciate my trying to "sell" the audience on an inexpensive beverage. Bars hire musicians as an "attraction" so that the attracted audience will bring in revenue for the bar, and the more booze sold, the more the revenue. So a musician who's hawking teetotaling in a bar can be considered to be doing his job poorly – just as poorly, in the bar owner's eyes, as the musician whose poor performance was driving away the drinking customers.

This thread is getting too long, so let's continue this discussion on the next thread in the series! Here's a link to part 2: Performers Excess Drinking at Gig PART 2

Please don't add any more posts to this thread; add to part 2 instead. Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Jan 02 - 09:44 AM

My position is regarding paid performances, regardless of the setting. Your are getting paid to perform, not to drink.

I don't accept the British and Irish "music is only traditional if the performer is drinking or under the influence" arguments. If you want to drink, sing from the audience. If you want to perform, be professional.

Like I said earlier, it is my perception that excess drinking is not only tolerated more in Britain and Ireland, but there is a tremendous amount of pressure for performers to go along with it. I also found there are some professional musicians who did not drink when they were performing. But I also felt that the level of musicianship at the gigs and sessions I went to suffered a great deal for that. I never drink to excess anymore, so I tended to remain sober while everyone around me was getting drunk at sessions. The music definitely didn't get better as the night went on for those who were drinking to excess, but everyone sure seemed to think it did.

And as far as drinking on stage in formal concert settings, I can't recall seeing anyone do it. If they were drinking, the liquor was disguised in cups or bottles.

I used to be involved with our local concert hall that booked British and Celtic music acts. If they showed up under the influence, the house policy was never to book them again, and that was included in their contract. That was back in the early 90s, before British and Celtic music acts got the hint that their "traditional drinking habits" wouldn't be tolerated.


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: JudeL
Date: 21 Jan 02 - 12:14 PM

Someone suggested beta-blockers don't have side effects - NOT TRUE. Beta-blockers have have at least one major side effect, one which may not be a problem if you are alone and have no intention of being part of a couple but can be very upsetting and disruptive for those with partners.


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: 53
Date: 21 Jan 02 - 08:33 PM

i got put into a whole lot of shit today because i am a musicican, and they thought that i was a drunk and a pot head and a drug addict, and it really pissed me off, cause most musicians, if you can call them that are exactly just what i described above, and they give the few that work in the music business seriously, a hard time and a bad name, if you want to drink, drug, and all the other shit that you do , why don't you got be a fucking plumber or some other bullshit job and let the rest of us live and play in peace and harmony. BOB. i'll welcome any rebuttle statements.


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 28 Dec 16 - 06:31 AM

Well, the advice you were given is valid of course, but if yoou just take such luminaries as The Rolling Stones as an example, most their best songs were wrutten by a totally 'stoned' and.or drunk Jagger and Richard and much of it performed the same way, the majority of them are still very alive and kicking. I see a lot of Folk musicians who could lighten up a little. Personally as I age I drink less amd less while performing. I's all a very individual thing I feel


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Dec 16 - 07:59 AM

According to Keith Richard, he has been clean since 1993.
Brian Jones is dead,other casualties are Keith Moon,Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Tubby Hayes, to name just a few.
can you give any examples of Stones songs of any worth that were written stoned or pissed, or is this just mythology?


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: JMB
Date: 28 Dec 16 - 11:53 AM

I would say drink after the performance. If you are being paid to perform, it is a job like any other and drinking on the job is unprofessional. The bar setting can be a temptaion to drink, but not the best idea. I am a bartender and musician, and although bartenders may be tempted to have a drink while socializing with the patrons, and one or two won't make you intoxicated, it is not exactly legal to drink on the job. Alcohol impairs your judgement, and for bartenders, if your judgement is impaired, you shouldn't be serving patrons for many reasons (ie knowing when a patron has been overserved, handling cash, etc.) The same should be said for any other profession.


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: GUEST,Malcolm Storey
Date: 29 Dec 16 - 07:44 AM

It was always my policy to never discuss or conduct business when "in drink".

This stood me in good stead throughout all my working life and I still abide by the same principals in the things I am involved with.

No, I am not a saint (get in the queue!), just level headed enough to follow a fairly simple dictum.

But if you are asking and providing I was not driving then, yes, mine's a pint.

I do have a fairly large fund of better than amusing tales about some of the topers both in and outside the folk world. Some day I will get them published.


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Dec 16 - 11:06 AM

Malcolm, I have some good ones too.


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: GUEST,Modette
Date: 29 Dec 16 - 12:59 PM

Keith Richards, GSS!


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Subject: RE: Performers Excess Drinking at Their Gig
From: GUEST,John from "Elsie`s Band"
Date: 30 Dec 16 - 07:29 AM

Malcolm,
      Tony Deane`s memorial CD has now been launched. If you are interested let me know on john.hhills@btinternet.com

John


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