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A Plea to Family and Friends of Those Who Can't Sing

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by jive1, Mar 24, 2011.

  1. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    To the family and friends of those who can't sing,

    I implore you to not encourage them to sing in public. Encourage them to take lessons, practice, or whatever to improve, but don't encourage them to sing in public. For when that happens, musicians suffer.

    It all began in childhood. Yes, your child was cute singing out of tune and out of time, but as a teen it gets old. Even though you bought your child a fancy new PA in high school, it did not improve his vocals. Our band appreciated it, but after the last battle of the bands, I had to attend college out of state to have any chance of finding a gig or getting laid.

    I wish it ended then, but it didn't. People like this still get encouragement for some reason. Sometimes your silence is implied encouragement. So, they continue their quest to be a singer, challenging the conventions of pitch, meter, and dynamics while torturing the musicians behind them. As musicians, we have a more keen sense of pitch and time, and it hurts us more than it hurts you.

    From the open mic trainwreck caused by them not knowing when to come in to the audition with a monotone falsetto version of Summer of 69 that's a 1/2 step flat, the band gets blamed for that. Really, it's not our fault, and please don't agree with them when they use that excuse. Trust us, when we think they suck, they actually do. We don't fake those faces.

    I know that you are trying to get laid by that cute girl by flattering and telling her she can sing. And sometimes, it works. But, while you hear her wails and moans in bed, we have to deal with her moaning and wailing over "I Will Survive", and trust us it's not sexy. And bands, just because you have a female in the band, you don't have to make her sing anything if the can't. See:Yoko Ono.

    And for the guys who are good instrumentalists, but terrible vocalists, please encourage them to improve before subjecting their bandmates to their journey in pitch and time. We really enjoy their playing, and we're not jealous of them and trying to keep them down. We want to save our band from embarassment. Even though you think it's cute and get turned on when he sings "Wonderful Tonight" to you, it clears the bar when he does it and no-one gets any action in the place. I know you deal with crying children at home while we're out gigging, but please know that we're suffering too.

    So, I beg you to go past just your polite smile, and just say they need to practice before subjecting an audience. Or just say they suck. Encourage them to learn, practice, improve, but don't encourage them to sing in public. Each time a flat, out of time version of Summertime is sung, a glimmer of hope dies in a musician.

    Please, do it for the musicians.

  2. CertifiedLurker


    Nov 20, 2008
    Sorry, but I have to disagree. If a person can't sing, they can't sing. I don't encourage them to take lessons, only to shut up.

    A few weeks ago my brother/roommate was attempting to sing in the morning. It was so bad it woke me up. I yelled, "you can't sing! So shut up so I can go back to sleep!" And it actually work w/out any type of escalation. Somebody needs to crush those horrible singers' dreams. If it has to be me then I'll do it.
  3. Tracebassplayer

    Tracebassplayer Sometimes Darkness Can Show You The Light. Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2000
    Portland, OR
    Can we start a Horrible Singer's Dream Crusher club??
    I'm IN!!!:cool:
  4. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    I've wrestled with this one. I just tell my wife that she's not off key so much as she's singing harmony.......

    Yeah, she's pretty much just off key.
  5. kcole4001


    Oct 7, 2009
    Nova Scotia
    This is my line when asked why I don't sing:
    "it's so no one has to tell me to stop".
  6. WorkinOnIt


    Aug 17, 2007
    Houston, TX
    Just last weekend, I was struggling with this.

    I hosted a couple of guitar players over at my house. One was a first time visitor and when he was setting up he whips out a microphone/stand. I knew he was a great guitarist, but did not know he sang too. Well, he sang on pitch about 10% of the time. :mad: I don't brag about my singing, but I know I can hit a given note usually. I would sometimes sing along and try to encourage him to get on pitch. Or, I would go to the piano and play a chorus line in single pitches to encourage him to hear that and hone in on it. Nope. He just sits there and does his own thing. It just astonished me such an accomplished guitarist thinks the rules of music (pitch) don't apply to singing?

    There was one song he was 95% spot on and he sang it acapella. He has a nice tone, and since the acapella was semi-ok, perhaps he is just not concentrating enough to stay on pitch when he is strumming.

    I am trying to think of a way to structure the next jam with him to ensure 'in a diplomatic way' he understands other musicians are going to be much more demanding than just singing to his kids at home. :meh: Perhaps some harmonizing work to show him that singing 'on pitch' is really demanding and what would be expected of him if he was to actually step up and sing.

    I am an old fart just trying to build up a network of decent hobbyist musicians to play with. I am not going to tell him he 'sucks'.:p There is potential there and he certainly has enthusiasm that you hate to burst, but it ruins the jam if he is going to sing the whole time.:meh:
  7. ghiadub

    ghiadub Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2006
    Auburn, CA
    I blame american idol.
  8. MonetBass

    MonetBass ♪ Just listen ♫ Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    Tulsa, OK
    I am in 100% agreement. Somebody along the line needs to be brutally honest with these pitch-challenged wanna-bes. As far as American Idol is concerned, they clearly let some of these hacks tryout for the judges to give us viewers at home a good laugh. They're going for ratings, after all. But in the end, someone needs to tell them to STFU.
  9. Reaper Man

    Reaper Man

    Jan 15, 2010
    hence why I don't sing:p
  10. D.A.R.K.

    D.A.R.K. Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2003
    I was always taught that yer instrument is an extension of yer voice.
    Just something to consider.
  11. oldbassplayergu

    oldbassplayergu Banned

    Dec 19, 2010
    that and this country's addiction to fame and fortune.
  12. billhilly66


    Aug 25, 2007
    Plano, TX
    I wanna number in the Horrible Singer's Dream Crusher club!

    I don't mind telling them at all. "hey man, why didn't you sing harmony with me?" Because you're out of tune and you suck, that's why.
  13. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    In some ways, but there's been bad singing long before American Idol. Sometimes it would be nice to have a Simon Cowell in the audience saying "That was putrid. What in the world made you think you could sing?"
  14. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Sure there's the needle in the haystack that does something with an awful voice, but for the most part, off pitch and off time vocals are not a marketable thing.

    Maybe it's an addiction to imfamy.
  15. Richland123


    Apr 17, 2009
  16. Any of us that have had to be part of a school concert, watch a school musical, be part of a battle of the bands, and as we got older had to re-live this with our children, know this pain all to well.
    To quote Simmon Cowell from American Idol a few seasons back.
    Simmon: "Who told you, you could sing?"
    Girl: "My mom"
    Simmon: "Well that's her job"
    Girl: "No it's not!!!"
    Simmon: "Well then she's lying to you!!!"

    I know as parents we need to protect our children via little white lies but, I must agree; people be honest with them too. If they blow chunks, they blow chunks. Better they hear it at an early age when they can recover, than when they're older and need therapy, or better yet we need therapy.
  17. calshands


    Feb 11, 2004
    Yeah, a guitar player that I play with has this problem. When you see him close his eyes and toss out that chin you KNOW you're in for a real treat.

    The sad thing is that we have a female singer with whom I can harmonize real well. Our voices are very complementary. And then Ole Tin-Ear Rusty-Pipes chimes in and sends it down in flames.

    It's painful.
  18. mpm32


    Jan 23, 2009
    When my wife sings I tell her that must've been in the key of H.
  19. CapnSev

    CapnSev Supporting Member

    Aug 19, 2006
    Coeur d'Alene
    Can I add dancing into this suggestion as well?
  20. Richland123


    Apr 17, 2009
    When I hear friends and relatives who can't sing, I ask them what did they do with all the money? They reply, "What money"? I say, "All the money your mother gave you to use for the singing lessons".