Attack of the Delfonics

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by WillCO, Mar 13, 2006.

  1. WillCO

    WillCO An ounce of perception, a pound of obscure.

    Mar 9, 2005
    Denver, nee Austin
    This just happened, like two weeks ago.

    There we were, in the third set of a bar gig that was, shall we say, lightly attended. At a certain point, this group of old dudes walks in, all dressed in exactly the same garish red suits. I had a good view of the door, saw them walk in, and immediately felt like I should maybe know who they are. I didn't, but I have since come to know that they were the Delfonics, a Philly-based soul quartet of some repute.

    Anyway, we usually play this jammy, extended version of Fly Like an Eagle, where we sneak in some modal standard or other in the middle (So What or Impressions usually). We're playing it, and the Delfonics want to sit in. Our singer graciously invites them up. At this point I still don't know who these guys are, but they sure look important and I'm pretty excited to see what they do with Fly Like an Eagle.

    They did pretty much nothing. None of them knew the words, and they just coated the music with all this high-pitched crooning on random syllables for TEN MINUTES. There was some dancing as well. So we wrap up the tune and thank them, all a little underwhlemed with the performance.

    We go on, and play a couple more tunes.

    We eventually get to our last song, which was supposed to be this version of Soul Vibration that morphs into Mr. Pink and eventually turns into Hang Up Your Hangups. When it works, it's cool (plus I get a long solo). Well, the Delfonics are still around the club, and when we start playing it, they just walk onto the stage without an invitation.

    Our sax player doubles on keys, and one of the Delfonics asks if he can play the keys. Matt graciously steps aside. The Delfonics assume their dance positions and, as our "Soul Vibration" really begins to vibrate, they try to turn it into a ballad.

    This keyboardist dude is standing right in front of me. He turns around, looks at the drummer and me, and asks us to pull the tempo down to about 68 beats per minute because they want to "work on a ballad". OK, why not. We back it off a little, at least volume and feel-wise, if not tempo-wise, and stay there for a while. More random crooning, no discernible words. Maybe "Ooh Baby," "You're the One," and stuff like that. After about 5 minutes, maybe more, the guitarist, who is also our leader, cues us to move into Hang Up Your Hangups, which is pretty raunchy and definitely will screw up a ballad. We do it, and the Delfonics get livid. They all turn around, do that "keep it down" hand gesture, and again tell me that they need to "work on their ballad" [at our gig].

    We go on for maybe another four or five minutes. These dudes will not get off the stage, and have certainly hijacked our song, if not our whole set. The sax player, guitarist, and I wrap the song, put down our instruments, and go get a beer. Our drummer, one of the two or three nicest guys on the earth, keeps playing. The Delfonics continued their "rehearsal" for another three or four minutes, then all stop at once, walk off the stage, chat for a moment with someone in the room, then they leave.

    So anyway, I'm not sure this tale is as funny in the telling as it was in the living, but the morals of the story are as follows:

    - Asking for two sit-ins is a balls out move, especially in the same set. You should really only do that if the band proactively invites you back up.
    - Unless your name is Stevie Wonder, when you sit in with a band, you are playing with them. They don't become your backup band, and you definitely don't get to try out new material with them
    - Beware of the Delfonics.
  2. dirtgroove


    Jan 10, 2003
    Taipei, Taiwan
    that's funny! Sounds like you guys need to get some red suits though.
  3. PunkerTrav


    Jul 18, 2001
    Canada & USA
    I read the title and got excited that this was a thread about Del the Funky Homosapien.:rolleyes: :p

    Who did those guys think they were? I'll forever be on the lookout for red suits.
  4. aarono


    Feb 14, 2006
    I just watched Jackie Brown on Starz, and they mentioned The Delfonics in it. They also played the same song by them about 4 times.
  5. Squidfinger

    Squidfinger I wish I could sing like Rick Danko.

    Jan 7, 2004
    Shreveport LA

    I liked that one song off Jackie Brown though.