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Do you stand or sit?

Discussion in 'Ask Steve Lawson & Michael Manring' started by Taylor Livingston, May 6, 2003.


  1. Taylor Livingston

    Taylor Livingston Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    Louisiana, US
    Owner, Iron Ether Electronics
    This is for both Steve and Michael (though I notice Michael hasn't posting here too much recently).

    I've just got back from a solo gig at an art gallery (which is a weird situation in which to play...), and I sat the whole time. I haven't done many gigs, and only a few were solo bass, but I'm really taking to sitting down, especially in the gallery. My job there is to be atmosphere, so I'm not supposed to be a show.

    I know you guys are the show when you play, so I was just wondering whether you sit or stand. Is it important to you to be visually entertaining (be 'energetic' on stage), or do you just focus on making music? I feel like the energy is about the music (or, in the case of Floyd or Tool, visuals certainly have their place, but it's not about swishing one's hair about), and, so it really doesn't matter if you're standing up, jumping around, or sitting, but I see a lot of people getting upset by a "boring show" - one in which the band didn't jump around and so forth (I'm getting off track here, as I'm almost positive you don't jump around, and neither do I). I've heard of some players only playing sitting (Anthony Jackson).

    What are your thoughts?
     
  2. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    Hi

    the short answer is, I sit, Michael stands (I'm sure he'll post some answers here when he gets back from tour - I think he's out with McGill,Manring,Stevens at the moment)

    my reasons for sitting are that I use a lot of pedals, need to be able to reach my rack, and am terminally lazy... :D One thing I will suggest is getting yourself a drum-stool or fold-away chair so that you can be sat at the same height for each gig - there's nothing worse than trying to play perched on a bar-stool, or on a chair that's so low, you feel like a gnome on a mushroom... I bought myself a rather nice Tama drum-stool, with a backrest, that I can fold away and put in my case with all the rest of my gubbins and take to gigs... I did try standing for a couple of solo things, but it just isn't me. I feel more relaxed when I sit, and it puts the audience in a different space in relation to the performer - they aren't expecting you to dance... however, if you do have a groovy dance routine, then stay standing - I have a friend in LA - Andre LaFosse - who's a very very fine solo guitarist and has a seemingly involuntary wiggle that he does on stage, sort of half way between Micheal Jackson and the Hamster-dance. It's WAAAY cool and a bit of a trademark, and would be lost if he sat down for his gigs... ;)

    The pedals thing is a bit of a crucial one, as I've often got both feet on pedals at the same time!

    cheers!

    Steve
    www.stevelawson.net
     
  3. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Having seen Steve (and Michael) I think your definition of "visually entertaining" probably needs to be broader!! ;)
     
  4. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    LOL - I guess Michael and I do work well as a double act with me sitting looking like one of Jim Henson's finest tap-dancing on all the pedals, and Michael standing flipping hipshots and jigging around the stage...

    :D

    Steve
    www.stevelawson.net
     
  5. Taylor Livingston

    Taylor Livingston Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    Louisiana, US
    Owner, Iron Ether Electronics
    Bruce, I loathe getting into arguments with you, but I'll respond. If you'll notice, I said that I feel that the music is the energy. When I see a group of talented musicians (or just one), I'm interested in watching them play, and listening. I've never seen Steve or Michael, unfortunately, but I assume you mean to say that it is visually entertaining to watch someone play fantastic music. I agree. I just wanted to know how these guys felt about it, and if they could offer me any reason that I hadn't thought of to stand.

    The other side of the matter is this: a lot of people do come to a show looking for the performer(s) to be doing more than just playing. I don't, but some do. I wanted to know if this is a worry for Steve, and what he does about it.

    Thanks for the answer, Steve! I'm glad to know that there's an audience that's excepting of a sitting performer. I agree about the mood that's created - it's more like you're hanging out with old friends, more comfortable, as opposed to being up on a stage-pedestal, so to speak, deified as somehow separate from the audience.
     
  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I was thinking more of Steve's choice of jackets - but I was too polite, to say it right out! ;)
     
  7. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    LOL @ Bruce

    I do think that the way you dress and present yourself can have a pretty strong impact on the way that people perceive what you do. I dress in a way that lets people know I'm there to entertain, not that I've just walked in off the street to do a gig (though, to be fair, I dress like that a lot of the time anyway...) And I smile. A lot. I try to catch people's eye (not easy when I was opening for Level 42 and playing to a couple of thousand people a night...!)

    Think about what you'd like to see, what would draw you in to a performer, and do that...

    Steve
    www.stevelawson.net
     
  8. stephanie

    stephanie

    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    I think I'm one of those gnomes :D
     
  9. Michael Manring

    Michael Manring TalkBass Pro Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Sorry for my absence, folks. I'm back from the McGill/Manring/Stevens tour and it's nice to get caught back up with the forum.

    I usually prefer to stand when I perform as I've found it's easier than trying to find a chair at each venue that will accommodate the movements I need to make to change tunings and such. I've had a few uncomfortable encounters with armrests! For recording or other long periods of playing however, I prefer to sit. I agree with Steve that it's also easier to sit if you've got to do serious foot pedal action. I find that I have to alter my technique slightly depending on whether I'm sitting or standing, so I practice both ways. An interesting side note – Steve Klein designed his basses so that they stay in exactly the same position whether you sit or stand.
     
  10. Taylor Livingston

    Taylor Livingston Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    Louisiana, US
    Owner, Iron Ether Electronics
    Thanks, Michael. Good to see you're back! Will you ever come to New Orleans? It's the world capital of groove (and heat)!
     
  11. Michael Manring

    Michael Manring TalkBass Pro Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Thanks, Conical. I'm sorry it's been so long since I've been out that way. I hope I can make it back soon. You just can't get decent mudbugs in California!