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Feeling Anti-Social before and after gigs

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by SquierVM, Aug 1, 2012.

  1. SquierVM


    Dec 20, 2007
    I've been dealing with this problem for a while, and I was wondering if anyone else ever feels this way. Before I play a gig, I really HATE having to make small talk with anyone, especially friends and whatnot. I really just like to talk to my bandmates. I suppose its because I'm so "in the zone" that chit-chat is really taxing on me. And after the gig, I'm usually emotionally drained, having gone from a state of extreme anxiety/euphoria (playing the gig) back down to reality. As such, small talk irritates me for about an hour after I play, until I get some drinks in me. For these reasons, I almost kinda hate it when my friends and family come to my gigs, because I'm sure I come off as really aloof, or, in the worst-case scenario, a complete jerk. Does anyone else get weird like this before a gig?
  2. haddieman


    Nov 10, 2011
    I'm the same way. Not just with gigs but with most social events. I'm quite introverted and I almost always need some time alone after being around large groups of people. I love playing out and everything, I just need some time to unwind afterward.
  3. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    My wife says I always get "weird" on gig days. Bless her heart, she knows how to deal with it by now, and gives me my space. But she has mentioned it more than once so it must be true.

    Before the gig, for me a lot of it has to do with what's happened up to that point. If we got to the venue in plenty of time, set-up went smoothly, the P.A. sounds good, weather's nice (outside gigs), I've had something decent to eat and we haven't gotten any B.S. or attitude from bar owner / event planner / promoter whatever... then it's all good. I'll down a beer or two and usually be pretty relaxed and approachable before we go on. OTOH if we're frantically setting up / troubleshooting gear to the last minute, or there's some issue with the venue or client that should have been addressed before we even got there... or if I'm not confident that either I or the band are prepared to play... I'm gonna be pretty antsy and not a lot of fun to be around.

    During breaks I try to get out and meet and mingle somewhat... but I'm an introvert so it's not easy. Sometimes I wind up just going outside or finding a quiet corner to sit down for a few minutes. And again, a lot of it depends on how the show is going to that point.

    After the gig, I'm usually focused on tearing down and getting out of there as quickly as possible. It's late, I'm tired, I want to get paid and get home. So that's definitely not the time to engage me in small talk. OTOH my band picks up a lot of leads for future business in those post-gig conversations so I try not to sabotage those opportunities, either.

    Maybe it's just the "vibe" I give off but as a rule I get approached less than anyone else in my band so it's not something I really have to deal with a lot.
  4. *raises hand*

    "me too"
  5. lethargytartare


    Sep 7, 2004
    I was always very nervous before gigs, and very relieved afterwards. But I think it's important to the band's success that I be engaged with "fans" -- regardless of whether they're friends or strangers. So no matter how I feel, if I'm approached, I put on my best friendly face. At times it's definitely a "fake it 'til you make it" -- I feel like hell, but I'm determined to hide it as much as possible. It's not like I'm getting crowds of people tearing at my clothes, so if one or two want to ask something or say hi, I think it's valuable to make it a positive encounter.

    And I'm big on glad-handing and schmoozing -- make the owner love you, make the sound-guy love you (tips), make the venue glad you played. When owners are pissed, they can make an evening hellish. When they're feeling good about you you can get better sound, free drinks/food, and most important -- future gigs. And I'm uncomfortable in those situations, but I dive in and force myself to do it.

    You don't HAVE TO be social, but if you are interested in trying to change, you could look at those times (from the minute you arrive until the minute you walk out of the venue) as simply part of the show. Step into character when you walk in, and stay in character until you leave. FEELING antisocial isn't a bad thing, but ACTING antisocial might have negative impacts.
  6. haddieman


    Nov 10, 2011
  7. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    My BL is one of those guys that just has "it". Looks, personality, a good rap... so basically I see my off-stage role very similar to on-stage... do the "dirty work" in the background and free him up to do his thing with the public. It all has to be done so why not have each person do what they're best at and more naturally "wired" to do.

    A couple guys in my band gripe sometimes that he's schmoozing too much while we're tearing down, but considering he does all the booking and is the best "salesman" for our band by far I look at it more like division of labor.
  8. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    I'm a talker ...period. Unless I'm tired, stressed or am busy at a gig I try to meet everybody I can and chat with the owners and staff. It also bulds and keeps good relations and wins fans and made some friends.
    I do sometimes cut it back and get out if I want to but often hang out and am the last one in my band to leave.We are not all wired the same no biggie if you are not Mr. Flapjaws like yours truely :p
  9. lethargytartare


    Sep 7, 2004
    He'd better be REALLY good at getting gigs this way to get off the hook for break-down hahaha
  10. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    All of those things are, IMO/IME, kinda extreme. If playing a gig does that to you, sounds like an anxiety disorder of some kind, especially the part about self-medication with alcohol. No downside to looking into it.

    For me, all the things that you experience, I've never experienced, at all. Gigs for me are fun experiences with lots of positive experiences and memories, not physically/mentally draining exercises that requires drugs to quell negative responses.

    Good luck.
  11. kapaauguy


    Dec 12, 2010
    Kawela, Molokai
    IMHO being friendly, approachable and always having a minute to say hello to folks at a gig is one of the best ways to promote a band. Most of the time people want to give you or the band a compliment or ask where you're playing next. I remember the Gin Blossoms played Kona years ago and in between songs they mentioned several times they would be hanging around after the show to meet and sign autographs for anyone who was interested. They seemed so genuine and normal for being rock stars it was really refreshing. They definitely acquired some fans that night!
  12. stubborne


    Oct 22, 2009
    Rock Hill, SC
    I've been playing in an original band for the past year plus a bit. We gig few and far between, so I really enjoy every minute of the experience. Kicking back with the band before and after, chatting up the friends, getting the stage together, accolades afterwards.. yeah, that stuff is a big part of the payoff.

    However, a few years ago I was playing in a power trio cover band. We gigged 3 weekends out of the month for a few years in a big tourist destination town. The crowds were rowdy, rude and plenty exuberant. I got sick of it. I hated going into a bar during that period and would find myself out in my truck during set breaks just to get some quiet time. Gig was over, I'd pack as quickly as possible, grab the loot and hit the road. Too much of a good thing, I guess.
  13. lethargytartare


    Sep 7, 2004
    Actually none of that would indicate an anxiety disorder. It's all consistent with someone who's nervous in front of crowds (not unusual) and who gets a rush out of playing for a crowd (not unusual), and who relaxes after a drink or two (not uncommon and not bad -- and not "self-medicating").
  14. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Don't get me wrong, when it's time to do the heavy lifting (into the trailer), he's right there with us. It's just the cable-wrapping stuff he often forego's to do his PR stuff. It's his name on the band so I'd actually be a little concerned if he wasn't doing the meet-and-greet thing afterwards.

    And, I'm not always Mr. Sourpuss either. For example a couple weekends ago we were playing an outdoor festival and I signed things for like 4 or 5 kids who came up before and after we played cause I was the first member of the band they saw and I had some time on my hands. I was the first member of the band to sign stuff for those kids (and in a couple cases, I think the only one). But then, I'm a grandpa so young kids go up a few notches on my priority list too :smug:
  15. I'm certainly not in any band having just picked up the bass in February, but I've attended tons of small venues with cover bands this summer and one of the things I've come to appreciate the most is the availability of the band members. As a consumer, this gives me a chance to express my appreciation for their talents and performance, and really makes my "consumer" experience a lot more special. I'm not talking about you "schmoozing", I'm talking about you having a brief and meaningful connection to the audience that you can't get while you're on stage.

    As a performer, if you're not willing to spend a couple seconds saying hi to me, don't expect me to drop any cash at the door, the bar, or your tip bucket. It's a great way to pick up gigs, and establish a fan base.

    Just my two cents from an aspiring bassist.
  16. Gaius46


    Dec 15, 2010
    Not before a gig.

    When I was a weightlifter back in college and just post college I wanted nothing but to be left alone with my thoughts on meet day and refused to talk to anyone, even my teammates, during warmups and in the time just before lifting. That was pre-iPod days so it wasn't like I could throw on headphones and ignore the world. Alot of guys were like that though an equal number seemed to be social and like talking to whomever would listen.

    That was probably due to youth and nerves I guess.

    Now that I'm older and have had more than my share of nerve racking experiences, I'm completely different at gigs. Gig days are just another day. And I like getting to the venue a little to set up so I can chat with the drummer, who's usually the first one there, while I set up and, in the case of a new place, spend some time introducing myself to the staff.
  17. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    To the OP, how long and how often have you been gigging? A bit of stage nerves is always natural, even experienced theater actors get that. But once a person has some experience and familiarity, I would be a little surprised at a gig night throwing their sociability off as much as you're describing. For myself, I think that if anything, being in the performance "zone" makes me no good for much beyond small talk. I can chit chat when my mind's on the gig but I can't talk philosophy or politics in any depth.
  18. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    My entire band rides together to most of our gigs. And those trips can be up to 3 or 4 hours, one-way. So as an introvert a lot of my "social energy" often gets spent just on the band guys (cause we all get along really well), and leaves me wanting to find some personal space when we finally get to the venue... especially in that last 20 mins or so before "go time".

    OTOH and not to get too touchy-feely about it, but I think by doing this the band really bonds before we even get to the venue and I think that really helps get us all in the same mindspace by the time we've finished setting up and take the stage together.
  19. boynamedsuse

    boynamedsuse Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    I'm no shrink, but I agree with this.


  20. Do you think it's a case of nerves? I haven't been nervous since my first gig, almost 30 yrs. ago. In fact, when I'm playing is when I'm most relaxed.

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