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Guests sitting in during your band's show?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Juniorkimbrough, May 31, 2005.

  1. Juniorkimbrough


    Mar 22, 2005
    Mississippi / Memphis, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland Basses
    How do you all feel about this? Personally I have some mixed opinions about it.

    We have a show coming up this weekend that a buddy of mine hooked us up with and another one of my friends is going to open up for us with an acoustic set, which is totally fine by me. He's been wanting me to sit in with them on bass for the last two songs, which I really don't want to do but really don't know how to tell him. His set is like 45 min. long where ours is nearly 3 hours, I'm trying to save my energy for our show.
    We'll then the other day he mentions something to me about trying to sit in with us during our slot, which I have some very mixed opinions about. 1st- the guy has never actually played with a full band, drummer, etc....so I'm not sure if he could keep up timing wise and could possibly wreck the whole song. 2nd- he's never came down to one of our band practices and actually played while we were practicing, which I think would really show that you are serious about wanting to learn the way we play a certain cover song.

    I know it's all in good intentions, but I really don't like people sitting in on our gigs. As a band, we put a lot of hard work, practice, time and $$ into this and I really don't want to take the risk of f'ing up in front of a crowd and ruin our chances.

    I feel like I"m being selfish, but I really feel like this is our gig and we were hired to play it......end of story.

    YOu all have any opinions or past experiences with people or friends sitting in with your band?
  2. bassjus


    Mar 30, 2004
    Just tell him how you feel, having not practice with him at all is certainly a legit reason to not let him play, and he should definanly be able to understand that.
  3. Don't_Fret

    Don't_Fret Justin Schornstein

    Dec 10, 2003
    Sitting in is no problem, IMO. But you really need to have a stable and flexible band so that the newcomer doesn't throw off the song.
  4. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I don't mind it if I know ahead of time and the player is a good musician. We had a sax player sit in with us all night at a bar gig, and he was great. He has his own band (a jazz combo) and is well-known around town. It was a blast. We also had a sax player sit in with us at a private gig once and he fairly sucked. He lasted about 3 songs.

    I've sat in with bands around the country (JB Player's for one) and it's been a lot of fun ... at least when I've heard the songs before. I'd let one of you guys sit in if you do classic rock. No prob.
  5. I agree with Munji... if you know the guy, know he's good, know he knows the songs you're doing.... no problem.

    If you're worried, tell him he has to practice with you guys first to make sure it goes smooth. Give him enough time to schedule that first, don't spring it on him at the last minute.

  6. It's no problem if you know the person or know they're a good musician to begin with. Like you said, this guy isn't used to playing with a band so it may be a good idea to get him to drop by a rehearsal and let him play a bit with you guys.

    How many have you heard the drunk say "yeah man I play guitar like crazy, let me play one with you guys!"? haha we usually get atleast one every show
  7. I used to encourage it when the "scene" was an incestuous bunch. :p Everybody knew everybody else in every other band... I didn't mind if I were sitting out a song- if it turned out cool. There were bands that we'd do a bunch of covers after our shows, it was always fun. :smug:

    Now, I'm not as tight with a lot of the other bands we play with as I used to be, so I'd be a bit more hesitant about it.

    And I'm older and grumpier.
  8. ummm, how much energy would you expend by playing 2 (two) songs with a guy on a acoustic? If you don't want to do it, just say so.

    As far as him sitting in with you, ask him down to your practice. If he can make it and picks up a couple of songs great. If not, you might want to consider having a couple of songs that everyone can pick-up like that. ie... Simple Man by L. Skynard is 3 notes. Tell your buddy what chords to play, and away you go. You don't say what style you play, but every style has the standards that almost everybody knows to some degree. That way, he gets to join you on stage, and you (as a whole group) don't look silly because you have a acoustic guy playing a totally different song. Do you want him up there all night? No. So after a couple of songs, the singer asks the audience to give "John Doe a hand for helping out". Unless he is really thick, he should get the hint that its his time to leave the stage to you. I have to agree with the Golden Boy, we used to jump on each others stage all the time. Now, I too am older and grumpier, and very rarely do I go up, or have someone come up with me (us)


    Jan 25, 2005
    Des Moines, IA
    If it's a person that plays an instrument that we don't have (and is known to be good), then we don't have a problem. Other than that, we try to discourage that sort of thing and politely direct them to the local jam sessions for unrehearsed sit in's.
  10. General rule: Anybody that asks to sit in is probably not very good. An experienced player would not encroach on another person's gig.

    If I know someone and I know they are a decent player, I have no problem with them sitting in.

    Recently, I was doing a bar gig once and a girl kept insisting that her friend should sit in. My answer was no. Eventually, I talked to the guy and the first thing he said was "I don't really want to intrude on your gig." That told me that he most likely knew what he was doing and wasn't just seeking an ego boost. I was ok with letting him sit in. He sat in and was good.
  11. Juniorkimbrough


    Mar 22, 2005
    Mississippi / Memphis, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland Basses
    I consider the guy to be a pretty good friend of mine, but in all honesty he needs to practice a whole lot more. He's a decent guitar player, but has no rhythm or timing which I think could turn out to be a disaster in a band situation with two other guitar players, bass and drums.

    The guy has played at this bar several times, but it's one of those times where nobody is in the bar and he asks if he can go up and play and a couple friends come out and everybody drinks beer. I've gone up and played with him several times, just to try and be cool about it even though it is almost a two hour drive and neither one of us was getting paid a penny. We were actually coming out of there with less money than we came in with. But I hate to sound like a dick, but I really don't want to embarass myself in front of a bunch of people.

    It's also the fact that he only knows me, he doesn't know the rest of the band members and I really don't know how they'd feel about someone they don't even know sitting in and possibly f'ing a song up.


    Jan 25, 2005
    Des Moines, IA
    ..a good rule of thumb!!!
  13. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    If its another musician that we KNOW personally, like a former bandmate, and he or she is very good, we'll permit it for one or two songs . . . but only at the END of the LAST set . . . and if the place is hopping and the songs flowing, we'll bypass it and say "sorry man, next time".

    I agree that anyone who just comes up and asks, doesn't have a regular gig (and therefore probably not very good) or they wouldn't be asking anyway.
  14. Intrepid


    Oct 15, 2001
    Once before we went to play, a guy was playing this sort of upbeat, cocktail/gospel/whatever style stuff on piano by himself. Our pianist, who happens to be phenomenal drummer with everything that has groove just literally walked on stage without asking the guy or anything right in the middle of the set. Jumps on drums and starts playing like he knew the songs. It stepped up the guys set to good to phenemonal IMO. The pianist loved it. The crowd loved. Very fun to watch.
  15. cgworkman


    May 14, 2004
    I read once where Miles Davis was performing on stage and Wynton Marsalis just walked on stage without being invited. Miles told him to get the f**k off the stage!


    Jan 25, 2005
    Des Moines, IA

    ahhh.....a classic "Dirty Miles" story
  17. cgworkman


    May 14, 2004
    I don't blame him though.


    Jan 25, 2005
    Des Moines, IA
    ...not at all. Would have done the same.

    It's one thing to do it at my level of performance...something entirely different @ Miles' level!
  19. oldfclefer

    oldfclefer low ended

    May 5, 2005
    Southern Ohio
    If someone walks up at a gig and wants to sit in, I ask them what specific songs they want to play and ask them to walk me through the chord structure whether I know the song or not. That way I know if they can at least hang. If it's someone I know, I make them come up to speed before I let them sit in.
  20. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    My house gig has sit ins all the time. It's a standard part of the schtick, the crowd has come to expect it and looks forward to it. Some of the regulars will even yell out. "Where's so-and-so?" and when he walks through the door a half hour later...he get's a round of applause for just showing up.

    That gig is a basic standards gig and it's low pressure / high profit have a little fun with it and be an entertainer. It works and it works very, very well regardless of my personal feelings about hearing bad harmonica playing or even worse singing.

    The other band I'm in is a musicians band. It's all over the place... non standard and difficult songs. Things like Song For America by Kansas....Dancing in the moonlight by Kings Harvest.....Sultans of Swing By Dire Straits....stuff that you don't just "sit in on"

    Thats a great band. (despite my efforts) That band also get's a ton of people wanting to sit in. Those people get a flat NO.

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