how do you deal with sit ins?

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by Rick Rice, Sep 4, 2000.

  1. On a couple of gigs my band did this summer that were fairly large outdoor venues ( anything around 300 people is big to us)we seem to incur an unusually large number of request from people wanting to sit in with band. While its rarely a bass player that makes this request, I still feel a responsibility to my bandmates not to make decisions on request to sit in without consulting them. Bare in mind these gigs were not jam sessions and no request came from any players or singers that any of us knew of or about at all.While I've always felt its important to treat your audience graciouslly these situations are always touchy ones. Past experience has not been very good, nine out ten times the sit in is not considered very talented by the band after the fact. It seems to me that these things tend to belittle all the work of rehearsal,set list, etc. Not unlike being reduced to a kareoke machine or something. any comments or experience ?
  2. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    As much as you don't want to appear rude to the crowd, my feeling is that sit-ins are an invitation only occurrence. If you don't know them, then politely decline the offer. Obviously, if it's a private party, you have some political issues that come into play.
  3. Chris A

    Chris A Chemo sucks!

    Feb 25, 2000
    Manchester NH
    Ask them if they are so good, why aren't they gigging with their own band.

    Chris A.:rolleyes:
  4. SlapDaddy


    Mar 28, 2000
    This is mean,but it works...If I'm playing where I know there is a good possibility of a "sit-in" I make sure my fretless is ready and then make some excuse about my 6er being out of whack,"but you can play the fretless.." Usually that does it although sometimes it doesn't and either way( they are good or they suck)I enjoy the(side)show!
  5. I wouldn’t dream of asking a band if I could get up for one or two numbers and hate it when people do it to us. (not just to play bass)
    They are usually half drunk, or worse and normally show themselves and us up. Also when new people come into the venue and think the idiot is part of your band, and then walk back out after a few moments,...very embarrassing. We now don’t allow it.
    I now normally tell them that Karaoke was last night and that we’re not insured to have non-band members on stage. Of course there are exceptions, if you know that the person is a reasonable player/singer or have seen them in another band.
    Don’t you just hate it when someone comes and asks if you can “Put on” their favourite record as if you are doing a disco.
  6. brewer9


    Jul 5, 2000
    This does seem to happen more often at outdoor shows. We just tell them that we have a very structured show and dont deviate from it. Usually the person understands right away. After they see us they definately understand.
  7. Chris A

    Chris A Chemo sucks!

    Feb 25, 2000
    Manchester NH

    Where are you playing this weekend? I wanna sit in!!

    Chris A.:rolleyes:
  8. brewer9


    Jul 5, 2000
    Hey Chris, Great! Anytime!

    Actually we're opening up for Slaughter tonight (Sharky's in Nashua, NH for anyone near there).
  9. ONYX


    Apr 14, 2000
    I usually do not allow sit ins unless I know that they are competent players from other bands.

    Besides, it's our band policy to not allow sit ins!
  10. I never had to deal with it, but unless I knew the player from before, and it was ok with the rest of the band I would never allow it. So I guess it will never happen.
  11. Chris A

    Chris A Chemo sucks!

    Feb 25, 2000
    Manchester NH
    You da man, Brew!
    I have the kids tonight, I wish I coulda gone. That must be cool. Let me know when you are playin', I'd like to check it out. I'm not playing again until the 30th.

    Chris A.:rolleyes:
  12. Xeo


    Aug 21, 2000
    I sit in quite a lot. But then again, I know virtually everyone round here and they all know me...
  13. brewer9


    Jul 5, 2000
    Chris, where are you playing on the 30th? Is your band listed on
  14. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    This is a situation that has arisen a couple of times in the bar band I'm playing for now. It's of course up to each of us to agree to allowing an individual to sit in on our repective instruments, but the leader of the band has allowed several players to sit in on guitar that have frankly not been up to the task, and it bums me out big time. This may sound snobbish, but nothing can take the air out of a great gig faster than a cat that can't cut it sitting in. I respect his position, though. He's a great guy with a true love for playing, and sometimes he can't help but let someone sit in, because he knows that that person will get a chance to play with players at a level that he may not otherwise get, and that he will be positively affected by the experience.

    But he's the boss, and I'm not. However, I would never hand over my bass to anyone who I wasn't absolutely sure could add something to our show musically. And the few local pros I know and would even suggest such a thing to would a) probably be working elsewhere anyway and b) have their own axe with them. Fortunately, there are an abundance of open mike nights in my area (every Sun., Mon. and Wed. night at 3 diffent clubs in fact) where anyone, regardless of ability, can sign up to play.
  15. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    We've never really had this problem in the large Latin band I'm in as the music is very tightly arranged and nobody has ever asked, except one alto sax player who everybody hated and we turned down flat! We have invited some musicians to come up and take a solo when we have already known themn and they are in the audience.

    But we have had what might be described as the "opposite" problem. Latin music has become quite popular in the UK and a lot of the local Jazz players are trying to set up bands to play this, as there are more gigs available. So we've had people coming along trying to "steal" band members and at some gigs we've talked about it afterwards and every single band member has been approached by the same person! So rather than sitting in themself, it seems that they are trying to take the whole band away to "sit in" with them!
  16. Chris A

    Chris A Chemo sucks!

    Feb 25, 2000
    Manchester NH
    My cover band is playing at O'Donnell's in Bedford on the 30th. Email me and I'll get you directions if you're interested.

    Chris A.:rolleyes:
  17. brewer9


    Jul 5, 2000
    I just emailed you Chris. Talk to ya soon.
  18. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    I feel very strongly about this very subject that unless you are in a band that is a house band that is specifically playing on open mic night and there is a sign up sheet or some sort of procedure to control drunks and flakes, that other bands are not human "karaoke" machines. In other words, anyone who dares to request to sit in is extremely presumptuous. Little good can come from the sit in because if the player sucks, he makes the whole band suck and if he is...heaven help us...superior to the band, then that sucks too as it causes consternation to the band member he shows up.

    I have personnally only witnessed one time when I felt a "sitin" at a gigging band was worthwhile. It was one of Junior Wells' last concerts before he died. I was very priviledged to be present at that concert. Junior Wells invited Ronnie Earle to play who happened to be at the venue. Now Ronnie Earle is one heck of a blues guitarist and that was a fabulous sit in. The band played a soulful cover of Albert Collins "If Trouble Was Money, I'd Be a Millionaire." It was unforgettable. But Earle was a perfect gentleman and after that song, he stepped down from the stage and did not take over the gig.

    But how often does something like that happen? Hardly ever.

    Jason Oldsted
  19. hey, chris

    you know you're good when you've got a cover band, dude.

    If someone asked to have a sit in with us, i'd shove the bass in their hands, sit back and watch the results, they've gotta be better than us :)

    Last "gig" we played at was a place where you just turn up, say to the barman "can i play?", he puts your name on a list, and you play a few songs. we were the last band up, and there was a full house (about 200 people, but it's a start). got on the stage, lights in our eyes, no drummer (he'd stood us up :( ), played three songs, and then all we got was "One more!", followed by heaps of laughter. We hadn't rehearsed any more songs, hell, we didn't have a bassline for half the encores we played. We finally got off the stage to find out that our "music" had emptied the hall of all but two people, who looked stoned out their heads. Even the sound guy was takin the piss out of us.

    Oh well, all bands start at the bottom, except those manufactured bull$hit "bands", like backstreet boys, and stuff.


  20. Beau


    Apr 3, 2000
    Brooklyn, NY
    I'm of the school that says anyone can sit in, but you play Cherokee at 300 bpm in Db. I've been on both ends of this, and either you can play or you go home and hit the shed.