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Local Blues Jam

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by petersenbass, Sep 16, 2008.

  1. My goodness....I hate to complain...but I don't hate it that much...

    I live in Nashville. I like to think I'm a skilled bassist. I pay my bills with gig earnings.

    I appreciate open blues jams as forums for novice to advanced players to have a good time and network without worrying about the "business" of it all.

    I have visited a couple local blues jams on the outskirts of Nashville (Hermitage and Lebanon). They both have something in common. If you're not in their regular "circle" of loyal followers, then you're low priority. Advanced or beginner/

    The host gets up there with the normal guys, so he can sound good. He may have one or two guys come up if they're lucky, while he's up there. Then, setbreak.... let's send 5 random guys up there with no direction. Twice, I've had (different) two guys that couldn't communicate. (one had half his teeth)

    Now don't we all know blues is about simple communication.

    I guess it's my own fault for going back. I don't think I'm the greatest. I'm lucky to pay (barely) my bills with music. But, local jams in a "Music City" should encourage not discourage players. It's just...one of these jams is right down the road.

    Anyone with something similair? I'm not trying to be a dick...
    Someone buys a bar or music store, and they use a "open" jam as their own ego stroker.
  2. CapnSev


    Aug 19, 2006
    Coeur d'Alene
    Yup. Especially true for a bassist.

    You might get two songs if you're lucky, then the regular bassist is back up.
  3. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Set up your own jam and invite people..? :eyebrow:
  4. Fretless1!


    Feb 19, 2007
    Buddy, I live in Mt. Juliet, just up the road from you. I know exactly where you've been going and you hit the nail right on the head. If you're not in the inner circle, you're pretty screwed.

    The problem in and around Nashville is that almost all the blues jams are like that. If you know of one that isn't, PM me.
  5. One more thing I DON'T miss about Gnashville. I know exactly of what you speak.

    This fits along with the idea that everybody is glad to meet you until they find that you can't further their career along in any way; then they drop you like a hot rock. Here in CO, everyone is friends and supports each other. So I won't get to play on too many "hit records" from here... seems like a fair trade to me.

    Here's hoping you find better luck at a new jam soon. :)
  6. von buck

    von buck

    Feb 22, 2008
    wolcott ct.
    I've been the house bass player for blues jams for decades and they're like that all over. It really depends on who runs it. Some guys will call their friends up first and then get others up. A few guys stick to the sign up sheet and go by who signed up first.
    My "favorite" was a jam where it was by invitation only. The leaded would call musicians and invite them to show up and sit in. If you showed and he ether didn't know you or wasn't invited you didn't play.
    When I use to visit jams, the leaders always had me sit ib with the worse, most inexperienced players.
    I asked how come I get to play with these guys. He said,
    "your the only one I'd trust to keep it from being a train wreck"

  7. How admirable! :p
  8. It's not that big of a deal. Just disappointing. I can't believe they still let them do it. Everyone there except for the handfull of players, stays on the other side of the bar playing pool.

    Funny thing is, I can go down to Broadway and sit in almost anytime...in front of an actual audience.

    Fretless1, I've been invited to play bass at Cedar Creek Marina. Apparently they have a jam on Firday nights. I'm off this Friday. I may go check it out. They said the usual guy is out with Gary Allen this weekend.

    I'm in Memphis Saturday night.
  9. jimc


    Sep 17, 2002
    New Carsmell, CA
    It's not just Nashville. Most jams seem to have a 'rite of passage' where you have to put up with the political BS long enough to be accepted.

    It's got to the point where I rarely play if I go to a jam, I'll just hang out and visit with the other players.
  10. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    The jam I'm house bassist at must be abnormal then. Many times after the host band set (an hour or less) I never get back up.

    Typical jammer sets are 4 songs, 5 or 6 if it's really cooking. Latecomers can get shortchanged...when 8 guitarists suddenly show up in the last hour guess who gets to play shorter sets.

    The best way to keep jams on track is to have one member of the host band on stage at all times to crack the whip and have final veto power on questionable song choices.
  11. watspan


    Nov 25, 2002
    madison, wi
    I feel the host band, if they don't know the jammers, should bring them in 1 or 2 at a time so things don't turn into a trainwreck. I've been at a few jams where the hosting band does their set, flees out to the parking lot and then there is nobody left to "anchor" the whole thing!
  12. I agree with bringing up 1 or 2 people at a time to play with the house band.

    I used to live down the street from a bar that would do an open jam every sunday night. The first time that I mentioned that I was a drummer, the house drummer asked if I wanted to do a song or two with them, so sure. I ended up playing almost the whole night, I ask the drummer durning a break if he wanted to come back up (so I didn't overstay my welcome) and he simply replied that I was doing great and he was enjoying listening and drinking beer....oh and still getting paid. Anyway the bass player asked if I wanted to do a song or two on bass, but I told him that I had just started learning bass and was not comfortable yet. Those guys were alot of fun to jam with and real nice so I went back often. Now they have moved on to better things.

    We have a blues "open" jam, or that is what they call it. Anyway, now that I'm more comfortable about playing bass, I asked if I could do a song or two and was politely told, its a open jam for friends in other bands only. Doesn't seem to "open" to me.
  13. DudeistMonk


    Apr 13, 2008
    Newark, NJ
    Anyone know where I can find one of these places in Jersey? I see people talkin about them on TB all the time but I've never seen or been to one. I'd like to go to one sometime just for the experience of having been.
  14. I think that's universal. Generally, you know the guy running the jam and he knows you so...
  15. watspan


    Nov 25, 2002
    madison, wi
    true, very true. it's still hard to drive through a drummer who can't swing though:D
  16. As someone earlier mentioned, it's dependant on the host and his attitude towards unknowns.
    Around here, there are several jams that would require you to make your bones by hanging out a lot, kissing up and maybe getting an occasional opportunity to jam, if you're not at the "Juno" ability level, as lots of the regular clique are.
    The only thing that doesn't change, even at the high-end jams, is the same guys playing the same songs. Sure, the tunes are well done, but every time I go to listen I hear the same tunes I hear at every other jam.
    High-end, lol. Uppity, with a weird vibe is more like it at some of these places.
    That being said, there's plenty of welcoming jams available for me to live up to my name.:)
  17. I'm on the other side on this. I find that if this is the case, there are many times you can sit there all night and never get the chance to play. Often I find some are run so poorly that there are 20+ minute breaks between sets and it can mean not getting up at all or being up there with 8 other players. Then it's just noisy and sounds like ass. No fun for you or the audience.
    In order to make that work, the hosts must really be on the ball and interested. Lot's aren't, as this is just for easy pocket money and as long as no one bitches to the owner, they do as little as possible.

    Edit: Jeez, I sound bitter. Not the case, I keep going back. LOL
  18. RED5


    Jan 14, 2008
    Suffolk County,NY
    Good idea, but I think you'll find that after a while? You'll wind up in the same place all the other jams are at, Doing your 3 intro songs then setting up the visitors with each other and sitting back. I've seen it more often that not. A tip? try keeping as much of the house band onstage and invite single players up to jam with the set band. Repeat till everyone gets a shot, nobody loses and everyone goes home happy. Works for me.
  19. anderbass


    Dec 20, 2005
    Phoenix. Az.

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