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On Stage Banter

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by bluewine, Jul 12, 2009.

  1. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    Any tips for handling in between on stage banter?

    I will be required to participate.I want to be able to come off cool.
  2. Stinsok

    Stinsok Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2002
    Central Alabama
    Cut dead air and noodling time down and you won't have to worry about it.
  3. neatobassman


    Jul 16, 2005
    Antelope CA
    what do you mean handling? Keeping people in your band from talking or talking to the audience or the audience talking in between your songs?
  4. hbarcat

    hbarcat Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Rochelle, Illinois
    Talking to the audience between songs can work for you or against you. Make sure you aren't talking just to kill dead time between songs - it will drag your show down faster than anything else you can do. Good bands don't need to cover dead time between songs because they don't have any (unless they intentionally build some in for the specific purpose of talking to the audience).

    Bands that can successfully do this have something to say, and they are practiced at making this come off smooth and natural and know how to keep the audiences attention. Typically they build the talking into the outros and intros. And they keep it short.
  5. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    Working an audience is an art form all its own. A really good front man can talk between songs, and entertain the audience while he does it. It takes being able to read the crowd and work with them. As with musicians, there are more people doing it than are actually good at it.
  6. KeithPas

    KeithPas Supporting Member

    May 16, 2000
    As the others here have said; keep it short. It is good to give props to the venue and the staff working the venue at some point during the evening. Remind the audience to take good care of their servers, bartenders etc.
  7. Stinsok

    Stinsok Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2002
    Central Alabama
    I have a friend that is great at audience interaction. He will talk to several people before the gig , memorize their names (and their friends) and talk about them/to them in a fun, non demeaning way between songs or manages to put their name in a song. They eat it up.
  8. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008

    This is something that will take skill and time, for now I think I will let the lead singer do the talkng
  9. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    I've been in a couple of bands that required either band member to band member banter (as part of the "vibe" of our show), or front person to audience banter. In either case, it is really best to leave it up to people who are a "natural" for onstage charisma, and who are willing/able to practice it just like any piece of music.

    Just yesterday I was at a street fair with outdoor stages, and this one middle-aged white funk band was doing the "introducing the band" jam, and the singer/leader was just massacring the banter. He actually made me feel bad for the guys he was introducing, like maybe they could be pros who should not be introduced by such a lame dud of a frontman. It was a BBQ-themed fair, so he was talking about the band being elements of a BBQ, where the bass was the sauce and the guitar was the fire, etc., and he came to the conga player and said to the audience "I understand a lot of people like to eat popcorn at a barbecue, right? Do y'all like to eat popcorn? Well we got some popcorn here, mister (whatever his name was) on percussion." The conga guy played a few licks, and the frontman said "see, doesn't that sound like popcorn?"

    I wanted to take the mic, break his nose with it, and shove it down his throat.

    Lesson 1: Don't do banter if you aren't a natural at it.

    Lesson 2: You never know when there's a psycho in the audience who hates bad stage banter, and might flip out then and there. :D

    On the flip side there is one easy kind of banter that can work even for non theater majors: just yell encouragement when someone is really cooking or about to take a solo. You know, like "go, man, go!" or "burn it up, baby!" or "que rico!" etc.

    And then again, most bands would be better if they didn't fool around between songs.
  10. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008

    yeah like learn the naes of a few of the servers and bartenders;

    Hey , eveybody don't forget about, Amber, Dave and Wendy; IN THE HOUSE over at the bar, do it right,
  11. Marko 1

    Marko 1 Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2009
    N.E. Ohio
    From having DJed in the past (Sound guy with PA equipment, who happens to have a lot of music/karaoke and willing to be a ho for easy $$$), imho, the music should NEVER stop.

    DJing, songs overlap so there’s NO dead air. One SECOND of dead air is like an eternity, and DJs are what we have to compete with, not to mention they (we) have a zillion songs.

    For a band, between songs if the front guy/gal has to talk, keep something going, drums, bass, rhythm, something that leads into the next song.

    I haven’t brought this up to the guys with whom I’m preparing to play out, as they’re seasoned musicians and I’m the rookie, but at some point I’m gonna see if I can influence them along this line of thinking.
  12. KeithPas

    KeithPas Supporting Member

    May 16, 2000
    Exactly! It helps build good will towards the band from the staff. After all if the staff hate you you might not get hired again.
  13. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Intergalactic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon sofware
  14. Step 1 - Be funny.
    Step 2 - If you fail at step 1, keep your mouth shut and play.

    The only onstage banter allowed should be funny, and not funny to YOU, but funny to the audience. Are you comedians? No? Then don't say all that much...you'll just come across as juvenile, unfunny, and it will altogether destroy whatever musical impression you may have developed.

    Give props to the opening band, announce the next band, thank Frank the door guy and Janice the bartender, and 'give it up' to your crew just once. The rest of the time you should be rocking.

    PS: Saying "How you feeling, Chicago!?" should only be done by someone on world tour...preferably in a very skimpy outfit. Giving a shout out to your own town whilst playing your own town is like...well...it just sucks. Don't do it.
  15. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    This is a great idea... never thought about that before. It's definitely important to win-over the staff.

    Also, big +1 that this is something that hardly ever comes naturally for a band. My cover band has been playing 4 years and we still aren't as consistent on that as I'd like. Some nights everything just flows great and other nights it seems like none of us have ever been on a mic in front of a crowd before. We have two guys that are really kind of our co-front men... father and son. When they are "on" it's great but other nights it doesn't seem like they want to engage the crowd that much and then it can get a little weird cause then the rest of us have to get on mic between songs and we're not really that good at it.

    Also don't be afraid to promo yourself. Tell people when and where you're playing next (unless it's a direct competitor to your current venue), plug your Website, etc. If you've got merch, plug it. We've gotten 3 sets into a gig and one of us will realize we haven't even told the crowd about our Website. That should never happen.
  16. BTW "Funny to the audience" does not mean funny to your friends in the audience that always come to your gigs - you may have a story to tell that is a hoot to all those who were there - when the venue burned down/you got lost on the way/got booed off/got shot at :eek:, but everyone else will be going ... huh?.

    If your Banter falls on stoney ground, then you're probably best off counting in the next number over the applause from the previous song (assuming you get any :))
  17. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Great banter (in measured doses) is preferable to no banter.

    BUT... no banter is preferable to unnecessarily crude, forced or otherwise lame banter.

    If you don't have someone in the band who can work the crowd reasonably well, you're probably better off putting a couple more songs into each set, working up some killer segues and in the words of Joe Perry, "Let the Music Do the Talking".
  18. dreadheadbass


    Dec 17, 2007
    we occasionally need to fill space with banter in some of our sets when we change tuning (what is it with guitarists and tuning up and down all the time??)
    this usually requires a little onstage banter while the retardists tune up or down or sideways or back to front or whatever the hell it is there doing to make their instrument sound even worse
    our technique has been to run it in the studio 1st spontanious off the cuff stuff does happen but it doesnt happen all the time so its always a good idea to have a routine so the audience dont have to wait for you to think up a punchline on the spot its far better to already know the jokes and to pretend your making them up and for the love of god dont start spouting racist, sexist or offensive jokes or a bottle full of urine will surely be heading your way
    poke fun at each other and get the audience involved with it but dont spent ages between songs calling each other "c**t" or "s**t head" as it gets old very fast
    plug your next gig or next album or just fill the audience in on anything new and exciting thats happening with your band

    the most important thing is to moniter the crowds reaction on occasion you will play venues that are quite hostile when your playing to a crowd that isnt there to see you and wants you off the stage asap so they can see the main act
    in these situations the crowd dont want a load of smart arse support bands trying to be funny so keep it short and sweet and minimise the downtime between songs
    unless they warm up to you in which case milk it a little but not too much

    its important to remember though the crowd paid for their tickets to see a band play music not waffle on and on inbetween every song

    music 1st banter 2nd
  19. skidrawk


    Jan 21, 2007
    Space City, TX
    Yea sometimes banter is required - troubleshooting, swapping guitars, etc but its a good idea for all the members to rehearse some bits. I try to find funny stuff from movies that have bands in them. We have a few rehearsed lines.
  20. I find it's better to try connect with the audience by explaining the experience/feeling that made you write the song. Or at least tell a funny story about why your drummer is playing a cardboard-box instead of his kick drum