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The "I have bad stage presence" thread

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Matt Till, Jun 9, 2005.

  1. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    I honestly don't see the point of jumping around, etc. If you do it, that's cool. The pic I attached is from a classic rock gig, not my bag, so the rockin' was minimal from my point. I have the worst stage presence... feet together (no power stance :( ) looking everywhere but at the audience... sometimes at the band, usually the ground. And to top it off, I always look awkward with a bass in my hands. I don't know why, I never look "cool" playing music. :meh:

    ... I do a little with a guitar though. :eek: :bag:

  2. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    ... I also noticed I look like I'm 14 in that picture.
  3. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    ...and 3 feet tall.
  4. Lewis7789


    Sep 17, 2004
    Akron, Ohio USA
    Sales; ClearSonic Mfg.
    I used to be the exact same way, looking at my pedal board all night with my feet together and ignoring the audience.

    My problem was I was VERY nervous when playing out. But not anymore, I just don't care what people think about me, on or off stage. Now I move and dance a lot more and talk to the audience and even get them to dance sometimes, especially on the latin songs, it's tough to salsa dance when playing the bass. You have to keep in mind, people want to see a live band, because they are "live", they also want visual entertainment. You just have to loosen up a bit.

    But even if you don't want to dance or move at all on stage, it's all good. To each their own. Good luck to you. :)
  5. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    I feel that if I was playing "My genre" I would be a bit more charismatic. I had a funky jam with a drummer on one of my shoegazing nights, and without my brain's permission, my ass was shakin' :D
  6. bassman314

    bassman314 I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process...

    Mar 13, 2005
    Bay Area, CA
    I move around, but I use my pedal board too much, so I can't move too far, and I can't jump around that much...

    Plus I tend to play on stages that are too crowded for the group he have playing *L*

    When I'm singing, I totally can't move around *L*

    Honestly, when I watch a band live, seeing them jump around all over stage and act like monekys doesn't impress me much at all... If they sound good, and look they are enjoying themselves, even if they stand still, that's more fun for me!
  7. metalguy2


    Dec 26, 2004
    Stage Presence is my thing. As soon as the first note is hit I forget about everything I usually worry about. And for that 45 minutes of stage time with my band I am in my glory. I feel like I am on top of the world, and that I can do anything I want to. What people think of me is not really a factor at that point.

    Stage Presence is one of the major things of playing out. If you do not have this than who is gonna wanna watch you play. Who is gonna be excited about a band who isn't excited to play music for them? Just food for thought.
  8. The midget that urinated on that bass!!!

    It's been awhile since I have done anything more then local coffee places where I just sit down.
    I'll have to comment on this when I get playing again.
  9. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    All you need is long hair & a good photographer:


    And a drummer with a Whitesnake T-shirt
  10. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA

    Back when I was struggling with this I used the following two tricks:

    1. When practicing, I would intentionally stare at a clock on the wall or something OTHER THAN MY BASS NECK almost exclusively. Did I hit bad notes at practice? You betcha - but that's what practice is all about. This way I got in the habit of not staring at my neck. I got to the point where I hardly ever had to even glance at the neck to play all night. I started this practice strategy in my high energy butt rock band int he late 80s and I've been able to play without staring at the neck ever since then in all other musical situations. (then I got a fretless - but that's another story for another day) Bonus - this helps a great deal with sight reading, even "sight reading" guitar chord charts.

    2. I wear glasses because I'm near sighted. I always took my glasses off when playing. (Important! GOt to be able to play without looking at the neck before this step!:)) I would look right at the crowd the whole time, and they were just big fuzzy dots! Not intimidating at all! You should see how gigantic I used to print the set lists on my computer. We're talking three sheets of paper per set with the song titles reduced to one giant word each.

    And I never complicated my rig with pedals and stuff. Usually one pedal some kind of distortion or flanger or phaser for the odd song, but that's all. It's more important to the audience's total experience to have me paying attention to them than to have all the right effects in the sound.
  11. xshawnxearthx


    Aug 23, 2004
    new jersey
    if you play in a classic rock band, only thing you need to do is make different faces.

    in you are in a high energy band, then you need stage presence.
  12. There is such a thing as too much stage presences though in my opinion...

    I was watching BigDayOut on Foxtel's channel V (Australia/NZ), and there was a band playing with a fill in bassist- Rise Against I'm pretty sure it was... Not Important. Anyways he was jumping around liek a maniac, it's a wonder he could see his bass at all he had his head so low. LIKE ***! All the other band members had a usual, kind of you know move around and strut your stuff, but this was over the top- and looked well foolish.

    Not that I play in a band situation much, when Jamming I tend to move around abit, it's more walking about- looking & or shouting at my drummer. Moving about etc... Not abig user of pedals, so my cord is my only real concern- Maybe I should go wireless if ever I gig- I think playing bass at the bar would rock :bassist:
  13. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA

    This is the one I make when the guitarist plays one of his ultra wank "I'm Steve Vai playing over Jimmy Buffet" solos. :spit:

    I feel in a high energy band I would have no choice but to move around. In high energy jams I've had... you really feel it. When I'm walking through I-IV-V I don't want to slam dance.

    My dad was showing me a Yes video and when Chris Squire was boot scootin' across the stage my dad said I should be like that on stage... I didn't have the heart to say to my dad, "Right now... Chris Squire looks like an idiot." :D

    Nick: I'm going to have to work on all of that... I don't know if I can find a drummer with a Whitesnake T-shirt though...
  14. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    There's something about that photo that looks "out of time" - if soembody had said it was taken in the 1970s, I would have believed them!! ;)
  15. Maverick Blues

    Maverick Blues Being a Thumper is all about ATTITUDE!

    Apr 28, 2005
    Richmond, VA
    It really is amazing how young you look in that photo, Matt! :)

    But you know what, maybe that's telling you something. You don't really look that young in real life... so maybe you don't look so awkward and disconnected as you think the photo shows, either!

    A big +1 here. Antics don't do much for me... I'd much rather watch musicians who are obviously enjoying themselves -- either having a fun time (grinning and rockin') or being deeply into the music (the rolled-back eyes and drool down the chin kinda look).

    I have a DVD that features a whole mess of guest artists (keys and bass, mostly) with the same core group. Musical styles aside, I find I enjoy most the performances of the bassists that are smiling, making simple little groovin' body moves (even if it's just tapping their feet or nodding their heads), even just occasionally walking over and facing the drummer or one of the guitarists. No running/jumping/splits or any of that, and I don't really miss it.

    The one bassist I did NOT care for had this huge metal/punk scowl on during his entire performance. Yeah, I know that's maybe appropriate for the genre, but it made it look like it was an inconvenience for him to be there playing. He was a darned good bassist, very talented and spot-on, and I liked the song even... but I just didn't care for his performance, and I'd bet dollars to doughnuts it was because he looked like he wanted to be anywhere but on that stage playing.

    I also wonder if forced "stage presence" doesn't look forced. Maybe that's why the "monkey gyrations" commented on earlier don't count for much (at least for me). I'd say just let your body do what it wants to do. If you start grooving and your booty starts moving, the crowd'll dig on that even if it's not really flashy, don't you all think?

    Yeah, making a connection with the crowd (looking at them, etc.) is probably good, but I think connecting with the band may be a reasonable substitute, as long as someone else in the group (the front man?) is connecting to the audience. Walk over to the guitarist once in a while. Break out in a big grin at the drummer when you feel like it. Just nod your head at him/her sometimes, even. Anything like that is cuts above the guy who just stares at his bass neck all night long!

    In summary, ya know what I think the bottom line is?

    Have fun. If you do, the odds are better the crowd will too. :)

  16. My wife insists that I play music so I won't have to dance and she won't have to be embarrassed dancing with me. So I may not be the best source of advice. I too find that I move around more when the music is high energy. One of the things that I have noticed is that there often seems to be a "zero sum" balance between how much the band moves and how much the audience does. I seldom see people dancing to James Brown or Bootsy Collins. They are just standing there awe struck by the performance. If the band is realy rocking musically and moving a little bit on stage then the audience is dancing more. OTOH, if the band is statue like, nothing happens at all. So I try to practice moving in time with the songs, even if it is just nodding my head. There has to be a median between Bootsy Collins and Bill Wyman. Another thing I keep in mind is that I am not a natural showman and I need to be in a band with one that I can appreciate and enjoy, usually a vocalist or lead guitarist.
  17. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    People are more intuative than you think. If you're into it, and you're relaxed, it shows ... thats the first step to putting on a good live show.

    If you're not into the music, find a new band.

    If you're nervous before gigs ... GIG more often!
  18. I've only played one "rock" show (had a few other pay gigs) and that was a talent show, and at a talent show it's all about getting a crowd going. I'm all about getting the crowd giong and playing great music.
  19. troll


    Aug 31, 2000
    Chicago area
    This is definitely something I've had serious problems with in the past. While I have a lot of band experience, it's always been with bands that barely gigged.

    Enjoying what you're playing, and being confident in what you're playing has a huge effect on how you'll carry yourself on stage.

    One video I got was my old blues/rock band did an outside gig at a state biker rally, the sound was so screwed up and me so pissed about it, I pretty much faced backwards staring at the drummer the whole time. I didn't even realize I was doing it, I was just so ashamed as to what was going on...

    I guess I warmed up later in the second set after the strip show and being molested on stage by two ladies...

    The last gig I did, I was just into it, I threw everything aside and realized I had a job to do. I had to win these people over, not to mention many friends and even my brother, who in 15 years has never seen me play outside of my bedroom... so I just went for it. And damn it felt good. I was swayin, bopping my head, hell I even banged my head on our heavy closing tune, and I haven't done that in ages, since well, I had long hair. Didn't care, it felt great. My drummer commented how much I came out of my little box and it drove him to play better because I was so on.

    So just go for it. Get cocky, get that attitude, say to yourself, hey, this is what I can do, check it out.. I'm here to entertain YOU... But you don't have to fake it and jump around like a Chimp... Just grin, grit your teeth, bob your head, and go for it.
  20. Maybe it's the mullet on the lead singer.

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