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Author Topic:  Calling out chords on stage!
Fred Glave


From:
McHenry, Illinois, USA
Post  Posted 19 Dec 2018 11:38 am    
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Our band hosts a weekly open jam and anyone is welcome to come up and play a few songs. Patrons pay $3.00 at the door to eat, drink and dance. We've been doing this for over 20 years. We have a player who comes every week and spends an hour on stage and frequently calls out the chords while singing. I mentioned that it wasn't necessary to do this because we know 99% of the material by heart already. The person became angry and accused me of being arrogant. Other guests bring charted music if they feel we might not know the song. I just don't get how a singer can get any enjoyment from performing a song while calling out the chords....not to mention listeners in the audience. It also seems to be a bit condescending to not trust the band that does this professionally.
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Bill Ferguson


From:
Norcross, GA USA
Post  Posted 19 Dec 2018 12:05 pm    
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Been there done that. I think it's an ego thing. Drives me crazy. If a singer is singing a song properly, a band can hear the changes coming
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Mark Eaton


From:
Sonoma County in The Great State Of Northern California
Post  Posted 19 Dec 2018 1:17 pm    
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All I ask at jams, and I've done this plenty of times, is if the singer/leader/song "chooser" would announce the key at the beginning of a song. Then most decent level musicians can pick it right up. It's not a lot to ask.

It's different if prior to launching into the song the leader explains the changes. That's kind of nice if it is an obscure number.

What really makes me shake my head is if it's an original by the singer and he/she launches into it without giving any details. You can usually pick it up before long, but to me it's in the same category as someone on the road directly in front of you that comes to almost a complete stop before making a turn, and then they decide to put on their turn signal!

Habitually calling out the chords through the entire song - now that's just weird.
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Fred Glave


From:
McHenry, Illinois, USA
Post  Posted 19 Dec 2018 1:29 pm    
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This person told me I was arrogant, and I could shove it.
I guess for me thinking I was better than them for mentioning it. Rolling Eyes
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scott murray


From:
Asheville, NC
Post  Posted 19 Dec 2018 1:34 pm    
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ugh. sounds like the folks are getting about what they pay for! Wink
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Roger Rettig


From:
Naples, FL
Post  Posted 19 Dec 2018 3:39 pm    
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It seems to me he wants to show off the fact that he knows the chords. Maybe he also thinks it exudes an air of command on the bandstand.

The arrogance is his.
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Jeff Garden


From:
Center Sandwich, New Hampshire, USA
Post  Posted 19 Dec 2018 4:58 pm    
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I guess you could counter by hollering out the lyrics prior to each line... Smile
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Roger Rettig


From:
Naples, FL
Post  Posted 19 Dec 2018 5:00 pm    
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That would cure him, Jeff. Very Happy
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Don R Brown


From:
Rochester, New York, USA
Post  Posted 19 Dec 2018 6:18 pm    
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Jeff Garden wrote:
I guess you could counter by hollering out the lyrics prior to each line... Smile


I like that idea a lot! Bet you'd only have to do that for one song.
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Lee Baucum


From:
McAllen, Texas (Extreme South) The Final Frontier
Post  Posted 19 Dec 2018 6:22 pm    
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Jeff Garden wrote:
I guess you could counter by hollering out the lyrics prior to each line... Smile


Laughing

I love it!
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Don R Brown


From:
Rochester, New York, USA
Post  Posted 19 Dec 2018 6:41 pm    
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Lee Baucum wrote:


Laughing

I love it!


Since this guy's antics affect all the others in the band, everybody in the band should provide the lyrics for him in unison. That way it's not just YOU being "arrogant".

By the way, I mentioned this to my wife, and she said if she were out on the dance floor it would be most annoying, and she would probably yell "BINGO!"
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Tony Prior


From:
Charlotte NC..
Post  Posted 20 Dec 2018 2:30 am    
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if he yells out C....play D..

then tell him you misunderstood ! Laughing

I know this is awful but what the heck. Years back , actually decades, we played an every Sunday Night gig, the band leader would always invite people up to sing, we hated it. One woman would literally stand at the side of the bandstand waiting to be called, she was as obnoxious as one could be and she always sang the same Patsy Cline song. She would talk first and act like this was HER show and everyone there came to see her. Well,the band conjured up a plan for her .The guitar player kicked off her song a 4th higher than her regular key. It was very interesting to say the least. She was not happy and she scolded us before she left. Funny thing, the crowd couldn't tell the difference ! She came back and sang now and then but not every week. And yes I know, it was totally unprofessional.

Moral to the story, he or she with the guitar is still in control ! Laughing

A few months back a guest singer wanted to sing Night Life, the band wasn't certain of what his arrangement would be so I told him to pass, pick another song. he kept talking in the mic..Don't you guys know it, it's easy, come on just play it..over and over, he wouldn't stop . I told him to pick anther song finally he did. After the gig, before he left I approached him and told him that if he ever did that to me again I would make him look really SMALL while he was singing. I told him to lose my number and I would NOT back him up ever again. This is OUR show not yours, you are a guest. He never came back. Good.


The guy calling out chords needs to be stopped in his tracks, or never be invited to sing again. It's really that easy. There is a reason he is doing it, He's a star, self proclaimed of course. He's telling the audience that HE knows what he is doing and leading the band. Perfect time for a key change.
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Roger Crawford


From:
McDonough, GA USA
Post  Posted 20 Dec 2018 7:49 am    
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Tell him to use fingers to flash 14 or 5 instead of verbally calling out the chords. That is, if he knows the number system. If not, it may be a good way to let him know he’s not where he needs to be musically.
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Fred Glave


From:
McHenry, Illinois, USA
Post  Posted 20 Dec 2018 8:22 am    
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I'm reading some very good ideas! Scott, yes the patrons are generally senior citizens and pay $3.00 at the door and then buy their dinner and drinks and they dance. So even though it's a bargain, they are paying for their night out and I think we owe them some decent music.
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Richard Sinkler


From:
aka: Rusty Strings -- Oakdale, California
Post  Posted 20 Dec 2018 9:03 am    
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I did an every Sunday "jam" (really an open mic) session for a few years. It was structured pretty much the same. There was a $5 admission, and that allowed 2 to 3 songs with the band. Because of the number of "jammers", and it being a 3 hour gig, we limited each to 2 songs. If there was time left after the first go-a-round, then the rotation would start again until time ran out.

There were some rules though.

- you had to know the key

- no long delays

- you had to be civil - no attitudes

- no yelling out instructions like chords, etc.. We are professional and probably know the song, or can probably figure it out. If you have a song that is so difficult that you need to be a traffic cop, maybe it's the wrong song for that situation. The biggest offenders here seemed to be the amateur songwriters that had to do their originals. Most seem to think the more chords they stick into a song, the better it is. It's like they are saying, "look punk, I can put 44 totally unrelated chords into one song, in no particular order. That makes me cooler than you". Most of the time we would let them go solo during break. Or go home if the attitude emerged.

- if you disrupt things, you could be asked to leave. One woman was so nuts, we banned her from the events altogether.

These "open mics" should also NOT be billed as "jams". Jams seem to imply anyone and everyone can get on stage at the same time and play as long as they want. People get pissed off when you tell them they get a certain number of songs, or need to let someone be else up.
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Clyde Mattocks


From:
Kinston, North Carolina, USA
Post  Posted 20 Dec 2018 2:22 pm    
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We had one that would come to one of our regular gigs and beg his way onto the stage. He would dress like the current outlaw wannabes of the era, long black duster coat, big black cowboy hat, you get the picture. Once he hit the stage, he would never speak to the band, even to tell us his song or the key. He would just launch into his piece like he was at the Opry. Made for some awkward moments.
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Pete Burak


From:
Portland, OR USA
Post  Posted 20 Dec 2018 6:31 pm    
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Turn the Mains off when the guy gets on stage.
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Donny Hinson


From:
Glen Burnie, Md. U.S.A.
Post  Posted 21 Dec 2018 4:16 pm    
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Does it matter which finger you use to designate the "one" chord? Laughing Laughing Laughing
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Don R Brown


From:
Rochester, New York, USA
Post  Posted 21 Dec 2018 6:18 pm    
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Fred, you DO realize you have started something, don't you? We will be waiting with baited breath to hear which option you chose and how it went over! Don't let us down, and don't keep us hanging! Mr. Green
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Roger Crawford


From:
McDonough, GA USA
Post  Posted 21 Dec 2018 9:20 pm    
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Donny, it depends on how appropriate it is!
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John De Maille


From:
On a Mountain in Upstate Halcottsville, N.Y.
Post  Posted 22 Dec 2018 3:21 pm    
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Get rid of this guy and get a singer who has stage presence and is professional. His antics bring the band down and he's not worth it. He only promotes disharmony among you all. Sometimes you can find a diamond in the rough and make him or her shine.
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Don R Brown


From:
Rochester, New York, USA
Post  Posted 22 Dec 2018 7:48 pm    
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John, that would be the easy answer if the offender were in the band. He states this is an open jam where people are welcome to come up and participate and the bozo is someone who is essentially a guest.

In a way, that might help the situation. Since the band is hosting the event, they would logically make the rules. Somebody or everybody in the band should take the guy aside and tell him it's a distraction, and any further chord calling will result in the band stopping mid-song and asking him to step down and not return. And then stick to it.
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John De Maille


From:
On a Mountain in Upstate Halcottsville, N.Y.
Post  Posted 23 Dec 2018 12:22 am    
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My point is to get rid of him. They're hosting the jam, so, don't invite him to perform and explain to him why. If he's ignorant to understand it's his problem not theirs. Go tell him to ply his antics in his bedroom. He's very unprofessional and self centered. Definitely not worth any stage aggravation.
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Godfrey Arthur


From:
Philippines
Post  Posted 23 Dec 2018 12:41 am    
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That's funny.

I would as band member do things in such a way that it would not draw attention to the tension on stage. Much of the audience won't get what's going down up there and blame everyone collectively.

I once saw a world famous singer of a famous duo from the 60's yell at the band through the mic while turning to the band and leering.

Looked ugly. I saw the singer back in his prime when they were hot. His counterpart is still around and a CBE.

The musicians were there to back him up but for some reason did not do as he thought he wanted. But the audience couldn't tell. They were there to see him and hear the songs not pull off a nitpick of a band performance. The problem was clearly in the star's head and it did nothing for him and only embarrassed the band, not to mention himself.


Whether he was sick, and having a bad day, that too was not apparent and went over everyone's heads.

Quirks abound.
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Don R Brown


From:
Rochester, New York, USA
Post  Posted 23 Dec 2018 6:12 am    
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John De Maille wrote:
My point is to get rid of him. They're hosting the jam, so, don't invite him to perform and explain to him why. If he's ignorant to understand it's his problem not theirs. Go tell him to ply his antics in his bedroom. He's very unprofessional and self centered. Definitely not worth any stage aggravation.




The fact that the guest is calling the member of the host band out as being the problem says volumes. People have been banned from bars and bands for lesser things than that, he needs to join that list.



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