Jewish Music Blog

July 5, 2005

Sitting in with a Band

Filed under: Uncategorized — jewishmusic @ 4:18 pm

This is related to my Critique of a Midwestern Band post, but it’s a different issue.

When I go to a friend’s wedding, I like to sit in the band and play a song or songs for the chosson and kallah (bride and groom). This is no problem for most of the weddings I go to because most of the weddings I attend are in the city and hire the band that I regularly play for, and I have a good rapport with the band such that they let me sit in – no problem.

Obviously if I’m a stranger to a band, it’s going to be more difficult to get the band to allow me to play a song. I fully understand this – as a musician the comic relief of the night is usually when a friend attempts to sing a song with the band. Of course, bands don’t like it and are averse to letting people sing, and moreso when it comes to letting people play.

Having said this, most bands will allow friends to play a little. This is true for drums more than other instruments (it seems that everybody thinks they can play drums), but large East coast bands have let me sit in on keys.

At the beginning of the wedding, I went over to the band leader and introduced myself, and mentioned that I play for a certain large East coast band, which he apparently had never heard of. I asked very open endedly if I could sit in “sometime during the night” and play a song. His response was “probably not”. I thought this was a bit odd – after all I established that I’m not just some shmo who wants to “be part of the band”; I’m a professional musician. So, pursuing the “probably”, I went over to the keyboard player who owns the band together with the band leader as the keyboard player was walking out to eat dinner, and the rest of the band was already partaking in dinner. Just to clarify, the stage is empty and there is no music being played. I politely asked the keyboard player if I could play a song, and the keyboard player’s reply was “No!, sorry”, quite curtly. This just solidified my opinion about this particular band as detailed in Critique of a Midwestern Band.

It would be one thing if the band was G-d’s gift to man and they sounded great, but this band sounded like garbage, yet they still maintained an air of superiority.



  1. I think I may have to sue for the name of your blog being that the name is closely associated with mine……ok maybe not. I understand your frustration with that musician and usually there is some professional coutesy that should be extended. I think if no one was playing and you wanted to play a bit I would certainly allow it. I play close attention to see that yu could play of course which wouldn’t take to long to figure out. There are plenty of control and ego fresks out there…

    Comment by Jewish Blogmiester — July 6, 2005 @ 2:33 pm

  2. freaks that is not fresks

    Comment by Jewish Blogmiester — July 6, 2005 @ 2:33 pm

  3. 100%. Also, I would think that a Midwestern band could always use an extra keyboard player, so why not let me play and it would be like a free interview where the band could check me out, and if they like me possibly hire me? G-d knows they could a good keyboard player.

    Comment by keyboardguy — July 6, 2005 @ 3:04 pm

  4. I think that, although you may be a professional, the band cannot necessarily take your word for it. If you are a friend of the chosson, I would assume that the chosson knows you play. If that is the case, they should have asked the chosson if he wanted you to play. Then you could show them that you play and there would no longer be any doubt in their minds.

    Are you able to tell us what East Coast band you play for?

    Comment by Anonymous — July 6, 2005 @ 4:00 pm

  5. I thought about asking the chosson, but that would have been quite tactless – going over to a person on his wedding day and asking if he could request from the band that I play – just seems wrong.

    I’ve played for several bands on the east coast, and some in the midwest, and I do a couple of one man gigs as well. I’d rather not say which band as the opinions I write have nothing to do with the band.

    Comment by keyboardguy — July 6, 2005 @ 9:11 pm

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