HERE'S SOME FRIENDLY advice about asking to play with the band. Sometimes it's OK. Other times it's not. In the end, it's up to the band.
The Cheeseburgers were playing for a party this summer and an older woman asked if she could get up and sing with us. It was in the afternoon and there weren't a lot of people there. We figured, why not? She sang a song with us and forgot most of the words and the crowd couldn't have cared less. They whooped and hollered and thought it was the greatest thing ever, and we got a huge kick out of it.
Earlier this year Cori and I (HartLess) were playing in a local establishment and an inebriated man attempted to sing with us. He wisely backed down when I towered over him and told him firmly it wasn't a good idea. Had he messed with Cori it would have ended very poorly for him, and I would have just sat back and watched.
You play long enough and you learn the hard way when and where to let things happen.
If you have friends at your show, it's no big deal to invite them up. Again, it depends on the venue and the circumstances. I like going to see my buddies play and I never have the expectation they will ask me to play with them. Never. Every situation and show is different, but tt's their show and I'm just there to hang out.
On Friday night, I was at Revelry with my buddies Jim Percy, Dave Shaffer and Brad Fletcher. We've formed a jam band called The Second Stringers. We don't play out much, we started by accident and we don't practice, but we've done a few gigs and they've gone well, and we've had great fun.Micki Free was in the house! I've known Micki a long time and have always gotten along with him, and I knew he was in town with his band to play for the Prince tribute show at the Oakley-Lindsay Center. I thought his after-party was at another bar in town, but for some reason he changed his mind and headed to Revelry.
A little bit later one of his friends came up and asked if it would be OK if Micki and his bass player and drummer could come up and jam. Of course! Dave handed Micki his Fender Strat, Jim got the drummer set up and Brad graciously let the bass player use his bass. I was standing off the side and jokingly told Micki it was a bucket list item to play with him. "Of course, man. Jam with us!" Micki said.
I lowered my guitar volume and plucked along while they tore it down. Micki is the consummate showman and he soon had the whole bar rocking along. They played for about 20 minutes and couldn't have been more gracious when they got done. I think they had a blast and it was an honor to let them play.
We finally got done at 12:30, an hour later than scheduled, but we wanted to keep playing with such a fun crowd in the house. Of course when we got done a gal said to me, "I have this girl singer here and she's going to come up and sing with you now." Uh, sorry. She wasn't happy. I shrugged and move on. C'est la vie.
We played the next night again at Revelry and Jim asked if his friend could play drums with us for a few songs. His buddy, Bob, killed it and again it was more fun than you should be allowed to play.
I love the spontaneity of live music and knowing anything could happen, within reason. Rock on and make sure you continue to support live and local music!