Playing To A Crowd of No One

Zimmy asks:

– i have a question: have you ever played to a crowd of people & just thought, ‘wow … nobody really listened to that’ – how do you keep going when you get a bland reaction like that — after you’ve poured out your heart & soul? what keeps you going & makes you feel excited about it?

Haha. Why yes indeed!!!

This type of situation is inevitable when you’re an average sized person in a big-ish sized room armed with only a guitar. Things like venue, sound system, sound dude, other bands on the bill/crowd in attendance can make or break the show. That is, if you let it get to you.

Somewhere along the line I realized that any opportunity I get to play in front of anyone, I should be grateful for. Whether there are two of you or two thousand, you will see the same show. This happens (in my case, at least) because I have this theory: I would be at home, alone, doing pretty much the same thing anyway, so the fact that I’m here, and we’re in this together, is a total bonus.

I have been lucky enough to play shows where not a single person in the audience uttered one word for the whole set. I have also played shows where it seemed like just about everyone talked the whole way through. To quote a wise prophet and paraphrase just a bit, Performing Live Is Like A Box Of Chocolates…You Never Know What You’re Going to Get.

I always make it my mission, manifesto and code of conduct to battle my way through any tough audience. It is my goal to get at least one talk-y person to lend me their ears for a half hour or so. Sometimes, the results of this are astonishing, and somehow, everyone in the room starts acting like they’re enjoying themselves or something! Sometimes you just fight and fight the whole way through, but then someone comes up and tells you they were impressed by how you handled everyone talking and it makes it all worthwhile. This is why I sometimes play with a band…then I’m not as quiet 😉

Random Fact 17: I have lived in 3 group homes, 3 foster homes and with many, many kind friends and relatives.