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Thread: Open jam etiquette/rant

  1. #1
    Stuck on the Border WalshFan88's Avatar
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    Default Open jam etiquette/rant

    I recently had my yearly fest that my family holds on our cabin at the lake. There is a big stage and all of my friends and musicians come and play and it's for free and it's always a big crowd. We even provide food and non-alcoholic drinks until we run out. You bring your beer, chair, etc. Side dishes welcome. So, it's that kind of thing. It started as a surprise birthday party for me in 2010, named after me as a play on the classic Ozzfest concert. It's called Ausfest, lol. We strongly encourage EVERYONE of any genre or skill level to get up and play and/or sing for a bit. We invited a new guy this year. He bought something from a family member, and he said he played guitar. So the family member gave him my number, and I invited him. So on the day of the party he brought his Fender Telecaster and tiny amp and he looked like he was trying to be Merle Haggard or something. Leather cowhide guitar strap and all. Now, we will play a mix of music to be versatile and welcoming, but the dominant theme amongst most of the players, especially those that have been coming for years is classic rock and roll music and the fact we crank up loud, play loud, and sing loud through a nice big PA system. I love it and look forward to it every single year.

    This guy came in, as the newest member of the "jam team". We were all rotating turns on stage and he got up with me and 3 other guys. Normally common courtesy at open mic or jam sessions like you'd find at a blues club, is that you take turns doing your song vs everyone else's. This guy insisted we play Merle Haggard song after Merle Haggard song, and then Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson and Buck Owens and Johnny Cash. Keep in mind I'd rather get a root canal than listen to a Merle Haggard song, lol, but I do keep my bias to the side when this jam happens to accommodate everyone to the best of our abilities. It kept going on and on and on. He was ruling his "band" with an iron fist. I finally interjected and kicked off a rock song, which ironically was "Already Gone", lol. After the song was over he said smugly "Ok, that was interesting. Now let's go back to playing country music!". I told him straight up he is not the host, he is not going to hog the setlist or the spotlight, and that we do a mix of music and the songs that everyone onstage at that time wants to do. He's not just a guest. But the new guy. The guy I invited. Evidently this gentleman never had to share any toys or play in a sandbox with other kids. Sadly, he was about 70. Old enough to know better. He thought he was great, took all of the guitar solos, and he was basically going to do his darnedest to just take over and become the leader of the band. But this isn't just a band.

    So, after informing him that we SHARE the roles of singing, playing, and choosing songs - he literally unplugged his amp, grabbed it, slung his guitar behind his back, walked off, got in his truck, and left. Needless to say, he will not ever be getting up on an Ausfest stage any time soon. If he shows up next year he will promptly be escorted. We don't have any official security with badges and radios, lol, but there are a few guys that hang close to the stage that will be informed of his so called "ban", lol. And if I have to, I will be there to tell him it won't be happening. We try to welcome everyone of all styles and genres and abilities.

    It ended up souring the whole day. The audience was unhappy because most of them want to hear rock. They don't mind a few country, blues, or metal songs. But they were unhappy with the way this guy was trying to take over. They were unhappy also because they knew we the musicians were unhappy. After this guy left, I ended up going in the restroom and just having a full on panic attack. I felt all of this coming onto MY shoulders as the host. The audience was upset at the guy, the musicians were upset that the guy I invited was a jerk, and I felt like I had let everyone down. Now in my moment of turmoil, I didn't realize that no one was unhappy with me, if anything they were unhappy that I had to go through this. I had people coming over to me because they could tell I was "off". I brushed myself off, got back onstage, and we got back to having fun. We still played a couple more country songs, but it was because we wanted to, and we all shared in taking the lead vocal and guitar, and we all had no power hunger. It was actually fun.

    Do not show up to an open jam you were invited to and try to say it was too rock and roll or too loud or any of that. We WILL play a few songs you want to do. If we don't know them, we will follow you. Over the years the core musicians of the jam have been good at following someone playing a song we are unfamiliar with. We know when to sit it out if we are worried it will affect the song. Maybe this guy should try to broaden his horizons, lose the ego, practice more, and not be a curmudgeon. I never attack anyone's abilities unless they try to be arrogant. Then you're fair game in my opinion. I know I'm not Eddie Van Halen. But I'm confident in that I can play. Humility goes a long way with a musician. Heck, even humans in general! I love rockstars who are humble and act like they are no different than the rest of us. Ugh! Why is it that old stick in the mud men are always on my mind?! Lol. I hate stuffy people. I know that sounds bad to some, but I've had so many experiences with people who are too prim and proper and try to proselytize.


  2. #2
    Stuck on the Border
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    Default Re: Open jam etiquette/rant

    Hi Austin ! Wow, I can't believe what a jerk that guy was. Glad you were able to kick his butt off the stage and show him the door(so to speak). Ausfest - love the name ! Very cool that you are able to celebrate your birthday that way. Although I don't care for the hard rock, it sounds like fun.

  3. #3
    Border Rebel Pippinwhite's Avatar
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    Default Re: Open jam etiquette/rant

    @Austin -- As we say in the South, his behavior was just downright TACKY! I'm sorry he took over like that, but glad he left. Sounds like it was a great time, otherwise, though. Sorry you had to deal with all that.

  4. #4
    Stuck on the Border WalshFan88's Avatar
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    Default Re: Open jam etiquette/rant

    Quote Originally Posted by New Kid In Town View Post
    Hi Austin ! Wow, I can't believe what a jerk that guy was. Glad you were able to kick his butt off the stage and show him the door(so to speak). Ausfest - love the name ! Very cool that you are able to celebrate your birthday that way. Although I don't care for the hard rock, it sounds like fun.
    Thanks! Although I should clarify, we do a mix of music. Everyone has a different opinion on where the lines are drawn between soft rock, classic rock, hard rock, and heavy metal.

    We do mostly 70s classic rock. Some 80s hard rock, some 60s folk psychedelic rock. Some new and old country, some modern rock/90s grunge alternative, and some blues jams. Sometimes we'll break out Metallica's Enter Sandman but that's pretty much as heavy as we go. But we mostly do Eagles, Rolling Stones, Beatles, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, AC/DC, Fleetwood Mac, Guns N' Roses, etc.
    I'm sure some of the music you would like. We try to cast a wide net but most of the regulars both onstage and in the audience are rock and roll people. It can be a rowdy bunch. We haven't had to hire a security firm yet or call the cops, lol, but we definitely party and there is booze and laughs aplenty! Generally just adults although we do allow older teens if their parents are there. We have a ball.

    Unfortunately, it only takes one of these types to spoil it for me. Next time (hopefully there won't be a next time) I need to not let it get into my head and let it affect me so much. Famous last words!


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    Stuck on the Border WalshFan88's Avatar
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    Default Re: Open jam etiquette/rant

    Quote Originally Posted by Pippinwhite View Post
    @Austin -- As we say in the South, his behavior was just downright TACKY! I'm sorry he took over like that, but glad he left. Sounds like it was a great time, otherwise, though. Sorry you had to deal with all that.
    Thank you!

    It's just not cool and it definitely wears out your welcome pretty darn quick.


  6. #6
    Moderator Ive always been a dreamer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Open jam etiquette/rant

    Yep - we were just discussing in another thread how hard it can be dealing with the dynamics and personalities within a band. Just goes to show there can be jerks anywhere, even at Ausfest where they gather once a year just to jam, celebrate, and have a great time.

    Sorry that you had to deal with this, Austin, but, glad the day ended up being a good time for you.

    "People don't run out of dreams: People just run out of time ..."
    Glenn Frey 11/06/1948 - 01/18/2016

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    Border Troubadour CAinOH's Avatar
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    Default Re: Open jam etiquette/rant

    Gotta watch those 70-year-old men, Austin. They can be mean and cranky and bossy and not care who really is in charge. I have a theory about what happens to men when they turn 70, but so far I have a small sample size. The next one I'm watching doesn't turn 70 for another 7 years... so I'll have to let you know.

    Sounds like you guys had fun once Grumpy Gus left. (In a huff, of course!) And your birthday bash sounds like a blast!

  8. #8
    Stuck on the Border WalshFan88's Avatar
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    Default Re: Open jam etiquette/rant

    Quote Originally Posted by Ive always been a dreamer View Post
    Yep - we were just discussing in another thread how hard it can be dealing with the dynamics and personalities within a band. Just goes to show there can be jerks anywhere, even at Ausfest where they gather once a year just to jam, celebrate, and have a great time.

    Sorry that you had to deal with this, Austin, but, glad the day ended up being a good time for you.
    Unfortunately some let their egos get in the way. Usually it's lead singers and frontmen. It ain't called Lead Singer's Disease (LSD) for nothing!

    In this case, this guy wanted to wear all the hats. Lead singer, rhythm guitarist, AND lead guitarist.


  9. #9
    Stuck on the Border WalshFan88's Avatar
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    Default Re: Open jam etiquette/rant

    Quote Originally Posted by CAinOH View Post
    Gotta watch those 70-year-old men, Austin. They can be mean and cranky and bossy and not care who really is in charge. I have a theory about what happens to men when they turn 70, but so far I have a small sample size. The next one I'm watching doesn't turn 70 for another 7 years... so I'll have to let you know.

    Sounds like you guys had fun once Grumpy Gus left. (In a huff, of course!) And your birthday bash sounds like a blast!
    Haha. It's just so maddening to me. Yes, I do love it. It's a fun day I can count on every year. Until people like this try to spoil it for everyone.

    Stuffiness is just the worst. It's like the people who are trying to shame adults and kids alike because they use their phones. They use the same sob-story tactics like some of those heartbreaking ASPCA commercials. Usually it's a picture of a kid on his phone, sitting across from his grandpa with a caption like "He will regret this!". I'm sure that kid spends plenty of time with his grandpa, but they take the one frame that fits their narrative and roll with it. I'm a proud millennial/Gen Y'er. I think it's so comical that some of these baby boomers are always trying to one up the younger generations, especially Gen Y and Z. Gen X'ers have their own problems and usually stick to themselves. But you get a crusty old guy who think that social media, smartphones, etc are detriments to society or that think younger people are lazy, modern men are weak and sissies, people who take selfies are narcissists, etc. Oy vey. The same guys who bemoan the so called lack of masculinity or say that young people are soft these days are often the ones that conveniently had found ways around the draft. *cough Ted Nugent* *cough Donald Trump*. Sorry, I had a frog in my throat. It's like the people who truly believe in the whole alpha/beta/omega thing. I mean yes, we are mammals. But we aren't wolves or cavemen. It's called evolution! Yes there are some who fit leader roles better. But that doesn't make them more superior or desirable. At least it shouldn't. And then we have people who feel the need to bash those with anxiety who need support animals or safe places in their colleges. The words snowflake, "triggered", etc are basically on their vocabulary speed dial. Toxic masculinity is real. Now I shouldn't single out just men, there are certainly some women who feel the same way and are curmudgeon like and are too full of themselves. But in my experience, I see it far less often.

    Ever since the last election cycle in the US, some of this vitriol is freely spewed all over, ironically, social media (LOL), in person, and on TV. It's suddenly ok now to announce you're a bigot, racist, misogynist, sexist, homophobe, xenophobe, etc. It's ok to give up common courtesy in favor of only looking after yourself. Decency is gone. Etiquette has vanished. When they get called on it they say we are "too politically correct", "a social justice warrior", etc. How about owning up to your horribly offensive statement? If you don't want to apologize that's fine. But own it. Don't try to push it off. Say whatever rude, nasty, bigoted comment you'd like and just follow it up with "Whiny pansy crybabies are so easily offended" and you're good. I personally cannot wait for the current occupant to leave the Oval Office for good so maybe we can go back to holding ourselves accountable for our rudeness and behavior and re-learn that being a jerk to certain groups of people isn't ok and that you won't be able to sweep it under the rug and use lame excuses. These backwards, backwoods ways of thinking and belief systems have to go bye-bye. Forever. And if they choose to hide behind their religion, political party, or upbringing to justify it in their minds and enable themselves to say and do things like that, maybe it's time to finally re-evaluate the constitution. Because none of those three things makes it ok to target certain demographics or silence minorities in need.

    Sadly in 2019, oppression is real.


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