basilwhite (basilwhite) wrote,

Attention is taken, not requested.

Attention is taken, not requested.

Went to Khris Baxter's Workshop-in-a-Day class at the Writer's Center, then saw my buddy Marc's band Zero Discipline play near my house. They're much better than they need to be to play where they were playing. They have great musicianship. Right now they're trading vocals among three people. If they had a single, charismatic leader, they'd be a great band.

Maybe my views are skewed from standup comedy performing, but so many rock musicians seem to want to sing lead and/or play lead, but don't/won't/can't command the eyes and ears of the crowd. To me, when you're the leader of a band, you have a responsibility to the rest of the band to take the energy they give you so you can take the attention of everyone in the crowd. The amps amplify the band. The band amplifies YOU.

I use the word "take" deliberately. I know a few musicians who whine their way into playing and/or singing lead, and have what Marc calls "negative stage presence." They ask for attention from the crowd. That is why they fail. You don't ask for attention, you TAKE it. You sing every note as if your life depends on it, because you have something to give them that they want to feel, and the band is amplifying your message to everyone to pay attention to you, now. Anything less than total commitment to getting all eyes and ears on you reflects a dereliction of duty to the band behind you who are giving you all that power to command the eyes and ears of the room. Rant ends.

I discovered another reason why I'm grateful to be married to someone whose company I enjoy. Marc's band is playing in a strip mall bar. People are hitting on each other here, which bothered me, because I realized, if they begin a relationship and get married and breed, what are they gonna tell their kids about how Mom and Dad met? "I was in a strip mall bar, standing up, holding a beer, and I noticed your mom standing up holding a beer, so I knew we had two things in common." I wonder how that would work as a pickup line. "I notice you standing up and holding a beer bottle. I like to stand up and hold beer bottles as well." You have to start somewhere.

As always, tell me what you think.

Basil White

Tags: comedy writing, leadership, marriage, rock music

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