Moosting Salad

*originally published in Sound Waves Magazine August 2017

Sometimes at gigs we get requests.  This is a given.  We are there to entertain, and it’s kind of our job to give the people what they want.  However, there are some songs that churn my stomach for reasons I can’t explain.  It’s difficult to pry my mouth open to sing them.  My responses to these types of requests include:

“Oh sorry, we don’t know it.” – THAT’S A LIE.  WE CAN LOOK UP THE CHORDS ON OUR PHONES.

“Oh sorry, I can’t sing that high.”  – THAT’S A LIE.  WE CAN CHANGE THE KEY.

“Oh sorry, I couldn’t do it justice” – THAT’S A LIE.  IT CHURNS MY STOMACH.

But sometimes, due to circumstances beyond my control (ALL CIRCUMSTANCES ON THE PLANET), songs I despise do indeed vomit from my mouth.

Here’s how a recent scenario went down:

We were doing a gig at a lovely outside venue by the beach, and everything was hunky-dory.  A couple hours in, a tipsy jolly older gentleman with a huge wad of black curly hair approached me.

“Young lady, if yous please, play moosting salad for moi.”

“What the heck are you saying?” I asked as politely as I could.

“Please play moosting salad!”

A woman who was desperately trying to keep him from falling by holding onto his arms said, “He wants to hear Mustang Sally!”

O…..M…..G

“Oh, not possible, sorry.  We don’t know it.”

“I vill give you one hundred dollars to play moosting salad!” the inebriated man said.

“Sir,” I laughed, “There’s not enough money in the world for us to play that.”

“Then I vill give you shots!  Lots of shots!  I vill be right back.”

Filled with dread and with a sinkhole in my stomach I turned around and yelled to the guys, “There’s no way I’m singing Mustang Sally!  I will die first!”

Mustang

The guitar player, amused by the proposition, started playing the opening lick.  Such a show-off!  The bass player yelled, “What key?!” and started hammering away.  The drummer got a beat going.  The sax player added some lovely tasteful fills.

I had been had.

I let the intro go on and on for what seemed an eternity because I was determined not to sing the most wretched over-played song of all time.  I looked out at the ocean.  I dreamed of brighter days.  I wished with all my might that I could get the heck out of there.

Then the tray of shots arrived.  Tequila I think.  I drank four.  I think I WAS actually determined to kill myself.  Since I had been paid, I assumed it was now time to deliver.

Now that I think about it – couldn’t I have just encouraged the crowd to sing the song karaoke style?  You know, everybody sing it but me?  But no.  Hindsight is 20/20.  Could have, would have, should have, blah blah blah.

I sang the first line.  The crowd went ballistic.  The song went on excruciatingly for ten minutes.  I am not proud of these ten minutes.  I was singing (well…barking) the same thing over and over and over.  Was I dead yet?

But alas, this is why we do it right?  For the roar of the crowd?  The happy faces?  The drunken stupors?

We all survived the night somehow and the next morning when I opened my phone, there were the lyrics:  “Ride Sally Ride…”  UGH!  KILL ME!

Winter Gigs

*originally published in Sound Waves Magazine January 2017

It’s gonna be cold. It’s gonna be grey. And it’s gonna last you for the rest of your life, says Bill Murray.  Now is the winter of our discontent, as it were. The holidays are over and we can’t remember the last time we had a piece of fruit or a good hearty salad. We’ve forsaken alcohol for all time and want to hoard every coin we earn. It gets dark by 4:30 p.m. in the Northeast and with the absence of sunshine, our long-lingering depression seeps into our souls like a drafty old scuttle hole. Fireplaces, fuzzy socks and fleece blankets beckon us, and we can’t get off the couch. The last thing we want to do is get all layered up, pray the car starts and venture out to drinking establishments for one more night on the town.

But I say hogwash to all that! That’s all rubbish! The dark days of winter are actually the best times to gather with friends, listen to music, and get the heck outa the house. What would you rather: suffer in silence or dance the night away? Succumb to seasonal affective disorder or rejoice in the fruits of friendship? Watch Mariah Carey’s New Year’s Eve performance on repeat or experience musicians who actually sing and play in front of your eyes? Oh it’s a glory to behold I say! And the musicians who brave the elements to load up their gear and slip and slide their way through ice-packed back entrances know that while their efforts may be fruitless, to the trained eye, one can see, there ain’t nothin’ gonna keep us down! While gig opportunities in these cold and dreary months may be sparse, the courageous and admirable club owners who continue to host live music are the modern day heroes of our time. We love you all. We toast a green smoothie drink filled to the brink with kale and wheatgrass to your moxie!

Say yes to the invites. Get the Uber app. Start a group text with your high school friends and mean it when you say, “We must get together some time.”

We’re in this together. We must endeavor to slay the winter beast. We must never allow our mobile devices and fear of bad winter drivers to triumph over our need for human interaction. Summer gigs are no fun. Winter gigs are where it’s at. Hope to see you at the shows!

guitarinsnow