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re: Scary Situations
Mark Sottilaro wrote about his scary situation:
"What else can you do? WHEN YOUR GUEST
VOCALIST WON'T LEAVE! "
Man, oh man, have I ever been there before, Mark.
At one point I got a really lucrative gig ($1000) at one of the 10,000
that they used to hold in Oakland (and why did those things stop?)
I was asked to fill two solid hours in the chill room doing my live
found sound schtick.
It was fabulous, really. It was a large audience that continually turned
over and people were really digging
that my stuff was so different from what they normally would hear at a
That was until I did a kind of trip hoppy piece and use beatboxing for the
A young man walked up to me in the middleof the song as I was juggling the
loops (warning sign already)
and said. "I dig your beatboxing", I"m a rapper, could I do a piece
I thought, well, that's not quite what I intended for the vibe, but I
didn't want to appear curmugeonly
so I said okay to his request..
Well, he gets on mic and I lay down a beatbox for him to rap over and
suddenly and immediately
there are ten guys in line behind him waiting for their turn on the mic.
I mean this all happened within one minute of me handing him the mic and
because my hands were literally full
with playing bass, keys and beatboxign and keeping it all together so that
it sounded like a professional
production I couldn't control it at all.
At one point I 'ended' a piece and went over to the line of young men and
said, "Thanks a lot, I need to get back to the rest of the show now,"
and everybody turned on me angrily and one guy said, "Oh man, he got his
turn, I want my turn" to a chorus
of hostile 'yeahs' from the peanut galler.
It was really pretty ugly quickly and I just gave up and beatboxed until
the festival leaders aske me to quit playing (half an hour earlier than I
was supposed to). The whole vibe was not 'chill' at all and I was
asked back (after having played two or three of them very successfully.
Man, oh man, did that make an impression.
I, unfortunately, have experienced similar situations a couple of times
since then enough to have developed the prejudice that freestyled rappers
are the most aggressive and insensitive musicians that I've ever played
with. It's a shame because i like the form, and I know a few extremely
good freestylers but even they do not seem to know when to do their thing
and when to give it a rest. For some reason damned reason, even people
with little or no experience or little or no talent will aggressively try
get onstage with you. Can you imagine a trumpet player or violinist
the same amount of experience going up to an accomplished musician and
aggressively asking to sit in for the DURATION of a performance.
I regretfully have a 'no rapper' policy for my live improv shows. It's
just not worth the risk.
I also have discoverd, too, that anyone who is a sensitive and
musician will seek you out ahead of your show
and ask to sit in. I've pretty much decided that it has to be David
or David Sylian or Jah Wobble who asks me in the middle of playing for me
say 'yes' to them. If someone is insensitive enough and pushy enough
to come up right in the middle of a show it's an automatic 'no' reply from
me now....................and I love to improvisize with people, but you
just gotta have your standards.