JamTrotting the Globe ~ Uniting Music, Travel & Cultures

S T A G E *fright* – Laughable Story of Jams

So…you practiced and practiced…you have your best 2 songs down pat…and your ready to hit that Wednesday night jam (the one two towns away from your little casa). Taking a little time off work to get home early and jump in the shower, don your grooviest duds (not overdoing it mind you), gather your equipment…and drive to said neighboring hamlet and boldly add your name to the list of jammers for that night’s entertainment.

Now what?

You start to feel that aching pit in your stomach…“what was that first chord again? oh no!! I can’t remember the first verse!”  Your head is swiveling from side to side scoping out the growing scene in the bar. “Do I know him? Oh man…I bet that guy shreds! damn…what IS that chord!…maybe I”ll only do one song…what if the rest of the band doesn’t know how to play it in that key?”

“OMG…I need a beer…BARTENDER!!!” Sipping on your cold brew gives you something to fiddle with…and preoccupy your racing mind…when all of a sudden there’s a tap on your shoulder, “hey man, it looks like your first on the list tonight that plays guitar. Do you want to jump up and play first?”

Wiping up the beer that just spewed out of your mouth and all over the bar…you do your best to appear relax, cool, self- assured…“uh, sure man…if you’re sure that’s ok with the regulars…I mean…this is my first time at this jam”

(THIS jam or any other jam!)

Bratislava Jam equipment

“Dude…welcome aboard, man! You can play a whole set!” …(gulp) You take an extra long gulp of your brew o’ the week. Oh boy… the sweat is almost at the boiling point now, praying some stage hog guitar god walks in with a fluffy chick on his arm…swaggering, arrogant, all that and a bag of whatever!) …puuuuhhhhllleeeaassseeee!!!

The House Band mounts the stage and starts to tune up. Making lively banter, and pointing to friends in the crowd, they pull together enough in order to begin scratching out Mustang Sally…which immediately draws the perfunctory first two girls out to the dance floor to begin the evening’s festivities. Another beer down and you feel your confidence starting to return. hmmmm “I think that song was in G!!” whew!”

Happily sucking on your brewski you start tapping your fingers to the Creedance number the band is destroying. Suddenly forgotten lyrics fill your head as clear as day. BINGO! You are THERE! “I’ve got this—no problem-o!” One last swig, to polish of Colorado’s finest, and the beer mug goes down a weeee bit too hard on the bar (hey take it easy spike).

From the stage your new best friend has just announced a guitar player from a neighboring town that’s going to come up and play a couple for the crowd. As everyone is feeling pretty good by now…they clap, and whistle and yell enthusiastically.

As do you…then it hits you…..ohhhhh yeahhhh…..YOU are the guitar from the neighboring town dude! Remember???

Showtime. You pull your case out from under the bar and slowly walk to the stage. Trying not to show your shaking hands you unlatch your case and slide your Guitar Center $200 special out of the case and plug in.

Forgetting to turn down the amp prior to plugging in does not make for a happy audience. *squeal*  You see, the band had been playing at “11”, prior to the announcement of a jammer joining them. Pretty loud in other words. And then you plugged in. Many swore their ears were bleeding. Some cried. Luckily, NBF quickly turned it down and all was right with the world once again. Sheepishly you adjust the sound levels, (avoiding eye contact with the crowd) check your tuning, strum your brand new slinky strings a couple of times, and turn to the rest of the band, state “Do you know _______? and it’s in “G”….on the 1…!”

And……………….. they just look at you. Eyes wide.

You freeze… it’s like… what? “Do…do..do youuu know the ssssong?”

No answer…

“ummmm, I have another song. It’s , well, it’s…um….it sounds sorta like…um, Well it’s in A.”

Eyes Wide. Mouths open…

Now the sweat is blinding your eyes. The salty sting is almost comforting compared to the awkward silence and empty hollowness in your stomach. Where is a beer when you need one? All you hear is your heart pounding in your ears. If you don’t get some air you’ll pass out. These guys are jerks.” I’m never coming here again!”

drum sleeper

Suddenly you become aware that the entire room has erupted in thunderous applause…people are jumping up and down…cell phone cameras are flashing…the chicks are screaming “OMG!!!!”…And you just stand there…what? Is it for me…you’re wondering? What? huh? And then you turn around, (ya big dummy) and while you were fiddling with your cord, tuning up, and describing what you were attempting to play…who walked in the door, directly in back of you, but Peter Frampton! (what’s he doing here?) Peter jumps on the stage grabs NBF’s guitar…tells the boys…We’re in Bb! And rips in to one of his oldies but goodies. And…WHAT? You’re playing with Frampton? And ya didn’t even know that you knew any of his music! It’s just flowing from your fingertips! Your beaming….how far off the ground ARE YOU???

NOW THIS is jammin’! (Thank you God… You sent the best ‘stage hog’ guitar god ever!) Thank my lucky stars!


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