Dirty-South Blues Harp forum: wail on! > "Ya Gotta Play Sick"
"Ya Gotta Play Sick"
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jbone
2754 posts
Nov 25, 2018
10:54 AM
So I have not had any illness all year and we've played several gigs, like 2 dozen since we've been here. We may be on our last 2 or 3 in the next 2 weeks. Yesterday I began having symptoms of a cold, flu, crud, whatever. I'm already medicating and plan to megadose vitamin C as well. First gig is Tuesday evening, then possibly one the following Saturday, and one on Dec. 8 as well.

I've been here before. It's not easy sometimes. I used to be really hard about "the show must go on" and I've backed off of that a lot. When we were younger we could do that sort of thing a lot more but in recent months I'm looking at my future and the duo's future, which I want to be long and fruitful. At the moment we really need these gigs, so I plan to go forward with them if at all possible. Vitamins and medicine and rest before and after will be key to success.


Your experiences and thoughts please?
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Music and travel destroy prejudice.

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The Iceman
3713 posts
Nov 25, 2018
4:15 PM
I remember being so sick that I just didn't care at all how I played - the show must go on, etc - so I did the gig...someone taped the gig...I listened later....amazing how creative and excellent I played....getting into that "I just don't care" space can be musically freeing.
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The Iceman
robbert
487 posts
Nov 25, 2018
5:46 PM
As a sideman who is big on “the show must go on”, I’ve performed many times when I should’ve been in bed. As a frontman, you have more of a challenge. Sounds like you’re doing the right things, though. Two techniques that have helped me get through illness in order to perform or otherwise function are: lying down and watching movies or shows that are enjoyable escapism/ lying down and respectfully asking my body what’s going on and then listen to or feel the answer. Each of these efforts usually encompass a few hours, but have often made a big difference in getting me through illness in good enough shape to gig. Also, if I can make it to the gig, I often find myself feeling way better in the course of performing and after. Good luck, and I hope you feel better, jbone!
jbone
2756 posts
Nov 25, 2018
7:14 PM
Thank you guys, all very good counsel. In the past when I smoked tobacco I had quite a bit of allergy issues which occasionally got in the way of especially vocals. I recall a gig in Clarksdale where I had to get Jolene to take over all the singing for the last half of a show since I was coughing at the end of every line! Despite taking meds.

Usually I notice very fast when a bug comes to visit. I worked a day gig for 2 days Friday and Saturday and that's likely where I picked it up. I braved the cold and wind today and drove to get some meds and OJ. I'm hoping a day or 2 of limited activity will give me a bit of a leg up.


I played as a sideman some years ago with a guy who liked his Nyquil and cheap margeritas. He at one point had found the stage's fan switch string above his head with a '72 Strat worth about $5k- and hung the guitar there laughing for a minute! The perils of too much "medicine".





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Lonesome Harpman
221 posts
Nov 26, 2018
6:48 AM
The worst part is having the runs in a bar where the facilities are minimal.
jbone
2757 posts
Nov 26, 2018
7:50 AM
This is more bronchial and sinus thankfully!
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jbone
2761 posts
Nov 27, 2018
9:27 PM
So we did the gig earlier. My throat is wrecked and I expect to have no voice tomorrow. Jo took over vocals for the last 2 sets mostly. Tough crowd, no interaction really.

Usually we treat this sort of a gig as a paid rehearsal. Which it kind of was! We did very well with the material we had picked to do, mostly covers but with a few originals in there too.

I'm glad it's done and we're paid Tomorrow I will probably be a basket case. We've gotten 3 big totes from Wally world to put most of our gear in. 1 is for p.a., one for amps, one for miscellaneous. I got a little folding dolly to move the tubs with and it's very quick and simple to load in and out. BUT. I am already feeling it tonight!

Next date is 10 days away and I sure hope this is all better by then.
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jbone
2770 posts
Dec 05, 2018
9:27 PM
I'm pretty well over the crud, however, the weather may cause our last date here to be cancelled. Prediction for ice and snow the day before and morning of, and it's a brunch gig at a BBQ. *sigh*
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kudzurunner
6535 posts
Dec 06, 2018
6:51 AM
Great topic, and not one I remember seeing here before.

Our old manager/agent, Margo Lewis of Talent Consultants International, used to say, "If you can stand, you go onstage."

One time Sterling Magee and his wife and I were driving north from NYC to Portsmouth NH, and I had some sort of stomach flu. I actually vomited out the window of the car! We got to the club, and I felt better enough that I set up and we did a brief soundcheck. Then we drove a couple of miles to the hotel. At that point, the flu returned with a vengeance. Every time I got up off the bed, I got dizzy and felt as though I were going to throw up and then pass out.

So I told Sterling, and he drove back to the club and told the promoter, who was a very nice guy, a DJ who loved us, that we were forced to cancel the show. He understood.

The next morning we showed up--I was somewhat better--and packed up and drove home. Never played the show.

That may be the only time I've ever canceled a show for illness. But it was definitely required. Margo's rule was in effect: I couldn't stand.

For other sorts of illness that involved congestion, sneezing, etc., but no fever, I just take some OTC remedy, drink a bit, and gut it out.

Heart stuff is different. There are certainly times and moments when it would be prudent to cancel a show. We joke about wanting to "die onstage, while playing," but, um, no you don't!

I'm realizing now that Alan and I have canceled a few local gigs (Levon's in Clarksdale) when my disc went out. I've played gigs when my disc was bad, and regretted it. So several times over the past couple of years I've canceled gigs for that reason: a serious, substantial medical issue. But I'm a part-timer, not a full-timer. If I was making my living solely through music, there are some times when you might have to gut it out in a somewhat deeper way just to keep the gig. I greatly admire people who do that. I have my own creed, and it leads me not to wimp out for, say, a cold. In general, you need to be tough. But there are moments when discretion--canceling the gig--is the right thing to do.

The default option, however, should be to hang tough, if possible. It's like taking hydrocodone (opium). Is the pain at 6? I'm looking at the bottle, but pride has me not actually taking it. Is the pain at 7? F--k pride, it's time to throw in the towel.


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Beyond the Crossroads: The Devil and the Blues Tradition
kudzurunner
6536 posts
Dec 06, 2018
6:55 AM
+1 to Robbert's idea about asking your body "What's up?" and then quietly listening to, or for, the answer. That's a New Age practice, but a very useful one. Sometimes stomach ailments are psychosomatic: suppressed grief, bottled-up tension. Sometimes you need to let something go. Sometimes you just need to drink more water. :)


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Beyond the Crossroads: The Devil and the Blues Tradition
jbone
2771 posts
Dec 06, 2018
8:20 AM
Good to see you chime in yourself Adam! We don't see a lot of you lately.
That last one, I was physically in bad shape. Even with suppressants I was coughing between songs, and then between harp solos as well. Jo took over the vocals pretty much, and while it sucked playing to a nearly empty room, I was grateful it wasn't a date where people were out specifically to see us. I like to be at full strength.

Early on when I was smoking I had allergies really bad sometimes. We were playing a club in Clarksdale and my nose was running like a faucet, and I was literally coughing at the end of every line I sang. It was terrible especially since we were not getting any pay. A "exposure" gig. Leaving tobacco behind is one of the best things I ever did. But last week's date showed me you can still be bowled over by a flu bug.

The weather is calling for ice on the roads Saturday. It's very much a question if we'll venture out if a recon shows any real hazards. Three streets around us go downhill in a hurry. It's downhill to the venue any way we go. With ice that's a deadly combo.

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Last Edited by jbone on Dec 08, 2018 7:14 PM
jbone
2774 posts
Dec 08, 2018
7:18 PM
So we did the gig this morning/afternoon, 2 hours, 2 sets. I did have some crud and was coughing a bit but dealt with it. We had a good time and the crowd did as well. It was the sort of gig where you remember why you do this in the first place.
Jo was spot on and I did pretty good. Used the harp belt of all Manji's and they worked pretty well, all acoustic.

We're out of gigs for present and getting ready to relocate way down south, plenty of time to get back even health-wise.
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Music and travel destroy prejudice.

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dchurch
207 posts
Dec 08, 2018
8:55 PM
Hats off to you jbone for sticking it out. I spent a New Year's eve concert with Curtis Salgado. He was down with the crud pretty bad. It really affected his performance. He started the show by explaining his illness and his the show must go on attitude. I can tell you that the crowd was behind him 110%. Even when sang rough or stopped to collect his breath...

I felt bad for the guy but at the same time it was inspiring to see that level of commitment. I hate hearing about performers who are too hungover to play.

Enjoy your down time, rest well and get well soon.

ps/ I once got stung by a wasp on my upper lip one day before a jazz concert. I had an up front trumpet solo to play, which I did but hate thinking about how lame it was. Funny I also remember the group saying how great I did with a fat lip.

OT/ jbone, Thank you again for the kind dedication to our niece who lost her husband while he was fighting fire in California last year. It will be one year on the 14th of this month. Sadly, so many more people have been devastated by fires this year as well.
Blessings,
Dave

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It's about time I got around to this.
jbone
2775 posts
Dec 08, 2018
9:34 PM
----------Dave, wish I could hug your neck man. The entertainment stuff pales next to loss of life. If I lived west of the Divide I'd be planning to move east. Most folks can't I know. I hope your niece is doing ok. I can't imagine ever really getting over a loss like that, but as a species we have learned how to go on and sometimes be ok.

This may be a helluva week, we are moving and taking delivery on our travel trailer, I'm doing some immediate remodel while it's at a park an hour north where we bought it and then we have all the details to knock off before we head south for the winter. All pretty new territory in more ways than one. So keeping my health and getting it all done, then driving 2 days south is a booger. But the brass ring is, new vistas, new venues, and r&r.
We're blessed to have what we have in our lives and know how to appreciate it!

Music and travel destroy prejudice.

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