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First Time on Stage.
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2440 posts
Dec 29, 2017
6:29 AM
I finally stopped being a little bitch and got up on stage ... lol. It was pretty awesome. I'm totally hooked and can't wait to get back up.

A friend of mine had a show at a local blues club. I've seen Jason Ricci, Mark Hummel, John Primer, all kinds of greats play there.

Anyhow because of my youtube video he had me get up and play Walter's Boogie with him. He started it and then passed the mic to me. Well wouldn't you know... I was so nervous that I didn't remember how the damn song went ... lol... so I just improvised.

I played ok, but it wasn't the boogie AT ALL. Haha.

As im playing he goes on to tell the crowd that I know the song note for note, how I've only been playing 2 years, and this was my first time up. Meanwhile I'm hoping no one in the crowd actually knows Walter's Boogie because... it's NOT what I'm playing. Lol.

Anyhow after I'm done, I go sit down.

Then at the end of the night he has us back up for Born In Chicago. I had to run out to the car to get my D harp, but they had already started playing. When I come back in I stand there waiting. But this time I'm not going to play the wrong song.. lol. I Stand in the corner plugging my ear playing born in Chicago over and over.

Then he calls me over... passes me the mic .. and I let in with the intro riff and I freaking nailed it. There was some pretty well respected guitarist sitting in with them aswell and they were floored... as was the owner of the club.

Afterwards the owner and guitar player came up to me and said "we've seen Paul live numerous times in the 70's and you fucking nailed that. You sounded just like him, I couldn't believe it." It was pretty flattering... they were legitimately excited ... I couldn't stop grinning.

Then I get home and I've got a text from my buddy. "Call me as soon as you can"

I call him, he says "Dude they are still here talking about you. Nobody could believe that you weren't already in a band. Much less this being your first time up. They want me to headline this Blues Harp Showcase and they want you there as one of the acts. So you got your first gig. "

So I guess I have to pick a few songs to learn and learn how to sing ... lol.

Sorry if this seems like I'm bragging .... but it was just too Cool. I had to tell somebody ... lol.

I dont know why I waited so long to do this. I can't wait to get to a Jam.
71 posts
Dec 29, 2017
10:31 AM
Hey Killa!
Well done!
You must be buzzing!!
All the hard work has payed off. I’m really happy for you.
66 posts
Dec 29, 2017
11:57 AM
Not bragging at all, the buzz you got comes across in the post. Don't you just love it when all that hard work pays off.
5155 posts
Dec 29, 2017
5:11 PM
That is very cool. I can already tell you are gonna be scary good.
277 posts
Dec 29, 2017
5:15 PM
Glad on ya, Killa
2442 posts
Dec 29, 2017
5:28 PM
Total Buzz!!!!

I honestly couldn't believe how well I did. During the first tune I was literally on auto pilot I was so damn nervous. I was playing things I never played before .... just random stuff. Like my brain and mouth were just not communicating... lol. Even when I would think of what to play.... my mouth just went "nah , im going to play this instead"

But still it turned out ok. I couldn't believe that even when I played a note that was a little off ... it didn't jump out like I thought it would. With the drums and everything going on ... you can easily cover up a fuck up or two. Lol.

My fear was that a big red light would go off and a GIANT arrow would drop from the ceiling saying "he messed up" ----> 8^¤
But in reality no one noticed... the world kept spinning... lol.

Then the second time, I knew better. So I thought hard about what I was going to play. Even ran through it a few times .. grabed the mic and just laid it out. And I really nailed it ... lol. It was so cool.

It was only 24 bars ... so ... had I played longer, who knows. But I was able to hold it together for the 24 atleast... haha.

The first time was the hard part. I'm totally ready to start hitting jams on the regular. Huge confidence booster. I was always self conscious of my playing, but now I realize it's not always gonna be perfect. And I've got the skills to carry me when my brain goes AWOL. Lol.
And the only way to learn is to do the damn thing, right?

Thanks Guys.

Appreciate that Bee.

Last Edited by Killa_Hertz on Dec 29, 2017 5:28 PM
5156 posts
Dec 29, 2017
6:08 PM
That’s what I’m trying to overcome this year, is playing stuff I’ve learned. I mean worrying about it. Which doesn’t mean just playing junk, actually means developing the capacity to play ‘in the moment’. Ive learned a lot of songs and always tried to play them the way i learned them ‘just so’ and would fret about my failings. So 1st thing is to not fret and worry and stop remembering, because that is where most of the cock-ups happen, busy remembering and not actually present in the moment, which is where the music happens. Of course, you have to remember but more like ‘knowing’ so that you can do what seems right. Hard to explain but i feel like I’m starting to get it. But i think you probably already get that. I never really learned ‘licks’ much; i learned entire songs and choruses. Now I’m working on learning phrases and changing my brain to do that. I think i got the habit from learning words to songs. I notice the guy who plays guitar and compiles setlists in our band actually doesn’t know the words to many songs. Whereas I don’t take any prompts, i just memorise all the words. Consequently i think he doesn’t form the same attachment to the songs i he can easily throw things out and probably doesn’t realise its a different deal for me. Which is neither here nor there except insofar as it relates to you playing Walters boogie and actuall playing something you made up as you went along. I’m saying, if you can do that and have it hang together, like that’s a goal.

So with Born in of my old steadies...what did you play? I learned the intro and solos from the original album release and almost always play those as best i can, but I’m aware every time i hear the BBB record that what i do is similar and at the same time clearly not PB. Ive kind of modified it over the years to both suit me and try and get phrasing drawn from PB...another hard to explain thing. I’d like to hear your take on it
2443 posts
Dec 29, 2017
8:43 PM
I'm with you on the song lyric thing. I like songs to be the way they were intended. Some say that's boring and you should make it your own. However I contend that it's harder to play it exactly how it's supposed to be and do your own thing is a bit of a cop out.

I think I have a similar attachment that you do.

The reason I flubbed the boogie is because he started it, played the intro and then handed me the mic. I don't routinely practice the song starting from 30 seconds in lol. So I Couldn't catch up. I was afraid to just stop and catch my place .. so I just played. Lol.

Born in Chicago I played the intro note for note. Then I did my own version of the solo. The other two guys playing before me were just doing their own thing so when I came in strong with the note for note intro, I think everyones ears perked up. Lol. That's why it sounded so good, I Think. Plus I was just the guy
"sitting in". I think they had just been waiting for me to play quickly and piss off.... then THAT came out. Lol.

I think something as classic as the intro should be on the money. But the rest. Nobody will notice if you make it your own. Especially if you try to imitate his tone and phrasing. Nobody will know, they'll just think it sounds just like him ... haha.

Yea I thought alot of the songs I learned were so well ingrained that I could never forget.... WRONG. You mention of being able to play "in the moment" is something I definitely need to pay attention to straight from the gate. That's a good tip.

I think going to jams and just learning to feel comfortable standing there in the mix will help. Then just get in the right frame of mind, like your saying.
93 posts
Dec 29, 2017
9:12 PM
Wow, KH! Nice work! Your posts since you've been around again have been legit! Not that they weren't before, what I mean is they make me want to be a better player! Super kudos! Harp ringer! Congrats on crushing it your first time up!
If you don't cut it while it's hot......
2440 posts
Dec 30, 2017
3:32 AM
Wow that's brilliant, well done!!! What a great story.

It's a lot of fun isn't it?

I'm glad you've experienced first hand that, just because you know you've played something wrong (or not what you intended) doesn't mean anyone in the audience will know it. Or if they do know, they don't care. The thing that is a big cause of stage fright i.e. making mistakes, has little interest for the audience. It's quite strange really, but it's true. Take away that issue, and you can really shine which I'm sure you will.

Just to say, this rule applies to 'ordinary' people. If you are playing to other musicians...could be a different story :)

Last Edited by MindTheGap on Dec 30, 2017 3:43 AM
2441 posts
Dec 30, 2017
3:41 AM
...just to add, if you are concerned about mistakes or not ending up playing what you wanted or practiced - I know that can be a frustration, practising one thing and another thing comes out in the moment. If it's a bother I'd spend effort planning what to do if things break down completely. If you handle even a collapse elegantly it can be totally fine.

I can't remember if I mentioned, different context, but I was playing carols (cornet not harp) at an event before Christmas. There was an amazing group of bell ringers there - you know, hand bells. That requires a high degree of precision and group coordination, they can't really improvise or fake it like on the harp! Anyway, something went wrong and it ground to halt. They simply stopped and restarted without any fuss - some of the audience wouldn't even have noticed, some would but it was so gracefully done it made them look even better IMO.

Last Edited by MindTheGap on Dec 30, 2017 3:42 AM
188 posts
Dec 30, 2017
5:20 PM
Killa - we all knew you were ready when we saw your Been Gone Too Long video. And I’m relieved that nobody has mentioned overblows in this thread. Just your good old fashioned harping. Well done amigo.
2446 posts
Dec 30, 2017
7:13 PM
Thanks Guys. It's so funny how much that one small experience changed my thinking about harp. It's really pretty wild. And I'm much more confident to play infront of people. I'm not sure why, but it's like a switch has been flipped.

MTG it was you that brought up a while ago that things don't always go as planned and once you realise that things arent going to be perfect you can be much more relaxed and roll with the punches. You went on to tell a story about when you were playing horn at an outdoor gig (a parade maybe) the wind blew the music stands over or something. Anyhow this story was all i could think about when I flubbed the boogie. Your words instantly running through my mind ... lol.

I think it wouldn't have been so bad had I been able to play it from the beginning. Also I was just super nervous. So many new things all at once. Already, my second time up, I did way better. So I'm sure I'll be fine.

Sundancer re overblows. I've never really had the need. I almost want to create the need just to learn to use them. However the other half of my brain says "The Walter's didn't need em"

Idk. Now that I'm playing 3rd position more, I've been blurring that line between the 6hole and the upper octave. I find myself going up there more and more often. So im sure once I start trying to transpose licks from the low octave into the middle-upper area ... over blows will certainly fill some much needed gaps. But until I feel that I NEED them... it just feels like learning it for the sake of learning it. Just to say I can do it.
There's alot more pressing things on my "to learn" list. Like 1st position ... lol. And even 4th.
51 posts
Dec 30, 2017
10:07 PM
Congrats Killa, the whole thing was very inspiring. Hope the next gig goes even better for you!
Glass Harp Full
181 posts
Dec 30, 2017
11:55 PM
Well done and all the best for future performances. I'm sure you'll do even better!
100 posts
Jan 16, 2018
2:05 PM
Hey Killa,
Sorry for chiming in so late, been very busy with university. :(
Anyway that's so cool man! It's been obvious that you were ready to play on stage, I'm happy that it worked out so well and also that you got some insight regarding playing for others. :) It's true, the crowd will not consist of pro harp players listening carefully and being ready to boo once you play something slightly "inaccurately" - they are probably more interested in the overall feeling of your play and from what I've seen and heard in your youtube-videos, you definitely manage to catch, at least me, in that regard!
Also, no need to be sorry for being proud of what you've achieved yourself! Many people are proud of things that are rather unrelated to them (countries, sports clubs, etc.). I think your version of "bragging" is pretty healthy.

I'm curious: Obviously, you've got talent, but I still wonder at what age you started to play. I know it's been 2,5 years, but I'm terribly bad at guessing people's age and I don't want to insult you by trying. :D Just asking because you also seem to have started rather late (not with 12 years or so) and it's an inspiration for someone like me who started with 26.

Looking forward to you sharing more experiences playing on stage and maybe soon, in a band!

Cheers, Skullkid

Last Edited by SkullKid on Jan 16, 2018 2:10 PM

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