"PLAY FREE BIRD!!"

DrummerCA35

Senior Member
I was filling in with a friend's band last night. It was at a brewpub/restaurant, and packed with young people. Mostly rock with some R&B. Because of the energy of the crowd and the dancing I had a great time. It's fun to do something different from time to time. There are some people yelling to play Free Bird. I guess this is your classic bar band cliché. I've never played it. However the band decided to play it. People were dancing (young people; who were obviously born way after the song came out) and had fun playing a song that bands apparently hate and refuse to play and is the material of jokes.

I don't know; I just know that was the first time I played it and had a blast playing what was supposed to be a cliché song, and watching people dance and have a great time.

I played free bird. Is that a bad thing? Ha! Ha!
 

pgm554

Platinum Member
Freebird was a staple at a club we did in Yakima WA one night.
We were on our way to a gig in Seattle and our manager got us a one night gig.
It was chicken wire fence time experience.

Drunks of the caliber of which you've never seen were in the audience.
 

BruceW

Senior Member
At this point, I think its come full circle, and its just a fun song to play for the right venue and crowd. We sometimes use Freebird as a final number, the guitar players have a blast soloing over each other. No one around here plays it, that I've seen, so there is that, too.

Yes, there are a bunch of "cliche" songs that serious musicians say they refuse to play. Our band seems to play a bunch of them now, when the occasion presents itself, cuz they're fun, and people know them.

Do we build our set lists around them, no. But I think a lot of folks take themselves too seriously at times, as well.

(That having been said, I'm not interested in playing "Old Time Rock and Roll" heh heh)
 

Frank

Gold Member
On one hand, I'd rather stick needles in my eyes then play Freebird.

On the other hand, if the crowd wants it, and the crowd is spending money, it's yer job to play it. With a smile. :)

Go listen to Freebird if you never played it, because there is a part there for the drummer you want to know about - on the snare.
 
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alparrott

Platinum Member
"Freebird" has this bad rap because of this cliche, in my opinion. Everyone knows it and it can be a fun jam song to pull out for certain gigs and crowds. In that way, I suppose it's the southern blues-rock equivalent of "Mustang Sally".

It is incumbent upon anyone who is planning to play the song to at least get the snare part from the solo break at the end down pat. The rest of it is pretty standard fare.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I've never played that song in any band. I was really into that band...actually all the Southern Rock bands, but Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers in particular. That was the last of my carefree days, the late 70's. Good times.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
Whenever we hear that, we immediately say over the mic, "I'll free two birds for you!" then flip them off with both hands.
 

belairien

Silver Member
That happens a lot around me. Everyone yells play freebird and no one plays it. And that's at metal shows. Been trying to get my band to learn it just to shove the joke back in the audience's faces!
 
Freebird always goes over well to the right crowd. My current band has played it about a dozen or more times. We almost always play it at a small town or rural area bar. The crowds there dig it a bunch. We learned it somewhat as a joke at first because these same crowds would yell it a dozen times during our long sets.

It was also a good way for our bassist to showcase his great guitar skills since he's probably a better guitarist than bassist. We had our keyboardist playing the bass-line with his left hand and lead with his right.

Although, we found out if everyone in the bar clears out when your jamming out the end, stop playing immediately...

The last time we played it in a small town, the whole bar was up and moving. I noticed a couple ladies gave us a quick peek of two things. And then I guess one guy got pushed into another, who didn't like that too much. Then a couple people stepped in and punches started flying. Obliviously, the band was all looking at our other members and when we turned around, we just saw the bar empty to the front entrance.

We weren't sure what to do, so we kept playing. I guess as we kept playing, the fight kept going on. But if we were to stop, the fight would have stopped.

We took a half hour break after that, while the instigator went home. Then we got on with the rest of the gig.

Some people asked us why we kept playing after the whole bar went outside for the fight, we just didn't know there was a fight. I guess freebird just added fuel to the fire.

It was pretty amusing to find out that the fight was because some guy didn't like someone falling into him. And it wasn't because of the married ladies giving us a quick flash.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
I'd love to be playing and someone yell "Freebird." Then, I would say, "We are going to start playing 'Freebird' and we aren't going to stop until someone either beats that guy up or kicks him out of the club."

Maybe that would fix it.

I'm sure that joke was really funny in 1977.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
I always thought it was sort of dig on guitarists that just weren't very good. Which is actually believe it or not really common.
That would imply that "free bird" is difficult to do, or takes some serious guitar chops... This is absolutely not the case. It's meat and potatoes southern style cock-rock; like most Skynard.

If you want to really trip up a guitar player, yell "Play something original that doesn't suck!"
 

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
That would imply that "free bird" is difficult to do, or takes some serious guitar chops... This is absolutely not the case. It's meat and potatoes southern style cock-rock; like most Skynard.

If you want to really trip up a guitar player, yell "Play something original that doesn't suck!"
It sort of implies that the guitar is not quite in tune or in key, and doesn't keep up with the band, often with a bad attitude and loud amp. I.E. In many places "Free Bird" sort of just happens, and the crowd is suggesting maybe you shouldn't play a difficult song with many changes.
 

tcspears

Gold Member
There are a number of these songs that I remember from playing with GB bands.

China Grove, Mustang Sally, Come On Baby Light My Fire, Running on Empty, et cetera...

They aren't bad songs, and they can be done well, but I think they get a bad rap because so many GB bands do them, and do a mediocre job at them.
 

DrummerCA35

Senior Member
There are a number of these songs that I remember from playing with GB bands.

China Grove, Mustang Sally, Come On Baby Light My Fire, Running on Empty, et cetera...

They aren't bad songs, and they can be done well, but I think they get a bad rap because so many GB bands do them, and do a mediocre job at them.
This is an amazing coincidence! China Grove and Mustang Sally were also on this band's set list. Ha!Ha!
 
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