A song sprung on you out of the blue?

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
I just finished my New Year's gig with my country/rockabilly guy, Rip Masters, but we were doing all sorts of music, lots of stuff I'd never heard him do before. Such as Black Magic Woman, Evil Ways, Use Me, and Achy Breaky Heart which segued nicely into Sharp Dressed Man. But when he called Shake Your Booty, I was flabbergasted! It is so not Rip Masters, and I hadn't played it since 1978 (not like the KC songs are hard to remember.) The weirdest part was, nobody danced to it. That's like nobody dancing to Brown Eyed Girl or Mustang Sally!

Anyway, Shake Your Booty came completely out of left field, though refreshingly so.

What songs have you had to play that were really out of character for the band, the singer, or that you hadn't played or thought about in a million years?

Bermuda
 

Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
Shake your booty? I used to love that song when I was a kid. My parents never told me what a booty was. Ya, that is an odd song to call up out of the blue.

Mine was Long Train Running. They threw it in the set last weekend and I had never played it before. I played it three times at practice before tonight's gig, and I pulled it off pretty well tonight because I've heard the song so many times in my life. To be honest, ha ha, I didn't even listen to the song during the week, so I was just playing off of memory. It was fun and fresh though.
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
Just tonight I jammed with a bunch of gypsy jazz guys. They were calling out tunes, and I was playing vibraphone. I was expecting a straight ahead jazz gig, but it turned into a gypsy jazz spectacular. Thankfully, the bass player sitting in brought an iPad with the Django Real Book in it, I was able to look over his shoulder, and we only had to transpose twice on the fly. Lots of great soloing all around.
 

rtliquid

Senior Member
I was in a classic rock cover band, and the members meshed extremely well, like we could read each other's minds musically. We never used set lists, and unless I had to start the song, the guitarist would just start playing and we would join in - no problem. There were a lot of songs that I'd never played before but usually that wasn't a problem - it was classic rock - I'd heard them since they were "modern rock". One night he threw Donovan "Season of the Witch" at me. I was at a total loss. I'd never heard it before. We made it a badass rocked up version, and the crowd loved it. I went home and learned it, assuming we'd be playing it again.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
The Who's "The Kids Are Alright"

I just went from memory and tried to capture the KM spirit. This band never went in that direction before. I get to do a little KM showoff stuff. I am definitely not a show off drummer in this band, or my 6 piece, but I definitely can be that guy if it's called for. But it's amazing the response I get from the crowd, and even the leader of my trio. He usually doesn't look at me while playing but he does during that song.

WhoIs? definitely helped me out with his obs on Keith. WhoIs? stated Keith doesn't usually play 1 tom with both hands at the same time, he uses the odd crashes on beat 3, the pumping of the bass drum under his tom excursions, playing off the vocal etc. I just read that the other day, so his timing couldn't have been better. Just one more thing I got from that mysterious guy.
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
Just tonight I jammed with a bunch of gypsy jazz guys. They were calling out tunes, and I was playing vibraphone. I was expecting a straight ahead jazz gig, but it turned into a gypsy jazz spectacular. Thankfully, the bass player sitting in brought an iPad with the Django Real Book in it, I was able to look over his shoulder, and we only had to transpose twice on the fly. Lots of great soloing all around.
My iReal b ap transposes. So unless you were rushed to catch up with a song you should have been able to change the key.

I play with a guy occasionally in what is supposed to be a blues venue and he pulls out a flute and calls Jethro Tull's Locomotive Breath. Where I get lost is with a funk/dance thing and they call out Smashmouth or some such. I never really listened to modern rock and can't even try to recall from hearing on the radio.
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
I can't think of a specific example but it has happened to me before. A tune is called and I think that I have it in recall. I soon find out that I am vague on it.
 

ineedaclutch

Platinum Member
"Don't Stop Till You Get Enough" by Michael Jackson. That was sandwiched between "Blurred Lines" by Robin Thicke and "F#%$ You" by Ceelo. We were live auditioning a singer at a gig and that sealed the deal for me.
 

New Tricks

Platinum Member
In the olden days I once had Roxanne sprung on me.

I had heard the song a million times but never played it. I really struggled to get anywhere close.

When I tried to play it recently, I still had trouble trying to feel or count where to come back in after some of the stops.
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
I've done some strange tune calling myself - but never at gigs.

I was in a rehearsal studio the other week with some friends playing the guitar and bass. We had been going through a few songs we know (Radiohead, Pink Floyd - standard stuff) and then I called out King Crimson's 'Red'.

The other guy playing the guitar knew it and saw the funny side. The drummer was lost. Brilliant fun. Next time, I'll make sure I'm on bass and call out 'Fracture'...
 

FoolInTheRain

Senior Member
I think this sort of fits the criteria.

Probably 10 years ago I was playing in a band that had a style that was in the vein of what was considered modern rock at the time...stuff like Chevelle, Deftones, Trapt, etc.

Somehow we got roped into doing this 80's throwback show. We didn't really want to do it, but it was like our "in" to hopefully start playing at one of the best venues in town. There were 5 or 6 bands and we all had to pick an 80's band and play a whole set of that band's tunes. We decided on The Cure. We learned the songs, but we just executed them so badly. We all liked The Cure and the songs we played, but at the same time we knew we probably just looked and sounded totally ridiculous.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I played a wedding once and they called Sergio Mendez' Mas Que Nada - and although I went with it, I was trying to get my head around how a four-piece rock band was going to pull off the harmonies and the girl vocal.

That only happened that one time. Whew!
 

braincramp

Gold Member
sub for a band and they sprung Hungry like the Wolf on me... like to think I nailed it pretty good..song was always a guilty pleasure for me, I was always a hard rock band guy.. and somewhere in the Hard Rock code book liking any Duran Duran song is a major violation!
 

eclipseownzu

Gold Member
I am wayyyyy to OCD to have people springing songs on me. I would lose my mind. I have been in a few cover bands and without exception we played the setlist. We had some reserve songs in the event that we needed someting for an encore, but those were very well rehearsed as well.

I guess what separates me from the pro's is that I wouldn't take a gig that would allow that to happen. I couldn't handle being on stage unprepared.
 

Jeremy Bender

Platinum Member
I was playing in a 16 piece big band swing orchestra and the band leader put an arrangement of "Invisible Touch" by Genesis up as the next number. I'd like to forget the 80's sometimes.
 

Jack Boyd

Senior Member
I am wayyyyy to OCD to have people springing songs on me. I would lose my mind. I have been in a few cover bands and without exception we played the setlist. We had some reserve songs in the event that we needed someting for an encore, but those were very well rehearsed as well.

I guess what separates me from the pro's is that I wouldn't take a gig that would allow that to happen. I couldn't handle being on stage unprepared.
I'm the same way. Rehearsal surprises even take me out of my comfort zone.
 

KarlCrafton

Platinum Member
I got a frantic call to do a show 3 hours before a load in with a band I never played with before. I only had their cd--which I liked, and listened to several times.

I was an hour from home, needed to pack my gear and get to the venue. Fortunately the venue was only a couple miles from my home.
The gig went well, and I had a couple notes for intros/endings.

At a festival show, I had Rip It Out by Ace Frehley sprung on me. I have the song in my dna, but it wasn't planned.
Songs that we may have rehearsed once, that I didn't know before, or a song where the singer say's "oh, you know it" were an occurrence, and you have to just go with it.

That doesn't happen really anymore, unless it's a smaller show and we have time.
 
T

The Old Hyde

Guest
Hosting an open mic, I get all kinds of stuff thrown at me when a band needs a drummer, or a guitar player or singer shows up and we backline them. Most of the time people think I knew a song because I kept it steady and hit the one fill that everyone knows from the song. My wife and I look at each other and I give her the shrug and she laughs, knowing I have no idea what im playing.
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
In one band I was in many years ago, there was a certain tension between the band leader and the lead vocalist. The band leader was the singer's older cousin, so that gives you some background on the relationship between the two. The band leader liked to mess with the singer and put him in uncomfortable situations.

One time, the entire band got caught in the middle of it. We were playing an outdoor festival in a small town in Northern Oakland County, Michigan. Right before we're about to kick the show off with our opening tune, the band leader calls an audible. He walks up to me and the bass player and tells us we're going to open with BIlly Joel's You May Be Right. He also deliberately huddled only with us and didn't want the singer to know we were switching songs.

We had never practiced the tune and we really didn't have the right instrumentation. But we pulled it off somehow. It was a great inside joke watching the singer's face as he expected to be singing a completely different tune. Not particularly fun for the rest of us trying to remember how the song goes and hold it together!
 
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