Music News

Talking during shows: the musicians' perspective - Eric Shiveley

This week's Beatdown deals with the whole idea of talking during shows, as it seems like a fairly frequent occurrence regardless of who's performing. I offered up a few viable theories as to why it happens and asserted that, for the most part, I sincerely don't believe that anyone truly intends to be disruptive or disrespectful by carrying on conversations while the players are playing. Naturally, as I pondered things from the our perspective, the fans, I wondered how the chatter effects the performers, if they're bothered by it or if they even notice at all. So in due dilligence, I asked a few musicians for their take, and I'll be posting their thoughts on the blog throughout the week. Eric Shiveley, a longtime fixture on the scene weighs in with his thoughts after the jump.

"When I lived in Nashville and read ski magazines, I thought every day of winter was powder and an uncrowded mountain with all the trails open. Then I moved here and learned you're lucky if you get 2-3 days like that a year.

I think playing in a band is the same way. You get maybe one show a year where the crowd is listening to every note. Go see your all-time favorite band and most of the crowd only know their popular songs. And it seems like 75% of the people are only there because they know everyone else will be there. And you're thinking, "How can these people just smoke pot and talk while REM are playing 'Country Feedback?' HOW?!"

And think how many times you saw an opening band that had phenomenal songs but the crowd didn't seem to care (for me that was Janet Feder, Iris Dement and Those Bastard Souls).

I've always thought success is this big, complicated equation where hopefully being "good" is the largest part, but it's still just a variable. The other big variables are stage presence and being heard-of.

But no matter what, I still think at least half the crowd is only there because their friends are going.

FYI, the Fox is the one place where it always seems the crowd are really listening. It's awesome to play there, especially solo. You're on stage thinking, "Holy shit, this is really happening. This is why I wanted to do this in the first place."