…if I’m playing acoustic or electric guitar. I love to gig! Mind you, it’s not an ego thing. I just love performing; always have. I’ve been doing the same weekly gig at a local restaurant going on seven years, and I never get tired of it! I love it because it’s such an intimate venue; especially when I can play outdoors. As the patio is in one of the busiest areas of a fairly popular outdoor shopping mall, I get to entertain more than just the restaurant-goers. And the cool thing is if people weren’t planning to stop and have a drink or a meal, many sit and don’t leave for a couple of hours. A lot of that probably has to do with song choice, but I think a lot of that also has to do with passion.
My thought about performing is that I just do what I do, and as I love music, I put everything into it. I don’t want to give this false persona just to make people listen to me. It’s a risky proposition because there’s always this “what if people don’t like it” thought that looms in the back of my mind. But I truly believe that putting your entire soul into your performance makes a huge difference. It’s easy to tell when people are just going through the motions – their performance and how they interact with the audience seems contrived. And putting your entire self out there also helps you connect with your audience.
I suppose that what it’s all about for me: Connection. I thrive on that connection. I thrive on taking people on an emotional journey with me when I perform. When I do my solo gig, I flip through my song book, not looking for charts, but to see what’s appeals to me emotionally. Last night, I was in kind of a romantic mood, so I did a bunch of love songs. Here’s a cover of one of them:
That song, no matter how many times I’ve played it over the years, always moves me, and when I perform it, I do my best to convey how I’m moved by it and the images I get of my lovely wife when I sing it.
If you’re a performer of any kind, here’s a suggestion next time you gig: Put your entire soul into your performance. It’s easy to say, but not easy to do. And for some, it’s terrifying. But it takes shedding your conscious vision of yourself and how you should comport yourself, and letting your true self shine through in your performance. You might be surprised at the depths of passion you can tap into…
If you ever get a chance to see Steve Miller live or a recording of a concert of his, watch both him and especially his sideman. Miller’s sideman is the epitome of passion when he plays. He doesn’t move around much at all – he leaves that up to Steve – but when he gets a lead break, that dude puts everything into it. I was actually more blown away by him that I was Steve Miller when I saw a recorded concert last year!
By the way, I may be on a short hiatus with GuitarGear.org for a week or so. I’m going on a much-needed family vacation!