Posted Aug 11, 2010 01:24 PM
There are other articles with the same naming convention that have me as the author. You should probably read those first. If you don't and comment something completely stupid, I cannot be held liable for the verbal thrashings you may get.
Um, ok. First, I must acknowledge a few users for their (ahem) *interest* in me doing an article about making your singer happy. These are: theogonia777, concho_valen, guitarplaya161, and PureMagic in no particular order. Gentlemen, you've just inherited yourselves a trainwreck.
<----Release the wise kraken!---->
1) Your singer is NOT Steven Tyler (unless you are Aerosmith): This means a couple of things. Firstly, don't try to duplicate his sound because you can't. He's old and still sounds like he did in his 20s. He's not human. And thus, you must let your singer do his own versions of any screaming Aerosmith song... unless you want him to appear as even more of a douchebag than what he already is. Secondly, Steven Tyler screams. Hard. All the time. Most singers past age 25 can't scream on more than a couple songs without losing their voice. So the point of this, moreover, is that you shouldn't expect your singer to scream all night. There's about a 99.9999999% chance he just can't. Well, unless you are Aerosmith. And he is Steven Tyler.
2) Give him musical "clues": Considering how clueless your singer probably is already, it is a good idea for the loudest instrument (usually the drums or guitar) to give him musical clues when playing difficult pieces. A particular cymbal splash or fill here or there will most likely be able to cue any singer whose IQ is above 12. Below that however, and you may need to use different types of cues as he may not understand the musical ones. I hear switching the mic ground on particularly soft-sung songs tends to work well.... as long as he has on shoes and you guys aren't playing on concrete in the rain... and your roadie can throw the switch at the right spots. (NOTE: This makes a good light show in the dark)
3) Give right-of-way for a predetermined runway on stage: The singer usually moves. He usually moves a lot compared to the other musicians. There is no need to get in his way. It will only cause injury. And with him being a singer and all, he may not even recognize the need to deviate from his rectitude until it is already too late. Basically, what we have here is the "dog pen" concept: just give him a place to run and let him go. This will be your best bet.
4) Don't needlessly piss your singer off: Hey, anger and a mic never yielded anything good. And if he doesn't happen to know you by name, he should at LEAST be able to get your instrument right when he nails you over the mic for being a douche.
5) If he's a good singer, let him give cues: Considering good singers are VERY rare and that you will probably win the lottery.... twice.... before you come within 500 feet of a good singer, you probably won't have to worry about this. Just let the keyboardist give the signals. And if the singer actually WANTS to give them, just nod and play along. He'll never know.
6) Don't hide things in the smoke: This pretty much goes for anyone on stage. But considering the singer usually moves around the most, understand that he may not see objects low to the stage. You can either move the smoke machine, use a fan to divert it from his general direction, clear the way in his *runway*, or just bring a video camera and post the disaster on YouTube.
7) Watch your sticks and guitar necks: Ever seen a singer sandwiched between a lefty and a righty guitarist? Me neither. But it happens. And when he gets hurt, you can be sure the consequences in #4 will ensue. Unless your roadie flips the ground switch and the singer's bare footed on a concrete stage... in the rain.
8) Don't change keys just because it's easier for you to play: Understand that the singer has no fret markings. Nor does he have an instrument he can simply modify.... well, unless his father is a surgeon. But I digress. A singer's range, just as his IQ, may be limited. He may have great tone, but lack the high notes. So let him name his key... if he can.
9) Don't pick songs with 73 verses... like Dylan's "Hurricane": You will be lucky if your singer remembers your name much less all the verses to 100 songs. So unless you want him to SOUND like a bumbling idiot as well, just don't do it.
10) Use large print when making lyric sheets: So if your singer has figured out that he can read... lyric sheets instead of memorizing the 73 verses in "Hurricane," don't print them out in small font. Ever seen a singer with bifocals? I rest my case.
Thanks for reading.