12 Things You Should Never Say To a Musician

Never Say These Things to a Musician
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1. So Are You Trying To Be A Musician

I am a musician. Not trying. Trying to be a musician is watching the first YouTube video on how to hold a guitar. Not what I have done for the past 15 years. That is BEING a musician.

2. You Sound Like…

I know you’re trying to be nice by putting me in good company, but musicians want to feel original. We don’t want to hear we sound like everyone else. That we’re unoriginal. It’s fine for you to sell your friends on listening to someone new by comparing them to well known artists, but when talking to a musician, the best compliment is “you sound like YOU and it’s awesome.” Unless you’re talking to a pop producer, then yeah, “it sounds like Katy Perry” is probably the best compliment you could give.

3. You Should Try Out For American Idol

I will slap you.

4. When Am I Going To Hear You On The Radio?

When your radio plays better shit.

5. You Should Be On The Voice

Because that’s a career builder. Right Jermaine?

6. You Must Love Karaoke

No, actually, I hate karaoke because I have to listen to you sing.

7. Can I Get On The List? Plus 1?

You don’t have $10 to support my music, but you have $50 for the round of shots you just bought everyone?

8. What’s Your Real Job?

It’s this little field called music. It’s way more real than those TPS reports you put together for the Bobs.

9. What’s Your Backup Plan

What’s yours?

10. It Will Be Great Exposure

Meaning, it doesn’t pay. No thanks.

11. I Have A Great Idea For A Song

And I have a great idea on how you can fix my faucet better. But let’s keep these things to ourselves.

12. Free Bird

That stopped being funny in ’97.


Photo is by Robert Dalton on Flickr used with the Creative Commons License

393 Responses

      • annonymous

        Its actually a pretty stupid article and drips with condescendence and egotism. Number 4 is especially stupid. No, we will hear you on the radio when your shit is good enough that people want to hear it. I was in multiple bands in college and had a great time. We made some good money and I didn’t take it too seriously. I had no pie in the sky expectations like a lot of “musicians” today. The one about the backup plan pretty much sums up the whole basement/bar band culture. Get the fuck over yourself. You barely make enough money for rent. Its a hobby.

        • Jon

          Of course you commented anonymously because you are being a fucking moron. I’ve been actively supporting myself as a composer, producer, and teacher for the last 6 years of my life and I am only 23. I’ve been actively engaged in my craft and doing well financially WHILE going to school and studying music composition. Maybe it didn’t work out for you because you didn’t work hard enough and didn’t work smart enough. Just because it was a hobby for you doesn’t mean it is for everyone.

          • Alley

            Jon, props to you, you went about things the right way: started young, didn’t give up, and kept your head on straight (and please tell me you didn’t get mixed up with drugs and alcohol). Me, I fell hook, line and sinker for family pressure to ‘go to college, get a real job so you’ll have something to fall back on.’ I fell back alright. Didn’t touch a guitar, bass or keyboard for almost 25 years. I rekindled my interest in music at age 40. That was 10 years ago and I’m having a blast and consider myself very lucky. I’m making a little money, having loads of fun and making some people happy in the process.

            Anyhoo, I digress. Some people are taking this article way too seriously, but it has several grains of truth in it. Rock on, man.

          • elite1137

            So you are only 23? Probably you can support yourself because you still live in your parents basement. Go to school, learn a profession and get a real job, and you know what they say; Those who cant, TEACH others!!

          • Dunn_gary

            Elite, you have given much supposition. I am a musician, have played in bands since I was 14, and taught music, choir, guitar, music appreciation, and some band for 31 years. I have bachelor degrees in Music and Spanish. I can do, and I can teach. Who teaches doctors to be doctors? Who teacher lawyers to be lawyers? If it wasn’t for teachers, who would learn how to research? Technology in all its forms improves because of teachers. Y

            I’ll make a supposition here, you had issues with some of your learning capabilities, so you now blame it on a teacher. Yeah, it’s the incompetent teacher’ fault you didn’t grasp concepts for which you refused to study. Did it ever occur to you that many teach because that’s what the want to do? Make a difference in the lives of children? People like you who make such absurd comments would fail in the classroom. Why? Because you have now idea how difficult it is to teach.

          • Tanyacrawford13@outlook.com

            I don’t sound like everyone says the guy with his mouth covered. You right you don’t really have anything real to say. I’m done with gatekeepers go play with your toys. I say we go our own way and teach our own kids, most have autism any how they dont know how to deal with that yet. Its correspondence and feel based any how. We should not vote this year and take more responsibility.

          • Guitpicky

            Anonymous is basically correct. 30 years I’ve been playing out and I may not be the best, but I’m far from suck. Even if you are a prodigy, music performance doesn’t pay that well unless you have good industry connections. A backup plan is how I have been able to live comfortably while persuing my passion. You can’t live on dreams…

          • catmoondaddy

            I hear you. Performing is my passion and I happen to write also. An old musical partner of mine went to California to pursue his dream of writing music in the 80’s but I stayed back; got married & had kids; worked at a good-paying job and played for fun on the weekends. We had this idea to put all of our old songs together for posterity but it never got off the ground because I lost interest. He is now bad-mouthing me because I lacked “ambition” and says could have been a successful songwriter. Truth be told, for all of the songs he wrote after our partnership ended and with every opportunity in place (mega-recording studio; top-notch session guys; good producer and a whole shit load of ambition), his dream fell apart. Now both of our scorecards read zero and I wouldn’t trade my life for his tortured and unfulfilled existence. Meanwhile, I’m having a lot of fun tooling around with my recording studio and still entertaining folks in local venues.

          • willsonline

            Mr. Catmoondaddy and I have played together along with several close friends for almost 30 years. Not one amongst us ever hit the big time, though there were a few near misses. Nonetheless, we had a ball, made some pretty good money, and experienced enough to write an entertaining book about the ups and downs of being successful on a local level, sort of a pedestrian version of “This Is Spinal Tap.” Most of us have retired from performing, but unlike many bands, our friendships have only grown closer over the years. We are in touch with each other, usually
            on a daily basis, and have two annual get-togethers. After reading dozens of books about those who did make it big, most of us agree that we were actually dealt a good hand by not becoming famous. Their stories usually start out exciting, and, more often than not, end up depressing and often tragic.

            I believe the events during early sixties that brought a fresh daily supply of rock ‘n’ roll into our living rooms turned out to be a gigantic ruse. We saw the three-minute romps of our favorite bands looking cool and appearing to be having the time of their life. What we didn’t see was the their tribulations, the behind-the-scenes stuff that sapped their youthful enthusiasm, drove many out of the business, left many of them broke and mired in legal wrangling, drove many to addiction, and caused some to lose their lives–the stuff they never signed up for, the stuff that never came with something as practical as a proper apprenticeship.

            I certainly bought into it, and I freely admit that I didn’t have enough fire in my skinny belly, or the wherewithal to know how to navigate the business. And because of the many blessings that came my way by playing locally, I have no regrets over never having played at Woodstock or Madison Square Garden. These days I play my guitar for about three hours a day, and I feel like I’m playing better than ever. To be fair, I think we all had, and probably still have an itch to do something meaningful with our music, and that’s a good thing. We don’t need the approval of the whole world to be successful. If we can pass on our deep love for music, especially to our kids, then we’ve done a truly remarkable thing.

          • Fred

            willsonline, your comment was so cool, I might have to read your book. The “12 things” are accurate and bitingly hilarious, but you filled in the blanks.

        • anonymous

          That comment was sad.
          Firstly, most of these comments offend musicians in a non straightforward manner, and besides, if you really think that it’s ‘dripping with egotism’ than get your ass of this website.

        • Walruz

          Radio sucks and you know it. No risks taken at all. Find the good shit. It’s out there.

        • Jbk

          Yes because Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber are oh so good…eye roll

        • Bobw2829

          How did you make money from performing in a band when in college??? And “good” money at that. Ha!

        • Rick

          Big HEAVY TRUTHS IN YOUR SPOT ON rebuttal of the Arrogance and myopia of ANOTHER ” Celebrity nobody ” Respectively Rick Lujan

        • Rowland Jones


          ‘Get the fuck over yourself’

          I so love reasoned argument . . .

        • Bob

          Your college hobby. My career. Sounds like you need to get over it.

          • Tanya

            Yes they are def throttling info as long as they can. But it is out there you find them at train stations or in the street. More and more even the more conscious stuff they talk but then bitch we are asleep to understand. Hell does anyone even right movies any more. because its like they put a show on in the 70’s and its been replaying over and over. Oddly enough why are there so many adult cartoons. Guess that what happens when only a certain bloodline {family} gets to decide.

        • Kat

          Oh my. What a talentless piece of crap you must have been that couldn’t make it and ended up with an office job or something and now you’re jealous of us being able to live a good life out of music. My my, it must hurt waking up early or whatever other shit you have to do to survive

        • Mister Kennedy

          “Get the fuck over yourself.” Isn’t that what Decca records said when they rejected The Beatles?

        • Ross Brennan

          Hey anonymous- yes, that is how you spell it – you sound like one of the ignorant masses who pirate music, refuse to pay to see local bands, quite happily listen to the absolute shit on mainstream radio and still have a go at someone who is working their arse off to earn a living at their craft. Music may be a hobby to some, but to quite a few it is their main living.
          Basically, stop being a wanker.

        • Cranky old man with studio tan

          Equally asinine response based on a mis-guided interpretation of humor. Retired, write for films.

        • Joe Tripp

          Doesn’t surprise me that you’re commenting anonymously, has been!

        • Dave

          I believe you meant condescention. Condescendence is not a word in the English language.

        • Christopher

          A hobby, like literacy, apparently, in which you exhibited limited skills.

        • A musician

          Worst rebuttal i have seen. Try harder to at least sound like you know something about the music industry.

        • David

          I agree this is needlessly condescending (maybe even bitter?), but the whole thing about the radio I take as their entire genre -and artists they look up to themselves-aren’t really typical “radio music” anyway, hence, “when your radio plays better music.” It’s a pretty common mentality. *I* feel that way, as a listener alone. Most of my favorite artists aren’t on traditional radio (or at least not much)

        • Jeff

          Being on the radio is not always an indicator of talent or artistry: Van Gough is not on any bill boards.

        • Kevin Wood

          Annonymous. I make a very good living as an independent artist, and I know a lot of other artists who do as well. I had to think outside the box and study what other successful labels were doing, work hard, and of course, stick with it over the years. It is not egotistical to decline non-paying gigs, nor expect friends to not want freebies. That’s just common decency. Most artists I know don’t have “pie in the sky” expectations. They either want to make a living from it, or even a part time living from it and work part time on a regular job. I am sorry your inability to “make it” beyond a hobby in the music business has jaded you to the point to where you loathe other musicians who want to build a career in music. People make it in music all the time, so why rain on artists parade who are trying to get there themselves?

        • Anonymous

          May I …excuse me most of you are wonderfully correct it wasn’t what you were about or what made you I’ve told more than a few of my students when they were trying to justify why they weren’t making it .I would say to them you didn’t need it like I did for me it was a way to separate myself to build confidence to dream an all those things are what life’s about but music doesn’t care who you are your music better entertain you first an foremost you have to it hear and these are the beats an rythyms an lyrics that will definitely you …as a musician but that is all . Some want to play a love song for there woman some want there friends to stand up an dance me I suppose I love hearing people route for me music is a gift an the gifted are all rewarded the man writing the article is right you know it but everyone one if you have already moved on congradulations.wonderful to the writer enjoy your craft if you are talented you may be noticed just consider this what’s your back up plan …if someone ever said that to me I would have died oh that must have been terrible please tell us what happened to you an what material have you released who’ve you played with,biggest shows tell of your expertise

          • Tanya

            Exactly, we can all be shown to do anything. In the event this old dollar crashes. Seems like we need to offer a service. He or she does offer a service to the soul. We can spot someone that has soul in music just like we can spot a liar. However you can go to college. Now you can get a considerably good education for almost free practically, now a days. But you land “that” job just to realize its a bunch of back stabbing assholes with no qualification in the job.

        • cat daddy

          Very true. Some musicians think they are hot shit too. They brag endlessly about who they know; who they’ve met…why they even have pictures to prove it! But what about them? They have nothing to show for the”legend in their own mind”? Music is fun BUT I gotta say, I DO make pretty good money. Not like Keith Richards but certainly enough to get stuff I want and not just what I need.

  1. Niklas J. Blixt

    Hahah! Great stuff! Sadly all of them are true and people still think it’s okay to say them to us. Next time I’m having a meeting with people from the bank I think I’ll try the opposite tactics and say to the bank manager: “So, you’re trying to be a bank manager!” Just to se how the person reacts 😉

    • Larry

      You still hang with people like that? Life is too short. 🙂

    • This Dude+Here

      It’s not much different for us DJ’s, either. We’re asked the play the same songs over and over, then people wonder why they here the same songs over and over.

      • Musician

        But since you’re a DJ and not a musician, your comments on this article don’t count.

        • Anonymous

          1) DJs frequently produce music as well, and as a result probably know their way around at least a piano/keyboard.
          2) Look up Dieselboy (a drum and bass producer/DJ) and listen to some of his mixes (most of which I think he’s put up on his Soundcloud page to stream for free by now) and/or read/watch some interviews with him. Even if all someone does is DJ, you still have to have a fair amount of musical knowledge to do it well. There is definitely artistry in DJing and he has worked/is still working his ass off to prove it to people like you.

          • Anonymous

            Wow. You clearly have no idea what you’re talking about. I used to work with popular DJs wednesday to sunday and not one of those guys have a !@#$ing clue (aside from one or two with a shallow understanding) about music theory, how to play an instrument/sing, how to write/arrange/sequence music, how to mic/mix/process/engineer (produce), or even how (why) not to redline the DJ mixer and completely mess up the entire signal flow of the music that they claim to love. They *were* skilled, and they *were* likable people. These were popular DJ’s. I promise you that your statement doesn’t ring true in the general sense.

            Maybe Dieselboy knows what hes doing. Pat on the back for Dieselboy.
            There is an artistry in DJing. But it isn’t musicianship.

        • Candy

          I don’t think that you’re a successful enough musician to have that chip on your shoulder son, just my guess.

        • Tanya

          what if he gets drunk and free style a little.
          Just fart in the mic that is all the qualifications you need.

    • Candy

      I think when people ask “are you trying to be a musician” what they really mean is “are you trying to be successful as a musician.” Clearly if the man is a bank manager he’s already been successful at being a bank manager.

  2. P

    To combat #15 I have learned free bird and will make people sit through it all if they don’t shut up about it.

    • Bob

      Re: Free Bird request – I tell them “I got your free bird right here”.

      • Ed

        I usually let them know that our band has an agreement with Skynard… They promise not to play any of our songs, providing we promise not to play any of theirs… (Lol!) Crowds love this 🙂

      • Rafe

        Play the bass part to Free Bird properly and tell them to go fuck themselves

        • Greg Jones

          When requested…(especially as a joke) I usually just play the first verse….and then say,”I’m just kidding…”

          9 times out of 10, the person that requested is doesn’t REALLY want to hear it, and when you start to play it, they regret calling it out…at least that’s the way it goes in my personal experience.

          • Greg

            I threaten to play the extended version at 60 bpm, to anyone who requests it.

    • Leslie Robinson

      Lol also telling the musicians you are very sick and drug yourself out to hear them. Can I shake your hand?

    • stupidjesse

      you should play freebird at a really slow speed just to annoy the people. i think its a lot funnier when its slow.

      • Bob

        Or play it ska. Ska has the ability to magnify the dumb in pop music.

        • Tanya

          Hey i like old ska like less than jake ska is upbeat.Pop is dumb its trends like the jeans you probably didn’t get either. Reggae is positive I try to listen to healthier stuff. They even messed edm music up no more drum and Bass or Jungle. No shit the edm balances right and left hemispheres and adds pathways. Dont do the gov drugs though

    • Jabsco

      I’ve found that getting on the microphone and saying, “Reverb? Ok, Soundman, could we get some more reverb on the vocals, the audience wants to hear some reverb? (9 times out of 10 the soundman plays into the joke) Great! Now we sound like we are in a hall.”

    • Terry Groff

      I have never played (or had to play) Freebird but I know the guy who wrote it. If someone really requested it, I would first quiz the requester on who wrote the song and what was his first big pop hit that he wrote.

    • musicchick

      Ha ha, when I first started playing out, I didn’t realize it was a joke (neither did my band) so we learned it and added it to the set list. LOL

  3. C.j. McMahon

    Hey man, good article, it speaks volumes for the masses of musicians that aren’t hobbyists, struggling to make a living

    • Cameron

      Nirvana unplugged in New York 1994! The Meat puppets lead guitarist said that haha

    • Jane

      Yes “You should try a record label – they’d love you” oh yeah. I’ll just give being on a label a try. They sign anyone that can sing, right? Usually followed by an Idol or the voice comment

  4. Craig bartal

    Quit whining and play yer fing guitar, or whatever.

    Be glad someone is taking any interest in you.

    Snarky snobby hipster posts like this do no one any good.

    • Paul Resnikoff

      That’s a little long-winded, but I suppose we could add that to the list.

    • Jay

      Quit “yer fing” whining and fix the clog in my toilet. I have a gig to get to and would like to be able to take a shit first.

      • Roger

        Because you are somehow better than a plumber, right?

        • Ellen

          Plumbers certainly make more money… hahahaha

      • Candy

        Only difference is the plumber isn’t complaining!

    • Gia

      Hey Craig, we’re not all hipsters, and every word of this post is pure truth. Trust me. Now go get you shine box and piss off A/H. Have a nice day.

      • Candy

        So are the comments! A successful musician would either not get these comments I would not be bothered by them. They would only be annoying to a frustrated unsuccessful musician because it reminds him he’s unsuccessful.

    • Anonymous

      I think these comments and replies are pathetic!! That most of you people are living with you heads in the clouds and refuse to admit the truth. U will never go anywhere a slong as you carry your elitist attitude. Pompous responses. No one owes you anything and no on ever has to listen to you or your music. Why do you want to be a performer of a musician if you HATE so much!! You are not a musician if you are not paying your bills with your music. It is a HOBBY!! You should all fall off your high horses and get a clue!!! Nobody has to like you or listen to you!! Lets see one of you write a song like FREE BIRD? You idiots!!!
      You all but a few sound as if you feel or think you are entitled!!!

      • Steve

        Hey, Anonymous:
        You’re obviously some untalented cunt who’s never played an instrument and thinks One Direction is a band. Unimaginative fucks like you are exactly the people we’re talking about. I’ve made a good living playing music for many years, and I deserve respect for my abilities and my talent (they’re not the same thing, by the way). So, if you don’t like our “elitist” attitude, go back to your parent’s house and jerk off to your Simon Cowell poster.

        • Ed

          @ Anno… I’ve been playing prof for 42 years non-stop. This is not some hobby (as I’m sure it must be with you). If you have ANY stage experience at all, you’d know this post is just too true (and ironic in a sense as well). Don’t quit your day job… 😉

          • Who Nose

            Maynard G. Krebs: Wirk??!!!! Did somebody say “Wirk”????!!! AAAhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!

        • anobodyjustlikeyou

          Posts or articles like this always entertain me. If you’re a successful musician making a living at then congrats and kudos to you, but stick your stupid ego up your ass! Everyone has to deal with idiots first of all, its part of life, its part of every career. Being a musician does not qualify you to be treated better than anyone else and it does not exempt you from putting up with people. Anyone has the right to say an stupid thing they want to you any time, and part of your job is to put up with it until it crosses a line far beyond anything mentioned above.

          What really kills me are all the completely broke musicians who feel like life is giving them an unfair shake. These people are probably REALLY good at their instruments, and believe that being good should automatically afford them the life of a rock star and a comfortable living. When it just doesn’t happen, they truly believe they are VICTIMS of a low paying music scene, greedy venue owners, unfair treatment, etc. Screw these guys/girls. I’m pretty damn good at an instrument myself and can shred 80% of the players in my area, but I realized long ago I can make a far better and more stable living doing something else as my primary income and I can supplement with music on weekends. I was not too lazy or unrealistic to be smart about life.

          The payoff to time invested ratio for musicians as an entire group is probably the worst investment in history. Do it because you LOVE it! If you can make a living good for you. You’re one of a very few. Whether you can make a living or not, just deal with the idiotic comments you egotistical jackoff. Auto mechanics, electricians, plumbers, doctors, lawyers, cops, all hear IDIOTIC shit all day long from people who are just not intimately knowledgeable about their professions and they take it in stride. What’s so special about you, besides the obvious fact that you’re just an asshole?

          Whew, end rant.

      • Anonymous

        You misunderstand. We’re musicians because we love music, and music is not what’s being complained about here. It’s people like you. It’s not that free bird sucks, it’s that being asked to play it 300 times by someone holding a guitar upside down sucks. We don’t think we’re entitled to an audience, we think we’re entitled to some sort of filter between you and your “OMG I’m totally into music can I see your show for free while criticizing everything because I heard a few songs once so I totes know what I’m talking about” thoughts. No one likes a know-nothing know-it-all. See the difference?

        • Leslie Robinson

          Bullshit! Anonymous. I call bullshit! Get off your high horse and get a reality check. Negative people like you just post to get a reaction. Stfu

          • BandNovice-VocalMaster

            Bullshit, Leslie; I call bullshit! Leave your stupid fucking day-job you only do for the small amount of cash it gets you and get a reality check. Negative people like you post just to get a reaction(which you have, I might add). Shut the fuck up before I clog your throat with the neck of my acoustic guitar.

          • Xagyg

            Really, BM? So you AGREE with anonymous? Since you’re dissing Leslie and all…

          • Ray

            So…guys…there’s totally two different people posting as “anonymous”. Read the comments. The first one is a jackass, the second is responding to him.

          • Stoufus The God

            Bullshit to Leslie? I call Bullshit to you and I raise you Bullshit.


          • Dude

            i call bullshit on every one of you stupid fucks. all of you should get out of your “command centers” (aka your moms basement) and try getting some sun. it will improve your moods. as far as freebird goes, any of you ‘musicians”can’t write a masterpiece like that. grow the fuck up. shit to never say to a musician…lol.

        • Bo Ahlbertz

          Sorry Anonymous!
          You have totally misunderstood the thing. Musician is a profession. That means you get paid for doing a job. If you play for free then you are an amateur. Its the same thing as for golf or soccer. You can play it just for fun or you can charge people for it. And I also work some for the Musicians Union in Sweden (working environment).
          If you cannot see the humour in the 12 things I am sad for you. Of course it is excessive. We all new that but there is a lot of true in it as well. Especially 7, 8 and 10. We have to fight these things all the time. I have been working as an artist, songwriter and musician for many years now and I make my living out of it. And I have tried to have it as a hobby because it is not well paid if you not a star and most of us are not. But it does not work. Being a musician for me is not a fancy hobby. It’s hard work and a way of living. And it is fun.

          • Who Nose

            F*ck Money!…… It’s a F’ing TRAP…… EVERYONE should quit workin for MONEY…. and STOP buyin things with it too? What would happen if everyone stopped using money?

          • woebegone

            Well, if you stopped using money, then you wouldn’t have internet access. That means we’d all be spared from your lame-brained, obscenity-filled rants that expose you as the precisely the type of mental midget who populate forums. Now go outside and chase yourself, halfwit.

        • Not Steve

          It is _very true_ that anyone is capable of judging music and whether or not it’s good. The same way anyone can look at a painting and, even if they don’t paint, tell whether the proportion and perspective is wonky. (Then it’s up to the viewer or listener to decide whether it was done that way on purpose, not up to the artist)

        • Anonymous

          So you don’t think what auto mechanics, electricians, plumbers, doctors, lawyers, cops etc hear the same things over and over? Perhaps you musicians would rather hear, ” “Wow, you guys suck! No wonder you are not signed. Dude don’t quit your day job!” Bottom line is NOBODY is saying these things to Slash, or Brad Delson or David Grohl.

        • Candy

          So you don’t think what auto mechanics, electricians, plumbers, doctors, lawyers, cops etc hear the same things over and over? Perhaps you musicians would rather hear, ” “Wow, you guys suck! No wonder you are not signed. Dude don’t quit your day job!” Bottom line is NOBODY is saying these things to Slash, or Brad Delson or David Grohl.

        • Muff Daddy

          Jimi Hendrix asked you to play Free Bird 300 times? He’d probably drown on his own puke all over again after around the seventh time. Most bar patrons wish the band and their girlfriends, all acting as if they’re signing a recording contract and going high up on the record charts any time now, while every record company president on earth can tell they have no chance of ever doing that, after listening to them play for an hour, or minute, would hurry up, finish, and go, so they can turn the jukebox on again. It’s like having to watch the world’s 5,497,410th and 7,531,143rd-best (worst) tennis players play a match in person, then telling you they’ll be world-ranked next month, rather than watching the actual world #7 versus #24 on TV. I said TV. Almost everyone in the bar could have learned to play, although not necessarily sing, close to as well, or better, with the same time and effort invested. To the left.

      • Another anonymous

        My words, and i am struggling to make a living playing. Untill then i have to earn money in another way…

  5. chad

    i’ve gone out of my way to be able to play Freebird in chord melody and the first verse and chorus just so i can shut people up by making them laugh instead of give the defacto burnout response that most musicians would give

    • Paul Resnikoff

      Ha, yeah I’ll drop a dubstep Freebird remix at ear-splitting volumes.

  6. Sonny

    #666: “Oh! You play the sax! I LOVE the sax!!! I have all of Kenny G’s albums!”


    • Paul Resnikoff

      I was also President of the United States in the 90s. Thank you so much for your support of not only my musicianship, but those of all Americans.

      • Sammy

        That’s funny! I’m a sax player too and I get the Kenny G a lot. It’s really anoying…

  7. Anonymous

    Any time someone asks for free bird I go into simple man and that ends it.

    • Anonymous

      haha the group I play with does the same thing

  8. Jim

    #12 is wrong – it stopped being funny in eighty seven!

    • Erik P

      I was just about to say…’97? It stopped being funny WAY before then. But a great list nonetheless.

  9. Peter

    If you aren’t willing to answer any question a fan asks without a snobby attitude, and you don’t have a ton of money or deep connections, then you’re probably not going to make the cut anyway.

  10. Stefan des Lauriers

    “That Martin guitar case looks like a phallic symbol, do you mind if
    I sit on your phallic symbol?”

    “How would you like it if someone sat on your pathetic fallacy?”

  11. Simon Kemp

    In the UK, the conversation goes like this:
    “So what do you do?”
    “I’m a musician”
    “Oh, are you in a Band?”
    “No, I’m not”

    • Benny Katz

      In classical music – I am a pianist:
      “So, you’re a musician. Where do you play?”
      “Everywhere and nowhere. Solo, chamber, teaching.”
      “So you don’ t play in any band?”
      “Or in an orchestra?”
      “Or in some particular place?”
      “You teach little kids?”
      “How can you like it? Do you still like it?!”

      • Cathy

        I’m horrible with math, but I’d say that you are doing a great thing. Without music, we’d be or we’d more likely not be.

  12. FitzNicely

    “Are you in a band?”
    “No, I play with myself.”

  13. Envious

    #13: You are lucky to have a consuming passion and enough talent to spend your life doing what you love, so why do you have such a massive chip on your shoulder?

    • CasperM

      Indeed. Esp #6. My karaoke is better than 2/3rds of the D’bags I see gigging around here. I just wanted to earn an actual living, so here we are.

  14. Brian

    ‘Freebird? What song is it that you want to hear? here my friend is a Freebird for you.” And I give them the bird, you know the finger. It happens so much as a street musician that I forget to explain the joke and I just flip them off and they looked shocked. Love the song though, I’ll play it over Sweet Home Alabama anyday.

  15. Doug

    I’ve heard every one of these several times. Very accurate list. Though you’re missing “You guys should play…” We’re not a jukebox, bro.

    • Hammer2112

      Yes! Definitely should be on the list! Someone told me about 20 years ago that we really neede d to play the theme from “Friends” on a break during a gig. I laughed, they got angry! Really thought they was cracking a joke!

    • Loujudson

      I’m a sound guy and a professional. Once during a soundcheck with a national female singer/songwriter/pianist, I mused, wow, you could make Joni Mitchells’ River sound really great!. She said I don’t know that one.

      AFTER soundcheck she went to the green room and found it onine and learned it, and sang it for me that night! Hardly a dry eye in the room and she got a standing ovation. Being right after Christmas with a sold out house made it very memorable.

      So, sometimes it is okay to make a request, is all I wanted to say. This gal normally takes audience requests in her shows.

  16. Anonymous

    Really more like 12 things a musician should get used to hearing….

    It’s the train that’s never late, and never will be.

  17. Avis

    #3 for dancers ….you should be on “So you think you can dance”….bcuz no one was ever famous before those shows existed.

  18. Andrew B.+White

    I take issue with point #2.
    No, you don’t actually “sound like you”. Not exactly – you sound like you but in the vein of/genre/style of (________).

    I don’t know why people get bent out of shape with musical references of comparisons. There is very little ‘truly’ original music out there – even the most obscure is arguably derivative of something.

    How many press releases have you read where band says “we sound like ono-one else”, “we have an original take on…”, “truly unique”, “one of a kind”…. etc etc.

    Get over it – you have guitars and drums/you make electronic music/you play violin – whatever. You’ll sound like someone.

    It’s not a criticism, its an observation.

    • Paul Resnikoff

      There’s a lot of truth to this, in fact, it’s the very essence of music itself. Music, by it’s nature borrows (er… steals) from itself, which makes copyright such a difficult and complicated concept. But every artist has multiple influences, and no one creates in a vacuum.

    • Luke

      When someone says they hear a band I like in my playing, or says I got x_style from your stuff, I’m pleased, it shows they were listening enough.

      I had a crowd of people who have never seen me before yell the name of a band that got me started on learning the styles that I now write a lot of stuff in, that is a huge compliment.

      For the most part this doesn’t happen, but that’s a neutral thing.

      Not really disputing the rest of this copypasta of a clickbait site though.

    • Andrew

      Because 99% of the time it’s an irrelevant comparison. Yes I’m a jazz singer, but no, I don’t sound like Michael Bublé regardless of whether he is the only jazz singer you know.

  19. Bob

    For the most part people are just trying to relate in whatever way they can. If you get the underlying intention there can be a nice connection, which is all you want. Complaining gets you sympathy from other complainers but further from your goals. In addition to the above people tell me about their guitars, that they used to play in high school, great concerts they saw, or general opinions about music or musicians. Sometime they want me to put music to their poetry or get together and jam. It’s all the same, they just want to connect with the art and the artist. I try to encourage them unless they’re drunk. Being a musician you can’t realistically expect to avoid things like this. It’s best to learn to handle each situation with grace and professionalism. Not complicated. Be nice. Make music. Focus on goals. Good day!

    • Renee

      Best comment in the bunch! People are just trying to relate. Being a vocalist, I’ve heard variations of The Voice or Idol comments many, many times:

      “Have you ever thought about trying out for The Voice?”
      “Oooh, I was just telling my neighbor the other day, she would do so well on Idol!”

      It’s a compliment. People think you’re good, they think you’re better than all the other contestants they usually see, so why wouldn’t you try out?

      People also don’t understand why I’m primarily focusing on songwriting at this point in my career when “you have such a great voice though!”

      Many folks just don’t understand much about the music industry because the only thing that’s familiar to them are the songs they hear on the radio and the big name acts. I was trying to explain the success of a local indie artist to my dad – their million Twitter followers, their U.S. tour and sold out shows – but he didn’t get it because he hadn’t heard of this person and it wasn’t in the context of the big name acts he hears on the radio. Not to mention all the band members, studio musicians, songwriters, etc. If people don’t hear you on the radio, you haven’t “made it.” It’s really the same as if I were to try to engage in a conversation with someone whose profession I knew little about. My questions would seem silly and obnoxious, but I’m just trying to relate. Musicians really do seem to have a snarky attitude when it comes to this stuff. It is HARD to make a living at this, so if you are, just be happy and kind and entertain the obnoxious questions with a smile.

      • Tmwalkerm

        I think one of the reasons why professional musicians get so aggravated about people suggesting they go on Idol or the Voice, is because those shows mock all the years, crappy gigs, long hours in a tour bus, rejection, etc. that struggling musicians experience every day. Someone wins these shows, and gets a record deal, a headlining tour, and supposed “fame”, simply because they won a tv show. Musicians who are out there 300 days a year, busting their asses trying to get record deals, finance an album, and for some Joe off the street to walk in, win a tv show, and get all that success, it’s insulting. Why should THEY get the record deal and not the person who’s been gigging since they were a kid, starving, getting rejected by record execs? Sure some of the show winners are very successful, I’m not denying that at all, but how many of them actually MAKE it in the industry long term? Winning a contest does not, nor should not, guarantee success.

    • Diamond Lou

      Well said bob. You right on the money. We all work in the service industry , our job is to reach people in a spiritual way. In their hearts, soul , mind,and bodies. We attempt to touch each individual in a special way with our music. Be it cover or original. And good communication can do nothing but further your career. Let the audience connect with the band or individual. Our band always does a meet and greet after the gig. And doing so has created a large following. People like to feel a connection , and that their support is really appreciated.

    • willsonline

      Well said. Thanks for lending some logic and clarity in the midst of the barrage of swill coming from the gaggle of Port-o-san-brained dolts who have leeched on to this subject.

  20. Brad

    The next time someone shouts ‘Freebird, flip them off, and tell them you’ll need to charge them for the next one…

  21. Norm

    For the Freebird hecklers, I announce over the mic for them to “Stop Advertising!!!”

  22. Richard Allen

    #1 Why is it most musicians dont even have their name.com registered? It SCREAMS at me it’s still just a hobby

    #2 Why do you have such crappy iphone videos, you must know someone who can record you properly without distortion or from the back of the room…..comp them and buy them a drink or two give them your cd….nothing more i hate is bad audio…makes it look like its still just a hobby to you

    #3 And this is so important dont post the same song done at 5 different locations… It maybe your best song but you only want 1 version to get the most hits.

    • Guitar Lizard

      Good points Richard. We use mostly FB, because the website didn’t get any hits. By just doing that we increased our reach exponentially. Got to have an on-line footprint of some kind.

      • Richard Allen

        Yes but still people associate your name.com as professional and for a few six packs a year Just like people still associate Terrestrial radio with making it.

    • mdti

      – me: I have to finish a few tracks
      – thoughtless musician : ” hey, you have to stop finishing them and release them” (says fellow musicians)
      – me ” it is not because you don’t know when your track are finished that I have to stop polishing mine, noob”.

      – “nice track, you should actually produce it”

      or even

      – ” you are a electronic music composer ? hey here is a guitar play us some tunes” (there is little way to escape from this 😉 )

      • mdti

        Sorry, I didn’t meant that as a reply to the previous post.

  23. Willis

    It also will help the musician if they can laugh off any of the things listed, because they do happen.

  24. PP Shivaknen

    HAHAHAHA!! That’s TRUE!! I agree!! 😉

  25. Anonymous

    I just play a reggae version of freebird, shuts em up, and I enjoy the puzzled looks while they try to figure what song I’m playing

  26. Dan

    *launches into Slayer’s Reign in Blood*
    That usually gets a chuckle, because if someone isn’t yelling “FREEBIRD!” its probably “SLAYER!!” instead.

  27. Linnie

    Haha. I’ve been offered guest list. But declined BECAUSE I WANTED TO INVEST in musicians. Still not entitled to shit.

  28. JP

    The list for female musicians is all together different. For instance, when is the last time a dude heard “You guys are really great for an all guy band.” or “Hey l’il fella, you need some help with that gear?”. The truth is, all jobs have gripes. I decided long ago that if I was to have a career as a musician, that I would have to suck it up and deal. To piggy-back on what Bob said, most people are not trying to be jerks. They are just trying to find a way to connect with you. It’s been a lot easier to get people to like my music when they like me. Smile and be nice. It’s good business.

    • drummergirl

      Bothers me the difference in how we as female musicians are treated. Occasionally it’s nice to have a hand bringing in my drums, lets be honest, but for my singer to be asked by the sound guy, “Do a need to mic all her drums? I mean, does she actually use them all??”… Would they ask a guy that in the same scenario? Or, skip to a meet and greet for an event, introducing myself to some musician I haven’t yet met, and i either get the, “Hey baby” attitude followed by eye rolling when they find out I’m a drummer (in an all girl band?? Uh…NO.), or their drummer gets elbowed and told, “Hey…you get to play after her…(giggle)”. Luckily it’s not so bad AFTER i play, because at this point i earn my “street cred”, but it seems to be so much more difficult and irritating for a female in a male dominated field such as this…NOT that I’m ANYTHING but grateful for each and every time i get to play…”great exposure” fig or paid. It’s all worth every second!

      • Suzie Sterling

        When we load in, people are always trying to take stuff away from me so I don’t get “hurt.” Hauling this stuff in is part of what I do for a living. But they just won’t listen. Then I get ,”You play bass pretty well for a girl.” But my all time favorite thing is how I’m ignored in a music store. My s/o is a drummer and we both play bass and guitar. We walk in, they make a bee line for him and just ignore me. And getting a salesperson to get a bass down off the wall so I can try it out is like pulling teeth. But when I plug in and start to play, things change. Annoying.

  29. larrytheliz

    Hey! Someone actually talked to me. You want to hear “Stairway to Heaven” ? Go F yourself…there is no such thing.

  30. EmmCee

    the last time someone yelled “Freebird”, our band actually played it… the 20+ minute version with all of the wailing guitar solos… it was awesome- but nobody ever did it again to us hahaha

    • Hammer2112

      YES! And that is exactly how to deal with that!!! Unless its just the one drunk village idiot, then you may want to quickly poll the audience … Personally, I love playing it. Just not so sure most folks want to hear it that is of course unless your band falls I to the Southern Rock or Biker Band genres.

  31. GGG

    Sorry, I see enough terrible to mediocre shows here in NYC that number 1 is often a very valid question…

    Just because you dress like Janis Joplin or Joey Ramone and call yourself an artist doesn’t mean you are one.

  32. sucki tup

    Ari, you sound like an insecure crybaby in need of constant ego-stroking, who thinks his status as a professional musician makes him superior to office workers and plumbers. I’m sorry, I meant you sound like YOU and it’s awesome! …Happy now?

  33. Marc

    Whenever someone says “Play Freebird!” Turn to them and say, I don’t play Freebird, but I can give you the best sound Lynyrd Skynyrd ever made. And then, imitate an airplane crashing.

  34. Dandoo

    Number 9 was the bane of my existence in high school. Ignorant teachers and counselors liked comparing being a musician to a professional athlete.

  35. Rev. Todd Baker

    #13) “Well, I wouldn’t compare your bank account to Don Henley’s or anything, but I think you are doing ok.”

    My exact words to Warren Zevon in 1995

  36. Nathan Granner

    A lot of these items were written a decade ago, excepting the Americn Idol and Voice references. Do they still hold true? Freebird? I’ll wager “Playyy Freeebird” is heard less often and probably five in ten have actually HEARD Freeebird all the way through, just due to attrition of fan bases.

    You know, if you tell a joke a thousand times to the same people, it becomes funny, ultimately because of the obligatory way one tells it.

    At any rate since you know the setup, why not think of some good quips as repartee that don’t make one sound like they are “mad that someone isn’t taking my music seriously.”

    It used to be that when someone came up to me and said “I love Andrea Bocelli,” I would get rather irate or when a fan comes up and says they love opera, meaning PHANTOM of the Opera, I would under my breath and inwardly claw my face. But now people don’t say that so much any more. Time has made those comments obsolete, and when people do say that these days…

    I just say “oh yes, quite phenomenal, they are a true inspiration” or something to that effect. These people are sharing their joy to me. If I puke all over it, it just ruins everybodys’ day and I lose a fan from being a douchey musician. I don’t have to tell them that what has driven a good part of my career is my fight to popularize real opera, really good singers and musicians by the dismantling of the corporate structure through making myself so powerful in the business that I control the eyes and ears of the A&R and make whatever I’m working for so much money that they’d HAVE TO see it my way because then they would understand how much Boccelli didn’t necessarily suck, but that he was positioned wrong as the next Pavarotti…

    As opposed to telling them that I already signed to a major label and had a giant million dollar show built around me, I tell them I DID in fact audition for XFactor and The Voice, but didn’t make it on the show. I invite them to the next performance.

    I truly love it when people who have been my friend for a
    little while or have been to see some performances
    I’ve been in come up to me and say that they had no idea that I was a star. I’m like, “yeah, I’ve done some stuff.” Or they intro me to their friends and they have to go through the awkwardness of trying to explain my work in five seconds. “He’s like…um… The best Ever'” is a particularly nice intro.

    I love my fans. And that they care to compare me to anything they love is great. I continue to do what I do and EVENTUALLY they just get it.

    They get that it is a life. They get that what I do is lead from the heart just as much as the mind. They get that the reason I’m that not on Idol, or that I’m not another industry clone is because my path is my own path. I get that beauty and so do my fans and they walk on the journey with me. They celebrate and worry at my triumphs and my failures.

    I still bristle from time to time, from people affronting my sensibilities, but at least I know that they are trying to communicate rather than offend.

    Blah blah

    • SouthernFemaleMusician

      Yes. Skynyrd is STILL known, Skynyrd is STILL popular, and we hear “play Freebird” at EVERY gig. My response? “Hey man, the only Skynyrd tune I really know is “Tuesday’s Gone,” but tell you what… write that request down on a fifty dollar bill and stuff it in my tip jar, and we will learn it on the spot. How’s that sound?” … Sometimes, I actually come away with fifty extra bucks in the tip jar. Sometimes, they just say, cool… lwts hear “Tuesday’s Gone”… but I always get a laugh, and we move on with our show.

  37. Tyler

    I’m a musician, singing to make a living, and I really don’t find some of these offensive. Yes, some of them are stupid. Other times people are just trying to be nice or try to share in your passion of the arts. We, as a profession, need to get off our high horses.

    • Cameron

      This is the realest post I’ve seen on this long strand of bitching about freebird. Learn the song play what they want to hear they are giving you their time let them enjoy it

  38. JMellor

    What an obnoxious list. I’m a musician. I play all the time for people. Yes, they say these things, but most of them are just trying to be nice or take an interest. Not everyone lives and breathes music like we do. Most of these are just some variation of “I think you sound good” (eg. “When am I gonna hear you on the radio?” and “You should try out for American Idol”). Yes, I hate the music those media play, but laypeople like it; they think referencing those things is a big compliment. These suggested responses just come off elitist and dismissive. People love music more than they love plumbing or banking or whatever false analog you used, and they want to be a part of it, so they use what limited knowledge they have to ask questions. I love when people tell me they have ideas for songs. It shows they think about and value what I do.

    I suppose my ultimate point is this: get over yourself. Save your dismissal for the people who are truly condescending (and yes, people who do the “Freebird” joke). No one owes it to you to be an expert.

  39. Anonymous

    I am a musician (i am in and original band that for years and still does make no profit at all) I am in a cover band that makes money and profit) the cover band does not need to have a cover charge, people come into the club drink heavily stay the night, Then the club owners make lots of money and they can pay us and everyone is happy. The original band plays clubs that mostly require a cover charge, when we do not play at a place that requires a cover charge, we have lots of people in the audience and go home with cash in our kitty. Look, why should people pay a cover charge to go see and hear music they don’t know and performers who mostly never even try to entertain anyone but themselves. They think dressing grunge standing there wining to what they think is Artistically creative music, so artistic : shoving their music down their friends throats , friends who are kind enough to actually show some type of interest in what you do , now have to pay for suffering and abuse.
    Musicians are funny, they can shit all over pop stars and REAL MUSICIANS (I say real because if you are a Musician as a career and you are paying your bills with your music you are a REAL musician) If you cannot pay your bills and support your family Music is your hobby) I have been doing this crap my entire life. The original band does fantastic when people are not forced to pay a cover charge) also 10 dollars is 2 and or 3 bears. Don’t you think it is better to play for your friend’s while they can enjoy a few bears, after all the music is about making others feel good, aren’t you performing for others or is it all about “YOU”

    Another point:
    Now a days i have seen bands that are in a line up, show up right before their slot and leave right after, what is this crap all about?! You should be showing up early listening to all the bands before and after your slot. If you leave your fans leave, and then the bar/club does not make the money they could possibly make if you and your friends stay the entire night. This is “THE MUSIC SCENE” and all you whiners are ruining it. Why should people show you so called musicians the respect you refuse to show others? Take your wining and your cry-baby rock and re-boot.

    If you stopped wining and made a difference, you would all be making money with your “ORIGINAL” music , supporting your family with your music, appreciating all the people who can do it for a living because we all know how difficult it is. You could all live Happily Every After musician Life’s.
    So here is some advice for all of you youngsters out there, who missed the Fabulous 70’sand 80’s when the “MUSIC SCENE” was a real scene!!!

    1. Business 101: Invest in your business -Startup Money (Most Business’s take at least 5 yrs. to start breaking even and making money)
    – Instead of selling tickets to your show
    Get a good line up together with a few other bands
    Pick a venue Pitch in and pay the room fee
    Splitting it across the board is not much $$ for each person.

    2. Create Tickets: More than the venue can hold:
    Give tickets away, with enthusiasm and tell them this one is on the Bands as gift to their friends and fans! Sell Your Self!! If you cannot sell your own show no-one else will be able to sell IT!!!

    3. Show Night!!!
    Get to the show early set up your stage like a ROCK STAR ROCK CONCERT!!
    Shoot the shit with all the other bands and their members.

    4. The Performance:
    “Dress like ROCK STAR!!!” not a slob!! Don’t close your eyes while u are up there.
    No one wants to look at a slob wining and taking a nap on stage if they say they do they are lying!!
    Perform for the audience not your other band members and not yourself. Make the audience want to be on stage with you!! Make them feel like part of the show!!

    5. after the performance:
    Stick around do not move your gear out, it is rude and it makes people think you are leaving.
    Stay and talk to all the people there at the club, thank anyone and everyone that showed the slightest interest in your music. Thank them for being into it, let them know how much you enjoy that while you are on stage!! Every member should Stay the rest of the night and enjoy.
    Let but not least Tip your bartender, if the bartender makes money and likes you and the Band he will talk up your shows!!!

    Then you will start making money and building a great following.

    End: Take all this in and run with it!! I am sure you will come up with even better ideas when this crap starts working for you. It is the art of giving not music.

    1. So Are You Trying To Be A Musician
    I am a musician. Not trying. Trying to be a musician is watching the first YouTube video on how to hold a guitar. Not what I have done for the past 15 years. That is BEING a musician.

    2. You Sound Like…
    I know you’re trying to be nice by putting me in good company, but musicians want to feel original. We don’t want to hear we sound like everyone else. That we’re unoriginal. It’s fine for you to sell your friends on listening to someone new by comparing them to well-known artists, but when talking to a musician, the best compliment is “you sound like YOU and it’s awesome.” Unless you’re talking to a pop producer, then yeah, “it sounds like Katy Perry” is probably the best compliment you could give.

    3. You Should Try Out For American Idol

    Me: When people say that they mean it as a complement you should be grateful that they like you music!

    4. When Am I Going To Hear You On The Radio?

    Me: When I get smart enough at business and business relations.

    5. You Should Be On the Voice
    Me: Again thank you for the compliment!!

    6. You Must Love Karaoke
    Me: I love Karaoke I do it as much as I can it helps me learn to connect with an audience in the worst undesirable musical situations. But i love the people and have fun with it!!

    7. Can I Get On The List? Plus 1?
    Me: Sure why don’t you come up with the band!!! Help us load in and load out!! The guys would love that, maybe we can teach you how to run the lights sometime 🙂

    8. What’s Your Real Job?
    I am an aspiring musician, as of now I work fulltime SQA Engineer, until I can get the show on the road.

    9. What’s Your Backup Plan?
    I will never stop playing music it is a part of me, I will probably always have the opportunity to play covers and teach. ( I however did have a backup plan in engineering)

    10. It Will Be Great Exposure
    Me: Yes it will be great exposure!! Thank you so much!!

    11. I Have A Great Idea For A Song
    Thank you You know some of the best songs ever recorded started out as a great idea!!

    12. Free Bird
    Me: The song never died you either know it knows of it!

    • Anonymous II

      So one is only a REAL musician if one is a PROFESSIONAL musician? How condescending and illogical can you be? Just because some “hobbyist” doesn’t make enough money from their performances or the distribution of their ‘music’ doesn’t make them any less of a REAL musician. Granted, securing gigs, contracts, selling albums/singles/merchandise/whatever, dealing with agents & managers, and all the other logistical concerns of the career are all certainly important in the life of a Professional musician. However, musicianship is about far more than monetary compensation and related concerns, and you’re a damned fool if you can’t concede that many musicians, yes even the real ones, have struggled to make ends meet from their passion. You can call them hobbyists all you want, but their financial solvency has no bearing on how ‘good’ or how ‘real’ a musician they are. It reflects more on how well they market themselves, what kind of venue they perform in, what kind of crowd they attract (if any), how popular or in demand their music is, etc. Feel free to disagree, but you have committed a logical fallacy by conflating financial security derived from the performing arts to “real” musicianship.

    • Jeff

      But these days looking like a rock star IS looking like a slob.

      My music–the music I write–is a big part of what gives meaning to my life. I’m very proud of it. I don’t make a living at it–not nearly. Not what the kids really wanna hear, I guess. But that’s not my fault. I’ll thank you to stuff it with the “hobby” talk.

    • Blacky

      Well…all off this cover songs that you are playing was made in a first place by musicians
      that played originals and strugle their way so you can play it later.
      There is nothing wrong with charging 10 dolars for entrance….its not like its incredible amount of money.
      Composers and songwriters are the most important part off music and in todays
      world unfortunatly they dont get soported and recognized.

    • Anonymous

      I’m glad there are 2-3 less bears at the bar! Those things are crazy!

      • petercann

        good comments, ev1 else seems a little uptight, generosity of spirit is not that hard? its like every thing you do, you can have a large ego that drives you to excel yourself, but at the same time you can have humility and generosity in your interactions with other people.

  40. Anonymous

    1. So Are You Trying To Be A Musician
    Me: I have studied music my entire life, however I have not yet made it my principle sourc of income.

    2. You Sound Like…
    Me: Why thank you i ave heard or not heard that one before 🙂

    3. You Should Try Out For American Idol

    Me: When people say that they mean it as a complement you should be grateful that they like you music!

    4. When Am I Going To Hear You On The Radio?

    Me: When I get smart enough at business and business relations.

    5. You Should Be On the Voice
    Me: Again thank you for the compliment!!

    6. You Must Love Karaoke
    Me: I love Karaoke I do it as much as I can it helps me learn to connect with an audience in the worst undesirable musical situations. But i love the people and have fun with it!!

    7. Can I Get On The List? Plus 1?
    Me: Sure why don’t you come up with the band!!! Help us load in and load out!! The guys would love that, maybe we can teach you how to run the lights sometime 🙂

    8. What’s Your Real Job?
    I am an aspiring musician, as of now I work fulltime SQA Engineer, until I can get the show on the road.

    9. What’s Your Backup Plan?
    I will never stop playing music it is a part of me, I will probably always have the opportunity to play covers and teach. ( I however did have a backup plan in engineering)

    10. It Will Be Great Exposure
    Me: Yes it will be great exposure!! Thank you so much!!

    11. I Have A Great Idea For A Song
    Thank you You know some of the best songs ever recorded started out as a great idea!!

    12. Free Bird
    Me: The song never died you either know it knows of it!

    • Anonymous

      #10 is a loser. Someone below giving advice says thank you. No, the drunks that you have coming to your place are not exposure. They don’t care who’s playing and they won’t remember the next day. Free exposure is good if there is some kind of coverage, but ask yourself why the venue can’t pay.

  41. Blag

    You’re not a musician unless you’re being paid.
    True story.

  42. Brewster

    I have a better response to #11…
    “Great! When you have the full song written, I’d like to hear you perform it.”

  43. Richard

    #12 stopped being funny the first time I heard the out-of-tune string section in the latter part of the song. It started being funny again in the 73rd minute of the single-riff guitar solo.

  44. Anon

    Jesus Christ, this guy is so sensitive about his failed music career that he acts like a complete asshole.

    • Paul Resnikoff

      He’s actually a successful musician. But you were saying?

  45. Shane Anderson

    If you’re a struggling musician, artist, comedian, performer. Give me a call MusiciansConnection we help you find gigs that will pay and help you become all you can be. 909-213-4894. working on the website still but http://www.MusiciansConnection.net been on both the production and performance side for over 15 years. Contacts and resources nationwide.

  46. Joe Chapman

    “I know you’re trying to be nice by putting me in good company, but musicians want to feel original. ”

    You have your head up your own arse.

  47. Joe Chapman

    People suggesting that you are not a musician if you don’t get paid are fuckwits.

  48. Joe Chapman

    “When Am I Going To Hear You On The Radio?”

    When I get off my pathetic whining, self righteous, muso arse and do something about it.

  49. Anonymous

    Forget “Freebird”…its now “Wagon Wheel!!!!” 3 plus times a night and we play originals… 🙂

  50. Flavio

    I usually hate these lists, but this one is dead on.

  51. bill dedman

    “Are you a musician?” No, I am a drummer….

    • Jyro

      Actually, the gag is: It’s a great band — three musicians and a drummer.

  52. FriendsofDanPod

    Those who think that shows like The Voice can’t further your career significantly should listen to my recent interview with Season Three finalist Nicholas David. I also had an interesting conversation with Voice drummer Nate Morton who definitely qualifies as a “musician”. Just search for: friends of dan music podcast dot com

  53. Freebird Lover

    Freebird is still a good song. Now, Stormy Monday I could live without for like…forever. Oh, and Mustang Sally, as well.

  54. Voice Of Reason

    Sounds like a butthurt hipster who didn’t work hard enough wrote this article. This coming from someone who just got off of a Navy Entertainment 24 day Eastern Europe / Middle East tour.

    This is the kind of attitude that kills me about musicians. Young musicians are self-righteous douchebags who turn their nose up at people trying to be friendly. Yeah, those people have never analyzed a Mahler symphony, or transcribed a Woody Shaw solo. Does that mean you can’t take a compliment from them?

    Anyone who agrees with this article has never had to play music for a dime, much less feed a family on music. People who agree with posts like this need a dose of reality. Get off you Macbooks, turn off your avante garde shitty jazz album that no one cares about, and appreciate a compliment from someone who is actually going to be relatively successful in their career.

    Back to the shed.

    • the voice of reason

      Hey Voice of Reason, it’s me “the voice of reason” I agree with you 100% man…the most arrogant ones are usually the ones with zero talent and experience!

      Good one


      • Benny Katz

        Hey, guys, this was actually suppose to be funny, cheer up! These are just couple of insider jokes. Same as f. e. we, music teachers, make fun of mistakes of our pupils who make same mistakes on and on, generation after generation – and we did them, too. No need to be grumpy!

  55. Anan

    I completely disagree with number one! Music is your hobby until you can make a living off of it. If you have been doing music or any art for that matter for any amount of time and you are not being paid enough to make a living off of it then you are a hobbyist/enthusiast. Once you cross the threshold into being a professional and you can at the very least pay your bills for en extended amount of time, then you have earned the right to label yourself a musician. There is nothing wrong with aspiring, doing it for a hobby or just having a love for music. But when you label yourself as a musician and you dont have the experience, knowledge or talent you give actual musicians/artist a bad name AND make it harder for us to get work since you are willing to work for nickles and dimes. Earn the title of musician dont expect it to be handed to you just because you love to play music!

    • 4pt

      99% of people, no matter how talented or accomplished they are as artists, writers, poets, musicians etc., will ever make enough to quit their day jobs because there are millions of them out there and only a small few will have the luck, right connections and other factors because the reality is not everyone can have a dream career and make a steady, lucrative income from their art. But your logic is saying the wealthiest and most popular people in music are the best examples of musicians and that one cannot be a musician while also having another job to pay for bills and necessities as well as a means to provide for them to keep creating.

      Also kind of ironic you claim that unless you’re getting paid well, you’re not a musician and it’s your own fault while whining that “real” musicians like you aren’t getting paid properly and assigning blame to the others for why. Unless you’re a convenient exception to your own rule, your logic states that maybe you’re not that good yourself then.

    • kilmo doome

      I disagree. If you play at all you’re a musician. If you pay your bills with music then you’re a professional musician. Simple. BTW, I’m a pro musician of almost 39 years. If you’re truly a musician you play for the love of music whether your paid or not because you MUST!

  56. Coldstorage

    “Oh wow you should meet my friend he has like a studio in his basement, you should totally record there”

  57. CWD

    I’m sorry but there is nothing that you can say to a working musician that they have not heard before – and this life choice is so flipping hard that – if you are offended or put off by any question about your survival or viability — or one of the many millions of suggestions like ‘you ought to go on a TV game show’ — then GET OUT NOW! In order to survive as a musician you need the thick-skin of a rhino and the heart of a gladiator and the stamina of a marathon runner – get a helmet this is not for weekend worriers.

  58. DM

    Being rude to audience members who are trying to be supportive (eg. “You should be on the radio” and “You should be on The Voice”)? Really not a great idea. You can dislike some of these comments all you want, but the likely result is that the next time you play, those people won’t be there anymore, and they won’t say nice things about you on the web.

    People don’t have an *obligation* to like you or your music, and sometimes you’re putting your music into their night out even when they didn’t want it. Be appreciative and gracious. It’s your job to make them like you, not their job to like you.

    I was once told that I sounded like Barenaked Ladies. One band whose music I loathe. I grinned and said, “I never thought that, but thanks.”

  59. Glow Worm

    The next time somebody writes “The next time someone shouts ‘Freebird, flip them off, and tell them you’ll need to charge them for the next one” flip them off, and tell them you’ll need to charge them for the next one… Kinda like one of them M.C. Escher drawings, ain’t it?

  60. Relax

    Loved the list.
    Loved the positive comments.
    Loved the negative comments.

    To much has been said to reply to all of it.

    All I can say is Rock On!

    • Lame patrol

      Too much to comment on, but this one took the cake.

      Loved it all? Seriously? Right here. This is what is wrong with the musicians of today. Tell everyone what they think they want to hear. Stop trying to please everyone. Get a spine, stop being fake and if you can’t hack it then do some soul searching and figure out how to get a real life.

      I mean, seriously. Who loves all the positive and negative comments that are really offensive? Someone who needs to get real.

      If you are going to make it big, you will only by being a puppet to some corporation wanting you to change who you are and bastardizing anything good that might come out of you. If you love music then play it. If people
      Love you then you’ll know it. If not- you’ll spend years of your life pretending and wishing your good years away. And that’s the lamest thing ever. I’ve seen the piano bar wash ups. The restaurant cover bands and the festival performers who are trying to fake it till they make it. Lame, pathetic and sad.

      • Benny Katz

        I loved it all, too! It’s just like a scene from a Woody Allen movie. In a classical music, there would be just one response: Love it? – Go practise. Hate it? – Go practise. Need to reply? – Go practise. Hungry? – Go practise. Need money? – Go practise.
        As simple as that 🙂 Seriously guys, you all, who discuss it here so passionately: Go practise.

  61. Robert

    I usually just say ” I really enjoyed your music, thank you!”. As a musician it is what i appreciate most. When it gets fun and interesting is when someone says something more like, “really nice phrase”, or interesting transition, haven’t heard that before”, something knowledgeable that indicates they not only appreciate they understand. When i hear the same it is fun to offer deep appreciation, it’s real, and that is what matters most. Hell, you might even make a friend, or find someone to play and sing with, which is the best of all.

    • Nicole

      Thank you for making musicians not sound so bitter about people actually being interested or wanting them to succeed.

  62. drhill

    yeah – van gogh did not make a living from his paintings so he wasn’t really an artist right?

    • herpaderp

      Duh. At his time he was probably considered a hobbyist or enthusiast by his peers but the fact that his paintings are now sold (expensively) makes him a painter. Being an artist is one thing but a professional is another. You don’t have to get paid to consider yourself an artist but you do have to get paid to be considered a professional. Being a musician is a profession meaning you have to be making money out of it. Be an artist or aspiring musician, but unless you make money off of it, musician you are not.

  63. jojo fast

    Its sad that we’re still in the pop era, because I’m damn sure if you would have asked Slayer if they were gonna be on Star Search with Ed Mcmahon in the 80’s…..they probably would have ended you. From the looks of comment section, you can tell who’s a musician (regardless if they’re making money or not) versus the pop music enthusiasts who say we’re assholes for agreeing with this. I can say that most of us want to end this American Idol/pop music/autotune shit for the greater good of humanity. Music is really the only thing that bring us together, but when you try to lump us in that American Idol crap…I’m sure we all probably see red. Artists and music are supposed to take you to another place, provide escapism, not Hello fan….what can I do for you to buy my cd or download my e.p. ? That’s counter-intuitive to what an artist and musician is and until you understand that….shut the fuck up and go listen to Lady Gaga and continue to be brainwashed sheeple.

  64. David R

    Sounds like musicians with think skin to me.

  65. Audrey

    Something my daughter hears and the quickest way to get her to never sing for you is this, “Oh you, sing, Can you sing me something right here (in the mall, on the beach, at the grocery store)? ” She hates that.

  66. Andy

    I’ve heard too many musicians take this attitude, and you know what? It is always a mistake. People are trying to start a conversation with you, so talk to them like a regular person instead of acting like you’re better than everyone and everything. There’s a perfectly nice person who likes your music talking to you who might even be a good connection for you, and somehow you think it’s God punishing you.

  67. Scott

    Kill your idols. Most famous musicians, artists can sense it when you are star struck. Treat them like you would treat all the nerds, and people you’ve never liked in Middle, High School, because that’s who these famous musicians are, the people you’ve never liked in High School, people you’ve never ever brought into your group of friends. So why are gonna treat them good now, ask them questions, and act like you truly genuinely would like to know these people?

  68. Michelle

    The fact of the matter is that we are in the business of entertaining people. Most of us are driven to play music; can’t go a day without playing. But if you put yourself out there for others to hear you, you are now a business. Pay notwithstanding, you are there to entertain the crowd. Even free shows (aka “great exposure) pay a dividend down the line. I have played benefits for free before that let to well paying shows… “Hey! I saw your band at so and so’s benefit last month, ya’ll kicked ass! I would love to have ya’ll come play my venue/wedding/bbq/whatever….” That being said, if my job is to entertain, and I insult someone who came to that venue to hear me, well.. that is just bad business. Someone may say something I personally find offensive, but if I am snarky and rude, I just lost a customer (fan). Enough coustomers drop off, and the venue doesnt make any money, and then I dont make any money, and I am invited to not return to said venue. Being rude to the fans is essentially cutting your own throat. Smile, nod, be polite. Say thank you for supporting me. Say thank you for supporting live music. These folks are your lifeblood. Without fans, you are gonna be hiding in your parents basement playing Freebird till your fingers bleed, all by your damn self. I am not in this business to get rich. Lord knows that my day job is what keeps me afloat. Call me a hobbiest, or whatever. I really don’t gaf. I play because I am passionate about the music, and it brings me great joy to see complete strangers digging what I’m doing up on that stage. Thats my two cents. It don’t count for shit, but there it is.

  69. Sxip Shirey

    Trust me it stopped being funny loooooong before ’97.

  70. Andrafn

    They are no one special. I say what I want to whomever I choose.

  71. Diva_nj

    How about….
    During a choral rehearsal..something like

    Singers call is at 6:30..Musicians (orchestra) arrive at 7. Arent the singers musicians as well?

  72. David

    Everything that’s wrong with this list from a professional musician.

    First, snarky musicians give musicians a bad reputation. Stop it. Seriously.

    #1 – A valid question. Unless you’ve achieved your maximum potential, everyone in the field is “trying to be a musician”
    If it’ll keep you from whining about your bruised ego, consider changing it to “trying to be a better musician”

    #2 – Music is derivative. Period. Teachers influence their students and each other. Our idols influence us. Our influences help us determine our stylistic choices, compositional devices, and target demographics. Even if the person is incorrect about who you sound like, the notion that “musicians want to feel original” is childish and snobby. Even something as novel and radical as The Second Viennese School was built on music that was comprised of the same developmental techniques that Bach used way back in the Baroque Period.

    #3, #4, #5 – Each of these are called “compliments”, you asshole. The non-musician thinks you’re good enough to make music on a mass media platform. Say “thank you”, smile, and move on.

    #6 – Karaoke is fun, sometimes non-musicians surprise you.

    #7 – In that person’s defense, most beer is better than most music.

    #8 – Trivializing other people’s work is not a good way to make music seem more profound.

    #9 – Lots and lots of people fail at music. Its realistic to have a backup plan. “What’s yours” is a snarky, useless response.

    #10 – A perfect example on how not to negotiate. Well done. Also, pay and value are different. Instead of getting bitchy about the use of the word “exposure”, you should consider weighing the financial state of the crowd against your ability to fish for opportunity. Saying “no thanks” because the gig may or may not pay directly is close-minded and you’ve given any potential opportunity away. Well done.

    #11 – Without going over your tragic lapse in logic that can be found in your use of a false comparison, I’d just like to point out that you, as a musician, have the ability to empower people with expression and you never know who has something profound to say.

    #12 – You’d be surprised at how often this is a legitimate request and you’d also be surprised at how much more you’d make in tips when you actually play it.

    This is one of the single worst articles about/for/by a musician that I have ever seen. It’s cringe-worthy and embarrassing. It proliferates the stereotype that musicians feel entitled, musicians are snobs, and that musicians are self-important. Our job is not to convince others of the legitimacy of our craft through hostile argument, but rather, through the integrity and quality of our work. We must do a better job of helping others take an interest and become more musical. An easy way to never be taken seriously is to take any of this article’s advice.

  73. Kaby J Gilley

    None of these should be considered as having a “chip on your shoulder”. It’s not that we don’t get the fact that the lamen doesn’t understand 90% of how music works, because we do… It’s the fact that it gets fucking annoying when someone writes you off completely because you don’t fit into some weird little box of what they consider to be a professional musician. That’s what the lamen wants to do in general though. Having a specific place to put people helps them function, because the lamen doesn’t want to have to think about much. So it is what it is.

    The easiest example to use – I’m sure a doctor would be thoroughly annoyed if people were constantly making ignorant/repetitive comments or inquiries regarding their careers (which I’m sure they do) “Hey! Take a look at this. What’s this mole on my back?”

  74. mike

    how about, “my son’s a musician! You guys should get together.”

  75. ComaAlpha

    I love number 8. Nothing’s better than a Mike Judge reference.

  76. mdti


    #1589 “- Hey cool track, you should send this song to Universal Music and make loads of money”


    – I have to finish a few tracks for the EP/LP
    # 1590 ” hey, you have to stop finishing them and release them you know” (says fellow musicians)
    – ” it is not because you don’t know when your track are finished that I have to stop polishing mine, noob”.

    or even

    – ” you are an electronic music composer ? hey here is a guitar play us some tunes” (there is little way to escape from this 😉 )

  77. Robert

    How about “I’m not even going to consider paying just a few paltry bucks for all your years of training and hard work, not because I don’t like and enjoy what you are providing for me, and yes, I’m still going to download a copy of it and come see you play live, but because of some weird cultural perceptions about what artists provide and why they do it, combined with some callow pseudo-intellectualized rhetoric about “copyright law” and “digital rights” (and the usual ‘but record labels are BAD!’ red herrings), I’ve decided I can just take it from you for free and you’re a pompous self-entitled dinosaur relic if you want to actually eat and pay your rent this month.”

  78. Amanda

    I get that these are offensive, but there was no reason for the TPS report comment, which is also offensive. >:( Sorry not everyone wants to chase the music bus. Some people just like numbers, and are better suited for those jobs. Also EVERYONE should have a backup plan whether they are a musician or an accountant or a damn CEO. You never know when an entire industry can fall. I would never say these comments to a musician, but a musician shouldn’t say someone else’s job isn’t REAL either.

    • mdti

      You are so right, but that’s also a matter of choice. I am happy I made the choice to pursue studies, at a time when internet didn’t even exist. In the current qstate of the industry, I tend to think it was the right choice for me.
      It NEVER stopped me from doing music, improving, and getting deals ocasionally (and that were not small ones).

      On the other side, one may choose to dedicate his life to music because it is when you do it full time, you get better faster. Having only that can cause a rage that is productive.

      I have a few friends who are signed with majors, and eventhough a first LP got very nice reviews, the second one didn’t work. what to do now? other people signed but never released anything. It is so disapointing, and as you grow, you see other people evolve but not you, and it is very very difficult. Hopefully, some make it, but the majority, not.

      As someone I respect a lot says: “”art is something that you do for yourself: it must become professional IF and only IF someone asks you to become professional””” and ensures that you can live long with it. Otherwise, don’t think to go professional before anyone asked you, but continue doing your art. This person is a designer with 40 years experience in design for all the big luxury brands and whose company employed 40 persons at some point. I would trust her more than anyone else.

  79. mikester

    Pretty dull witted stuff, pretty much a rehash of ancient musician bitching.

  80. RS

    If your skin is thin enough to be bothered by anything on this list, you are in the wrong business.

  81. Michael

    I guess I can understand the impatience and frustration with the same lame comments and questions from less musically talented members of the listening public. I get it. But I hope that list is really what you feel like saying, and not what you actually say to people.

    If you can make a living playing music or singing [VERY unlikely for anyone] then you should consider yourself very lucky and blessed. Try to be humble and not snarky. If you still want to cop a negative attitude, work for a year or two hanging sheetrock and painting houses. That experience should convince you that you are very fortunate to have some musical talent to share with others. Playing and composing music and writing songs is pure joy for me, even though I will probably never make a cent off it. It fact, it has cost me a lot of money over the last 45 years or so. But I still believe that music is truly magic.

    I am in no position to suggest anything to you–you have your own talent and your own path. But if I may give some advice, humbly and sincerely, it would be to rediscover the pleasure and joy that initially compelled you into music. Rediscover that, and be happy in your talent as you share it with others.

  82. DAn

    1. So Are You Trying To Be A Musician

    Until you have made a living from making music you ARE trying to be a musician

    2. You Sound Like…

    Well you normally do sound like someone else – if you can’t see it for yourself then you are even more stupid than I gave you credit for

    3. You Should Try Out For American Idol

    You should – because then you will find out really quickly in public if you are appreciated by an audience

    4. When Am I Going To Hear You On The Radio?

    When you make something that radio will vaguely be interested in

    5. You Should Be On The Voice

    Again you will find out really quickly if you have a chance with the general public

    6. You Must Love Karaoke

    I.E. practice some more because your vocals are terrible

    7. Can I Get On The List? Plus 1?

    Hell yes mate – If you want me to aid your career you damn well better put me on your list – what if my plus one is the A&R guy you desperately want to sign to?

    8. What’s Your Real Job?

    If you don’t earn your complete living from music what IS your real job?

    9. What’s Your Backup Plan

    I.E you better have one as you will not succeed in this business

    10. It Will Be Great Exposure

    Yes it will if the audience is the right one

    11. I Have A Great Idea For A Song

    I have lots and I know more about the music business than you – take it as compliment that I share the fact that I can’t write a song but have an idea – steal it if its a good one

    12. Free Bird

    hey big bird

    • mdti

      There are semi-pros too 🙂 that can make $ with music, but who don’t count on it for everyday’s life. It’s a philosophy. not everyone would be happy to be signed and be worlwide famous and all that crap 😀

  83. Greg Iskat

    Correction on #12
    I wish that people could understand that yelling “Freebird” instantly makes everyone in the band want to punch you in the face.

  84. Thomasina

    Thank you for this. My hubby and I r both entertainers and we both have heard every single one of these. Hilarious!!

  85. Anonymous

    This is so perfect! Hilarious! Next……….

  86. Anonymous

    Get over it. You might get further in your career if you’re more understanding and patient with people. They might actually like your music better.

  87. Christine

    The person who made this article is a pompous ass. Half the listed items are JOKES and if you can’t take a joke because your narcissistic ideals of musicianship cloud your ability to understand that, then maybe you need to step back and take some time to reflect on your dreams and what music means to you. If it’s making you this uptight, you need time to chill.

    The most disgusting part is #10 when you responded with “does it pay?” ohhh so you’re in it for the money? i see. then you are not an artist, if that’s how you see it.

    i am a musician too. and this article is gross. i can’t believe this kind of shit gets popular

    • mdti

      >>> The most disgusting part is #10 when you responded with “does it pay?” ohhh so you’re in it for the money? i see. then you are not an artist

      Perhaps he is a designe , lol

      More seriously: if someone is making money out your work and you get nothing, that’s just not acceptable, EVEN (or “especially because?”) when you are not in for the money, because the other party is, and uses you for free.

  88. Jeff

    I would also like to add concerning talking to all artists or about them – don’t use the term “Artsy Fartsy”…how would you like the thing you’ve devoted years of development toward and are currently in the throes of an agonizing childbirth, to be compared to Farts? For example: “They worked their asses off to put him through college and now he’s got one of those MBA-Fartay degrees”…”Yeah, not only did she graduate, she’s already opened her own dentist-poopentist office”.

    And “Artsy” is just a shortened version of what we know should come next. What should I say instead? “That neighborhood is very artistic”…”All her friends are very artistic”…”She’s devoted her life to the arts”.

  89. RayRay

    Very interesting read. So many opinions. Everyone has one. That’s good. I was on a flight across the aisle from a Symphony conductor. I recognized him and spoke to him. It was pretty easy to meet him as he was reading a score. I interrupted him with a question about the score. I had met him before but didn’t expect him to remember. We talked for a while. He told me how wonderful he thought it was to have music in your life, and went on to say what a lousy profession it made for the majority. He verified my own research that only the top 5% make the career pay off well; another 15% make a good living. For most it is a continuous financial struggle. Most musicians I have knowledge of do not know how to run their talent/career like a business. Moreover, they find it revolting to think they should. Life is full of choices. Choices have consequences. Our choices/decisions are only as good as the information upon which they are based. Musicians, aspiring or otherwise, should become well – informed about their art/trade/career to be enabled to increase one’s success potential. Talent is not enough. An insatiable love for music is not enough. Having music in your life is wonderful. Being a responsible steward of your talent is priceless.

  90. Marc

    I’m a musician and I read this list and had a laugh because I’ve heard all this stuff many times. I can’t see myself as being on a high horse for getting a laugh out of this. It’s not like I’m rude to people that say this stuff, even when it’s gotten a little old. The list is meant to humor us. Make us laugh about it. But there’s a lot of people that are getting pissy about it, and I have to say it seems to me that THEY are the ones on a high horse. Don’t take lists on the internet so seriously.

  91. Tina

    Or, if you are a woman: oh, you’re the singer (or dancer)? Or : are you his (girlfriend, wife?) My reply no, I’m fing them all.

  92. Blahblahblah

    Christ, I’m shocked that this lame piece got so many replies. Enough with the lists of things not to say on stage, say to the soundman, etc. Not funny. Not news.

  93. Blahblahblah

    This worthless piece should be titled “12 Things You Should Never Say To An Unsuccessful Musician”. They’re the ones most likely to be this bitter and defensive.

  94. Nah

    Everything except #1, #4, and #10 come off incredibly insecure.

    Of course you sound like someone else, all musicians have influences, and those influences are buried somewhere in your music. Musicians nowadays are so self-conscious about comparisons because of the legal issues that have been built into the business, but composers used to intentionally quote each other. How well you blend your influences into something unique and contribute something out of that to the long conversation that is music history is what separates derivative leaches from original geniuses.

  95. GarronT

    Too bad that the folks that need this advise have no idea this article/site exists…: )

  96. SomeDude

    If you are a professional musician, you will get this post, and have probably been kicking these same kinda posts before Facebook existed, and had a laugh. If you don’t get this, then you are not a professional musician, and I call bullshit.

  97. Daniel

    If your getting paid consistently to pay then that is your real job but if your only playing two maybe three shows a month then you need a real job and a back up plan! Stop mooching off people and don’t think your the shit cause the shit is on the radio so what does that make you?

    I played for Saving Abel and Ingram Hill. This is from experience.

  98. Jerk

    Everything is bullshit and more. You, me, everyone else. This is all bullshit.
    Just make your god damn music and stop whining.

  99. Ooga

    One of the questions that peeves me is: “What style of music do you write?”

    Pigeon-holing…can’t stand it.

    • mdti

      You can miss huge and unique opportunities with this attitude.

      You know, some producers, or business makers, just don’t want you to know they are producers, until they have evaluate you enough to be sure they would be happy to work with you.
      Of course, it does not matter if you are not that serious about the style of music that you write.

  100. Ryan Kennemur

    I actually don’t mind when people say I sound like someone I admire. I don’t need to pretend I’m original so much that I can’t acknowledge my influences.

  101. Alexandra

    For those who aren’t musicians, you just don’t know….we invest hundreds, if not thousands, of hours, thousands of dollars…we play sick, we play with broken bones, we get our equipment trashed by drunks, we’re insulted, underpaid and under appreciated, period! I challenge any of you upwardly mobile professionals who think you know what it’s all about to walk in our shoes. No, you don’t have to come and listen to us. If you have that attitude, we’d rather you didn’t. My band has a time investment of 40 hours for every gig we play, between load and unload, set-up, tear down and playing. We obviously do it because we’re passionate about it and not for the money, because obviously the $50 a night we each make isn’t enough…and I bet none of you whiners would work 8 hours AND supply all the gear for a measly $50. There’s nothing pompous or arrogant about wanting respect for what we do.

    • mdti

      Please don’t end up killing some stage climber ! 🙂

    • Blahblahblah

      I worked in the music biz in NYC for a long time and I thought it was pretty sad to see so many unexceptional singer/songwriters and bands playing whatever venue in the city would have them for years and never getting anywhere. Most actually lose money playing a gig. The majority of musicians out there have nothing unique to offer and have no clue that this is the case. Why do musicians think that they deserve respect for wanting people to look at them up on a stage a think that they’re special? For all I know you’re a cool person and a good musician but I don’t think that it’s one of the most respect-worthy professions out there. A lot of attention-seeking narcissists, in my opinion. But some, very few, are brilliant enough to deserve the adulation. Thank god for them.

  102. meee

    fuck all christians,,, that’s all, thank you

  103. Anonymous

    When people request Freebird I give them the finger and tell them the next one will have to paid for…

  104. Lester

    One of my favourites is….

    Nice playing man. Have you heard [insert a name]? He’s REALLY good!!!

  105. retroceder

    that’s true but a bit pretentious though. I’ve been making a living from music for several years but I still feel like trying to learn and I would not blame the radio for being ‘too shitty to deserve me’.

  106. shashank

    im sure …some pissed off , idle , good for nothing, bad guitar playing idiot came up with this crap .. while the musicians were busy playing music.

  107. John Scott

    you forgot “I CAN MAKE YOU FAMOUS”. – Really? Well then, you should have NO PROBLEM with financing my first CD, to include professional studio musicians, recording studio time, and time for me to sit with the band and just jam, as I will be the one arranging MY copywrited, and protected songs. Actually that will a discussion with my lawyer, who I’m sure you won’t mind sitting down with and signing off on a few binding legal documents about royalties, sales, percentages of “your cut” (after all, once I’m famous thanks to you, I will abide by this legal document and make sure your “original financial investment” is payed back with an additional financial amount agreed upon by you and my attorney, as you’re the one who stuck his/her/their neck out to launch my career), plus a percentage of the CD sales you made possible on the original one CD, and NO percentage of memorabilia sales.
    You don’t own me. You are not my manager. I will retain COMPLETE copywrite control over my music. I’m not signing them over to ANY studio, record label, or other person. You are saying you are 100% confident I’m going to be a big star. And I’m believing you. So “Show me the money.” and lets get started !!!!!!!

  108. Johnny Blue

    While I respect Mr. Herstand’s right to voice his opinion, having been a professional musician (my sole means of making a living) for 36 years plus I (respectfully) disagree with most of this article.

    In my humble opinion, it is the people, and how us musicicans make them feel – our jobs are to make them feel something (joy, anger, confusion, enlightment, like getting up and dancing or just feeling groovy sitting there and listening) – that is the main reason that we write and/or play our music. Being a musician affords us the opportunity to meet and interact with every type of person there is.

    It is, again in my opinion, a choice whether one becomes jaded and negative, or remains positive and happy. The latter is much healthier and way less stressful (as well as giving one the power to make others feel the same way).

    I’m in this business to please people, as well as myself, and I’m grateful for every single person that I’ve ever musically interacted with, including both fellow musicians and audiences. They are what it’s all about.

    In my opinion, it is not right to take it out on the people that interact with us, and other than those that are simply negative persons, which I simply choose to politely ignore, I remain positive towards even those that are ignorant, which is not a flaw in most cases.

    Be happy you are afforded the opportunity to play music, to choose it as a profession, and that you have the opportunity to positively affect so many people from all walks of life. It’ll satisfy your soul much better.

    1. So Are You Trying To Be A Musician
    I’ve never been asked this one.

    2. You Sound Like…
    I choose to take this as a compliment on the rare ocassions I’ve heard it. Most times they say I sound like someone that influenced me or that I respect greatly. It’s nice to hear.

    3. You Should Try Out For American Idol
    I’d take this as a compliment too, if I ever heard it, which I never have.

    4. When Am I Going To Hear You On The Radio?
    I simply mention my past radio play, then take the opportunity to point the person to where they can buy my music. Never pass up opportunities.

    5. You Should Be On The Voice
    Same as #3 above.

    6. You Must Love Karaoke
    Never heard this one either but I’d simply point out that I prefer to support live music and then thank the person for their support.

    7. Can I Get On The List? Plus 1?
    We don’t play favorites and if the opportunity to gain new fans presents itself we take advantage.

    8. What’s Your Real Job?
    I explain that I am one of the lucky ones who chose a field in which I can do what I love and make a living at it…….AS a professional musician.

    9. What’s Your Backup Plan
    I explain that barring disability I have no need for one as I am successful in my chosen business (music).

    10. It Will Be Great Exposure
    I carry educational literature with me to hand out when presented with this that explains why anybody working in any field should refuse to promote this practice as it is exploitational and that it hurts the profession as well as the whole community the profession is being practiced in. It only benefits the greedy and the selfish. This applies to any type of artist or other creative type.

    11. I Have A Great Idea For A Song
    I’m always open to collaboration. You never know where the next piece of brilliance may rear it’s head. Again, don’t pass up opportunities.

    12. Free Bird
    We play it if requested, unless we have a fixed set list that can not be altered. We’re there to please the audience and they appreciate it more if we respond to them positively. We even have a Reggae version.

    • John Smoke

      Well said JB.

      Although the article is serious my impression is that it was written with tongue firmly planted in author’s cheek. To see people getting their panties in a twist and take issue with the author or the list topics is hilarious.

      JB, you sound like someone who’s speaking from experience. Your replies to these questions are perfect. Better yet, they’re thoughtful and useful.

  109. Anonymous

    Génial , il y a longtemps que j’aurais dû dire cela à tous ceux qui tuent l’Art
    Je ne veux plus qu’on se moque de moi , oserons t’ils se moquer de Dieu ?
    ils ne connaissent pas sa colère .

  110. Diane Newday

    I sing with all my soul , that soul is given my by God .
    And they still laught at me .
    Don’t they fear God?

  111. Richard

    Just part of the biz and these are universal, no matter where. I’ve even heard them scream out Freebird in Asia and the Middle East. (I’ve never bothered learning Freebird. maybe someday) But lighten up people, these are just meant as a joke. We love hearing them over and over and over. .

  112. tex message (cowboy singin' star)

    EXPOSURE???? people die of exposure!!!!

  113. David West

    These pretty much all apply to filmmakers as well. Some of them are probably WORSE for filmmakers. Seriously… Everyone and their damn mother is CONSTANTLY trying to tell you about the awesome movie idea they had. They don’t seem to understand that I already have dozens of my own ideas that I care way more about.

    Oh, and EVERY friend who gets married will try to lasso you into filming their wedding. And if they’re willing to pay at all, it’s a tiny fraction of what would be reasonable.

  114. Anonymous

    I’m a dancer.do for fun. I have a lot of friends who play live music venues. I support them. I get up & dance at their venues. I thank musicians for their music! Usually they thank me for dancing! We form a relationship.become friends with many of them. Many of them do have day jobs to help support them. I have a day job,actually overnight,my passion is dancing. My Mom is a pianist. She is a musician!she volunteered for schools for years & at seniors centre.her passion is music. She has sometimes earned pay as an organist or pianist.i sing at karaoke for fun,once did in front of a band.I’m an amateur.. Many good singers at karaoke. Maybe stepping stone for performing professionally for some. Get experience.

  115. HwaP

    “I sold out long before you ever even heard my name.”

    – a professional musician to a fan who accused him of selling out

  116. Plucker

    “Talent” is defined as; “a natural ability to do something well”. So why do such “talented” people need to practice so long and hard to be a musician? Unless maybe they’re not so “talented” after all.. Hmmm? Being a live entertainer means dealing with the public.., yes, including those people who ask/make what you might consider “stupid” questions, or “dumb” comments. Either learn to understand that, and deal with it in a friendly way, or go work in the studios. Or better still, find another line of work. Being “successful” basically means your audience “likes” you. Why would you think that being an a-hole would make anyone like you?

  117. BS

    “Freebird”… that’s a good one so is “Slayer” if you are in a radio rock band!! Like we are going to play that…

  118. BS

    Ken you are right this post does come across as intolerant and even a bit arrogant to people outside of the music business. You illustrate perfectly why the general public will never really understand what its like to be a musician/songwriter, filmmaker, painter etc… these are inside jokes for us to enjoy.

    Most of us are a little jaded by these industries and so have little patience for questions we’ve heard a million times that we think are stupid. Really they are just ignorant. Your point remains valid however, no matter how irritating we find these questions we should still answer them politely one million more times. We tend to paint the general public with the same brush (i.e. don’t support the artist, steal music etc) which simply is not true.

    That said to you did come to a website specifically aimed at artist’s and music execs and get your own feelings hurt!

  119. Goddess

    I like FREE BIRD….but I never shout it at bands cause I know they hate that. I’m a singer but I’ve never performed it myself.
    So I listen to it on my phone or ipod. It still rocks after all these years.
    But once in a blue moon….some musician will delight me and play it live – either in public or at small gathering of fellow musicians and I just sit back, smile, and enjoy it.

  120. Electrotype

    13. “You’re just like David Hasselhoff!”

    I get this when I tell people when something positive happens from Europe (e.g.: a CD sale, inclusion in a European-based podcast, etc.)

    It ceased to be funny the first time I heard it.

  121. auntie

    hm. Being a newbie with just about zero music tuition background, yet I cannot stop the music in me. Me, a total virgin in this industry, NO INFLUENCE at all. I love music and appreciate most, even that which I don’t necessarily like.
    But what amazes me most, and especially in the classical genre (my main field of composing but I can rock it up as well) is the reference to ‘sounds like Bach’ etc etc etc. I feel so sorry for those peeps who are really very original, stamped their style into their own compositions and then someone makes such a remark. Those making such remarks are such high nosed snoots that think its fancy to mention Bach. These snoots really are just wannabe’s.
    Creating your own music is friggin hard work, even more so if you don’t know much about yet about ‘writing’ it.
    People should appreciate each others efforts and whether you like the type of music or not, LISTEN to the stories in it. Even old Beethoven went deaf in his later years, yet he could HEAR.
    I told someone (a Bach fixated fook) once that Bach probably never saw an elephant. I did, I grew up in the southern part of Africa, these things influence my work.
    Really, some peeps just don’t have music ears, they will never ‘hear’ …….
    Everybody that posted here, should study through these comments again, most have the same thing at heart, yet you all fight. The mu industry is hard enough as it is, all the things that are happening which are not benefiting struggling artists… rather should we all become a force coz too many want stuff for free and that includes the ‘parasitism’ (streaming services and their clients) and piracy, etc.

  122. Anonymous

    Having done both, I would rather play for free than what is offered by many establishments. When you accept a pittance for your efforts, you are perpetuating more of the same. Oddly, the band I was in that was paid best, was probably the least exceptional lineup I have been in.

    • auntie

      nice you say that, reminds me of good old days in my youth when a few of us music loving peeps join together, drive out into the open with out guitars, and there we’d play for free until far into the night under an audience of happy stars 😀
      Music is after all, what we, the creators and artists enjoy, whether others like it or not…..

  123. Caroline

    I’m tired of all the blablabla. So shut up and play some good ole fashion American country music. Something I can dance to.:) l ♡ it.

  124. SkiFi

    unfortunatelly as a promoter and artist … I have day to day experience with number 7

  125. George

    I would say if you’re still answering questions like these from Bozos and getting irritated, you might want to have a backup plan.

    How about realize that lots of non-musicians don’t understand the profession and see a less-than-desirable question as a way to answer them sincerely?

    Get over it. And the end of the day you get money for playing music.

  126. Mary Jo Ghantous

    To me the Free Bird sugestion doesn’t sound that bad.

  127. ETV Music

    Wow, this is a late reply but I love this. People can totally demean artists without even recognizing it. Some people, sadly enough, do recognize what they’re doing. But this is a great post because it says that musicians have value no matter how famous or underground they are.

  128. Sheila MacArthur

    Such negative energy….. unless being negative is suddenly cool or something.

  129. Gary Myers

    Most of those have never been said to me, but I’ve never had a prob with anyone saying who I sound like. It’s been a compliment every time but one and it was still intended as a compliment that time – he just didn’t know what he was talking about. It seems to me that anyone who has a prob with that also has a prob with ego. And I don’t know what >> Can I Get On The List? Plus 1? << is about. (I've been gigging for 54 yrs, 20+ of that full time, still average 2-4 gigs/wk).

  130. Jacques Coulardeau

    I love the idea and the practice. Send them to hell!

    My favorite 13 (that comes in mute words at times):
    Since you more or less speak of some gay love, are you gay?
    Don’t you know it takes a closeted man to ask a question that implies the other is in a closet of his own.
    Is it comfortable in your padded closet?
    When did you come out to be able to ask such a question?
    Would you like some samples of my underwear or my socks?

    I loved the twelve of them



    GOOD deal Right here Big Up’s to all the Music pip’s what ever u do n IT let’s just Keep so LOVE n the MUSIC ok sing a new song for JAH*

  132. Jamiah Jordan


  133. Brian Sonneman

    OMG! So true! I have lived just about everything brought up on this list! Most with repetition! This list would have been great to have handy so many times through-out my career! I’m sure I could add a few to the overall definition of DONTS!

  134. aftiste

    What did you do with all the money your mom gave you for music lessons?

  135. murrayhowell2222@gmail.com

    Oh join the human fucking race! Everybody feels that way from time to time. You are special, just like everyone else!

  136. woody

    What about ” its good to have a hobby.” I hate that!!

  137. LadyDouras

    Ha!! Or if your a vocalist. “Do you play an instrument or are you a Singer?”


    Oh I don’t know… I figured with all the training and hard work I put into keeping my vocal cords in shape.. that my vocals would be considered an instrument. derp!!

  138. Anonymous

    This whole list is a load of bologna. None of it holds water.

  139. Dirk Howell

    I have never had a request for Free Bird. I don’t play places that would request such a thing…. And, I’ve made a great living playing music for 42 years…. raised a family and put my kids through college. Living a dream. Hey! maybe there is a correlation. http://www.dirkhowell.com

  140. CHYNAMAN Music

    I died laughing reading this! But it is so true! There’s so much that people who are not in the industry don’t understand! lol

  141. Anonymous1

    This is a very interesting article and such varied responses. Professional or aspiring or whatever you want to call yourself as musicians one theme is that we all want to be individuals and be seen as original. Don’t you think that what works for one may not be right for another, so there is really no right answer for everyone. I personally do some gigs with cover songs and some with originals to get the artistic side out and try new music, to see what my audience likes and dislikes. I am always grateful to my audience no matter what and yes I do have a large following and I am able to make my living with this/pay my bills while doing what I love. I don’t mind playing what my audience wants to hear becuase I love music in any way shape and form! I am also considering trying out for one of these TV shows, not for the fame and popularity, but for the experience, trying something new, making new connections, maybe even earing a little money to pay for my next project.(it’s a long shot, but there are some advantage to being on a show, I have a friend who was and is gettign10X more gigs now, so don’t always put this down) And yes, I have payed my dues. Why do people have to judge, the right ways and wrong ways to be ” musicians”. Chill out and get a grip people, do what you enjoy and what works for you, not because some article or comments say your only a real musician if……..

  142. PST Guitars

    I had one of my guitar repair clients tell me that they tell the requestor it’s a $200 fee for his band to play “Free Bird”…..he said they’ve had a couple of takers over the years……. 😀

  143. Bob

    Id have to disagree with #12. That actually stopped being funny in about 82.

  144. ComeOnAlready

    If you don’t make any money because you’re a musician, how do you afford a plumber? Most of us have hobbies as hobbies, and have real jobs that can support ourselves and our families. Just because you can’t make money at what you do doesn’t mean that everyone should feel sorry for you and walk on eggshells because you’re so sensitive about your art. Go to school, get a real job, play gigs on the weekends, but be able to feed yourself and your family. Then, if you’re as good as you think you are, you can finally get signed and do something with your music. I’m so sick of hearing everyone complaining about how passionate they are about their art that they don’t have time to have a job, or go to school, or pay attention to their family. Sounds to me like they just want to have fun and not have the responsibility that people who actually work have.

  145. ALSM

    I just get a real intense look and tell then that I would NEVER diminish Skynard’s memory by attempting to replicate their masterpiece. They usually back away slowly…

  146. JM

    I think any profession is about motivation and hard work. I think that’s just as important as what kind of education you choose to attend. I think if you’re motivated and willing to work hard you can make a decent living no matter what job you have. so why not try to make a living doing what you love? people look down on people who actually give being a musician for a living a try and most of the times back their arguments up with bullshit. ‘there’s no money in it’ and ‘you don’t have a back-up plan’ are the most popular statements against music education. that’s just not true. every music-school (at least in my country) prepares it students for potential failure with obligated extra subjects. if you don’t make it you can get jobs at studio’s, recordlabels, festivals, music ventures etc. you could even try to start your own recordlabel or festival if you’re really motivated and ambitious. YES, there is a back-up plan and YES there is money in music, at least enough to make a decent living. bottomline; stop looking down on people who actually have the courage to chase their dreams if you don’t know what you’re talking about. the hardest part about being a musician is people assuming you don’t have a plan, you don’t have any ambitions and you don’t know what you’re doing. I think it’s shallow and annoying that when you tell people you wanna be a musician they immediately stop taking you seriously.

  147. Bank Manager

    Sorry, but you sound like a pretentious douche.

    Banks rule. Music drools.

  148. Anonymous

    I disagree with #12. Free bird. Never gets old to say. I don’t mean I want anyone to play it. It’s just fun to say!

  149. eugene cantera

    Everyone of those goes double for music educator.

  150. Gia Volterra de Saulnier

    So very true! I’m a long time musician and for years, I had to fight my dad on the fact that it wasn’t the right livelihood. Now, I’m performing, producing, promoting and oh by the way an author of a children’s picture book about jazz. Sure, I haven’t made that much money, but I’ve impacted so many with my book and our events, that it makes me proud to say that YES, I am a musician and NO, I won’t play “Stairway to Heaven” just because I play flute SMH.

  151. Anthony

    Great article. I think that people miss the point which is the inherent problem.
    There is an inherent lack of seriousness of music as a career option for most people because of
    a) lack of knowledge – nobody knows exactly how you get into it, as opposed to being a doctor – you go to school, do an internship and bang you are a doctor. So the only thing people can grab onto is if they know you
    b) the fact that you are ‘playing’ music or ‘playing in a band’. The word ‘play’ has it a lack of seriousness, whereas you are ‘working at a job’, ‘building a business’, etc.
    c) people know that if you are a doctor, that you will be making lots of money – and assume if you are a musician that you won’t make ANY money until you are ‘famous’.

    A lot of these statements are a pain in the ass to hear, are really insensitive, etc – and the nature of the biz is that you suck it up and smile! Great article!!!

  152. Hannah Dasher

    Posting this on ALL of my social media networks! Boom.

  153. charlzm

    “Free BIrd” was NEVER funny. Best response I ever heard to that was when I saw A Man Called E (aka Mark Oliver Everett of The Eels) opening for Tori Amos back in 1992. Someone in the audience (possibly a plant) yelled, “Freebird!” after one song and the band actually played it. For real. With only a little irony.

  154. Brian Van Camp

    “Freebird Shouters” are just class-less attention seeking idiots and any performer who laughs along with them is no better. A real musician is never above playing what their audience truly wants to hear. That is the job they have chosen to do. If 3 or 30000 people paid to see them play music of a specific or general type, they now have 3 or 30000 bosses and should cater to their desires to the best of their abilities. I myself would be most proud (and financially well off) if I had composed a song that got as frequently requested as “Freebird”. The undeniable truth is that it is actually a great song. I am personally tired of playing “3 Steps” and “Keep Your Hands To Yourself”. As such I usually leave them out of my setlist but always play them when they are requested in a heartfelt manner. I consider myself to be an astute and knowledgeable musician and fan of all types of music from Bluegrass, Country, Folk, Rock and Heavy Metal to Soul, Funk, R&B, Jazz and even Classical. All of these categories of music have their “Freebirds” (i.e. popular compositions that have been performed to the point of over-familiarity). But I can’t imagine an audience member attending a Symphony getting up in the middle of a performance and shouting “Play Beethovens 5th!” and then looking around to see who is snickering along with them. And believe me, there are a lot of snobs in those audiences.

  155. Joseph Salinas

    that is funny because if I were to met a professional musician I would have asked about half these questions.
    @ mixley.com

  156. Davo

    only a musician would write an obnoxious list like that…never understood with zillions of musicians in the world so many think they are soooo special

  157. mickalpha

    Reading a portion of the prior posts, I must point out this is humor and is part and parcel of tragedy. I think it’s tragic you fail to see the sarcasm and believe these comments are based on some projection of a personality you have never even met. I HAVE BEEN A PERFORMING PROFFESIONALL MUSICAIN for over forty years, so if you can’t laugh and move on, STFU & get a job as a critic.

  158. @_soulsway_

    I consider myself a musician… And I mostly only play in front of the mirror… And I’ve heard all of the above… Photography pays the bills tho. Anyways …love the agro comments . I strum in peace.

  159. @_soulsway_

    Also, I have freebird tattooed on my knuckles, for reals. Bwahaha, laugh at that ! ;p #noshameinmyfreebirdgame

  160. Indie artist

    this was a fun read, hearing many different opinions. I’m and indie
    musician, unsigned, and make very little from my music. I’ve had
    well over a million downloads of my songs, and make about
    10 cents a month from it. I’m Not a professional musician, but
    I am a musician. I Don’t want to play gigs very night, or deal
    with drunk people anymore. I just want to right original songs.
    Over the years I’ve seen(and participated) with many different
    musicians, and 99% of them couldn’t send this kids through
    college from what they make. They can’t even afford a mortgage.
    But, some of them made fantastic music.
    It doeas not hold in this business that if you are great that you
    will be discovered.

    I DONT want to play cover tunes, I don’t want to record cover tunes!!!!!!
    i have been told do a Christmas song to get more exposure, not
    doing that either.

    I 100% respect those that do, as a young man I played that stuff
    and you are professional musicians, but please stop attacking
    US who don’t do what you do, but still love playing recoding
    and performing music even if we don’t make ANY money!!!!!!

  161. Elliott Michaels

    I don’t know about “Freebird,” but if they ask for “Stairway to Heaven,” it helps if you know the one by Neil Sedaka, written almost a generation before there was a Led Zeppelin … come up, way up high!

  162. Elliott Michaels

    I think that one of the problems we’re dealing with in the music world today is the use of the term “professional.” In the dictionary, a professional is defined as someone who earns a living, or at least some money, in his/her chosen field of endeavor. But that isn’t the definition I use when I describe a musician. I use a broader, more general definition of the term “professional,” relating to standards of excellence rather than standards of economics. I define a professional as someone who, in his/her chosen field of endeavor, always strives to adhere to the highest possible standards of excellence in terms of both performance and demeanor, regardless of whether he/she is or isn’t getting paid for his/her efforts. And I strongly believe that in this day and age, especially in the fiercely competitive field that is the performing arts, in order to stand even the slightest chance of becoming a professional according to the dictionary definition of the word, one must first show him/herself to be a true professional according to my definition of the word. As a practical example, if and when you and your band are given a chance to perform at a club or coffeehouse, regardless of whether you are or aren’t getting paid to perform there, it is important that you and your band act professionally; that is, you must perform exceptionally well, you must behave maturely and respectfully to both your audience and to the club/coffeehouse staff and management, and you must do whatever it takes to earn the respect of both your audience and the club/coffeehouse staff and management. Otherwise, you may not be asked to perform at that place again, and moreover, you may develop a very negative reputation among music lovers and club/coffeehouse managers. These people appreciate professionalism from their performers, and they’re more likely to offer such performers more lucrative (and well-paying) bookings. Again, in short, I believe that in order to become a professional, one must first prove that he/she is of professional quality and stature. In other words, don’t get too full of yourself, and work to earn people’s respect. And that’s my soap-box sermon for today. Rock on, and God bless all musicians!

  163. Rawsie

    Very observant Ari.

    What’s that? You have a new album out? So blogging is your day job, yes?

  164. The chanting cow

    Greetings to all. I was hoping to hear from other musicians about matters that affect us as players and as people. Sadly I find the comment page is clogged up with angry folk who wish to do nothing but make sure their opinion is heard above all others. I will come back from time to time and see if anyone has made any progress.
    Remember to try and be kind to each other. After all isn’t listening what a musician is supposed to be good at?
    Be well everyone, Moo

  165. Greg

    I respectfully disagree,
    Yelling out Freebird was NEVER actually funny!

  166. LiRockstar

    I guess this is either an “attempt” at humor or you’re a very arrogant, impatient individual. The answers you provide are juvenile and give musicians a bad name, and they make you appear completely discontent when it seems you’re quite successful.

    And only singers would hear that they should try out for AI and the Voice (and like karaoke), NOT musicians, and that is generally a compliment, seeing as it’s stated because someone thinks you’re good enough to succeed there, oh and it’s also a compliment if someone says you sound like EVH or Celine Dion, etc.

    We have enough stuck up musicians in the world, be humble and grateful sir.

  167. Steve S.

    He: “Do you still play music?”
    Me: “Yeah, are you still a doctor?”

  168. shill

    Ive been professional musician all my life
    I am noww 66 and thus article us right on point

  169. Paul

    How about:

    1. I usually put a D-flat in there

    2. We couldn’t hear you at the back.

    3. Don’t they give you a chance to tune up?

  170. Ana-M

    LOL. I loved this (and it also genuinely made me laugh at loud at my OTHER job because instead of working I’m reading this article). I’d like to add that this is definitely a confidence booster. 😉

  171. Jean

    I just read this & I’m dyin’ here… “You should be on American Idol.” I WILL SLAP YOU!
    Epic! I love it!

  172. Mark

    You guy’s commenting on this post have no idea what music really is it’s all about, cults, myth’s, social problem’s, gang’s and especially competition.

  173. Nathaniel

    Well now. I agree with some of what Ari has posted. It would be very nice if the music industry would be treated with a little more respect. We musicians work just as hard as most perfecting our craft, and we wear our souls on our sleeves, taking constant emotional hits because of this hoping for our music to be accepted by at least a small part of the general public. But, Ari, we are still human beings and should hold ourselves up to the same level of humility as everyone else. I would propose that as musicians, we need to be more humble than most people. Being on a stage, it is easy to let it get to your head that you are high and mighty, but in fact, we are not. We are just normal people doing what we love to do, just as a welder loves to weld and just as a carpenter loves to create with wood. Most of what you said up there was very condescending and belittling to anyone who is not a musician. Sure, we often get belittled by others but that does not mean we should do it right back. I don’t know about you, but I play simply because I love to play and I have no idea what else I would ever do with my life. I would love to always be able to make a living at it, but if not, I will find something to do on the side so that I can keep doing what I love to do. Yes, I would love some respect and appreciation for the hard work that I put in, but hey, even if people jeer and boo me, it aint gonna stop me from playing.

  174. mentalcase

    can you imagine if in the old days we could comment on stuff people wrote in the local paper? Just a thought from a lonely drummer.

  175. Elrayoex

    Making a living as a musician is difficult to say the least. If you call yourself a musician, you need to be able to read and write music. On score sheets. If you can’t do that along with having a thorough understanding of music theory, you are not a musician. You are at most, an entertainer. Much like any other true profession, a musician by definition must be qualified in the field of music. Seems simple, but many people don’t get it. If you have those credentials you can make a living either in studio work, performing, or teaching music. If you don’t, you are limited to studio work (but you have to convince producers, arrangers, engineers and more importantly, paying clients) or performing. Also, musicians and entertainers love music industry oriented jokes. Keep ’em coming/

    • Lobo

      mu·si·cian (noun)
      a person who plays a musical instrument, especially as a profession, or is musically talented.

  176. Yeah, okay calm down it's just an article.

    Summary: Just don’t say things that hurt my feelings.

    Yeah, alright seems like a fair argument to make around a bunch of anonymous pricks who want to hurt peoples feelings. And I’ll stop saying free bird when you play the damn tune.

  177. thekitchenshrink

    I’ve got a number 13 for ya.

    After hearing something you like, don’t ask for “requests” by saying:

    Can you play……..? (fill in the blank here with: stairway to heaven, la bamba, classical gas, or another hopelessly overplayed piece that you wouldn’t dream of learning because you might not survive hearing it ever again in this lifetime)

  178. Some guy

    At first glance of this article I wouldn’t say that it is egotistical, but really just more of a rant by a very frustrated hardworking musician. I have to say being a musician or artist is and always has been just really hard. I can recall seeing lots of movies or documentaries with people referring back to parents or family members that had a hard life and never had a lot of money because they played music. It has gotten even harder throughout the years not only because of technology, but because every time a new hit artist comes out with their own music and or gimmick, it immediately raises the bar for everyone else playing music. If you think about all the music that has come out over the years its hard to imagine how high the bar is to not only put out amazing music and put on an amazing performance, but very original as well.

  179. Casey Cortez

    I think it was a very good list. I saw some negative comments, but I think those people could not possibly be real musicians. A real musician does not have delusions of grandeur. We play and write and record simply because we MUST play, write and record. This is not a “hobby” for me as one of those posts said. I was always a poet… not because I wanted to… but because I had to get it out. Very few have seen what I write. I wasn’t thinking about who would see my poem AS I WAS WRITING IT. The same goes for my recordings… I’m not thinking, “This is gonna be a hit!!” I just had something to say and I had to say it with music.

    People who aren’t musicians will NEVER understand what it feels like to us. Of course, I’d like to make money and provide for myself and my family with my art, but it’s the thing I do the best and it makes me very happy. The hours I practice alone… with no one listening… brings me joy. The recordings I create make me happy. The gigs I do make me happy. What else can we expect from this life?

  180. indigetal

    Interesting article, I am currently doing research on concert-goers, particularly of indie-rock shows. One of the reoccurring themes that I keep on seeing is this dichotomy of people who are passionate about music but have a casual reaction to both musicians and performance. As a genre/sphere within music, indie-rock shows tend to be small and more personal, allowing indie-rock fans with lots of opportunities to meet with and talk to their favorite bands before and after shows. Musicians can be seen sitting at merch booths, ordering drinks at the bar, having a cigarette outside, or carrying equipment through the venue space to the stage. Yet, I have noticed overwhelmingly concert-goers ignore the musicians except for when they are performing. When they speak to them at the merch booth it is usually a casual complement added in between questions like “how much is the album” and “how small is the small t-shirt?”

    I searched the internet to see what the artists’ perspective is on this and found this article. Like many people have mentioned it is a negative piece, but I would like to know what musicians would actually like to hear or talk about with their fans. You mention that they like to hear that they are great and original, but could you say more about that? I’m now thinking I should look up the band members names and where they’re from before a show so I can say hi while using their name and identify myself as a knowledgeable fan of their stuff.

    But using that same logic, I’m not confident to strike up a conversation because I might not be able to go into too much detail about their careers – a lot of times I just like a couple of songs and want to see what they sound like live. I might be wrong to think that, maybe they don’t want to talk about their music like I’m spontaneously conducting an interview. I would like to strike up a conversation when I see a band member sitting alone at the merch booth or standing at the bar. I feel like I lost an opportunity to offer my help carrying equipment up a flight of stairs at the last concert that I went to.

    Basically, I want to be able to identify myself as a fan, but the stereotypical fan is a diehard fanatic and that almost never describes my interest in a band (I’m also a little guilty of that casual reaction phenomenon mentioned earlier). I don’t think explaining that I only like 3 songs out of 4 albums is a compliment at first blush, but liking 3 songs to me means that I am likely to be listening to them into old age. In any case, one of my goals is to figure out why indie-rock concert-goers, in particular, don’t communicate with their favorite bands when given the opportunity.

    To that end, I would like to hear a musicians perspective. For instance, what would an ideal conversation with a fan go like? Would it be the fan gushing about how great they think the band is while the musician watches amused and laughs and thanks them? Wouldn’t that get old after the thousandth time (and wouldn’t you start to despise the simpletons who grovel at your feet)? Even considering people who aren’t necessarily fanboys, what do musicians who have been on the road for 4 months, sitting in a merch booth alone, waiting to play their 70th show in a row want to talk about (assuming they want to chat at all), generally speaking?

  181. Bob Newbie

    Another thing you should not say to a musician: “I make dubstep, I’m a musician too!”

  182. Michael

    Something you should never say to someone who has gone to college/works extremely hard:
    “Music is my future career.”

  183. Mike

    1. So Are You Trying To Be A Musician
    A better question would be: So you are trying to make a living as as a musician?

    2. You Sound Like…
    Just depends. Someone once said I sounded like Ray Charles on a particular song. I took that as a compliment.

    3. You Should Try Out For American Idol
    I’m too old but for a younger singer, yes they should..

    4. When Am I Going To Hear You On The Radio?
    Technically I’ve been on the radio long ago but I don’t have much interest in recording so probably never.

    5. You Should Be On The Voice
    Sure. Why not?

    6. You Must Love Karaoke
    Don’t love it, but I’ve hosted Karaoke in the past and might again. It is what it is and I got paid.

    7. Can I Get On The List? Plus 1?
    At most of my gigs there is no “list” and if there is it’s mostly limited to wives and girlfriends.

    8. What’s Your Real Job?
    Ha! I tell people all the time i I haven’t had a real job in years.

    9. What’s your Backup Plan
    What’s yours? (good answer)

    10. It Will Be Great Exposure
    Meaning, it doesn’t pay. No thanks. (been there, done that)

    11. I Have A Great Idea For A Song
    Let’s hear it!

    12. Free Bird
    I do it at my friend’s gigs. My friends do it at mine. What can I say?


  184. Anonymous

    As a professional musician for many years, I can understand how #2 can be insulting (especially if they compare you to someone you really dislike) but myself, talking to other musicians would say, “are you influenced by____” or just ask who some of their influences are….

    and for the last one, we would always get request for “Mustang Sally”…love Wilson Pickett…but stop asking..

  185. Scott

    If someone takes the time to come up & talk to a musician; you have done something right. If they make a comment that annoys you without intending to do so, a snarky response is only going to piss them off. Pissing off potential fans isn’t going to make you popular. Popularity = financial success as a musician, so think about staying positive.

    If the comment someone makes is intended to be negative, feel free to take the gloves off. Just my .02

  186. BD

    maybe i’m showing my age here, but freebird stopped being funny in 87 not 97.

  187. Jim

    LOL, it takes a special kind of musician to be offended by compliments.

  188. Anonymous

    Stupid article. Freebird… Rocks
    The fuck out ; coming from 31 yr old school teacher .. Thank u v m

    • Joe M

      Hmmmm. No name, I bet you have never even played with yourself much less several bands in college….come on, you never made it into college lol…. Joe M.

    • Greg

      I don’t think the point of #12 is putting down the song, rather putting down the guy that thinks he’s funny by shouting “Freebird!” and there’s is always at least one of him in every crowd.

    • Jamie

      First off,you were like four years old in 1997.How would you know when something yelled at a bar in the nineties quit being funny? Secondly you sound like a pompous douchebag. I think you need to at least be somewhat famous before you start acting like a spoiled premadonna. Of course you are a millinial,so naturally you are spoiled and have a horrible sense of entitlement. Try being a bit more humble. You are in your early twenties and life hasn’t kicked your ass yet, but it will and when it does you will learn not to think of yourself as being so special. Being kind and caring towards other people is what is important in this life.Don’t let ignorant things people say, for example (” you sound like”…)offend you so much. Besides they are only trying to be supportive.

  189. Geary

    I agree with the ones trying to calm you the hell down about your false sense of what “most” people say to us as musicians. Fact is, most of these “compliments” or suggestions you present are just that…compliments and suggestions…no malice enjoined. Just take them as that…or be offended is fine too…especially if you haven’t already made music your living…as in…actually earning 80 grand a year to afford the normal things in life like home, family, studio, groceries, cars, utilities…etc. Deal with it dude. Seriously.

  190. Anonymous

    Sorry but these reasons are just pretty much butthurt. Especially the part I got a great Idea for a song, someone is just conversing. Wasn’t that bad but you had to draw a line. That’s just butthurt and no chill at all, honestly reading the reasons here just tells me how egoistic and proud you are as a musician. At the end, it’s still another job like an office job which requires set of skills. People would say the same, like “You must love accounting” or even “I got a great idea for your next portfolio”. There isn’t much to really even get mad about. Also just because I am posting anonymously doesn’t mean I am scared to go against you, I am just too lazy to make an account or some shit over this butthurt and stupid way of reasoning.

    Though I would agree with a few such as 1,2,4,8,12. But the rest are just concerns and normal conversation dialogs in everyday life. You are just overthinking over these stupid assumptions about being bitchy. I conclude that either you are egoistic or think too much over some simple stuff.

  191. The Grave Jinglers

    This is hilariously true. As a musician, I can definitely add a few to this list . . .

    13. “I think you would like this band I just heard . . .”
    I think they would like me.

    14. “You have to hear my nephew play. He is amazing.”
    Can’t wait.

    15. “Have you tried putting your music on YouTube?”
    Yes, there are only 1 billion videos on there now. I am sure that will work.

    16. “You need to come up with a gimmick”
    Yeah, I’ll put that meat dress on ASAP.

    17. “I just saw this awesome cover band last night”
    Cool, I’m sure they sounded just like Billy Joel (whom you could have actually seen play last night by the way).

    18. “I have a friend who works in the industry. I’ll get in touch with him.”
    Oh wow, he played guitar for Stevie Wonder’s nephew’s best friend’s daughter for that show in 1984 at the barbecue in LA. Yes, please tell him all about me.

    19. “I used to play all that stuff when I was in my 20s.”
    I am sure you did.

    20. “Slayer!”
    C’mon man, we’re not even a metal band.

    • Layla Bv

      ?? Completely true. Im a solo singer but I also get these. Im glad to see Im not the only one who gets these comments and questions. Like the reply hun

  192. Geno

    These are awesome! Please add for young musicians, “You’ll never make it in music. It’s way too competitive.”

  193. Anonymous

    I don’t know how “digital music” could be considered music. One thing that really bothers me is when people say music is basically just sound, and then call themselves musicians. To me, it is more than sound, it is what the person is doing to bring out that kind of sound. For instance, when I play the piano, I have to stroke the keys in a certain way to bring out a certain kind of sound. It would not be music to literally sit on your ass all day trying to figure out on the computer what sounds good lol. You also have to think about the technical stuff to. When you sit on your ass trying to figure out what sounds good on the computer, and then go to a dam page of music, and can’t read a dam note, then your not a musician. Your literally just making sound. So from now on, I will call “digital music”, digital art. It may be an art, but its definitely not music. If you play the guitar, and all you do is bang on it and shit, then your not a musician. All your literally doing is making sound. Try to figure out a way to bring out the sound you want without having to bang on it. FOR INSTANCE, lets just imagine your a guy and you have a girlfriend. YOU WOULD NOT BEAT THE SHIT OUT OF YOUR GIRLFRIEND, because that would be wrong. You would treat her the way she wants to be treated. Same way with the instrument. You would treat it the way its supposed to be treated. Therefore, you can find a way to bring out the right sound. To stroke my keys on the piano, I have to stroke the keys vertically to bring out a soft sound. To make a loud sound, I have to pull my hands back quick. And its all done with the wrist. Then I have to focus on everything else to, like fingering and the rhythm and all that. This is why people like Mozart were fucking smart. They weren’t on a fuckin computer, trying to figure out what sounds good. I mean, obviously, they weren’t born in our decade. but you get my point. Or banging on their dam instruments so they can make them loud. That’s not what makes someone a musician.

  194. MusicianWithoutGirlfriendegHomeless

    Cool article. I now have some more ammo to wind up my wanna-be muso mates. It’s gonna be epic.

  195. SismoGrande

    If someone said to me, “hey, you sound a lot like Charley Patton”, I’d say thanks man. Everything must come from somewhere…the deeper your roots, the deeper your point of reference, the better your art. That is, as long as you don’t appropriate. Be influenced and guided by those who came before you. Drive your Prius back to say 1930, get out. Shut your mouth, open your eyes and ears, and start walking, SLOWLY…to 2020. There are things that you will hear that will make your head spin. However, that takes time, effort, humility, and massive amounts of patience. Do not be put off by comments and stupid, passive aggressive questions from laymen, they don’t know what to say, but they always feel inclined to have to say “something”. Just smile and move on. You know the difference between the sacred and the profane.

  196. Layla Bv

    Amazing post. Im a professional singer and I have been told and been asked these questions/comments too and Inhave to say it does really annoy me. It makes you feel like what your doing isnt a real job and that you arent original enough or that those around yoi dont really support you. As I singer you should feel that support around you because while you are doing music because you love it, Your also doing it for everyone else and want everyone else to enjoy it and relate to it as much as you do.