So just ignore 'em

To paraphrase Sun Tzu: Know your audience.

The Redneck Bar with its Random Judges is not my audience. It’s pretty obvious. So I thought I’d play another set, this time using one of the gracious Hosts’ names, sorta. They kept me up there for six songs. The Random Judges didn’t even bother scoring me. It’s my last set at the Redneck Bar. Listen for the sheer Why Not of it.

Here’s the set list:

Torch (song from around ’94)
I Don’t Wanna Sleep (around 2005)
Please Come Home (around 1992)
Your Letter (around 1990)
I Want You to Want Me (around Rockford)
Five Days (around 2003)


Yes, I brought an iPad. Because, that’s why.


So long, Redneck Bar!

Maybe it doesn't matter

So I thought to myself as I was rehearsing: this is ridiculous. You’re the only one who has any skin in this game. The Random Judges don’t care what you play, even if you write a song called A Song for the Judge Who Gave Me a Six in Originality Last Week.

I was right. It doesn’t matter.

I played a short set. Here’s the setlist:

I’m Up
See the Light
Your Heart Breaks Apart
Move On
A Song for the Judge Who Gave Me a Six in Originality Last Week (probably not a good song to play at work. Unless you’re a hooker.)*

The score cards are below. I was pretty much finished with this rodeo anyway.


I suppose I cared at the time.


I dunno.


“Great original!”, yet a 7 for Originality. Brilliant. That song is for you, buddy. And your mom.

* I considered a Bleeped version of A Song for the Judge Who Gave Me a Six in Originality Last Week, but I thought it might just be as pointless an exercise as performing at the Redneck Bar, so cover your ears, all you unattended-by-adults out there.

Maybe it's live

Been a while.

In the last month, I’ve played live about eight times, rehearsed at least that many times, and welcomed a new boss at my job. Busy? You bet. But let us not tarry on that. Instead, we should turn to the very recent past. Wednesday night, in fact.

I played an open mic on my own* for the first time in three months, on a 24-hour whim. Why? Because I’d seen so many open mics over the past few months, and although I’m enjoying the band life, I really wanted to play some of my own songs in front of humans. So, of course, I picked a redneck bar. I practiced for about an hour and headed to the venue. Did I mention the pollen count and its toll on my voice? Of course not. I’m a gentleman. I signed up with the name “El Tigre del Baño” because I didn’t want to confuse anyone, and went onstage around 10:30pm with three songs “prepared”.

Fun Fact: they have Random Judges who are given Score Sheets on which the Random Judge is asked to score the performer on various, undefined Categories:

  • Vocals
  • Originality
  • Stage Presence
  • Crowd Reaction
  • Set Up / Break Down**

As usual, this is more of a popularity contest than anything else. The Random Judges, whomever they might be, are at the redneck bar to drink, not to be imposed upon to score a lot of people they don’t know who are making noises onstage. I sympathize with that aspect of their difficult assignments. More than anything, I take umbrage with the daffy categories (and the vaguely metal/cargo stencil font). But, the Random Judges are doing their thing, and I can dig it… to a point. However, after playing six of my own songs that don’t sound anything like what was played onstage by other performers that night or on the radio—one of those songs being made up completely on the spot*** because I didn’t prepare more than three songs—one of the Random Judges gave me a 6 for Originality. Yes, a six. Out of the typical ten. I realize I’d chosen a redneck bar to play songs that don’t have much in common with cowboy hats, pickup trucks and formulaic crap with a pedal steel overdubbed to make it authentic country, so mea culpa there. But: a six? I was bemused.

Later that night, when I finally returned to the quiet couch upon which I write most of these missives****, my brain started to realize that it’s okay that a Random Judge found my Originality was only worth a six. Of course, this is okay because I can judge his/her judging. With this in mind, I immediately wrote a new song which will be played live next Wednesday at said redneck bar. I don’t know if I’ll post it here, because it’s about this Random Judge’s mother*****, and I don’t want her to to feel cheap and tawdry in public. She’s Fair Game, because the redneck bar is in a country with Free Speech and such. Also, it’s an Original song, although it might be considered crude and a little too Penthouse Forum******. Also, I might be asked to leave the Redneck Bar and not return (my feelings won’t be hurt). I hope the Random Judge, whom I don’t know, won’t mind me singing a little ditty about his/her mother’s Special Abilities. Because I don’t mind singing about them. But it might be considered Sensitive Material, so you might want to go to the redneck bar open mic next Wednesday (May 1, 2013, for all you future-based visitors) and decide for yourself. You can find a contact link at the bottom of the page if you’re interested.


Final setlist:

  1. See the Light
  2. Wakeup Call (The Hard Goodnight)
  3. Honeysuckle Girl
  4. Back to You
  5. Out of the Blue (abandoned for tuning reasons)
  6. New Song
  7. Five Days (with my pal Michele on harmonies)

(Click here to follow along with your very own copy of the set)


I’m not bitter. I’m motivated.

* That is to say: not an open mic with a band.

** Really? Scoring Set Up / Break Down on an open mic? Must’ve been a gimme. Unless they’re going with a different definition of each.

*** True story. I played some rhythm in A and started belting out lyrics. It starts at 19:49, if you’re curious. I’ll probably turn it into a song and put it here soon.

**** Except for this one, being written during a late lunch at a restaurant.

***** Whoever that Random Judge is… I was not introduced.

****** It might be a pleasant exercise to post a bleeped version of the song here, though.