I've not busked-for-money on the mean streets, but stuck in forgotten Northern towns, we'd venture into the streets to promote gigs, cardboard-and-sharpie signs announcing our intent. One fine day, two of us were filling the air with song, having just finished a delicious, all-day breakfast portion of hamaneggs. Mid-song, a dear elderly woman stops before me, staring up into my singing face, inside the circle of comfort, so intent on my mug that I got the giggles and started making faces at her unwavering stare. Finally, song ended. I waited for her reaction. "You look like an a$$h*le," was all she said before resuming her journey. Thirty years on, guess how my former bandmate still greets me?
The street corner above notwithstanding, I'm hard-pressed to think of an embarrassing moment onstage. I wonder if we have predilection as musicians toward immunity from embarrassment. Our role is, after all, to let it all hang out in public. The studio environment seems far more fraught with opportunity for blushes. I wish I could tell you I had a memorable moment where my pants fell down mid-song and I had to finish before I could pull them up, but alas... Let me ponder further. I must be forgetting something.
I waited too long to get a Stratocaster. Returning a rented PA with gig money burning in my pocket, I saw a gorgeous Candy Apple red Strat, albeit from the cheaper Squier line, but that fit the budget, and every now and then you can find that gem of a guitar that works, despite cheaper labour and construction. I decided to try it, and while I was at it, I had the salesman bring down another red one and a translucent cream version with gold hardware, all around the same price point, but my eye was on the metal flake in the first instrument. Plugged in the cream guitar first. Loved it, quackalicious Strat tone. Didn't make me Mark Knopfler out of the box but pointed me in the direction. Flat red next. Dull. Lifeless. Dead. No hint of personality. Disappointing. But now... the candy queen, sparkling away... as red and dead as the 2nd. Nothing I could do but lock down the cream machine. On first gig a fan noted, "Your guitar sounds perky!" It's been called "Nipples" ever since.
“You made this party not suck.”