In my many years of playing music, people have occasionally spoken to me while on the job. These are some of the most memorable nuggets.
“Stop playing dance music!”
– Screamed by a mother-of-the-bride as the band quietly played “Take 5”
“Play the Brandenburg Concerto.”
“There are six of them.”
“You know the one.”
“And they’re for chamber orchestra. I’ve just this piano here.”
“You can do it. You know you can.”
“No, I’m sorry, but I can’t. It’s not a work for solo piano.”
“I’m going to walk away now and I expect you to play it. If you don’t, I’ll speak to your manager!”
– Neiman Marcus customer
“Look, I know we hired you to play music, but we don’t really want to hear you.”
– Marketing guy for corporate event
"I can't offer you any money for this gig, but you can pass out your card."
– Every sleazy music contractor ever
“I’m sorry, but this piano is horribly out of tune and there are some dead keys. I’m not sure I can play it.”
“Don’t worry about it, no one is listening.”
– Woman at society gig
“Johnny, sit here and listen to the nice piano player while mommy goes shopping.”
– Every Nordstrom customer ever
“Is there more than one bathroom on this boat? I think I’m going to be sick.”
“Would you mind stepping outside immediately, sir?”
– Exchange with passenger on bay cruise
“I want you to play Christmas music for the next four hours. And don’t repeat any songs.”
“But there are only a couple of dozen recognizable Christmas songs.”
“Do it or I’ll find someone who will.”
– Exchange with Nordstrom store manager
"You can't set up there."
"Why not? This is the perfect place for the band."
"The sniper on the hill over there needs a clear shot."
– Exchange with person in dark glasses at presidential event
"Wait, you're making more money per hour than I am? Why?"
"Because it would take me three months to learn and do your job and it would take you 25 years to do mine."
– Exchange with assistant restaurant manager
“Play [insert obscure song here].”
“I’m sorry sir, I don’t know that one.”
“Where the hell did they find you?”
– Exchange with Chris Matthews
“I’m sorry sir, could you move your drink off my keyboard?”
“Why should I?”
“Because it’s worth more than your life.”
“Particularly nice weather we’re having.”
– Exchange with old drunk
“PLAY FREEBIRD! PLAY FREEBIRD! PLAY FREEBIRD! PLAY FREEBIRD! PLAY FREEBIRD! PLAY FREEBIRD! PLAY FREEBIRD! PLAY FREEBIRD! PLAY FREEBIRD! PLAY FREEBIRD! PLAY FREEBIRD! PLAY FREEBIRD! PLAY FREEBIRD! PLAY FREEBIRD! PLAY FREEBIRD! PLAY FREEBIRD!”
– Every bar gig ever