Thursday, August 20, 2015


I've played a lot of gigs over the years. As a musician, the great challenge of my life is to make a living--to find the projects that are most lucrative and, frankly, performing doesn't make that list. Some cats make a lot of money gigging out; I'm not one of them. For me, however, gigs are their own reward. I live for them. They remind me of the magic that I need to capture in all my studio projects--the magic of artist and listener sharing a moment. So, while there's not much money in it, I've tried to keep playing as much as I can. And I hope that as I get older I'll always have someone to play with and somewhere to play. Some gigs are amazing. Some aren't. Some are downright bizarre. And sometimes, as the years go by, I forget the unique and weird circumstances around bygone shows. I've been thinking back, lately, through the old mental scrapbook and I wanted to take this opportunity to jot down some random gigs that I remember. I chose to mention these, not necessarily because they're my favorites, but simply because they make me say to myself, "Yeah, that happened."

Note: The following examples include experiences with various bands, ranging from Provo-based rock bands to university performing groups to solo work.

Here we go...

I once played the Confetti Antiques and Books release party for one of the Twilight books. Attendees were mostly pre-teen girls and middle-aged women. And the band was in black tie for some reason.

I once sang the Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Can't Stop" to a basketball arena full of screaming freshmen at BYU's new student orientation. No one in the audience or band knew what that song is about. Still don't.

I played an ABBA medley in Stockholm to such thunderous cheering and applause you'd have thought we were ABBA in the flesh.

I once improvised a song for a live audience in the middle of a pop/rock set. The lyrics described the story of an audience member who ran over a sheep on the way to seminary. I'm never doing that again.

My good friend and I won a songwriting competition and I played our winning entry at a replica pioneer village. My self-confidence was so bolstered that night that I actually successfully flirted with my crush. Yep. Victory.

I once sang at a prison.

Lindsey Stirling opened for my band once.

At a competition, my band once beat Imagine Dragons.

I once played a rock song for a stadium full of people and got booed by the country fans in the front who were there to see Brad Paisley. Also, I got my picture taken with Brad Paisley.

I played "Fire" by Jimi Hendrix with a one-gig band that included Robbie Connolly of Fictionist. He and I screamed into the same mic. For me, that's like saying I played Basketball with LeBron James. I did not deserve to be on that stage that night, but I have never been so possessed by the spirit of rock and roll.

I once sang "Billie Jean" at a Mother's Day event at Deseret Book across the street from Temple Square, with the temple in full view. I felt so awkward about singing those lyrics in that setting that I changed the words to "Billie Jean is not my mother." Yeah, it made no sense.

I played my wife a love song I wrote for her at our wedding reception, thereby technically making our wedding reception a gig. Best. Gig. Ever.

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