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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Your Yoko

posted by on May 13 at 12:40 PM

chickendance.jpgA sort of known band plays in a sort of filled club. The crowd stands back from the stage. Some people are engaged in the music. Others are not. No one dances. Except her.

She’s front and center, drunk on vodka tonics, and singing every word. She wildly acts out the parts of the songs and knows the changes. It’s interpretive movement, but it’s interpreted by a cheerleader on acid, on a trampoline. Her gaze is thrown toward one spot on the stage and you realize she’s the guitar player’s girlfriend.

I received a letter from a singer who asked not to be named. He writes:

I’m sick of our guitar player’s girlfriend. She ruins our shows with her stupid dancing. It’s embarrassing watching her hop around like a wounded chicken. She sings louder than I do. She’s like our Yoko. I don’t know what to do it about and was wondering if you could do one of your “Band Politics” things on it.

My response:

Dear Singer, get your head out of your ass. Your band is not big enough to have a Yoko. And people dancing to and singing your songs? That’s a good thing. Are you really at a point where you can complain about having fans? That girl is taking time out of her life to come to your show, know your words, and get excited about your music. She’s also buying drinks from the bar.

If she’s getting too drunk, sit down with her and the guitar player and bring it up in a positive way. Tell her you really appreciate her being at the shows. If you come down on her it will crush her, and completely piss off your guitar player. Avoid turmoil, be thankful for her, and approach the subject with respect. If she sings louder than you do, take some vocal lessons.

Next up: The Male Yoko.

RSS icon Comments


Trent, I totally agree with your take.

When you are a crappy local band playing on a Tuesday night to a half-empty room having ANYONE go nuts is a good thing. If you get one person to dance, chances are others will join.

My advice to this dude is to chill the fuck out. If having an audience of one that totally digs your band is too much for him, he is really full of himself.

Posted by Jeff | May 13, 2008 1:00 PM

To be fair, she's into the guitar player, not the band. It's being into him and also being territorial -- She also has to be there so another woman doesn't come along and try to pick him up.

That said, maybe she dances like Elaine Benes. Who wants to see that or, even worse, be responsible for the sounds that make a woman convulse just so?

Posted by Jason Josephes | May 13, 2008 1:04 PM

Jason makes a good point - convulse as a verb usually makes for an unpleasant visual.

The chicken dance is a more a twitch though, isn't it?

Still though, I'd rather have a chicken dance than no dance at all.

Posted by trent moorman | May 13, 2008 1:09 PM

If you have the time to bitch about your bandmates chick flopping up and down like the fish in that Faith No More video while you play then you aren't trying hard enough. Maybe if you put the effort you have for bitching into your music you might have some more groupies and you wouldn't have to obsess about your guitar players.

Posted by drheavy | May 13, 2008 1:31 PM

It's important to remember that Yoko's reputation for destroying the Beatles didn't have anything to do with her getting drunk and dancing at Beatles concerts.

Also, when my girlfriend (or one of my bandmates' girlfriends) gets drunk and dances at our no-name band's shows, I'm just pleased as punch at her enthusiasm.

Posted by Hernandez | May 13, 2008 1:40 PM

somebody needs to get seriously laid.
a LOT.

Posted by reverend dr dj riz | May 13, 2008 2:01 PM

Coming from the drunken girl POV, I am sure she didnt realize that she was acting obnoxiously "fowl" per se.

I think that Trent is right, as far as setting them down and discussing the problem.

I myself have been a drunken front row wife, and had people look at me like I was crazy! But I had the time of my life and I believe in everything that my husbands' band do, therefore, let us drunken ladies have a good time, and support those we love. Loathesome or not.

Posted by racheal.huffman | May 13, 2008 2:06 PM

@7, I wish I had a stadium of drunken front row wives.

Posted by Axeman | May 13, 2008 2:19 PM

I have been both the guitarist, and the girlfriend in this situation. I think they are both idiots.

Posted by WOLF BLITZER: SPECIAL REPORT | May 13, 2008 2:24 PM

What he needs to do is find a couple of dozen other people who dig his band enough to dance in front of them; then no one will notice her. Hmm.

Posted by Fnarf | May 13, 2008 2:28 PM

@8! How does one accomplish such a tour de force? That would be most excellent and impressive!


Posted by racheal.huffman | May 13, 2008 2:29 PM

I say give her a hand drum and a mic and invite her onstage to jam.

Posted by Mr_Friendly | May 13, 2008 2:32 PM

Maybe I should move to Utah.

JUST KIDDING. They don't drink do they?

Posted by Axeman | May 13, 2008 2:32 PM

I'm sorry, I didn't mean to be calling anyone idiots, but I beleive the following:

#2 - you are a good man! I hear ya on that, but the people who enjoy the music you make are a gift to you - straight from the Lord.... even the assholes.

However... if you are truly concerned with the art of performing/making music, it shouldn't matter who is in front of you when you're doing your thing.

Posted by WOLF BLITZER: SPECIAL REPORT | May 13, 2008 2:35 PM

Ah yes, polygamy. I think they sell/ serve drinks. I think that it is just at a much lower alcohol content. Oh wait. I think you can buy booze, at the State Liquor Stores.

Well, regardless. Good luck on your travels. winkwink!

Posted by racheal.huffman | May 13, 2008 2:39 PM

I once had my guitarist's girlfriend in the front row, drunk as hell, but rather than singing loudly or doing questionable dance moves, she was yelling repeatedly at the top of her lungs: "YOU GUYS *SUCK*!!" And even that was pretty goddamn funny. So consider yourself lucky.

Anyway, she's just preparing you for the day you get to play one of the outdoor street fairs, and 'Rainbow Scarf Guy' - who took too much acid in the 60's - shows up dancing in your front row. That could really throw you for a loop, were it not for your guitarist's girlfriend. Think of her as super-fan boot camp.

Posted by yep | May 13, 2008 3:41 PM

The singer is jealous of the guitar player, just like in Almost Famous

"we decided this a long time ago, i'm the lead singer, and you're the guitar player with mystique!"

Posted by E | May 13, 2008 4:19 PM

I love this post. I love it in all its myriad ways, and I know all the people involved (if not specifically). #4 and #17 especially.

I never liked Yoko, but I liked Dar Williams' take on her: I won't be your Yoko Ono if you're not good enough for me.

Posted by East Coaster | May 13, 2008 9:34 PM

@18 - you don't know me. i am the blog commenter with mystique.

Posted by E | May 13, 2008 11:12 PM

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