Hecklers 2: Electric Booooooo-galoo
Rocks Off got so many great stories from bands about hecklers that we are proud to present Hecklers 2: Electric Booooooo-galoo. Sorry, the editor has cut our pun budget in half and we have to import sub-standard puns from a disreputable manufacturer in Thailand.
DR. MILO T. PINKERTON III, CONSORTIUM OF GENIUS
Of course we of the C.O.G. (above) ensure that we have high-quality hecklers by planting them in the audience!
This of course ties in with our 22-second masterpiece "Free Bird," which usually gets half the audience involved once somebody starts the timeless trope of requesting a certain Southern-fried '70s anthem. Luckily, we of the C.O.G. generally have no problem starting this befeathered ball rolling...
I personally have never heckled, but my assistant and overall nuisance Filbert Snodgrass, Jr., Scientist in Training, has been known to heckle our opening acts. Occasionally it takes a well-placed wedgie to straighten out his sense of decorum!
I don't have a heckling story; I guess our enemies have just whispered behind our backs. However, I do have a cell phone story. When I lived in New Orleans, I was in a choir. We were in the middle of a performance, with an audience of a couple hundred people.
In the middle of a piece, someone's cell phone started ringing. Our director cut us off, turned around, and asked the person to leave, before starting the piece from the beginning. I would like to think I'd have the girl-balls to do something similar if someone was truly being an asshole.
Well, there are hecklers...and then there are drunks. I deal with the latter a lot. Sometimes the two are synonymous, but I've never had a true heckler. Just good-natured fun.
I would say when you do get a hardcore heckler it depends on your mood...90 percent of the time you should just ignore them. Since my amp goes up to "11," I could just turn up...and problem solved. But if I were in a touchy/feely mood, I'd probably mess with them right back. Having a live mic, I'd always win, of course.
Drunks always want attention, so they'll try to come up onstage uninvited or demand some obscure song request. There's never a good bouncer or security person when you need one, either...
I would only heckle another heckler, just to show them I could do it much better.
I've learned the best thing to do is to ignore the heckler, then have stage management pull them to the back, beat the fuck out of them, bring their bloody mangled bodies to the front, and display them as an example.
JENNIFER KIMBALL, FISKADORO
We played the Nightmare, in Dallas, last September. There turned out to be some time to kill before our set, so we hung around outside talking to the locals. One of these was a gentleman of indeterminate age who seemed to have obtained his wardrobe, his haircut and his intoxicants from Bobby Gillespie's ad in the High Times classifieds.
He learned that I played bass and talked to me for 20 minutes straight about a woman bass player that he knew who had played with Jeff Beck. At one point I realized that he had convinced himself that we sounded like Jeff Beck, and nothing I said could change his mind - comparisons to bands that we are told we do sound like, the fact that nobody associated with Fiskadoro listens to Jeff Beck - he would just change the subject back to "Do you ever play [Jeff Beck song]?"
So after this guy had spent hours waiting for this totally boss Jeff Beck tribute band to take the stage, on went Fiskadoro. He lasted for about a song and a half before making a big show of throwing his hands up and storming out during "Safe," as always, our biggest crowd-pleaser.
Jef With One F is the author of The Bible Spelled Backwards Does Not Change the Fact That You Cannot Kill David Arquette and Other Things I Learned In the Black Math Experiment, available now.
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