The other night, I saw a commercial for a new TV show, which is actually a re-make of an older show called "Don't Forget the Lyrics." You can guess the premise: karaoke singers have to try to keep singing without a prompter and hilarity ensues.
Today, I saw this picture of Tom Petty on stage during his recent tour. In between the sound monitors, you see a teleprompter that presumably will keep him from being a contestant on "DFTL."
Bruce Springsteen, another one of my favorite artists, has been using prompters for years. I guess they are becoming the norm now. But, I have to wonder why.
I know these guys have written a ton of songs. When you play them night after night, you might get lost and jumble a verse or two. But, that's kind of what makes going to a concert such a cool experience.
Is this current trend just a nod to technology, or does fronting a band for decades fry the circuits in your brain and make it hard to remember your own poetry?
Anybody got any thoughts on this?
I saw a Bomb the Music Industry! concert where Jeff Rosenstock (the lead singer) skipped to the third verse and nobody but him noticed. He stopped and told us all what happened, went back and tried to do it again, but totally lost the second verse. Every time he started to play he would keep jumping to the third verse (and the audience kept singing along, regardless), stop and go back. Finally he just stood there for 30 seconds thinking about it until he figured it out, and played it correctly.
It wasn't a perfect show, but it was certainly memorable and amusing and perhaps better than just hearing a song sung exactly like the album.
That being said, it's probably not a good idea to screw up every song just to make things memorable.
you sit and write a song (songs) in the intimacies of your own time and space....then after travel,interviews ,cities,musicians,venues,lights,crowds, crowds noise, bad substitute drummers,years,life,fans,kids,cunts,critics,taxes, and........2..3...4..you're on........
now you have to remember the 3rd verse....
I am a believer that there is only so much room in your brain. Everytime you file something in there, something has to go out. It may be the name of your seventh grade gym teacher, where you put your keys that morning or the lyrics to a song. The older you get, the larger your files are. I guess performers just dont want to have one of those moments in front of 20,000 people.
Doesn't it also potentially mean an end to spontaneity? Will a singer be as likely to riff on a verse and tinker with the words if he's reading along? Will the band be willing to rip into something not on the set list if the song won't be ready to roll on the prompter? Yet another reason to forgo the stadium gig and see a hungry young band in a club.
5 comments about this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Drew Olson
Published April 26, 2017
Have you wondered why, after 19 years, Drew Olson is no longer talking about baseball on the Bob & Brian show? Here's his answer, though you may not find it very satisfying.
Published March 2, 2011
Remember when video was an exciting, vital part of the music industry? I'd forgotten, too, until I saw the latest from Dropkick Murphys.
Published Jan. 20, 2011
If you enjoyed the faux Wrangler commercial last year on "Saturday Night Live," you may really like this video, which has more detail and is circulating quickly on the Web.
Published Jan. 10, 2011
If they were stung by the smoking ban last summer, local bar owners are reaping some benefits courtesy of the local football teams.
Published Dec. 30, 2010
The SURG Restaurant Group, which operates Carnevor, Umami Moto, Charro and other properties, will take over ownership of Ryan Braun's Waterfront restaurant.
Published Dec. 12, 2010
Waukesha native Frank Caliendo will end his stint as a performer at the Monte Carlo in Las Vegas. Caliendo wants to pursue things that allow him to spend more time with his family.
Published Dec. 10, 2010
A child's essay and a few random photos provide a subtle reminder of the joys of pet ownership.
Published Nov. 15, 2010
Few things are more enjoyable than a great bowl of soup, especially when the weather takes a slow turn toward winter.
Published Nov. 7, 2010
The end of Daylight Savings Time is more than just a day to change batteries in the smoke detector. It's a day of reflection.
Published Oct. 31, 2010
Bucks guard Brandon Jennings and mascot Bango are featured in a new promotional spot for ESPN.