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Mr. P.C.'s Guide to Jazz Etiquette...

Best of 2012

By Published: December 3, 2012
It's a vicious cycle: drummers, distracted by their timekeeping duties, can rush or drag so badly that a three-hour gig feels like six hours to all the other band members. So the musicians want to be paid for six hours, and the leader wants to pay for just one. Stuck in the middle, the poor hapless drummer can't keep time to anyone's satisfaction, and the stress only makes him rush and drag even more.

Dear Mr. P.C.:

I just went on YouTube and found out there's a really crappy video of me playing with some lame musicians. I got pretty upset. Is there really nothing I can do about it? Fred T., Boston

Dear Fred:

Of course there's something you can do about being upset—just stop dwelling on the negative, and pay a visit to your happy place!

Mine is the memory of a very special moment early in my career. I was playing a solo gig as a volunteer at the local psychiatric institution when a middle-aged woman ran into the room, her mouth sealed by duct tape. She sat close to me on the piano bench, fragrant with medication, and began furiously attempting to sing. Duct tape isn't shed easily, but she was so moved by my playing that one side of her mouth eventually broke free. It turned out that she was improvising her own lyrics, a combination of the Gettysburg Address and the Book of Job. I went right there with her, bursting into passionate free improvisation that became her underscore.

Before I knew it, she tried to kiss me, and her mouth got stuck to the side of my face. It was the first time I'd ever seduced a woman with my playing, and I realized I was blessed with a powerful gift; one that I was obliged to share with man/womankind. I didn't even mind our eventual painful separation, though it did rip a layer of skin from my cheek.

How strange and enchanting that the two of us, both destined for groundbreaking careers, should meet in this chance encounter! I, of course, parlayed my interests in psychology and music to become the doctor so many of you depend on. She headed east with her duct tape, took the stage name of Thorazine, and was the toast of New York's performance art community before a rehearsal mishap led to her untimely death by suffocation.

Dear Mr. P.C.:

Now that so many people have smart phones, there's no more conversation with my band mates on our breaks. Each guy just starts texting, or surfing the net, or playing his favorite app.

It used to be that "the hang" was one of the best things about gigs, but now it doesn't exist, because there's no one to talk to. Everyone's in his own separate cyber world, and it makes me really sad.

What am I supposed to do on my break now that the hang is gone?

Apps Leave One No Entry


There's an app for that! With iHang, you can hang with anyone you want, anywhere, anytime! Lonely on break? Ditch the game geeks in your band and spend time with people who share your love of social interaction.

When your break ends, iHang is just beginning! Up on the bandstand, mid-tune, you can pretend to be reading chord changes from the iBook, while in reality you're hanging with friends—even other guys in other bands, in the middle of other tunes! What could be better?

Once you tell your tech-savvy band mates about iHang, they'll be all over it! Soon you'll be hanging with them more than ever—on your break and on the bandstand; before, after and during tunes. You'll happily say farewell to those archaic analog days you've been longing for.

iHang: Better than being there!

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