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Booze in the Night, CD or Not CD?, and Malodorous Microphone

Booze in the Night, CD or Not CD?, and Malodorous Microphone
Mr. P.C. By

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Dear Mr. P.C.:

What are you supposed to do with loud drunks? The kind that love to scream at each other when you're in the middle of a tender ballad.

—Songus Interruptus


Dear Songus:

Here's my question for you: Which is a more authentic expression of human emotions in the moment—your practiced licks, or the cries of those anguished patrons drinking away their sorrows?

I'm not surprised their emotional outpouring scares you. That's why you take cover behind your "tender ballad" and demand silence, knowing that their stories are so utterly wrenching that you, as a sensitive artist, could never bear them.

Dear Mr. P.C.:

I've heard some people say "Here's the first cut off my new CD." I've heard others say "Here's the first cut
on my new CD." Which is it: on or off?  

—Jeffrey C., Cincinnati


Dear Jeffrey:

Obviously if the CD includes that cut, the cut is on it. That's simple semantics. When an artist introduces a cut "off" his CD, it can only mean that the CD doesn't include it. 

That places the track in the very large body of music not contained on the disc; basically, every composition in musical history minus ten or so. Here's where it gets even more confusing: A cut off one artist's CD may or may not be on another's, while a cut on one artist's CD is always off everyone else's. That means an artist can introduce a song on his own CD as being off any CD he chooses, so for example, Kenny G. could accurately introduce "Songbird" as being off Coltrane's A Love Supreme.

Dear Mr. P.C.:

When an artist says "Here's a cut from my last CD," how can he be so sure he won't ever record another one?

—Pinkie


Dear Pinkie:

It's like when a boxer says he's fought his last fight, or a defeated candidate says an election will be his last run for office. Suddenly there's an outpouring of support for them—their fans urging them to stay in the game. 

Obviously this artist needs reassurance that his career is still viable. Is it really his last CD? Only if you don't answer his cry for help. 

Dear Mr. P.C.:

I was on a short festival tour and another artist gave me his CD, which I put in my suitcase along with my own. On my next gig, without thinking, I set out all the CDs for sale, and an audience member picked out the one I'd been given and wanted to buy it. 

First of all, what an insult to me! Second, I wasn't going to listen to it anyway, so I'm wondering if it would have been okay to sell it. 

—Selling CDs As Mine


Dear SCAM:

No one really listens to CDs anymore, so from the perspective of the artist who gave you his disc, it's only a matter of who doesn't listen to it: you, or the person asking to buy it. 

Being ignored by an audience member is something every jazz artist is used to; being ignored by a fellow artist is insulting. Don't ignore his music, SCAM—leave that to someone with less discriminating ears.

Dear Mr. P.C.:

Microphone hygiene, the singer's nightmare. When I sit in at a jam session, the mike is coated with dried saliva from all the other singers who have put their lips against it and/or accidentally spit at it while they sing. Sometimes it's really rank!

If I'm going to exchange bodily fluids with other people, there are more enjoyable ways to do it. Comments?

—Aspiring to Asepsis


Dear ATA:

What you're completely missing is the cumulative history being recorded by the microphone. Like the rings of a tree, the layers of dried saliva chronicle all the singers who have used the mike through sickness and health, good gigs and bad, flat notes and sharp, missed entrances and forgotten lyrics.

The bacteria may stink, but they're a living history built from each of you, a history that is far greater than the sum of its parts. Sure, you could always bring your own mike or dental dam, but you're withholding the bounty of life contained in your every spat plosive.

Next time you're at a vocal jam, follow the lead of the poor, beleaguered rhythm section—hold your nose and dive in.

Have a question for Mr. P.C.? Ask him.

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