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Old 02-21-2006, 04:54 PM
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Bob Womack Bob Womack is offline
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Default “That Chicken-Head Thing”

I asked my wife recently if I had any quirks while performing. I don’t like quirks. You see, when I was young and learning to play guitar, my older brother would stand in front of me while I played and taunt me if I made guitar face or did anything weird. It was unpleasant for me, to say the least, though it was entertaining for him. As a result, I learned to simply set my mouth and play. In the final analysis, it may be one of his greatest gifts to me.

So, my wife and I were watching a YES video and I saw Steve Howe navigating a rough time signature with an offbeat guitar part. He was counting and swinging his head backwards and forwards to the beat, doing the “chicken-head” thing. The time sig was complicated enough that he was doing the chicken head in sixteenth-note time. He does it a lot when the timing gets complicated. I turned to my wife, raised my eyebrows, and said, “Wow!” She said, “You do that.” Hoo-boy. “Well, not that violently, but you do it.”

So I began thinking about it. Yup. When I’m playing rhythm and the time signature gets weird or I'm work the back-beat, I often feel uncomfortable holding still and waiting for the beat, so I swing my head on the rest beat in order to be doing something and to maintain the rhythm. It must be hilarious to behold on reggae-influenced tunes. I’m afraid it is a utility device I’m not going to be able to shift, either, so I guess my attempts to bottle-up guitar face fail at the neck.

Do you have any funny little performance quirks that have been pointed out to you?

Bob
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Old 02-21-2006, 05:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Womack
Do you have any funny little performance quirks that have been pointed out to you?
i sit when i play. i put my right foot on a footstool. very controlled-like. it was recently pointed out to me, and now i'm totally self-conscious about it, that despite my best efforts to remain in a supportive posture otherwise, my left foot, and along with it, my lower left leg, get goofy as all getout when i play the slightest of funky tunes. the rest of my body pretty much stays solid. but that left leg is like an eel... sort of a mix of james brown and dave matthews moves. all over the place. embarassing. we can't be seen together.

i also picked up this head shaking - side-to-side - thing when playing grooves, after seeing don ross, i suspect. i've been trying to weed it out.

and i stare at the floor.

i'm a mess.
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Old 02-21-2006, 05:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Womack
...Do you have any funny little performance quirks that have been pointed out to you?
Hi Bob...
When tuning if the note is flat I raise my eyebrows while tuning up to pitch. If it is sharp, I furrow my brow bringing it down to pitch.
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Old 02-21-2006, 05:45 PM
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I have this habit of fixating on the prettiest girl in the audience and raising an eyebrow during certain lines.

Although, I wouldn't call it involuntary
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Old 02-22-2006, 01:36 PM
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Aaaaah y'all don't have much to worry about. I just recently gave up the drool buckets.

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Old 02-22-2006, 01:55 PM
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I play bass and have a weird habit of forming the note in my mouth as if I'm going to sing it...while I play it, Slam Stewart-style.

It gets ugly when I go for the low B!!
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Old 02-22-2006, 02:02 PM
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I picked up a habit from watching Eric Clapton... when I play standing up, in order to avoid being perfectly motionless, I keep the beat with my knee--buckiling it slightly to the rhythm. When that leg gets tired, I switch to the other one.

Another Claptonism I have is playing power chords--or DADGAD shapes like 224000--with my index and pinky fingers (instead of the usual index and ring fingers), while my middle finger remains fairly straight.

My wife has also pointed out that the only time I smile while I'm playing is after I've made a silly mistake.

I also have a tendency to beat the living snot out of anyone who heckles me, looks at me funny, or might otherwise be making fun of me. But maybe that's more of a personality quirk than a performance quirk, since I tend to do that regardless of whether or not I'm playing guitar.

I'm joking, of course... but let's not push it, OK?
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Old 02-22-2006, 02:05 PM
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My fingerstyle teacher used to say I had the "deer in the headlights" look. Set off fireworks right in front of me, and I'll never blink.
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Old 02-22-2006, 02:11 PM
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My wife told me (and video footage confirms it) that I fiddle with my in-ear monitors. I really should invest in the ear molds, but I have to pay for my Kronbauer first!
I have always tried to not make faces when I play. I used to be a Frampton fan, and the guy can look absolutely silly at times! Reminds me of what a person would look like if they got a case of the runs (not the musical kind) while on stage! Basically, I just try to smile some, make some eye contact with thtose who seem really into it, and not trip and fall over cords and stands.
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Old 02-22-2006, 02:18 PM
Dogsnax Dogsnax is offline
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Geek...my guess is your fingerstyle teacher is a mean, hateful, little man.
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Old 02-22-2006, 04:32 PM
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I dont know what it is I do with my mouth when I play but my wife has told me to quit doing it.
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Old 02-22-2006, 06:12 PM
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I have an odd habit of rocking back and forth. Don't realize I am even doing it.
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Old 02-23-2006, 12:32 PM
Michael K Michael K is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geek
My fingerstyle teacher used to say I had the "deer in the headlights" look. Set off fireworks right in front of me, and I'll never blink.
Oh, I have that one too. Then I usually couple that with forgetting the words to the song. Then it turns into the look like a little kid that just realized he didn't quite make it to the bathroom in time. I have all of those.
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Old 02-23-2006, 01:06 PM
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One of my first bands in high school was called "Chicken Head".

Sam Bush comes to mind. . . . . he really does the Chicken Head thing.
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Old 02-23-2006, 01:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Tozier
I also have a tendency to beat the living snot out of anyone who heckles me, looks at me funny, or might otherwise be making fun of me. But maybe that's more of a personality quirk than a performance quirk, since I tend to do that regardless of whether or not I'm playing guitar.

I'm joking, of course... but let's not push it, OK?
Having met Jim in person, I just want to say that this strikes me as a warning we should all take seriously. He's not exactly a puny man
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