Get our free newsletter
“How many lead singers does it take to change a light bulb?” asks the Emo’s employee. “Just one—-he gets up on the ladder, grabs the bulb, and the whole world revolves around him! Ha!”
Soon, this friendly joke-teller will offer me marijuana. I will turn down the marijuana, as I prefer to get high on well-worn music biz humor indigenous to music towns like Austin, Texas. Austin is Texas’s answer to Los Angeles, but I doubt that any overserious L.A. record execs swap drummer jokes backstage before a show. This very overseriousness makes Los Angeles inferior to Austin.
“How do you know if a drummer is knocking on your front door?” asks the Emo’s employee. “The knocking speeds up and then he comes in at the wrong time! Ha!”
Music biz humor often comes at the expense of drummers, who are stereotyped as replaceable idiot tagalongs who do not excel at their instrument of choice.
“What’s the difference between a drummer and an extra large pizza?” asks the Emo’s employee. “An extra large pizza can feed a family of five! Ha!”
General drummer incompetence is linked to financial insolvency in anti-drummer stereotypes. This hyper-capitalist indictment can take a cruel, abstract bent.
“How do you get your drummer to stop limping all over your lawn?” asks the Emo’s employee. “Shoot him again! Ha!”
Do not expect that guitarists—-portrayed as egomaniacal riffmeisters who play too long and play too loud—-will be spared backstage barbs.
“How do you get a guitarist to turn down?” asks the Emo’s employee. “Put sheet music in front of him! Ha!”
Of course, not all well-worn music biz humor comes in “zinger” form. Many music jokes roll languidly off of the tongue, much like East Texas’s lazy green hills stretch west until they realize their cruel destinies—-that is, to become West Texas desert.
“Musician dies and goes to heaven,” says the Emo’s employee. “St. Peter meets him at the pearly gates. St. Pete says, ‘Welcome.’ Musician says, ‘Is this really heaven?’ St. Pete says, ‘Yep, it sure is.’ Musician says, ‘Wow.’ St. Pete says, ‘Yep. You’ll never believe the band we got up here.’ Musician says, ‘What do you mean?’ St. Pete says, ‘Well, we got Jimi Hendrix on guitar. We got John Entwistle on bass. We got John Bonham on drums. And, because this is your eternal reward, you can sit in with this band anytime you want—-now and forever, amen.’ So the guitarist says, ‘Are you serious?’ St. Pete says, ‘Yep.’ Musician says, ‘Well, hot damn, that’s everything I ever wanted!’ St. Pete says, ‘Yep. There’s just one catch.’ Musician says, ‘What’s that?’ St. Pete frowns and looks away. Musician says, ‘C’mon now, what is it?’ ‘Well…’ St. Pete says. ‘Jesus is in charge of the band and his girlfriend is the singer.’ Ha!”