What Every Musician Needs: Better Shut Up Lines

We all hate the trope "Houston, we have a problem," but we do have a problem in Houston with talkative, inattentive crowds at live shows. Scanning back over reviews from the past two years, at least 20 percent of them mention crowd noise.

So what do the musicians think and, more importantly, what do they do? The last time we saw Steve Earle he pulled out Doc Watson's famous one-liner to silence a request screamer: "I remember my first beer, too, buddy." We've also seen Earle quiet two talkative ladies with the sarcastic, "Am I botherin' y'all?"

And Jon Dee Graham stopped mid-story one night a couple years back at the Continental Club and said to someone talking at the corner of the stage, "Hey, buddy, if you'd shut the fuck up you might learn something and not be a big dumb ass." And we've always loved listening to Bob Dylan's retort to a heckler at his infamous 1966 electric gig at the Royal Albert Hall. The fan screams something like "traitor" and Dylan snarls back, "Liar....I don't believe you."

Perhaps the favorite one we've ever heard was about five years back when Herb Pederson and Chris Hillman played the Mucky Duck. Two men near the front kept talking during the songs and between songs one of the guys would holler out some Flying Burrito Brothers song title as a request. This went on for 5-6 songs. Just as they were starting a song the guy called out "Gilded Palace of Sin." Hillman stopped, pointed to the guy and said very sarcastically, "Buddy, I knew you were gonna be here tonight, I just didn't know what you'd look like 'til now."

We polled some musicians on the issue and Watson's "first beer" retort is easily the most often used. But here are some others that are amusing and helpful:

My Voice Nation Help
4 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
armandoincl
armandoincl

Greg Trooper:  "They told me this was a listening room.  I just didn't know I'd be doing the listening."  The full house roared except the obnoxious bunch at one table who stared blankly at each other and wondered what was so funny.

Clay Wisner
Clay Wisner

Ian Astbury - The Cult, Verizon (or was it Ariel) Theater - to a 'lady' who, on her boyfriend's shoulders, removed her top during a song. "Madam, I see you're very proud of your breasts. And they are lovely. But this show isn't about you. It's about US" -- and they launched into the next song. Brilliant.

CV73
CV73

Mike Ness' favorite line " hey buddy, do you have 9 more of those fingers? Well why don't you take all 10 of them and stick them up your ass?! " -Live at the Roxy 1998

John Seaborn Gray
John Seaborn Gray

Having been up in front of audience a few times myself, I can recommend you try out some new twists on old classics.

"Ha ha, yeah, I remember the first time I got blackout drunk and had my mouth treated like a Pocket Pussy by a guy wearing (describe heckler's nearest male friend)."

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Houston Event Tickets
Loading...