Musicians & Their Superstitions: Houston's Own Reveal Pre-show Rituals
It's Friday the 13 and superstition says today is unlucky...dun dun dun! A Gallup poll conducted a few years ago found that about 25% of us are superstitious about knocking on wood, 13% about a black cat crossing our path, 12% about walking under a ladder, 11% about breaking a mirror and the number 13 makes 9% of us uneasy. So a good chunk of us believe in those kinds of superstitions but what about charms like a gambler's lucky dice or maybe...a guitarist's lucky pick?
We all know musicians can be...well...a little...quirky. Performing live can be a nerve-wracking experience and the challenge of entertaining a room full of folks can lead musicians to develop some pretty unique pre-show rituals, which are basically superstitious in nature.
Some might keep a specific, lucky item on them while they play, wear a certain pair of shoes or drink a certain kind of booze beforehand. What's key is that the musician notices that he or she did something that coincided with a desired outcome making that something a necessary precursor to the performance.
For example, today, I learned that Robert Plant irons his shirts before performing, saying "I find ironing helps get me in the mood before I perform. I always have an ironing board in my room before I go on stage." What? That's not very... rock & roll...but whatever, it's Robert Plant.
On this first Friday the 13 of 2012 (there will be two more!), we talked to several local musicians (some based here and some born here) to see if they had any weird, pre-gig rituals or just any superstitions in general and here's what we found out:
Kyle Gionis (Weird Party) I have to be showered and shaved that day which can be a big problem on tour. Also, I can't listen to a band's music if I'm going to see them that day.
Both Collin Hedrick (Giant Princess) and Cley Miller (Young Mammals) say that neither of them will either masturbate or have sex before a show. Collin says "I need the nervous energy."
Photo by Marc Brubaker Young Mammals
Sarah Hirsch (Jealous Creatures) I usually tell everyone in the band not to break their hands or feet before a big show, which generally serves to freak the hell out of my drummer on the basis that saying something about it will ultimately cause it to happen. I guess it's a reverse superstition?
Traveus Lawson I write things on my hands to focus my energy before a big show.
Kevin Healy (The Distracted) Do rules count? "No extreme sports the week before a gig." "Label your gear.", "The guitar player is not allowed to open glass bottles."
Sergio Trevino (Buxton) I'd consider myself a little superstitious. Really, I can't help but think I'm gonna die everytime I see a full moon. Generally, it's a fleeting thought.
Staci Butler (Staci's Edge) If you have a terrible rehearsal right before a big gig, you will rock at the gig.