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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone!

I was just hoping to share/hear some thoughts and impressions of performing sober, or intoxicated, or some combination thereof by whatever means.

I cannot perform "drunk" at all, but usually have a beer or JD n coke before the first set for nerves. Then I just have to watch my rate of consumption to make sure I dont compromise my technique.

I do love playing completely sober though, because I do get very very high naturally. I feel like my serotonin levels escalate ten-fold (very much like a high from mdma) and my pupils dialate and then its like I weigh 10 pounds, and my lungs are the size of zeppelins.

I only get this after about an hour of performing and only if I havent had any alcohol. Is this a real physiological effect or am I being silly?
 

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CiaranAudio said:
Hey everyone!
I do love playing completely sober though, because I do get very very high naturally. I feel like my serotonin levels escalate ten-fold (very much like a high from mdma) and my pupils dialate and then its like I weigh 10 pounds, and my lungs are the size of zeppelins.
I have had similar experiences. It's almost like what runner describe as runner's high. In those moments I feel physically at one with my instrument and I can observe my playing from a somewhat detached prospective. I have been able to play things at these times that I would be hard pressed to perform under normal circumstances.

It's happened more often in the past on bass than saxophone and doesn't happen nearly often enough.
 

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When I can't tongue the horn riff on "Give it to me Baby" cleanly, on tenor, I know I've exceeded my "playing" limit.
 

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DTExpress said:
When I can't tongue the horn riff on "Give it to me Baby" cleanly, on tenor, I know I've exceeded my "playing" limit.
That's the point at which my double tongue becomes a cripple tongue.;)
 

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hakukani said:
That's the point at which my double tongue becomes a cripple tongue.;)
Then, on break, chatting up someone who has suddenly become "beautiful," it becomes a forked tongue.
 

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Well, there goes this thread...:D;)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
spiderjames said:
I have had similar experiences. It's almost like what runner describe as runner's high. In those moments I feel physically at one with my instrument and I can observe my playing from a somewhat detached prospective. I have been able to play things at these times that I would be hard pressed to perform under normal circumstances.

It's happened more often in the past on bass than saxophone and doesn't happen nearly often enough.
The thing is that when playing sober I feel anxiety before the first song, but usually by half way through the second I'm fine and back to jumping around the stage like a madman and totally vibing on it. By the time the first set is over I'm high as a kite! I feel completely stoned! Think it's something to do with the mouthpiece being actually inside the skull cavity vibrating one's brain?
 

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CiaranAudio said:
I only get this after about an hour of performing and only if I havent had any alcohol. Is this a real physiological effect or am I being silly?
It's a lack of oxygen from all that blowing. ;)

Seriously, too many beers and my fingers are several beats
behind where they should be.
 

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DTExpress said:
When I can't tongue the horn riff on "Give it to me Baby" cleanly, on tenor, I know I've exceeded my "playing" limit.
Ah memories. That song was always in our last set. I'd practice that riff between sets to make sure my tongue was still working. Then I'd try to recite the alphabet.
 

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I use to have a couple beers but now I just take a Percocet:D

Just kidding - Sort -of. I deael with severe back pain occassionally so I've played more than a few gigs on pain killers.

But I digress: With regards to beer, I stopped drinking almost all together about 3 years ago. After a couple beers I'm tired and the next day I always feel sick. Even with only 2 beers. So I guess the PARTIES OVER.
Forget about playing.:(
 

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CiaranAudio said:
The thing is that when playing sober I feel anxiety before the first song, but usually by half way through the second I'm fine and back to jumping around the stage . . . .
Feeling nervous before a performance, and then getting into a pleasant, sober groove both sound like very normal things. Amateur performers experience this too. Anyone who has played a high school or college sport has experienced the same thing at the beginning of a game. (Likewise for anyone who's ever picked up a beautiful girl and struck up a great conversation; ah memories; distant, distant memories . . . )

I'd be concerned about needing a drink to calm my nerves. Perhaps taking 10 deep breaths and exhaling slowly might be a good alternative. OTOH, I never was very clever about living other people's lives for them, so you can take this FWIW.
 

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I find I play better w/o alcohol. I don't need a beer to "loosen up". I definitely get more out of it playing sober and I think i am more creative and also sure of my technique when not drinking. Also, our drummer has some real issues with alcoholism so we all try to set a good examle for him.
 

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When doing club gigs, I like having a tall glass of a good dark beer at the base of my microphone stand on stage, which I sip judiciously now and again. Two of them will last me nicely through a four-set gig. It ain't about the alcohol, it's just to keep me wet. Water would do just as well, but the beer is tasty, filtered, and actually has a tad of nutritional value, believe it or not. The nearest non-alcoholic equivalent would be something like tomato juice, and I would prefer not to. Two pints of Amberbock or Bass Ale in 4 hours is fine with me. Drunk? Forget it. Nothing worse than a drunk on stage. I'd much rather deal with a grass-head.
 

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Our jazz quartet recorded an entire club gig one time that the band had several drinks throughout the night. When we listened to the recording the next day, that last set that we remember really "cooked" was just very loud and sloppy playing. We thought we played better and better as the evening progressed, but the tape revealed the exact opposite. :)

I never realized how obnoxious the country club crowds became by the end of the evening until I stopped drinking on gigs and stayed sober while they all continued to get drunk. What a difference! :drunken:
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I wouldn't be worried about needing a beer to calm the nerves. Its when its two or three (and thats not even before the show starts) I'd be worried. I get more concerned about the amount of sugar in my breath building up on the inside of the horn.

In Alberta the drinking age is 18, so theres lots of children in bands playing drunk as hell. But then, they pay my rent, so..... ;)

I've played really drunk once and didn't enjoy it. The other time I pulled myself was new years and I just said my chops were done (we played our asses off for three hours straight at one point!) and I needed to stop.

Alcoholic drummers are shame. I have been very very lucky to play in mostly sober, or at least recovered, bands.
 

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Yeah, one gig a business associate of our guitarist watched me pound a pretty big shot of Jack just before a show and our guitarist basically told him, oh that's nothing. He can do that all night. Well... said associate put said theory to the test and kept bringing up rocks glasses filled with straight-up JD all throughout the evening. I was actually quite surprised to read a favorable review the next morning. Won't happen again though... as said business associate put all the drinks on the guitarist's tab...
 

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I quit drinking completely in February of this year in an aggressive effort to control diabetes, which has been getting out of hand.

This is the longest I've gone without alcohol in almost 50 years. I rarely drank a lot, but most gigs included a few beers or a glass of wine or two. (I quit the hard stuff years ago.)

A collateral effect of abstinence for me is that I stay home more. I've lost the desire to go find a jazz group somewhere and sit in or just listen. I've lost the motivation to look for gigs, too. I'd just as soon stay home and shed. When I do go out now, I usually leave early and go home.

All I can conclude from this is that alcohol, albeit in moderate amounts, is for me a significant slice of the culture that accompanies performing.

Now, when I sit at a bar sipping a Diet Coke and talking to the regulars, I ask myself, "Why did I used to think these people were so interesting?"
 
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