"It's different than being an actor, where you call up sources from your own experience that you can apply to whatever Shakespear drama you're in. An actor is pretending to be somebody, but a singer isn't. He's not hiding behind anything." — Bob Dylan, quoted by Robert Love in "Bob Dylan Does the American Songbook His Way," AARP The Magazine, February/March 2015
"If you stumble, make it part of the dance." — unknown, Facebook meme
"Both [law and comedy] are heavily focused on thought and viewing all angles. To write a good joke, you have to look at a premise every way possible. And with a good legal argument, you have to see all sides to get the best line of argument for your client. Law school made me a better comic, and comedy has made me a better public speaker." — Troy Walker, quoted by Doug McPherson in "Jester with a JD," University of Denver Magazine, Winter 2014
"California (Berline, Crary, Hickman, Spurgin, Moore) will be doing some reunion shows at Wintergrass 2013. Come watch us forget all our old material live on stage." — Steve Spurgin
"The students immediately began to perform better in the new halls. It’s a psychological thing in the performing arts that you live up to the venue. There was an immediate sense of seriousness and excellence transmitted by the building itself.." — Prof. Ricardo Iznnaola, quoted by Greg Glasgow in "Banner Years," University of Denver Magazine, Fall 2102
"The majority of people mistakenly feel like they don't need a live musical experience." — Reggie Workman, quoted by Washtub Jerry in "The Low Down on the Down Low
"The public hears, but it also sees. So it is very important that what the public sees is in the correct relation to what it hears." — Fernando Grillo, quoted by Washtub Jerry in "The Low Down on the Down Low
"Ray Brown [bass player] ... entrusted [his fellow players] with the space to explore their ideas without his intrusion. There is as much to be learned from holding back as there is from showing off great chops." — Joshua Kline, quoted by Washtub Jerry in "The Low Down on the Down Low
"You've got to have fun playing. It bothers me when players don't seem to be enjoying themselves, even when they play an incredible improvisation." — Rufus Reid, quoted by Washtub Jerry in "The Low Down on the Down Low
"I got up on stage and said, 'This song was written by a guy named Gene Michaels from the Midwest' and started to sing 'A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall.' The entire audience went like this [jaw drops, eyes bug out]. After I'm done, everybody jumped up and was applauding. I'm trying to get to the basement, to the dressing room, to get the hell out of there as fast as I can, when this guy corner shoots me. He's like cryin' and sayd, 'That was the best version of that song I ever heard.' As I get to the door, [Dave] Van Ronk says to me, 'Do you know what that was? He's the guy who wrote that song!' That was a helluva way to meet Bob Dylan." — Richie Havens quoted by John Kruth in "Richie Havens' Mixed Bag: From the Basket Houses to Yasgur's Farm and 40 Years Hence," Sing Out! Autumn '09 / Winter '10
"We had dedication. We had, we were positive, enormous
talent. What we needed was a captive audience.
"So the story goes: There was a good piano player, part
of a trio, who performed at a bar. People came out, just
to hear him play. One night, a patron told him he didn't
want to hear him just play anymore.
"[Performing] is a whole lot easier when you have an audience." — Duncan Tuck, May 3, 2008, at Sheabeen Irish Pub
"That afternoon in the ward I played 'Lady of Spain,' and as I played, my fear passed away. In its place came a strange elation. The men listened, and their listening was of a different order from what I felt at recitals. They too might have played the tune, the sentimental quality of it giving way to a passion that went into the depths of all music and included my mother in it, drew her into it. Lady of Spain! When I saw her, that gray lady, that dark-eyed Nazarene atremble in the shadows of shades of men, it was as if I saw all the women I would love. This was music, this was the life within, this was the love I would sell my soul to possess. The air that set the reeds to quaver, God help me, might have been my own breath." — Robert Taylor Jr., "Lady of Spain," The Best American Short Stories 1987
"What I remember best from those times is the music itself. When it succeded, we took hold of the audience's attention, working it from a distracted, unshaped mass into spun beauty, passing the fine strands back and forth until we wove together something grander, not only music but memory, too—the particulars of past and present, stretched taut across a loom of timeless ideals. Harmony. Symmetry. Order." — Andromeda Romano-Lax, "The Spanish Bow"
"There's the most resistance to an actor singing. It's like I'm being disloyal to my industry." — Kevin Bacon, answer to Celebrity Cipher, The [Colorado Springs] Gazette, Jul 20, 2007
"When creativity comes to life others are inspired to follow." — SRP ad
"It was like being in the eye of a hurricane. You'd wake up in a concert and think, 'Wow! How did I get here?'" — John Lennon, answer to Celebrity Cipher, Colorado Springs Gazette, Dec. 8, 2007
"Maybe it's wishful thinking, this snaggly faith of mine, or maybe it's Miles Davis saying, 'Don't play what's there, play what's not there.'" — Anne Lamott, "Traveling Mercies"
"There came a moment in the middle of the song when he suddenly felt every heartbeat in the room & after that he never forgot that he was part of something much bigger" — Brian Andreas, "Trusting Soul"
'"There's a certain sense of ownership that the fans have over you....The thing is, it's all good. You just have to get used to it. If somebody comes up to you while you're eating dinner or something, it's kind of like, 'Well, I asked for it.' It's much better than the alternative—nobody caring and nobody buying your music. The point is to try to just realize that these people are really excited, and that's a good thing. You want them to be that way." — Carrie Underwood, quoted by Jame Kaplan in "Small-town Girl to Big-time Star", Parade, Oct. 22, 2006
Bob Hope on his career:
— contributed by Bob Turner
"For many years I thought I couldn't even sing. But if you can talk, you can sing. It's just that we think we have to have these voices like Mariah Carey. We all can sing." — Katherine Dines, as quoted by Janna Widdifield, "Hunk-ta Bunk-ta, Boo", University of Denver Magazine, Jan. 2006
"A little applause never did anyone any harm. I'm still into that. It's a great thing. If someone compliments me, I'm lucky enough to not be jaded...I think 'Wow, thank you.' That's what it's all about for me — the feedback on tour of the audiences and the buzz from the crowd, together with the joy of making music with the band, the two-way traffic of emotion, it's very special. I'm not above a complement. I hope to never be above one." — Paul McCartney, The Rocky Mountain News, Oct. 29, 2005
"I do it because I still get a kick out of it. I still love performing. It keeps me young." — B. B. King, quoted by the Los Angeles Daily News, as shown in AARP Bulletin, Oct. 2005
"We want to thank the sound crew. They know just when to put the CD in and we know just when to start lip syncing. We're not Milly Vanilli; we're Hillbilly Vanilli." — Ken Pabst of High Plains Tradition, Oregon Trails Wagon Train Bluegrass Festival, Bayard Nebraska, August 2005
"'Being a musician means ...getting to the depths of where you are at,' Dylan told Playboy in 1966. 'And most any musician would try anything to get to those depths, because playing music is an immediate thing....Your spirit flies when you are playing music. So with music, you tend to look deeper and deeper inside yourself to find the music.'" — Nadine Epstein and Rebecca Frankel, "Bob Dylan The Unauthorized Spiritual Biography", Moment, August 2005
"THERE AIN'T NOTHIN’ NICE ABOUT TRUCKSTOP HONEYMOON. They play banjos and wash tubs. They sing hell-bent songs about adultery and oil refineries. They sing from their stomachs. Katie Euliss learned guitar, piano and bucket bass in the streets of New Orleans. She scammed enough money from tourists to buy Lucky Strikes and smoked oysters for six years. Then she met Mike West. Part entertainer, part snake oil salesman, Mike lived by pickin’ banjo and selling CDs that he claimed were a curative for hangovers and small mindedness. Together they began a perpetual tour of North America and Europe. They spent their wedding night in the Tiger Truck Stop, somewhere between Lafayette and the Atchafalya swamp. Truckstop Honeymoon was born. Truckstop Honeymoon plays break-neck breakdowns or waltzes. Their music is like a Dodge with a burnt out clutch: it has two speeds and no reverse." — promo material for Truckstop Honeymoon, from Dan Willging
"It's important to tune for this song. It's not like the other ones." — Austin Lounge Lizards, Swallow Hill, July 15, 2005
"Emily Allred ... Hutchison is a stunt woman ... black
belt in karate ... a dancer, a singer and ... booking
manager and backup singer in a group ... which logged
40,000 road miles and 8,000 air miles on tour last year.
This year she plans to record her own music demo...
Hutchison says she likes the adrenaline rush when she
performs stunts, but the pay is unpredictable...she's
recording the music demo because singing gives her more
opportunities to perform.
"...'The Star Spangled Banner' is an odd choice for a
national anthem. Francis Scott Key set his 1814 lyric,
commemorating a single incident in a war now nearly
forgotten, to an English neoclassical drinking song, 'To
Anacreaon in Heaven,' composed by one John Stafford
Smith to showcase his own vocal prowess. This demanding
melody was never meant to be a 'song of the people' but
the province of trained singers.
"... and they practice beforehand, which ruins the fun!" — Flanders & Swann, c.1960, from Stuart Tarbuck
"One of the reasons my father ... became a dentist was so he could always be home for dinner and spend weekends with his family. At one point he had thought about being a musician, but he said, 'I'm not going to do that because I'd be on the road all the time and I wouldn't be with my family.'" — Dean Ornish, M. D. in "Top Pops", AARP Magazine, May&June, 2005
"Not content to have the audience in the palm of his hand, he goes one further and clenches his fist." — Kenneth Tynan on Frankie Laine, contributed by Stuart Tarbuck
"We got a lot of wild-eyed looks at some of the bluegrass shows doing Journey's song 'Don't Stop Believing' in bluegrass style, but it turned out to be a very good song for us." — Bill McBee [Pine Mountain Railroad], "Bluegrass tradition gets modern twist" by Ed Will, The Denver Post, Feb. 18, 2005
"Music is your own experience...your wisdom. If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn." — Charlie Parker, from "Celebrity Cipher", Rocky Mountain News, Feb. 19, 2005
"Playing what you want, where and when you want, is what being a musician is about. It's trying to do things that are meaningful." — Yo-Yo Ma in "We Are the World" by Gerri Hirshey, Parade Magazine, Jan.30, 2005
"What I perform is up for grabs... I just walk onstage
and see what happens. A lot of it depends on the vibe I
get from the audience.
"I'm going to the lobby to sign babies and kiss CDs." — Tom Rush at Swallow Hill, Jan. 15, 2005
"I wanted to do a set of love songs for Valentine's Day so I went through my old material. I found myself scraping around the edges of good taste." — Tom Rush at Swallow Hill, Jan. 15, 2005
"An amateur variety show performed on a thumpy old
stage with poor lighting, framed with crepe-paper
streamers, creates its own kind of energy, a camaraderie
sadly missing from our society that values personal
space so highly that we shut each other out.
"Nothing wrong with lip-syncing if you've got the actual talent to start with. The problem is, so many 'singers' don't have that talent." — Mark Brown, Rocky Mountain News, October 30, 2004
"In O Brother Where Art Thou, music director T Bone Burnett told me one of the toughest parts of the movie was Chris Thomas King's short acoustic performance. It was one of those rare cases where the performance you're seeing on the screen is an actual live performance." — Mark Brown, Rocky Mountain News, October 30, 2004
"...ask [Anthony] Hopkins how he makes his characters come to life and he just shrugs. 'I don't know. If I knew, I wouldn't be able to do it. As they say: Where ignorance is bliss it's folly to be wise.'" — Larry Eisenberg, AARP the magazine, November / December 2004
"We suffered for our music. Now, it's your turn." — Sam Bush, at taping of etown, November 16, 2003
"Discovered that the Chapman boys are startin' to get above their raisin'. Don't acknowledge the existence of other musicians. Tell them 'Nice job', they pretend not to hear you. Never meet your eyes onstage or backstage...look right past you like you aren't there. Charge folks $20 to join their fan club. I guess success does that to some people. (Ken Sager says he's gonna start his own fan club and charge FIFTY dollars to get into it. I may do the same, only I'll charge a hundred. Why be cheap?)" — Bangs Tapscott, Intermountain Acoustic Musician, November 2004
"Some days you feel like you've had the greatest ego massage, then the next day you've been trampled on." — Judy Woodruff, in "DroppingBy: Gritty Woman" by Mark Matousek, AARP the Magazine, September / October 2004
"If there's anything you want to hear, just shout it out. We won't do it, but it helps to get that stuff off your chest." — Terry Dalton
"Evidently the teenage musician had missed the point of
being young. Thirty-five years ago, Riker had been the
boy beneath the arch, but his own guitar had been strung
with steel, electrified and amplified, ripping out music
to make people manic, forcing them to dance
down the sidewalk.
"We tune because you care." - Herb Pedersen at Four Mile Park, June 30, 2004 (also attributed to Tim O'Brien)
"We tune because we can.." — Sandy Reay
"I was wrong when I said, 'if we didn't have egos, we'd be stockbrokers.' Stockbrokers have egos. I should have said, 'if we didn't have egos, we'd be insurance salesmen.'" — Butch Hause
"It seems to me that performers are to musicians as marketers are to engineers. (On these scales, I'd rate record company execs about even with infomercial producers.) " — Bob Dolan
"...there are a lot of [aspiring singers] who are not paid attention to because they don't look like a fashion model." — Linda Ronstadt in The Denver Post, June 2, 2004
"Music is a work in progress. On a record, it gets frozen in time. And it's oddly unnatural." — Linda Ronstadt in The Denver Post, June 2, 2004
"No matter what you do, it can't be perfect. I told Jack [White], 'If I'd 'a sung that song more'n twice, it might of sounded better.' He said, 'Well, it might not of. You might have took the spark out of it.' I don't know if he has a point or not. We'll find out." — Loretta Lynn, AARP Jan.&Feb, 2004
"Music, it requires more than brawn. It requires a lot of heart. You gotta put love in there." — James Brown, AARP Jan.&Feb, 2004
"The proposition was put forth in my youth that
'Clapton Is God'! Though I was never convinced, I
entertained the idea and tolerated those who fervently
proclaimed it. By now I think we see that this might
have been a peculiar cultic phenomenon, perhaps fostered
by those types of artificially induced ecstatic
experiences often confused with genuine mystical
"'When you make a record, you draw back the bow and try to get the arrow to stick as close to the bull's eye as possible. Usually you're off, in one direction or another,' said Peter Lubin, the former Mercury executive who signed [Michelle] Shocked. — Landon Hall, The Denver Post, September 28, 2003
"...the pressures of perfection in the performing arts
can produce side effects. Few of them are good.
"I remember the first job I ever had. I was playin' in a trio in a folk club, and it was one of those days where I was just bustin' strings right and left. ...the owner ...made the first and only musical critique I ever heard from him: 'You break too many strings. If you break any more this set, you're fired. Loosen them up' " — Jimmy Buffett, Tales From Margaritaville
"The notes I handle no better than many pianists. But the pauses between the notes—ah, that is where the art resides." — Arthur Schnabel, from Family Circle, July, 2003
"Interesting little game we play with each other." — Guy Clark at Swallow Hill Music Association , May 31, 2003, returning to the stage for an encore after a standing ovation
"I hear this song and I think, 'Man, this is ... great. This is the best I ever heard this. I forget I'm the one singing." — Guy Clark at Swallow Hill Music Association , May 31, 2003
"This is a fantasy fiddle tune. The part you fantasize is the fiddle." — Guy Clark at Swallow Hill Music Association , May 31, 2003
"In my early 20s, I had this idea that I was going to front a band, like Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin. I didn't just want to be the chick singing ballads about somebody breaking my heart. Everyone in the business said, 'Why don't you do what Olivia Newton-Jonn and Linda Ronstadt are doing?' But I wanted to sing as a powerful female who wasn't afraid to speak her mind or be sexual." — Pat Benatar, in Self Magazine, June 2003
"If we [musicians] didn't have egos, we'd be stockbrokers." — Butch Hause at the CBMS Colorado Bluegrass Musicians Symposium, Feb 1, 2003
"If it weren't for my knees and back, I could dance just like J. Lo." — overheard while waiting for an elevator
"... Concerning a recent performance by a jazz singer, the reviewer [from The Los Angeles Times] wrote, 'Sandra Reaves-Phillips has got a way of handing a song its hat and kicking it down the stairs.'
"Frank, can you turn my suit down in the monitor?" — Charles Sawtelle at RockyGrass
"I don't often get a chance to have a frying pan in the show." — Tommy Emmanuel on inviting Zach Bergen to play banjo with him on stage at Swallow Hill Music Association, Sept. 27, 2002
"Important notice: Before leaving stage, players must deposit their instruments in the appropriate barrel." — John Stump, "Faerie's Aire and Death Waltz"
"Ouch! Stop putting your bow there" — John Stump, "Faerie's Aire and Death Waltz"
"Pluck with dignity" — John Stump, "Faerie's Aire and Death Waltz"
"Notice: if you are a 2nd Violinist, please do not use a 1st Violin. Use the 2nd Violin you were issued" — John Stump, "Faerie's Aire and Death Waltz"
"Move those chubby little fingers" — John Stump, "Faerie's Aire and Death Waltz"
"Only felons may kill the oafish audience members" — John Stump, "Faerie's Aire and Death Waltz"
"Gradually slide from 12-bar-blues to a more Vivaldi-like cadenza." — John Stump, "Faerie's Aire and Death Waltz"
"When I'm feeling down, I like to whistle. It makes the neighbor's dog that barks all the time run to the end of his chain and gag himself." — unknown
"Jean-Baptiste Lully, a seventeenth-century composer who wrote music for the king of France, died from an overdose of 'musical enthusiasm.' While rehearsing for a concert, he became overexcited and drove his staff right through his foot. He succumbed to blood poisoning." — Wendy Northcutt in The Darwin Awards, Evolution in Action
"How can you play a banjo in a library?" — Randy Jones
"I would rather play Chiquita Banana and have my swimming pool than play Bach and starve." — Xavier Cugat
"Flint must be an extremely wealthy town: I see that each of you bought two or three seats." — Victor Borge, to a half-filled house in Flint, MI