1. Let’s sing something from Rent!
It’s like going to Ireland and asking the band to play “Danny Boy.” I’ve gotten to the point where I refuse to play anything from that musical. We all have our limits. 525,600 is a number that haunts my dreams. Please have mercy on my soul, and stop asking.
2. Request the same song more than three times, you’re THAT asshole.
Piano players are human beings. We forget things. If you asked for a song and some time has passed, you can ask again. In the craziness of the night, I probably forgot. Everyone runs their piano differently. I’ve forgotten requests, and I’m not insulted when someone asks again. If you’ve asked for the same song four times in a row…I’m ignoring you. And there’s a good reason for that.
3. If you request more than three songs without tipping, you also might be THAT asshole.
You get good at reading people working in piano bars. We generally know who is going to leave a tip and who is going to slink out the back door after requesting 12 songs. Don’t be a THAT person! Throw a few bucks in the tip jar. This is how we make our living. If you don’t have the cash or don’t think we deserve it, then maybe find another bar.
4. Piano players don’t know every song ever written.
If I don’t know it, I don’t know it. Singing it to me won’t magically make the song pour through my fingers. Playing it on your phone will just annoy me. I listen with an open mind to everyone around the piano. It’s nothing personal if I don’t know your song. I enjoy learning new music and am happy to learn your favorite song, if I have the time. Please continue asking for new music, and share your favorite song of the moment. I really want to know what you're listening to! Don’t be offended if don’t know your favorite tune. I only know so many songs at a time.
5. Respect your fellow patrons.
People go to piano bars for a myriad of reasons. For Billy, it’s the only time he sings in public. Sally just enjoys listening. For Felicia, it’s about singing Britney after four tequila shots. Whatever the reason, we are all there to have fun. So respect your fellow piano bar patrons. Get to know each other. We are all there for the same thing: the music!
When I’m not playing with The Paisley Fields, you can find me behind the piano at Monster Bar on Friday and Sunday night. The Paisley Fields are playing Thursday, August 20th at the Brooklyn Country Music Festival at the Bell House. Tickets are available at: http://www.thebellhouseny.com/event/908669-brooklyn-country-music-brooklyn/