Treatment for Lead Singer Disease (LSD)
Parents, calm down. This article does not discuss any psychedelics. It is about LEAD SINGER DISEASE, which is much worse!
However, before I go there and alienate my vocal comrades, let me share two variations on the same joke to demonstrate my capacity for self-deprecation. Singers, loosen up your leather pants—all it’s in good fun!
How many guitar players are required to install a light bulb? The answer is seven—one to accomplish things and six to sit around and complain.
How many singers are required to install a light bulb, then? The first option is that all they do is hold the lightbulb as the universe circles them.
Very accurate on both sides, so true.
I’ve been playing the guitar since I was around 13 or 14 years old (no, I’m not sure exactly when I was that age because I didn’t plan on walking on water and penning a memoir to document my adventure!). I began performing in clubs when I was about 18 or 19. (again – the walk-on-water thing). I am becoming older now (OK, I am 40 as of this writing). So I’ve been playing for 27 years (I did the singing along with my drummer when I first started playing in a band – so that was my LSD period).
Having played with many different singers over 27 years, what do you think? It took me 24 years to find the only singer I’ve ever had that wasn’t afflicted with this awful illness!
When you hear any of the following remarks made with the finesse of a lion’s roar while some chump hyena is attempting to take their food, you’ll know you’ve found one:
Hey, man, play whatever you want; this P.A. is mine.
You sound amazing, dude, but you’re treading on my voice.
They’re all coming to visit me, they said.
Hey Brother, crank up my bike all the way.
I don’t do roady stuff, you know, man.
I’ll run across you at the show. I’ll meet you at the gig five minutes before we start to play, is what he or she truly means.
“Oh, Steve Perry stinks. That moron can never outsing me!
Hey, Dude, I’m Van Halen! (I apologize for including this one from my past. I couldn’t resist)
Hey, that reminds me. If a person goes by three names, you can be sure they are already fully intoxicated. Examples include David Lee Roth, Ronnie James Dio, and Axel Freakin’ Rose.
Or, if they only go by one name, you can bet that they use LSD regularly (e.g., Elvis, Mariah, Celine, Mikey). (Sorry, buddy, I love you! A private joke between my friends.)
Also, there is no end to it.
So how do you handle LSD, my young guitar hero?
You have to let it ride, just like any terrible trip that went wrong. Tell yourself, “This is just fantasy; it will be over soon.”
Since most vocalists don’t live in reality, there isn’t much you can do.
Do you watch American Idol? Because so many of those people can not sing. They never pay attention when Simon rips those guys and tries to return them to this world! They complain about Simon’s stupidity while earning 10 billion dollars, and they had to miss work at the fry station.
Yes, money isn’t everything, but the man arrived where he is for a reason; you’d think they’d pay attention, accept the free counsel, and use it to advance. But they’re high on LSD, so it’s not their fault they can’t!
What astounds me is that I have witnessed vocalists who have just botched a song listening to a recording of themselves, and I have seen them firsthand, with my own eyes, and heard them exclaim, “Hell yeah – I nailed it!
So what can you do if you can’t criticize or demonstrate to them by replaying their failure?
You must first identify your prey. You have to realize that they are essentially exposing themselves to a group of strangers while displaying their goods for all to see. They MUST have thick skin and confidence to pull that off. To conceal ourselves, we have our guitars.
Also, as long as our fingers are functional, we can perform while feeling awful, sickly, exhausted, or any other combination. On the other hand, singers are at the mercy of their voices. Because their body serves as their instrument, various factors can affect it.
Also, to play in tune, we don’t need to hear ourselves fully. Hey, hey, we turn it up to 11 if we can’t listen to ourselves! Not musicians! It all depends on how well they can project. Ever since they made eunuchs illegal, the projection will not happen. Because of this, as a guitarist, you’ll inevitably hear the words, “Dude, turn it down some.”
You must feel sorry for the fools (thank you, Mr. T).
What should we do now that we know the beast we are facing?
I discovered that the best approach to handling this is similar to how I take a 3-year-old:
Employ a soothing, relaxed voice.
Don’t become overly agitated (really tough to do)
laud the good, reassure the unfortunate
A slight ego boost and a portrayal of greatness
Even while it might seem simple, it might be challenging to remain calm when that jerk is shouting about how lucky you are to have him in the band, how everyone is there to watch him, and how your band would be nothing without him.
Please excuse me; I’m getting antsy! Flashbacks.
Let’s say you feel the urge to inform your singer that they just blew chunks all over a song. Man, I enjoyed the part where you (think of something, but it has to be plausible and should be something you want him/her to repeat),” you might reply. The way you did that, Dude, makes me believe that if you did this (correct the portion you messed up royally), that would astound everyone. Try it out, and let’s see how it goes.
Then continue this supportive conversation till the LSD starts to fade a little (it may never go away).
Although far more challenging to execute when performing live, this can be done during pausing between songs or sets.
That is essentially the only thing you can do besides locate another singer. And good luck discovering an unaffected performer — it took me 25 years!
If you are a musician or hang out with other musicians, you will eventually meet someone who uses LSD.
It might be you too like it was with me at first!
My passion is sharing the shortest, most effective method I know of for learning how to play a guitar solo. I hope you find these articles interesting and useful.