PPT mouthpieces

So who plays sober?


Grenada, West Indies
Until recently I’ve always had a couple of beers before I play in public…boosts the confidence…loosens me up.

Recently though, I arrived on the late side for a gig…just had time to set up and then we were off…no beer…oh my goodness I thought, can I really play sober?

It was fantastic… I was totally clear headed… my hands went where my brain sent them…I was less nervous, because I was more in control.

So now I have a coke on the side when I play and save the beer for afterwards.

What about you guys…do you play sober or do you drink and play?

These days I play mostly in pubs. So it's drink and play (assuming I've got a lift). The music isn't terribly demanding from a technical point of view - mostly rock, pop and blues - stamina is the only issue. I have been known to overdo it occasionally. :shocked: Played a private party the other week with free booze. At the end it was a case of: I can either stand up or play the sax - I didn't think I could manage both at once - so I sat on the front of the stage and played. No one seemed to mind.
I can't play at all when I've had a few. Even a couple of beers or glasses of wine and I find it very hard to coordinate things. So I tend to play sober and drink afterwards.
To paraphrase Zoot Sims: "In order to play drunk you have to practise drunk."

Good advice. Trouble is that a few beers removes inhibitions which are actually there for very good reasons. I thought playing with a load of beer in me made me a sax god till I heard a recording of a particularly liquid gig. Deeply embarrassing.

It's actually a really bad idea to try to hold a 30-second altissimo Bb in your Mustang Sally solo.

Especially when you've never managed to actually hit Bb altissimo before, even when stone-cold sober..........
I normally play sober. I don't drink much anyway, so one drink goes straight to my head. The other problem is my top lip goes numb! Have you ever tried playing when you can't feel your face? Not easy I can tell you.:)))
Have you ever tried playing when you can't feel your face? Not easy I can tell you.:)))

Yes. I've had loads of dental stuff done, and a couple of times I've tried to play before the novocaine wears off. The routine goes something like this.

1 Get home from dentist, feeling pretty pi$$ed off. Decide to play sax to cheer self up.

2 Get sax out, reed on mouthpiece, etc.

3 Put mouthpiece in gob, start to blow, making a squelchy farty sound as all the air escapes as I have an embouchure like a jelly.

4 Pi$$ed off again, put sax away and pour a drink.

5 Spill drink all down shirt, dribbling like a baby.

(Or, in the old days. Put a joint in mouth. Start to inhale. Joint falls from still numb mouth, burning chest)
I've always found playing with a full stomach pretty uncomfortable, doubly so factoring in the slight fizziness of beer . Red wine messes my reeds up too much & spirits are too much for me these days...... a bottle of beer started half way through a set, fair enough but any more's asking for trouble.
There's also the equation of overall set length to bladder capacity to be taken into account (We'll be back for an encore soon but our drummer's gone to the loo... )!
Alcohol only ever made my playing even worse.

If I'm playing at an alcoholic venue I sometimes have a drink or two as the sets go by, but not much. If I keep mysef in a state in which I can legally drive home, I'm also OK to play.

The other thing to remember is that (I hope) you are getting paid for your efforts, and with that comes a responsibilty to give a decent performance (unless indececy is part of the show).
I tend to have one beer - just takes the edge off! Think I probably do play better sober, but since I tend to play slightly ahead of the beat, I reckon a beer sets me right. Of course two would put me slightly behind - and three? Well, the Blues Brothers show is slightly indecent, but I'm normally driving!

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