It’s not about you

I was at Jake’s in Northampton this morning having a quiet breakfast alone before work, and a young local musician (who doesn’t know me) was sitting there, eating, reading, and drinking a hard cider. A woman he knew at the end of the counter was leaving and they got to talking. He’s opening for someone this weekend, and when his friend asked about the other artist, he said, “But I’m making this about ME — MY debut.”

This is not how to be a good opening act. It’s not about you. Sure, you may have some family, friends, even fans come see you open for someone. But your job is to warm up the room for the other person. Be respectful, play your role. Trust me: when I somehow opened two shows for Frank Black of the Pixies, I was under no illusion that people were even going to pay attention. My job was to start their ears hearing music, and get them ready to listen to one of the greats. It’s not about you, kid. Play your heart out, yes. But know the audience’s hearts are really with the main artist.

Epilogue: The kid also said to his friend, who mentioned feeling stressed, “You know how to not be stressed? Don’t work.” Entitlement isn’t a good look, kid. I have a feeling you’ll see that on Saturday night.

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