Open Mic-er

Lately I've been hearing the term Open Mic-er used in a derogatory sense.  I want to take issue with this.  Last night I had a blast playing the open mic at TJ's in Scotia.  Some of the best players in the area host that jam and attend it as well.  Denny Dwyer (of the Double D Ranch), Chris and Eugene create a fantastic venue for musicians of all backgrounds and levels of ability.  I enjoy listening to everyone.  Last week I went to Rochester NY for my job and while there attended open mics at The Thirsty Frog and at Jefferys.  Both were great. 

To me, the pleasure of doing music is in performing in front of an audience either alone or with great musicians.  The level of pay is secondary, although I hate to see musicians being taken advantage of by owners that make a pile on drinks while stiffing the band.  Its a matter of respect.  But if I'm not booked and I don't have anything else that needs to be done, I love going to an open mic and checking out and playing with other musicians.  So far I've hit open mics in Manhattan, Queens, Long Island, Harriman, New Paltz, Syracuse, Binghamton, Rochester, Utica, Poughkeepsie, Kingston, Lake Placid and in Charleston SC, and Ft. Meyers, Florida.  The Low Country Blues Society puts on two great open mics in Charleston.  If you go there you should check them out.

The way I see it there's nothing wrong with being an open mic-er.  A few years ago my band was playing outside on Pearl Street near the hotel.  A couple of the back up singers from Steely Dan happened to hear us from their rooms and came on down to sit in.  Damn they were good and these sisters could wail.  When they sang Sweet Thing in harmony you'd a thought Chaka Khan was in the house.  They didn't expect to get paid for giving us their talent and so if you wanna call them open mic-ers then call me one too.
Stephen

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