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Things Not to Say On-Stage

Things Not to Say On-Stage

Many of my musician friends, especially the ones who lead their own bands, spend a lot of time agonizing about and thinking out what they're going to say onstage and when they're going to say it. There are plenty of advice chapters that cover things that you can and should say onstage, but equally valuable are the things that you should avoid saying at a gig.

The best rule of thumb is to be modest, grateful, and joyful. Even if you aren't in a good mood, you better get good at faking it. Projecting your negative attitude onto the audience is going to bring their experience down, and nobody wants to have a bad time at a concert.

We are having Technical Difficulties

When a band admits to technical difficulties on the mic, it is uncomfortable and kills the vibe and mood. Technical difficulties are not the crowd’s fault; it is yours. Even if it is not your fault, it is your show, your stage. Know your gear inside out. Carry extras. If something is cutting out or screeching or feeding back, you should either know immediately what it is or be able to remedy it in 13 seconds or know how to quickly figure out what it is.

Oops, forgot the Lyrics

This is, by far, the most annoying action taken by a vocalist. Nothing can get close to it. If you cannot memorize the words, get a Lyric sheet with you. Or make things up during the show. The only thing worse than bad lyrics is forgotten lyrics.

I would like to thank my Girlfriend

Always avoid this. Though it may look very ‘aww’ and sweet, it actually makes a lot of people uncomfortable. Leave her out of it. If she helped you make the song, go ahead and thank her. But if your girlfriend needs to be acknowledged publically every time, then you have bigger issues to work out with her.

I am sorry

You are playing a live set. You are bound to make mistakes. Making excuses for your mistakes makes everyone in the house uncomfortable and feel sorry for you. For example: “I forgot the rest of the song. Sorry.” “I’m sorry if this song sucks, we just wrote it.” “I’m sorry there aren’t more people here.” “We haven’t rehearsed this much; it might suck.” Own the stage and your set. It’s your time.

I am broke

Don’t attack on the sympathy factor and make the audience feel sorry for you. You will lose your coolness and the mystique factor. Instead, you can say, ‘Help us by buying our merchandise.’ Pleading just turns off your audience. Guilting your fans to buy your merch never work out.

What a sad crowd

This is the most dangerous sentence. Never ever insult the crowd. It never works in your favor. The crowd could have just sat at home and enjoyed their cold beer. Instead, they chose to make time and be present during your gig. And by being present, we mean, listen and cheer you on and on. Even if you think no one is looking, you will be surprised by the incredible amount of compliments you get after your show.

How does it sound?


This is a slap in the face to the sound guy. Never ask the crowd that. It should look fabulous. If it doesn’t, then it’s either your fault or the sound guy’s fault. Either way, you just pissed off the one person, not in your band who can actually make you look WORSE.