OK folks, I am taking ownership of coining this expression.
You know what I mean: It's this serious, lunatic facial expression that some of have when we are playing accordion versus having a nice, engaging and smiling face towards our audience. For some, it looks like you're about to... you know what...
For me, it is something I am conscious about. Perhaps I take it from my training in public speaking, or because my wife has told me on a few occasions. Nevertheless, I think most would agree that part of the charisma that good public entertainers have comes from their ability to connect with their crowd when they play (eye contacts, smiles, etc.).
Question #1: Do you have the "I'm about to poop" syndrome?
Question #2: If you do, is this a concern?
Question #3: Do you have a technique to improve this important aspect of artistic public performing? If so, what do you do?
FYI, I have attached a link that demonstrates a good smiling and engaging player: Robert Boutet from Quebec.
I'd be interested in your candid feedback & input!
Maz maybe its like Banjo face Maybe its associated also with high french singing Bruce
Somehow I don't think it is natural to smile while playing cajun. In fact it is somewhat scary. If you don't mean it, the audience can tell if you are faking it. I think it is better to do it in spots, especially where you mess up and smile at yourself. It does seem to come natural to some like Paul Daigle and not so natural to others like Horace Trahan. If some of those, for which it doesn't come natural start smiling all the time, you will probably think they are on something. I don't think it particularly adds to or takes away from a performance.
We are teetering the threshold of a religious
"The entertainment value of presentation."
What do you think of Myron Florin’s presentation?
Maz, I've always had a problem with "face presentation" when I'm playing my part in lead guitar. I've been told that I have a very angry look when I'm playing. I've never been able to change it, except by being continually concious about it, which is next to impossible. Here's an example of my total lack of regard for the audience. I have probably made a faux-pas and am trying get back in the grove. I'm the one on the left with the electric guitar. It looks like I've affected the rythym guitar player, too. By the way, Corey McCaulley, seen here, has one the best face presentations that I have ever seen.
But Cory had a very respectably sincere poupy face later in the night after more beers and old charters.
I've been accused of having the same serious face of you, but thats just because I'm trying to figure out if my fingers are going to do the right thing and not make me look too stupid.
It's important not to smile too much, I think. I remember and Irish musician, Danny O'Flaherty, from New Orleans who sported a maniacle smile while squeezing the buttonbox. It was a little frightening.
Hey, everybody poops.
In my opinion, that look is equally as bad as the drunken head-banging seen on some younger musicians lately (I'm not going to name names, but none of them have been on here). I've said something about it to one of them.
Anyway, I think that the question lies in how you feel about it. Of course you shouldn't be smiling the whole time (that would just be exhausting, right?), but if you take a particularly fun ride on one part, and you're really enjoying playing it, you should feel free to show that with a smile--NOT with the OTHER look.
Now, I believe that for someone who is playing and not singing, the real "public performance" part comes in between or even during songs, when you might say a thing or two to a band mate, an audience member, etc, just to keep everybody going and make sure they're having fun. I mean, I hope you're playing publicly the same way you'd play at home (only maybe with clothes on, depending on how you play at home). I doubt people are making THAT face when they're playing at home, or falling down on one knee, or hyper-extending their bellows, etc., so I don't get the point of doing it on stage. Personally, it just makes me wanna puke.
That's my opinion about accordion playing.
Maybe Maz is talking about the involuntary twisted lips, vacant stare, and drool syndrome that occurs when trying to play a difficult part that isn't yet comitted to muscle memory. I mean, I thought I was over that until I sat in on Ray Abshire's class at Balfa Camp
Yes.. I have seen that .. usually on Santana or Led Zep air-guitar.. even on Wayne's World ?? but accordionists tend to sport the grimacing frown ( at times with closed eyes .. like a blues guitarist).. concentrated (or .. constipated? ). For some it seems a natural reaction like head-bobbing, with closed eyes and open mouth to the beat.. humorous at best, stupid and ..even.. self-indulgent at worst ( for a player..not a listner : ) ? )
I have seen hundreds if not thousands of still photos of people playing accordion.. and there one thing in common..they are intent on listening.. and often have their ear turned towards the instrument..and very often have their eyes closed.
. . . Perhaps Zoot Horn Rollo of Capt. Beefheart's Magic Band.. best did it when directed by the Capt.. to "let out that long and looming note..and let it float".. Maybe the Capt.was responding to the
When I first started playing accordion, and it was a 1926 3-stop Hohner, my girlfriend at the time thought I looked like I was having a stroke.
I had to think about everything at once, particularly the air button, and struggle with the bellows, etc. So I was grimacing, etc. Not sure about the poop.
I got better.
you see, for me, its not "looking like". Its that playing octaves and playing the bass side at the same time, and tapping my foot, makes me incontinent.
What are you all doing chatting on working hours??? Get back to work!
The poopy-face syndrome can be avoided by wearing a Mexican wrestler's mask. But that can get a bit sweaty. Colored contact lenses can make the poopy-face appear sinister. The big thing is -- is to avoid making the poopy-face become legit.... by pooping.
My favorite performers to catch live -- due to their endearing personas, connecting with "the audience" and just plain fun to watch because you can tell they absolutely love what they are doing -- is Wayne Toups, Zachary Richard and Terrance Simien. Plenty of smiling, grimacing, head-banging and pulling 'til it pops. Lots of energy and sweat -- but then again they aren't exactly conventional.
Doug Kershaw is one of the most entertaining fiddle players I've ever seen, too!
Give me the bands that are having a blast together and muggin' up with the audience -- it's worth the cover charge, parking fee and bar tab.
Oh, Rick, Rick, Rick---
I've got a sick feeling you're serious about the second paragraph here. That's the exact reason I DON'T like to watch those exact same guys!! Okay, well, there are other reasons, but...
Somebody made my dad some bumper stickers. I don't know if he's selling them or giving them away. I put one on my guitar case. It reads, "After carefully considering the taste of the current American audience, I am seriously contemplating playing music only for the BLIND."--Marc Savoy
That said, I guess I've got a lot of laughs to look forward to when we finally get together, you, me, and Travis (I hope someone will come in on my side without me having to try resurrecting the dead...), to argue about it all.
It takes all kinds, "don't it?!" Your dad gave me that same bumber sticker. Unfortunately, my bumber isn't big enough to display it on! Guess I'll always be a rock and roll fan at heart! It's all good, Sarah. I understand what you are talking about -- and I can appreciate and respect where you and your dad are coming from. Traditions and cultures should be kept alive and respected. Now if all the rest of the Toups fans out there would just realize it -- guess it's kinda easy when he's taking a "break." Something tells me he's playing sitting down now.
But hey, it's 5 o'clock somewhere. Let's pop the top!
Work? Now, there's something that makes me want to poop.
Well, if I play something rather difficult, I cannot give the expression which fits to the music. . But if it's a syndrom? This Canadian bloke looks awful, but maybe because of the Christmas setting. But I forgive him, since his playing is absolutely faboulus. Reminds me to Messervier. He can play like this and at the same time have kinda non verbal communication with his audience. Do you have a video of him, Maz. Like to see him again.
Accordion playing is rather difficult.
So your face is looks like your doing so.
I dont't look always like that, but most of time I do.
MAN! I wish I'da been around when this thread was created. I could have offered so much information on the "I'm about to poop" syndrome while playing accordion. This thread was just sort of dropped cold. It could have been so much more! LOL. I have my own personal vendetta about this kind of face while having the nerve to perform publically way before you're ready to do so. Believe you-me, it is unfortunately a very much over used face these days. It comes from presenting your music before you truly understand your instrument and the art of Cajun music and Cajun life as it once was. It also comes from the extreme judgment you're feeling when you play for other people. You spend so much got dam time trying to play on that accordion and you just wanna play it right and make people happy that hear you. Lot's of pressure when you actually get to doing it for real in front of a live audience. Because 9 out of 10 the accordion and the player will be the center of attention in a Cajun music scenario. That's a whole lot to live up to if you're not really ready. Play your accordion in front of the mirror, and sing in front of that mirror. Talk about a slap in the face when you see yourself doing the "PoopFace". LOL and ahahahahahaha, if you become aware of the "PoopFace", you will definitely try very hard not to ever make it again. You'll work on it just as much as you work on mastering that accordion I guarantee!