under what circumstances are requests acceptable?
legendary jim ruiz: requests are always acceptable because if you say “what do you guys want to hear?” you will get 7 different answers and you can just play what you want. it is kind of meaningless, because if you wait long enough, eventually someone will request something you want or remember how to play.
carrie sleater-kinney: I suppose they are always acceptable, whether or not they will get granted is another issue. we seem to get a lot of birthday requests, as if being born on that day gives one the inherent right to have a song played especially for them. I always feel like we are playing on a cruise ship or in a hotel lounge when we cater to requests. every time I say “this next number goes out to…..” I see my future flash before my eyes.
john true love always: requests are always acceptable in the realm of “popular music.” aren’t you lucky if people even know the name of one of your crappy songs?
sam quasi: half the time the requests are already on the set list anyway, so go ahead & scream it out. then there’s the person who screams out the most obscure song in the catalog, to show off the arcanity of their knowledge. that’s fine too.
rob tender trap: it’s not very nice, because it’s nearly always for a song you’re going to play anyway, or for a song that you really didn’t want in the setlist.
stuart moxham: not something I’ve ever had to deal with, thankfully, as I can’t remember much beyond the current set. it would be nice to know that anyone actually knew your stuff. ymg always had exactly the same set because the drum machine was on a tape. even so someone had to remind us what was next once….
john phosphene: if the request is for a much loved song, then fine. if the request is “get off: you’re crap!”, that might be different…
james +/- versus: requests are always acceptable if they are requests for your music. but when people request covers, geez louise that curdles my milk.
alan low: we usually welcome requests, but it’s nice to get through maybe a half dozen songs before people ask.
jennifer o’connor: acceptable. I don’t think that means the musician will play the song necessarily but it’s cool that someone likes it enough to ask for it to be played.
daniel handler: people who shout requests at me should understand that I’m not actually a member of the magnetic fields and so I have no decision-making power, although sometimes I also would like to hear “100,000 fireflies.”
claudia the magnetic fields: in our group there is no circumstance in which it’s acceptable.
jeff aden: they are acceptable. the band can just say “no” if they don’t wanna play something. it’s a little annoying, but you’re not gonna be able to keep lameness out of a rock venue crowded with drunk people.
clarissa cf: if it’s a song that the artist might reasonably be expected to know and be willing to play, absolutely — those can work out really well. joke requests suck, as do repeatedly bellowed demands when you know full well we heard you the first time.
ld flare: if you’re a really old has-been on a “greatest hits” package tour, perhaps, and some devout fan pleads for an obscure b-side from your italian-only ep or something… otherwise, I think not.
mike yesenosky: if the request is one of your songs or if you’re a cover band, I see no problem with it. if someone asks for another band’s music and you’re an original band, not only is the audience member rude, but you should probably look in the mirror and figure out how to make your own material more interesting.
robert tono-bungay: where people have spontaneously yelled out for songs my band has written, I’ve been very, very pleased by that. I do it myself from time to time so to me it’s ok. it’s also acceptable if you are yo la tengo, and it’s new-wave karaoke night.
david huon/driving past: requests are fine, but not requests for bullshit we hate.
ben town and country: they are always acceptable—whether the band is going to be willing to oblige the request is the real question.