kim baxter: only when I’m playing acoustically for a small audience. my band mate tasha and I recently played at a small bookstore here in portland. we were opening up for our author friends joe meno and nathan larson. we were so nervous! I forgot to breathe the whole time and couldn’t look up. it felt like I had never played a show before. we laughed the whole ride home about how ridiculous it was that a small bookstore crowd totally intimidated us.
james dump/yo la tengo: I do not.
mark teenbeat/unrest: definitely. especially and most certainly if I’m up on stage all by myself. at the chickfactor show I played I got up there and my mind went blank. suddenly I was lyric-less. If I’m playing with other folks on stage it’s usually not a problem.
stephin the magnetic fields: just the reverse: I suffer from stage ennui.
fran cannane: once I had to get off stage and be sick in the middle of a set in chicago at an outdoor festival but that was not caused by stage fright.
corin tucker: I do get nervous, especially in front of large crowds, particularly if I’m singing for someone else’s crowd.
matt lorelei: yes and yes. lorelei was invited to play a gig in princeton, new jersey, in ’91 that ended up being in a living room. those assembled were within arms length of me. I had luckily brought a flask but I had one swig before we started and shook like a leaf the entire time. it was not fun for me.
hannah grass widow: I used to get really nervous, but it’s been a while. I definitely still get an adrenaline rush that infuses the set. there was this one time we were opening for sonic youth at prospect park for celebrate brooklyn. we hadn’t played very many big shows at the time and I can say in retrospect that we were not ready to play for 15,000 people. I got this weird freak allergy attack and my hearing got all weird. It was probably psychosomatic. then we played and it sounded really weird and I realized I was so nervous I forgot to turn on my amp and I was just playing direct. I wish we could play that show again now.
joe pines / foxgloves: it is usually very scary preparing to play, especially as I have no idea how amplifiers, tuners or microphone stands work.
erin a girl called eddy: yes. no specific incidences, but it always amounts to a feeling of sick, hollow dread right before the show. and that’s just the audience.
daniel handler: I watched a friend break down during her bat mitzvah in 1983. everything about that is a horror story.
bridget st john: most of my stage fright comes in the days leading up to the performance – doubting that I should have agreed to play etc. by the time I am ready to go on stage I am usually quite focused and in a zone. any horror stories have been in recurring dreams of being unprepared and sloppy and starting a song and changing my mind when I can’t get through a song – but then I always wake myself up before it gets any worse!
jennifer o’connor: no, not usually.
gordon the fan modine: if I’m not nervous before a show, I might as well not play it. I think it is a gauge of energy.
gail cf: yes. I only sang onstage with the cover girls in 2002 and it was awful. I was all liquored up and had a cold and seeing the footage of it ensured that I will never do it again.
ian musical chairs: I get quite nervous at first but it wears off pretty quickly.
allen clapp: opening for the ocean blue at the troubadour in 2001, we went to dinner before the show and leisurely walked back to the club. when the stage door opened, the stage manager started screaming at us for being late, and said they had a sold out room and that we were supposed to go on in 1 minute. massive panic attack ensues. I look out, and sure enough, there is a sold-out crowd standing there waiting! the whole set I thought I was going to pass out. In between songs, I kept looking for a secret exit and couldn’t think about anything except running away. argh!