Done with dress rehearsal. I've got a few hours to kill before the show and I thought reddit might find this fun.

edit: Sorry, that was vague. I'm not a celebrity, just a musician. I play keyboards for Miranda Lambert, a country singer. I know country isn't really reddit's demographic but I thought some interesting questions might develop.

2: Finally got enough bandwith for an imgur upload: Or my facebook & twitter if you please:

3: All done here. I'm going to go harass some celebrities. I already have a couple funny stories. Bruno mars cheered for us as we passed in the hall...and Ellen was doing a bit like a busking musician sitting in the hallway making up a song for tips. Fun stuff. I'll circle back and answer more questions later!

Comments: 316 • Responses: 95  • Date: 

MachoBenihana262 karma

I'm working on the Grammys!! With the audio team! I've probably run by you at some point....

IAmA_Nerd_AMA224 karma

Oh cool...where are you at? I'll come say hi..and maybe mumble something about narwhals.

MachoBenihana201 karma

I'm back by the bottom of the ramp up to the stage, down by all the cables and stages. I've got a black beanie on, name's Ben.

IAmA_Nerd_AMA806 karma

Reddit Grammy Meetup 2013! (it was nice to meet you Ben!)

technologicalbrian74 karma


Slendyla_IV3 karma

I just realized today that a girl in my college class, who went to HS with me (never really talk to her), was a redditor. The awkward 'murica thing she does, the stuff she talks about, how she says TIL sometimes should really have tipped me off.

Know what? I'm gonna ask this girl out on a date, she sounds cool.

IAmA_Nerd_AMA2 karma

So. Did it go okay?

MachoBenihana4 karma

You too man!! Sorry the pics so far away, but I was at the soundboard. You guys sounded great!!

EDIT: Can't English

IAmA_Nerd_AMA2 karma

Ha, I think I'm smaller than the DigiCo logo from there! I finally heard it and it sounded good...It was kind of an impossible mission to make 12 people who aren't normally a band simultaneously making noise be heard...but what I could hear was pretty balanced. Honestly from award shows I've heard crazy variation from TV to TV, from 2 channel to 5.1...even hearing the same show on DVR's from different networks sound completely opposite! I just don't judge anymore how it might have sounded to the average listener. I hope it was a worthy internship experience for you!

Pro Tip: Put where you worked and when on your resume...don't call out that it was an internship. If an interviewer asks THEN you mention you weren't paid...but often they don't get that specific in interviews since it's pretty taboo to ask how much a former employer paid.

maltesa3 karma

How do you even get into the business like that? I always wonder how the people operating the sound at concerts got to that point.

IAmA_Nerd_AMA10 karma

I asked him that myself and the answer was: Internships. His was through the Grammy Foundation i think.

medicalalphabetical57 karma


IAmA_Nerd_AMA52 karma

that is entirely likely.

dilltx1849 karma

Just a wee bit of proof is all we ask, and then I promise the questions will come flooding in.

Preemptively, will you please kick Justin Bieber in the balls for me? Oh and give Frank Ocean a high-five.

IAmA_Nerd_AMA112 karma

Everything I've heard about Frank Ocean paints him as one of the nicest people on the planet. His dressing room isn't far from ours, maybe I'll try for a fiver. Last time I saw the bieb's he was flanked by 4 bodyguards who tensed up when we said hi. It's fun being an unknown backstage because the celebrities always say hi back in case you might be somebody they should know.

IAmA_Nerd_AMA20 karma

Edited for proof.

codin_aint_easy45 karma

Can you punch Chris Brown in the nuts for me?

IAmA_Nerd_AMA36 karma

That would be very cathartic for the sane people in America.

wjbc33 karma

Does anyone pre-record their performances at the Grammys? Or perhaps enhance the performance with recordings or electronic aids? Is it a big deal among musicians to do so? Are there famous artists who get nervous about a live performance before people who may not be fans? On the other hand, are there artists who just thrive on performing live?

IAmA_Nerd_AMA70 karma

  • Yes, but I can't name names. We never do on principal. I can say at country awards shows it's usually about 2/3rds pre-tracked except for lead vocals. It's much less in the rock world. I've heard only 3 bands are using tracks tonight.
  • Last time we had a show with usher he had tons of laptops running. 3 keyboard players onstage and not even one of them even bothered to mime playing that 2 note intro.
  • electronic aids is pretty vague. There are plenty of drum machines playing click tracks in our ears...ear monitors could be considered electronic aid.
  • there's definitely a machismo to playing live as opposed to doing the milli-vanilli. But pre-recording means you get paid twice...for the performance and the recording, so they kinda win that way.
  • dave matthews came offstage at an award show and his response when we complimented him was (approximate quote) "I almost shat my pants I was so scared". We thought somebody with his experience still being that moved by it was awesome.
  • miranda is definitely one who thrives on the performance. sometimes you have to reassure the producers that it will pick up for the real show. I feel that for sure. The stakes get high and I get lost in the fun of the moment. I liken it to mountain biking. It forces you to be as focused on the moment as you are capable of. Seeing Pink doing pushups and jumping around like a badass just before she hit the stage at iHeartRadio was awesome to see. However you feel about a star's music sometimes you can't deny the energy and entertainment they provide live.


"I almost shat my pants I was so scared"

He scares easily. I heard he got scared crossing the Chicago river a few years back. It landed on a boat full of tourists passing under neath.

IAmA_Nerd_AMA48 karma

We often get lectured on being careful because we represent Miranda's name...but it truly is funny how much people exaggerate when celebrities have messups. I have a little inside info on that one: The driver for one of the crew busses, probably full of technicians that never even interact with dave, decided to dump his toilet smells awful when they get full and sometimes the drivers are too lazy to find a truck stop to empty the shitter properly. Years ago I stepped in a stream of pee from Miranda's bus when her driver dumped on the desert roadside right when I was walking up barefoot to check on another crew member...pee mud, ugh. I boiled my foot. Anyways, going over a river on a grated bridge seems like a sneaky place to dump without getting caught. But the decision had nothing to do with Dave himself...I'm sure he was asleep on another bus miles in front or on a jet. And I'm sure that driver was a good man who got fired over a careless decision. Still, it makes fun enough headline that people latch on to and don't care about details.

severust8623 karma

Just for a reference...

IAmA_Nerd_AMA31 karma

:) Thanks...that was a ways back...haven't been blonde or played the blue tele in a while

Anon_Derp19 karma

  • Who are you
  • What are you performing?
  • What's your opinion on the nominations
  • What's your opinion on the current state of music and the music industry?

IAmA_Nerd_AMA35 karma

  • Chris Kline
  • I don't think I'm allowed to reveal the song but it's a Miranda Lambert hit.
  • I don't really follow award shows, but I heard some people grumbling about album of the year snubs.
  • It seems like rock is going through an 80's sounding phase but with more modern and tasteful production. Keyboards are suddenly cool again. #1 songs may not have an acoustic instrument but they are far from say AHA. I don't really follow pop though.

schroob9 karma

How do you feel about the current state of country and western? Has becoming more mainstream been good or bad for it?

IAmA_Nerd_AMA28 karma

It seems to be going through a hair-metalish phase. A lotta drop D loaded with distortion. Country is more rock than it's ever been. It's growing in popularity and I think that's a good thing. Good music will always be made, what sells or gets radio play in a given year is not directly related. I'm a fan of more songwriterish stuff.

schroob19 karma

If country is getting more metal, then pop is getting more folk. Funny how that goes...

Have a good time at the Grammys, and let us know if you see anything gossip-worthy!

IAmA_Nerd_AMA3 karma

I just saw this comment ...that's a great way to simplify it!

I saw plenty of funny things happen and I love to tell stories, but as a high-school nerd the word "gossip" makes me think of degrading somebody for entertainment and I'm really not into that. As far as fun little details involving celebs: Kelly Clarkson was still going on about getting stuck on Miranda when she made her way back to the dressing rooms just after her grammy. Miranda later said Kelly was not the first or last person to get stuck on her was an accident waiting to happen with every hug and many a faux diamond was lost.

Anon_Derp7 karma

Sounds like my kinda music. I gotta listen to you more often. You're the Chris Kline of "The Bionic Jam", right?

IAmA_Nerd_AMA19 karma

No, the Chris Kline of Bioshock fame is not me but I've been meaning to invite him out to a show. I've seen him on youtube and he is a shredding guitar player. As a CS major/musician he gives me a nerd boner. Also I loved bioshock.

He's definitely the most famous Chris Kline unless you count Chris Klein of American Pie fame (I've gotten so many funny emails meant for him). But there are literally hundreds of us on facebook last I checked.

funknut4 karma

Hey, to be fair, Google's Suggest feature suggests your name as first result, and that's generally a good indication of fame.

IAmA_Nerd_AMA2 karma

Hmm, maybe if I insist on the spelling...and I think that re-ordering is recent, but i'll take it as a good thing!

torntobits15 karma

Congratulations on the gig. Do you regularly play for Miranda or is this a "one time only".

IAmA_Nerd_AMA44 karma

I've been playing with ML for more than 6 years now. Best job ever. I worked at Dell for 7 years before that so it was sort of like winning the lottery. Of course, not many people knew of her back then...we had gigs playing county fairs for a few hundred...bigger bars, that kind of thing.

davidrab9 karma

what did you do at dell?

IAmA_Nerd_AMA3 karma

It changed a lot over 7 years. Most of that I was a contractor with no bennies coding in ASP and PHP, but it allowed me to work part time and run my music studio at night. At first I was contracted to do internal facing customer relationship sites for people who needed inside information but didnt work for dell. Later I was the junior developer for the Internet Partners Division...which was a specialized arm between small and large business for Dell partners who had few employees and large profits, and offered venture capital to potential companies like that. Then the big tech bust happened in 2000 and those companies mostly flopped like fish in a dried up lake. My entire division of about 300 dried up. First the sales force was redirected to the small and medium business divisions. Then one by one the marketing executives were either laid off or reassigned. Before the admin (that's Dell-ese for secretary) knew she was to be laid off she handed me my contract. She mentioned she had tweaked the employee database to give me a status somewhere inbetween a contractor and direct employee. Eventually the Director and everybody I worked for was gone and I was left alone in the empty cubicle farm for 20 yards in any direction with no standing orders or responsibilities. I realized it was some sort of glitch that might soon be fixed so I started wandering around looking for people that needed computer help...excel spreadsheets, mouse ball cleaning, pc load lettering, whatever. About a month later I was helping somebody and they realized I could edit web pages and shouted to their colleagues "WE HAVE A WEB RESOURCE!". Apparently they hadn't been able to update their web pages since the layoffs. I handed their admin my contract, which was somehow pre-funded by Intel for keeping their logo on the site, and my job continued for another 6 with flexible hours since I was effectively an independent contractor. My contracting company had lost every employee but me and gone under...they sold out to another arbitrary entity whom I kept faxing in my hours to and I kept getting paychecks. I did internal and external coding, photoshop work, copywriting, at my most prestigious point I managed the home page...then I took it a step further and re-did the menu system on the home page. It was kind of a disaster because I went around the usual dell content and made a javascript system that was only PC compatible, but was there really much business we lost from people on Mac's trying to buy Dell's? I knew it would be fixed soon enough and i knew I would never again get the opportunity to work on web pages that get millions of hits daily. I had no more ambition left for the tech industry. Right about that time Dell started gearing up for the second round of layoffs in 2006...maybe third if you count how many contractors they let go at any given time. I had been forced to go full time and forced to lead a team of programmers, which was cool but i had turned it down because as a perfectionist it made me want to get there early and leave late to make sure shit got done. It was a responsibility trap. I had to escape and my solo music career had fizzled in the last few years. So I told all my musician friends I was looking for a road gig...I'd even play country..but corporate money is a hard addiction to kick! Miranda wasn't the first audition to come up but it was the first one I'd leave Dell money for...

tinycookie2 karma

He sold overpriced Alienware™.

IAmA_Nerd_AMA2 karma

Actually I left just as Dell was buying out Alienware. But it looked like a good match to me...they both made laptops that were focused on high performance rather than lightness and efficiency. Is there some cheap brand of laptop that is basically desktop hardware with a battery and built-in peripherals that I don't know of? I know you can get the same performance from a tower for much less, but other name brand laptops tend to trade off a lot of performance for efficiency. It may not be your niche but it's a legitimate niche.

redspyder15 karma

You have just become my daughters hero mentioning narwhals!

IAmA_Nerd_AMA20 karma

They ARE pretty awesome

redspyder10 karma

Thanks for the reply her expression was priceless. Her followup question if you get a chance is "Ask him if when he mentions them if very many people know what they are" thanks agani for the reply.

IAmA_Nerd_AMA5 karma

We went to Alaska recently and they had a big narwal display in the gift shop window. In our casual conversation I realized that some of the guys just thought it was a fantasy animal...they didn't know why some dungeons and dragons bauble would be in a tourist gift shop. And I had to explain that Narwhals are a real thing.

hexiia13 karma

Is Blake Shelton really that awesome??

IAmA_Nerd_AMA27 karma

He is effortlessly funny. It's not just for the camera. He could easily be a comedian for a living in an alternate universe where he didn't play country. He's a kind soul as well...Its that certain honesty that goes hand in hand with being a comedian. If he has a bad side I haven't seen it.

XenonDown12 karma

How does it feel? Is it your biggest gig yet? How is the dynamics in the band during the show? Any room for improvisation - not so much melody/chords I would imagine but perhaps phrasing?

IAmA_Nerd_AMA27 karma

  • we did the grammy's a couple of years ago so not crazy jitters...but we were a little shaky at rehearsals so there is a little danger factor.
  • no...playing a sold out wrigley field with paisley felt bigger/more significant.
  • we are combining 2 bands for a medley,,,lots of musicians onstage who haven't jammed together much playing through quickly built ear mixes.. it's a bit like walking a tightrope together but we try to relax and remember to have fun
  • I'm playing B3 on a song with no B3 so im completely improvising...I've been changing up some inversions on the fly...just feeling it out. I'm not the sort of musician who knows exactly what I'm going to play but there's not too much wiggle room when just padding some big chords.

CheapLumineer11 karma


IAmA_Nerd_AMA53 karma

A musician. A redditor. Chris Kline. You've never heard of me.

danceswithshelves12 karma

We have now!

andytuba3 karma

Now let's get him and Jonathan Coulton together in a room.

ApolloAbove3 karma

Jon Jon is a bit bitter right now.

IAmA_Nerd_AMA2 karma

I missed another meme didn't I?

consumeradvocacy8 karma

Do you have a solo career?

IAmA_Nerd_AMA13 karma

Sort of. I post my new songs to when I finish them... But I got this gig after I was finally crushed enough by the harsh reality that is the music industry...and started looking for work as a side-man. I've been kicking around getting involved in the Nashville songwriting scene but I'm mostly a rock guy and the one point everybody makes about country these days is it doesn't need more people trying to dress up rock songs as country songs.

herpants7 karma

have you ever sang a Miranda song at a karaoke bar? May I recommend you get drunk and try it sometime?

IAmA_Nerd_AMA14 karma

Oh jeez, yes a few times. Never sober. Everybody thinks they are clever signing me up for a miranda karaoke song. The thing is I sing all her songs for soundcheck every day so I'm very experienced with performing them. But this one time I was in hell when Blake's sister secretly voluteered me to take over for the pianist at a crowded piano bar and play Kerosene. This was downtown little rock after a concert so it was packed with fans. I had never actually played the song on anything but harmonica and I was unsure of the chords or how it could even be done with a piano. I mouthed to Miranda "help me" but it was too late to let the bar down. The bar crowd ended up being so noisy that nobody minded me searching for a few chords and lines...but I still catch flack from Blake's sister for not knowing all the words. We ended up getting escorted from the bar to the busses later by a team of 4 mounted police.

herpants16 karma

I really appreciate the way you elaborate on your answers and tell good stories. Storytellers like you make for really interesting AMAs even when I'm not familiar with the subject to begin with. Thanks!

IAmA_Nerd_AMA12 karma

Cool, I figured it would be fun and I'm glad you are enjoying it. I get so much out of this website so it's great being able to contribute.

throwthisawaybitches7 karma

Dont have a question, but wanted to tell you I love country music! Thanks for doing this AMA and good luck tonight!!

IAmA_Nerd_AMA9 karma

Thanks, I hope you enjoy the show!

bigjeffrey7 karma

Can you get me a job with Miranda's crew? I'm really fun to hang out with.

IAmA_Nerd_AMA16 karma

"The hang" is so important. And we had so many revolving crew positions when we were a Texas based band... hiring friends and friends of friends to tune the guitars and such...but somewhere between 2008 & 2010 it got so big that we hired mostly nashville professional technicians, which is a professional pool that just isnt as big in texas. To put it another way, we outgrew the supply of TX touring professionals. Now we are such a well oiled organization that suggesting a friend for a position would just be laughed off if that friend hasn't already proven themselves in the hellfire that is the touring industry. There were too many people at the shows to just stop things and say "sorry, the guitar tech put the capo on the wrong fret", as happened from time to time in our clubbier days. People expect a bigger, tighter production once thousands start showing up for the show.

It's important to note that the texas region is big enough that it has its own country market that is often at odds with "nashville country". Bigger Texas bands never have to stray far from Texas to make enough money to support themselves. But if you want to play arenas you have to make it to a national market and Texas alone can't provide's a hard or impossible transition for many southern country/rock bands. Once you become a nationally famous band the Texas markets might reject you for not being Texas enough. These are very vague generalizations but my point is that the nashville vs. texas tension is quantifiable.

bigjeffrey2 karma

Is that a no then? : ( PS Miranda and Dierks did awesome!

IAmA_Nerd_AMA5 karma

TL;DR: No. (Management specifically announced a "no more hiring friends" rule years ago)

I'm glad you enjoyed the mashup!

fashioncoat6 karma

maybe it'd be fun, if we knew who you were :)

IAmA_Nerd_AMA13 karma

hold on...I did this on a lark. I have a proof pic but I have to edit out our backdrop...they don't want stuff like that leaked.

saxmanb5 karma

Miranda lambert played saxophone in high school. Why didn't any hot girls play saxophone at my high school?

IAmA_Nerd_AMA14 karma

I do think girls should find more things like band instruments or science fun, but american culture just doesn't reward these sorts of activities right's all about popularity and fun. Don't get me started. But the cool nerd does seem to be making a comeback lately.

IAmA_Nerd_AMA3 karma

Holy shizzle-fries! That is hilarious and disturbing to hear something I wrote with the voice inside my head spoken in your voice...a professionally smooth voice I might add.

shaninanigan1 karma

Shoot being in the band was cool at my high school… We are in SC and they went all the way to New Orleans and played in the parade!

IAmA_Nerd_AMA2 karma

Sounds like an adventure!

I played trombone in my marching band, but it definitely wasn't cool. The highlight was we had a gratuitous trip to a contest in Hawaii. I can't even remember how we placed... I was just in it for the trip.

griz375 karma

Is Aden going to rock a mohawk tonight? Tell Miranda to come back to Montana soon!

IAmA_Nerd_AMA11 karma

Aden cut off the mohawk a year ago. It was a great visual (and networking tool) but after 5 years it had pretty much run its course!

CantUseUsualUsername5 karma

Just watched you on the Grammy's. Good job. How much can you make a year as a touring musician?

IAmA_Nerd_AMA10 karma

Not as much as I was making at Dell as a web programmer, but I wouldn't trade it for any job!

switch80004 karma

Hey everybody, he's on the TV...

IAmA_Nerd_AMA5 karma

I haven't seen it yet...did I get some good airtime? Us band guys are always getting competitive about who got more face time. Which is unfortunately a suckers game as the keyboard player.

kick4touch4 karma

Coolest person you've ever met

IAmA_Nerd_AMA18 karma

kinda vague. Are you thinking cool like personality or "oh wow you met him"? Dierks has got to be the nicest celebrity I've met. He remembered my name from the minute we met before I was even hired in Miranda's band. He just puts you at ease.

Jimmy Fallon blew me away with his sincere interest in everybody who happened to be backstage. Really nice guy. I told him my band mates call me Nick Burns (because I always fix their computers) and he went into the character. Said he was a CS Major in college too so it was a real nerd moment.

Sarah McLachlan was pretty freakin awesome...actually hung out and drank/jammed with us on lillith fair. Brandi Carlisle is awesome beyond words...she just loves making music and having fun with whomever is in the room.

kick4touch1 karma

Have you ever slept with one of these celebrities .? Creepy I know but hey you're the one answering the questions

IAmA_Nerd_AMA8 karma

Carrie Fisher was so surprisingly flirty that I ended up reading up about her and learned loads about the affliction that is Bi-Polarity. The Stephen Fry documentary is so honest and eye-opening. I had a clinincally bi-polar boss once so I've also seen firsthand how much it is not a joke. So in hindsight it saddened me a little that she still struggles with controlling her impulses. Awesomely talented woman BTW.

kick4touch1 karma

How did you manage to get in there , as in your job you've got a pretty awesome lifestyle

IAmA_Nerd_AMA4 karma

I had played with the guitar player for years before he was hired. He was recruited out of a smaller band she used to open for. I wasn't the first name on the audition list but I was the only one who said "Yeah, I can take next week off work and head across the country with you on short notice". I was lucky I had a work-from-home setup with Dell. At the touring band level you sometimes throw musicians on the road for a trial by fire rather than schedule auditions...they expect you to at least be good enough to not embarass yourself and being a good hang on the road is an important thing to check out.

kick4touch1 karma

Is this a subtle ad for Dell ? if so well played .Have you or will you ever travel to Ireland ?

IAmA_Nerd_AMA2 karma

  • Dell is OK. They make good super-heavy business style laptops with lots of ports that are up my alley. Also, they paid my bills for close to a decade. I wouldn't recommend working there unless you can take a high-stress rat race...but it can groom successful people if it doesnt burn you out. I primarily used a Macbook onstage but I recently switched to a generic mp3car style PC box running Windows 7.

  • We had Ireland booked last year and it fell through...I was sad.

IAmA_Nerd_AMA4 karma

I've never been single on the road so I must live vicariously through my friends and band-mates. On behalf of all of

severust864 karma

What part of the show are you guys playing I dont want to miss it? I love Miranda Lambert, when I went to basic army training 3 years ago at Ft. KNox "The house that built me" happened to always play on the bus radio on the few trips to the ranges. It was my only contact with the modern world and honestly helped keep me sane. lol Keep up the great work and best of luck tonight to all of you.

IAmA_Nerd_AMA9 karma

We are about 30 minutes in.

I'm glad her music has been a source of strength for you, and thanks for your service. She does a great job of making meaningful songs. She didn't write that particular one but she really owns it live and on the record.

griz373 karma

What is your favorite Miranda song to perform live? Favorite song of hers that you don't perform in concert?

IAmA_Nerd_AMA6 karma

In the current set Over You is my favorite because I get to play a prominant guitar part, sing a big harmony, and swell an organ note in and out with my feet.

I absolutely love Fine Tune but we never play it because the crowd gives us blank stares. It's not very country. I miss Crazy Ex Girlfriend too because the B3 part is wacky but she's been tired of that one for a while.

alixxlove1 karma

How emotional does Over You get? I imagine it's worse for her husband than her.

IAmA_Nerd_AMA2 karma

She gets choked up and lets the crowd sing sometimes. It's about the same with House That Built Me...she didn't write it but she's internalized it. As far as Blake, that's not something I know or would ask about...but I can say he has been side of stage at plenty of shows when she sang it and spoke about it's significance beforehand.

CyrisXD3 karma

Can you take a picture of Katy Perry's boobs while you're there? We have vast amounts of Karma to share and no one to give it too.

IAmA_Nerd_AMA52 karma

Dat dress... i hope it's not too sexist to recount my most special 53rd grammy rehearsal experience. We sat out in the empty audience seats while the rest of the bands rehearsed. Katy Perry had a bubble machine going during the rehearsals which put out smoke filled bubbles everywhere. They looked really cool, caught the light, and made little smoke poofs when they popped. But they popped a lot and the dancers started slipping on the pools of soap. After the song she announced into the mic that it was too slippery and they couldn't dance with the floor that way. As she demonstrated to the producer how the bubbles made them slip she lost her balance for real... and to catch herself she had to double over in a full forward fold with her ass to the audience. She was wearing a very short skirt and very thin underwear. I'll be in my bunk.

schroob3 karma

Congrats on the TV gig. How different is it to play a TV gig versus a live show? Is it different playing in front of other professional musicians? Will you be watching the show when you're not playing (and if so, do you have your "I'm so glad so-and-so bad musician won and I'm on TV" face practiced?)?

IAmA_Nerd_AMA14 karma

Staring at seated celebrities instead of wild fans is way different...and occasionally a camera gets in your face and you have to pretend its not messing with you. I intentionally don't wear my contacts so I don't space out looking at say Elton John or Jack White.

We will be backstage gherming after we play. We stand by the stage exit and say hi to the celebs as they's tons of fun.

schroob9 karma

Do you see celebs gawking at mega-stars? I don't care if I'm King of the Universe, I'm gonna gawk at Aretha... :)

IAmA_Nerd_AMA3 karma

Of course! I think most stars don't think of themselves as stars unless they buy into the ego trip. And as much as people love shitting on celebs, the majority of them get to where they are by having an amazing talent. At awards shows stars bump into each other in the hall constantly and as they are walking away you will hear them saying stuff like "OMG that was amazing". It's kind of a mutual admiration society (older than facebook)... and I think that's half the purpose of putting all the dressing rooms in close proximity. Miranda loves Beyonce and was giddy to talk to her. Dierks looked like Mcauley Caulkin saying "yes" to himself after talking to Steve Martin at the ACM's, it was sweet to see. Dave Grohl seemed excited to talk to everybody, but I think he's just the human equivalent of a happy puppy.

PopsandHisses3 karma

I would space out immediatley after seeing Jack White in the flesh.

IAmA_Nerd_AMA2 karma

As a band we pretty much did that. Nobody came up with anything relevant to say besides "we loved your performance" so the awkward small-talk came to an end with him walking away saying "see you around Nashville".

In retrospect some good ice-breakers would have been "We are guys from the rock world playing in the Nashville scene...we love what you're doing there...You'd be welcome to jam with us anytime (you never know)."...but no, instead we hosted our own little Chris Farley show.

ozymandias212 karma

Just saw you perform. Awseome man!

IAmA_Nerd_AMA2 karma

Thanks. If you were entertained I did my job.

hehyih2 karma

Are you a session musician? I have a bunch of friends to do tours with big names as fill in musicians and they love it.

IAmA_Nerd_AMA6 karma

The term "session musican" means staying in town and recording in studios to me, not filling in on the road. For the most part the nashville recording clique is seperate from the touring clique. I haven't tried to break in. I'm a bit insecure about my abilities in the studio...I lean more towards the showman side.

colesmom2 karma

are you nervous?

IAmA_Nerd_AMA3 karma

A little bit. Having this to occupy me helps! Otherwise we are bored here in captivity.

WhammyMan1 karma

What are you playing now?

IAmA_Nerd_AMA2 karma

playing the b3 organ tonight... And singing harmonies.

SausagesSausages2 karma


IAmA_Nerd_AMA9 karma

  • I try to stay numb to it during the actual show...usually sometime the next week I stop and say wow. It's dangerous to try and appreciate crazy things like this in the moment...can get all choked up.
  • At award shows celebrities are on their best behaviour. But in general I have been pleasantly durprised at how many celebrities are approachable and polite. Gwennyth Paltro, Beyonce', Jason Alexander, Jimmy Fallon, Neil Patrick Harris, Jamie Foxx, Patrick Warburton, Taylor Swift, Polly Peret, Dave Matthews, Carrie Fisher, Liam Neeson...they all make that list. We are just obnoxious musicians who tell em we like em and they are very gracious about it and often interested in a little conversation. If they are less cool celebs they usually just don't want to be bothered and aren't approachable, usually flanked by a handler or bodyguards... but nobody of note has ever been rude to me. The Eagles, Zachary Quinto, and Brittani Spears (well, her bodyguard really) come to mind.

BlerpityBloop1 karma


IAmA_Nerd_AMA3 karma

No, he didn't have anybody with him but he didn't smile or talk and grudgingly let me take a picture with him. Maybe he was just tired!

The_ginger_avenger1 karma

Maybe he was just in character

IAmA_Nerd_AMA2 karma

I dug up the picture:

You know, he doesn't look at all put off in the photo. Maybe I was projecting my own insecurities. I figured I was just one more nerd fan in the way of him going home at that particular moment.

pallaqinka2 karma

Are all the performers there already? If so, do you get to walk around and maybe meet a random artist?

Btw, in the very minuscule chance that you see him, say hi to Frank Ocean for me :)

Good luck, and have fun!

IAmA_Nerd_AMA9 karma

  • Yes, Dress rehearsals started at 10amPST and the entire show is run mock live at the same pace.
  • Absolutely, it's the most fun part. Last time I got to make a fool of myself with Neil Patrick Harris, Jamie Foxx, Usher, Gwennyth Paltrow, Beyonce', Polly Peret, said hi to the beibs. I invited NPH to go get "a sandwich"...I'm pretty sure he was very unamused but he was nice about the gag. Usher held my hand for about 10 seconds when the crowd pushed in...he looked back and presumably realized I wasn't his bodyguard and let go without any explanation. Jamie Foxx loves Miranda's music and recognized us from the performance...he approached US which was awesome! I hope this year is as exciting as the 53rd was!

redjuiceslurpie2 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA. How did you land the job as a musician? Are you a 'studio musician'? What does your job require of you (hours put in, how much creativity, etc)? What other artists have you worked for? How different is working for a a singer as opposed to being in a band? what education do you have for music/keyboards?

IAmA_Nerd_AMA6 karma

  • No prob...just sitting here otherwise.
  • It's all who you know basically...networking, networking, networking. Having enough talent only puts you on the field, not in the game.
  • I record my own songs for fun and have the occasional session, but my touring (and insecurity about my skills) keeps me from any regular studio work. Also, producers in Nashville generally have sets of musicians they prefer working with.
  • Before I moved to nashville, which is geographically convenient, I was gone more days than I was home. We worked it out to 191 days on the road in 2009. Now it's mostly Wednesday evening through Sunday morning and back home. On a normal day I roll out of bed, sing a few songs for soundcheck, work out or work on songs, pretty myself up, then rock out for 90 minutes...and usually have some fun after the show until we roll to the next city in the wee hours.
  • I haven't worked with anybody as big as Miranda except in Miranda-related events.. I got to back up Fogerty when he joined us onstage. I got to trade vocals with Carrie Underwood while standing in for ML at a rehearsal. I got to jam with Charlie Daniels once and he tossed me a solo. Paul Shaffer wanted me to do a solo on Honky Tonk Woman at a Letterman commercial break...but I didn't see his gesture...when he told me later all I could say was "wow" and froze up like a giddy little girl. We have Blake join us every now and then. Dierks, Paisley, Urban, whomever Miranda happens to be jamming a song with on a given night. I almost forgot: I played keys on Will Hoge's latest single "Song Nobody Will Hear"
  • she treats us like family. We are a band and we love being that way. She's said we should get our own name, but we never play as a group without her. I'm still the new guy after more than 6 years. She likes us being able to roll with situations on the fly and not clam up when shit goes wrong. Bands that don't really know each other are more susceptible to train wrecks without that trust. We've finished out playing unplanned songs, the wrong song we started but played anyways, capo's being in the wrong place so we transpose on the fly, jamming until the microphone can be fixed, or when she wants to talk...that sort of stuff.
  • I had piano lessons as a kid and a teenager but I didn't really fall in love with music until I could learn songs I loved on guitar. I had the odd guitar lesson here and there but nothing consistant. University of Texas' music program was very old school: Jazz or Classical only. But I took studio engineering classes at Austin Community College in the 90's. I ran a music studio and played with local bands for next to nothing for years until I got this gig.

Cblack124832 karma

Watching you as i type this. Good job. My question: what is Miranda's phone number?

IAmA_Nerd_AMA7 karma

She's had to change her number so many times it's usually different by the one occasion a year I have to call or text her.

But sorry no...It doesn't say "Answer You Anything"!

readdy1922 karma

How long did the tambourinist need to practice hitting the tambo methodically with that mallet? It was impressive.

But do you land a gig like this?

IAmA_Nerd_AMA2 karma

Miranda and Dierks both insisted on bringing their whole bands for the medley...we were all flattered but with 12 people onstage lets just say our jobs were much more specialized than in a regular show. Steve Misamore, Dierks' malleteer of many many years, is a great drummer and apparently can handle ze glockenspiel.

TL;DR networking.

nipcrille1 karma

Your employer is pretty. Is she available for intercourse?

IAmA_Nerd_AMA2 karma

Is your name Blake?

nipcrille2 karma

It could be. If she's willing to commute to Sweden, I'm willing to compromise. I'll be anyone she likes. Except Batman, that shit seems stressful.

IAmA_Nerd_AMA2 karma

How about Blakeman? The hero country deserves...

melanieeex31 karma

I love Miranda Lambert! :)

IAmA_Nerd_AMA2 karma

What is love? (lady don't hurt me)

david-saint-hubbins1 karma

What kind of setup do you use? I've got a Nord Electro, a couple Rolands, and a (currently out of commission) Wurly...

IAmA_Nerd_AMA2 karma

I use a computer based rig running Native Instruments Kore and Komplete. I used to be a purist with a B3 and a Rhodes but I herniated a disc in my 20s with said with my nerdy streak and limited lifting capacity I ended up being one of the only people to be running a computer onstage in the 90's....Gigasampler under Windows 95, and it sounded so much better than the memory crippled keyboards of the day (though the hardware keyboards really have caught up lately).

I use my own suitcase rhodes sample set (minor thirds at 4 velocities, super honky close tines to the pickups...none of that pretty steely dan rhodes shit most keyboards have). I also use the B4 plugin which isn't optimal but it's so processor friendly and in an arena the subtlety of a real vintage organ is lost. I use the Akoustik piano plugin (Bosendorfer stagehand preset with no reverb,16 bit 44k). Several instances of Guitar Rig for my harmonica, electric pianos, pedal steel, and electric guitar. If you are noticing a NI pattern it's because they offered me an endorsement and sent me the Komplete package au gratis, however I already bought the whole thing at an earlier version. Version 5 though...I've been meaning to get back with them and upgrade to 8...but I can't believe they dropped B4 for the vintage organ sample set.

Since I have several instruments I use the Kore presets to mute the ones I'm not using and limit processor usage. It also sends MIDI signals to a Rocktron Patchmate which enables or disables guitar effects pedals and AB's between amps and guitars so my electric guitar rig remains analog though computer controlled. It all boils down to me hitting the "next" button between songs...not much else besides a few random sample triggers or swelling in soe organ notes...but I spend a shitload of time getting the settings right during sound checks.

It drives me crazy that Kore is discontinued. I've started coding with some developers of the Reaper SWS extensions to try and meet my needs within the DAW but I don't think it'll be useful till 2014. Ableton Live isnt what I need, nor is Protools or any other DAW. I'm not wild about MusicOS, Cantabile, or Forte. So I think I'm stuck with what I have until we beat the code out into something more usable.

Was that specific enough for you?

Reddit_Wingman1 karma

How is ML in person? Do you tour with her, too?

IAmA_Nerd_AMA2 karma

  • about the same as she is on TV I think. Down to earth, no bullshit, fun to be around.

  • yep. Now it's back to work. Our next show is Dekalb, IL on Thursday.

elr18041 karma

Can you say hi to Reddit when you're on camera? Something so we know you're acknowledging us?

IAmA_Nerd_AMA24 karma

I doubt I'll get any camera time...and there's no way for me to know if they do have me in a shot. I wore a reddit pin for many of the country award shows we've done but they are psycho abour not allowing logo's onstage at the grammy's.

fanboyvalor1 karma

How did you get into the industry?

IAmA_Nerd_AMA3 karma

I made music for next to nothing while holding down a day job just in case for 10 years.

Mugtown1 karma

What's your opinion of your song house that built me?

IAmA_Nerd_AMA3 karma

Awesome song. I heard the songwriters pitched lines back and forth to each other for years before they settled on the final version...which came out years ago.

IAmA_Nerd_AMA2 karma

Awesome song. I heard the songwriters pitched lines back and forth to each other for years before they settled on the final version...which came out years ago.

nota_mermaid1 karma

The show Nashville is my favorite guilty pleasure. Aside from the melodrama, how realistic is the music business part of it? (if you even watch it, that is)

IAmA_Nerd_AMA3 karma

Well, there is certainly a lot of drama, cliques, ridiculous competition, alliances and enemies made. But I think that's any high power industry. I've only seen one episode, so I can't really say...but my wife is addicted to it and it seems most industry people are interested in it. Songwriting circles can be cliquish and hard to break in to. One of the characters makes me think of Patty Loveless who is totally awesome and talented but from another decade and no longer feels like it's monetarily worth it to tour. I think they borrow from industry gossip for the characters. Miranda's manager at the time was the first one to pitch a song to the show...for our friend Will Hoag. And people are scrambling to get their songs on the show it definitely has had an impact on the industry.

[deleted]1 karma


IAmA_Nerd_AMA2 karma

Sorry, she's super busy today and is off at her own dressing room in the celebrity section. It would be a pretty big no no for us since we get a nearly constant stream of requests such as this. She has a meet&greet system on her website to provide opportunities like this at shows, but it's pretty competitive to get signed you have to register 10 sends after the slots open up at midnight.

SenPHapp1 karma

Will you actually being singing? Or will you be pulling a beyond at the inauguration?

IAmA_Nerd_AMA8 karma

I sang. I was not as confidant about it as I was at rehearsals...not as clear an ear mix but there are a million possible reasons for that. Hopefully didn't muff any notes, I haven't heard it yet.

Did you mean Beyonce'? If you're going to pick on an entertainer for prioritizing entertainment over a live display of musicianship then put it in an envelope and mail it to madonna in the 80's...nothing has changed. Ill bet if Beyonce' thought she could relate more to her crowd by strumming an acoustic and singing with a bluegrass band around a single microphone she could pull it off. Just my impression of her. I didn't see the inauguration but I'm guessing it was enough of a formality rather than her regular crowd having a good time that she might have said "fuck it, let's run the vocal track tonight". Or maybe she had a cold. I don't know why I'm defending her, she just seems like she genuinely cares about music and has talent... and that's good enough for me.

fubg1 karma

You should convince Miranda to come play in Canada, preferably Ottawa. Wink wink nudge nudge. Haha!

IAmA_Nerd_AMA2 karma

We were in Ottawa recently doing a show with Carrie Underwood at the war museum. I rode my bike around was a good day and a good night.

Shit, I just looked it up and it was a year and a half ago (time really flies on the road):

I checked our schedule and we will play a festival between Toronto and Ottawa on August 4th.

SamIsSexah1 karma

Give Ed Sheeran a high five for me -^

IAmA_Nerd_AMA6 karma

It's the first I've heard his name but I just brought up his wikipedia...I'll keep an eye out...he will surely be amused when I grab his hand, five it, and say "That was from SamIsSexah". Or maybe I'll just be escorted out.

IAmA_Nerd_AMA7 karma

So, thanks to you I said "reddit says Hi" to Ed as he passed me in the hallway. He smiled bashfully and mouthed an inaudible reply. I'm sure he was still reeling from his performance or perhaps is not yet used to the sensory onslaught of an awards show. (He probably has no idea what reddit is)

SamIsSexah2 karma

Haha! xD have you talked to taylor swift? First impression of her?

IAmA_Nerd_AMA3 karma

I've met her a couple of times. She was really sweet and all smiles. Just a few seconds of smalltalk.

EDIT: Here's the pic:

shaninanigan2 karma

Hey you know you just posted your whole Picasa album for them to see right…?

IAmA_Nerd_AMA2 karma

It's a public photostream for your enjoyment!

IAmA_Nerd_AMA5 karma

So, thanks to you I said "reddit says Hi" to Ed as he passed me in the hallway. He smiled bashfully and mouthed an inaudible reply. I'm sure he was still reeling from his performance with Sir Elton and perhaps is not yet used to the sensory onslaught of an awards show. I thought it was cute. He probably has no idea what reddit is.

EliQuince1 karma

Wanted to ask you what your rig was, but oh well!

JohnWad-9 karma

Ever seen Miranda nude?

IAmA_Nerd_AMA6 karma

I'm not feeling clever at the moment but there's no serious response to that....uh...Our management works very hard to provide dressing rooms to prevent the aformentioned condition.

luvlyleslie-9 karma


IAmA_Nerd_AMA8 karma


VHS-DVD-14 karma

Yeah I really don't care if you aren't even gonna tell us who you are.

IAmA_Nerd_AMA7 karma

Sorry...I updated the post but the Staples internet is not cooperating for an imgur upload.

cycle2-21 karma

Nobody sane gives a shit about the Grammys.

IAmA_Nerd_AMA15 karma

I think there are enough insane people in LA to sustain it.