I used to play in a Happy Hour band that played Stump the Band with the audience. We had to stop when Massachusetts made Happy Hour illegal. No, really, that happened. My life is one long list of vocations, jobs, life callings, and hobbies that were made illegal. If I were smart, I would have started out doing illegal things right from the get-go. Illegal pays better.
Anyway, we’d wait for the audience to get some tonsil polish in them to loosen them up a bit, and then I’d drag the microphone out front and start interviewing people like a game show host. If that wasn’t working out — because everyone was too rowdy, or not rowdy enough — we’d play Stump the Band. The drummer would challenge the audience to call out the name of any one-hit wonder band that had had a top ten song in the past thirty years, and we pledged to play a minimum of ten recognizable seconds of it. A lot of times we’d play the whole thing if one of us knew half the words.
People would really, really, really try to stump us, which was a fool’s errand. We were pros, and the 1910 Fruitgum Company, or Cannibal and the Headhunters held no terrors for us. Guys that had giant record collections and tape on their glasses would try to stump us over and over again, but that sucked for everyone. The rest of the audience had no idea what the song was even if we did play it, so we mostly ignored those guys and waited for a pretty girl to yell out TEE SET! or something. Truth be told, we always ignored guys for any number of reasons, and no girl ever asked for some dirge nobody would recognize. They asked for fun stuff, like THE TEE SET! PLAY THE TEE SETTTT WHOOOOOOOOO!!!!
They always asked for their favorite oldie, something their big sister or their mother listened to when they were little. And without fail, we’d ruin it utterly and forevermore for them by playing it perfectly but mucking around with the lyrics. Once you hear it perfectly wrong, you’ll never hear it right again.
Sing it with me! RALPH BELLAMY, I’M IN LOVE WITH YOU!