[Dixielandjazz] Rudeness, Shyness, Lack of Social Grace? One Famous Musician's take

Steve barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Tue Dec 28 08:36:12 PST 2004

Here is a follow up to a recent thread, about musician rudeness and/or why
some don't listen to everybody else at a festival. The quote below is from
Ray Charles' Autobiography. "Brother Ray" by Ray Charles and David Ritz - De
Capo Press: (A fascinating read, btw)

Steve Barbone

"I've always been a loner, and a lot of money and fame didn't change that. I
went out to clubs only when I thought I could jam or find a gig. I had to be
in circulation if other people were to hear me and hire me. But once that
need passed, my nightlife came to an end." ...

"Folks say I'm private to the point of being anti-social and I won't argue.
I'll just say that since 1961 or so, I haven't been able to do what most
people do, go to a restaurant, order my food, eat, and split. Many
people-and 99 percent do it with love in their hearts-stop me and try to
engage me in conversation. I'm not good in those situations. I withdraw into
my little shell. Strange because I love to perform in public. But performing
and socializing are two different things."

"I'm shy. I'm not relaxed with more than three or four people in a room, and
if I don't know these people well, I'm really uncomfortable. If I'm in a
public place and someone comes up to compliment me, I don't know what to
say. I can't find the right words. I've never learned to be gracious or
charming in those situations. I stutter and stammer and finally let loose
with an; 'Oh thank you very much.'"

"I know it's stupid, but I'm embarrasses by those sorts of friendly
confrontations so I avoid them. . . . Even though I can print, I never sign
autographs. I don't discriminate about autographs either. . . when Nixon
asked me for one (at a White House gig) I turned him down, I wouldn't give
him one, I wouldn't make an exception."

"This is the bed that I made, and it's the one I gotta sleep in. I'm not
griping about having fans. I'm just explaining why my true nature doesn't
really permit me to mingle with them."

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