Open Mic


Signups were at 7, I strolled in at 7 after and was 7 on the list. My name in pencil as a testament to this little car-wash of fear for my soul.

I sat down in a chair next to a person I knew from a past life – he was already drunk  – I used to be his boss – he reminded me that I was his best boss and I was a good guy ~ life takes strange twists and turns. (drunk may be his normal state- he did not look well)

A snarky old guy with a leather hat approached and grabbed his coffee from the table next to me – Oh no, I sat in his seat! I apologized; he snarked back “I’m standing right here!”

This is a great start – my alcoholic ex-coworker drunk off his ass and I’ve pissed off one of the regulars here in this little theater –  Somehow all this is good with me – I mean; the water you swim is the water you swim – but you swim anyway.

We are told that instead of the three songs, we will only do two, due to the large amount of sign-ups— Maybe 11 total? And then go around a second time for one more.

I’ve moved to a new spot in this little theater – away from all the strife at the entrance – I meet another new guy  – he is a drummer, seems to be a good guy.

Let the show begin –

And it did.

By the time it got to me – I was ok with going up on stage for the first time – I had trouble getting my guitar to work  – but the host was very gracious in helping —–

I sang and played “Mississippi Kid” by Lynyrd Skynyrd – My version bears little resemblance to the original – I go straight 12 bar blues on my acoustic guitar – I love the song and the snarling attitude of it – My version is closer to that of Jerry Lee Lewis (but I humbly submit that my performance is just a wisp of smoke compared to the fire of the original “killer”).

I told the audience that it was my first time and I was only good for one tune –

And I did it!

By the time I got to the last verse, I was dancing a bit and enjoying myself.

It won’t be my last

I will be going back.

For a few moments that night – I was the “Mississippi kid”!


Notes: I bought a new acoustic guitar last March for my birthday and I play it every day –  (maybe I’ve missed a total of a week if you add all the days I couldn’t play in the last 10 months)

On February 1st (exactly 14 months to the day I lost my wife, for those of you that know me) I stepped on a stage and did an open mic.

It went well – I am not ruining this post with actual video; but that is probably coming!

I did mess with guitar in my earlier life, never anything past the tinkering stage and never complete songs.

And I never tried to sing before.

But, so what?

Life is to live.

Go live.

Question: What would be your song if and when you do (did?) this?



27 thoughts on “Open Mic

  1. Hey Wayne! Just found your blog, I’ve been looking at other people’s stories of their first open mics. Awesome you did it. I just recently did my first open mic….wrote about it cause I ended up learning a lot in the process. Great job!

  2. Wayne, I’m just getting back into the blogging business. I’m delighted to see you are still pursuing your passion. I’ll look forward to seeing more of your passion unfold. Drop in some time to my new retooled and refueled website (with blog). I value your feedback.

    1. Thanks Tony – passion matters, it always did and always does – I feel like it mugged me and left me on stage. I will be by sometime, just returning myself.

  3. Great post! How inspiring! My song would be ‘here comes the sun’ just cause it is such a pretty tune to play and I once upon a time was learning it. Not sure how I missed this post in reader but came to your blog to see if I’ve missed any posts, and there is a relatively new post waiting!

  4. I am busting at the seams proud of you, Wayne! So awesome. My song would have to be Allman Bros “One Way Out” cause I would so darn scared, my eye would be on that door to the street at all times!

    1. It’s not the song I would have picked – it’s more like the song picked me – its the one I do best – I needed it to get me up there – and you may not think you can do it but I didn’t either — talent is not a requirement 🙂

      1. I know that with some of the people who do go before the mic. But I know I can’t carry a tune in a bucket so it’s safer for me to watch. Some songs do just attract you.

  5. Wonderful to hear Wayne, congrats on your first performance.
    And I like that you played the one tune – I think that’s the show business advice, always leave ’em wanting more 🙂

    1. Good to hear from you Geoff – they were really very nice – they said I did well ~ but they said that to everyone, so I’m not exactly sure – but I might be hooked!

  6. Great story, Wayne. Well done for your first time. I love being on stage but it’s been a couple of years since the last time (but I will return sooner than later). As a drummer it’s easy for me because I’m usually in the back hidden behind the drum kit. If/when I have guitar-playing abilities and the guts to face an audience from the front of the stage, I’m thinking a scaled-back version of Pink Floyd’s “Time” would be a nice choice. I could never replicate Gilmour’s amazing guitar solo but would love to sing the words, “shorter of breath & one day closer to death.” I know that sounds morbid, but there’s something uplifting & inspiring about those lyrics, reminding us that we’re lucky to be here and we should spend as much time doing the things we love with the people we love.

    I’m really glad you’re finding your feet during what I imagine is still an incredibly difficult time. Sending good wishes your way.

    1. Thanks for the kind words Rich – I am getting there – not sure what that is exactly – this was a big step for me, it was much more about guts than glory.

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