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[Table] IAmA: I'm performing on the Grammy's tonight. Anybody care to AMA?

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Date: 2013-02-10
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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? 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. 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.
Just a wee bit of proof is all we ask, and then I promise the questions will come flooding in. 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.
Preemptively, will you please kick Justin Bieber in the balls for me? Oh and give Frank Ocean a high-five. Edited for proof.
Who are you. Chris Kline.
What are you performing? I don't think I'm allowed to reveal the song but it's a Miranda Lambert hit.
What's your opinion on the nominations. I don't really follow award shows, but I heard some people grumbling about album of the year snubs.
What's your opinion on the current state of music and the music industry? 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.
Vertexguy?! Nope...I think of him as the "more famous musician/programmer named Chris Kline". I had never heard of him till I won bioshock years ago... imagine my surprise when his/my name came up in the credits!
It didn't take much time on YouTube to see he knows his way around a guitar neck more than I do!
Being a country fan I was pissed Chief wasn't even nominated... It was released summer of 2011! It wasn't eligible for anything "of the year 2012"...
Ooooh I love Miranda Lambert! Saw her in concert once, wonder if you were there too… She is awesome live! I you saw her in the last 7 years, then yes, I was probably there!
How do you feel about the current state of country and western? Has becoming more mainstream been good or bad for it? 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.
Sounds like my kinda music. I gotta listen to you more often. You're the Chris Kline of "The Bionic Jam", right? 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 majomusician 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.
Maybe you two could start a band and really confused a whole bunch of people :) It's one of those John Smith kind of names... hundreds on Facebook. There's another Chris Kline I know of who is a drummer. We grew up in the same city, went to the same college, have the same middle initial... We easily spent 2 decades in the same city and somehow never met. But I thought it would be cool to track down all the CK musicians and make an album. Of course, people would just think it's a Hunter Hayes kind of thing.
If country is getting more metal, then pop is getting more folk. Funny how that goes... I just saw this comment ...that's a great way to simplify it!
Have a good time at the Grammys, and let us know if you see anything gossip-worthy! 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.
Hey, to be fair, Google's Suggest feature suggests your name as first result, and that's generally a good indication of fame. Link to
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!
I swear, it wasn't doing that four days ago! It's all about incognito mode if you want unbiased results, and it still might use your IP region. The kind of tailor made results and advertising that goes on with your average google search is a little creepy.
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? 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 biggemore 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.
Will your grammy watch the grammys in her pajammies? That is entirely likely.
Can you punch Chris Brown in the nuts for me? That would be very cathartic for the sane people in America.
Who are you? A musician. A redditor. Chris Kline. You've never heard of me.
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. 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.
Is Blake Shelton really that awesome?? 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.
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?)? 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.
I love the fact that you said gherming here... Fellow musician with a lot of Nashville background in my family. Didn't realize how significant this word was until I started spending more time in Nashville. I think the word extends to the film world as well...but I had never heard it until I started working around famous people.
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... :) 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.
I would space out immediatley after seeing Jack White in the flesh. 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.
Can you say hi to Reddit when you're on camera? Something so we know you're acknowledging us? 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.
Have you ever sang a Miranda song at a karaoke bar? May I recommend you get drunk and try it sometime? 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.
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! 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.
Do you have a solo career? 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.
Do you mind telling what is the harsh reality that is the music industry? Nobody cares about the art you nurture and birth to the world. Also, nobody will tell you if your art simply isn't original or passionate enough to be interesting... You just get ignored until you can bring warm bodies into clubs or sell records. Then everybody wants a piece whether it's good or not. Also, it takes money to make money... The day of the starving artist getting discovered is over.
What about Carrie Underwood? nobody to huge star in a few years? Does she write songs? I'm not saying you can't be a great performer and achieve fame. She has a voice and show that can sell tickets and albums and so a big label invested in her.
Miranda lambert played saxophone in high school. Why didn't any hot girls play saxophone at my high school? 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.
Link to 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.
Can you get me a job with Miranda's crew? I'm really fun to hang out with. "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.
Is that a no then? : ( PS Miranda and Dierks did awesome! TL;DR: No. (Management specifically announced a "no more hiring friends" rule years ago)
I'm glad you enjoyed the mashup!
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? 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.
What is your favorite Miranda song to perform live? Favorite song of hers that you don't perform in concert? 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.
How emotional does Over You get? I imagine it's worse for her husband than her. 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.
Is Aden going to rock a mohawk tonight? Tell Miranda to come back to Montana soon! 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!
Will you actually being singing? Or will you be pulling a beyond at the inauguration? 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.
Are all the performers there already? If so, do you get to walk around and maybe meet a random artist? Yes, Dress rehearsals started at 10amPST and the entire show is run mock live at the same pace.
Btw, in the very minuscule chance that you see him, say hi to Frank Ocean for me :) 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!
Just watched you on the Grammy's. Good job. How much can you make a year as a touring musician? Not as much as I was making at Dell as a web programmer, but I wouldn't trade it for any job!
Haha! xD have you talked to taylor swift? First impression of her? 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: Link to
Wow, you're classically handsome. That's about the nicest thing a stranger's ever said to me.
Besides of course all the emails I used to get for Chris Klein like "You hav nice musles" and "I loved you in rollerball"
I'm just kidding, nobody ever said they loved him in rollerball.
Hey you know you just posted your whole Picasa album for them to see right…? It's a public photostream for your enjoyment!
Watching you as i type this. Good job. My question: what is Miranda's phone number? 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"!
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. I asked him that myself and the answer was: Internships. His was through the Grammy Foundation i think.
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. 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.
What did you do at dell? 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...
Are you involved with the songwriting process, or are you given sheet music to learn? Miranda's songwriting process? No. I do hole up in the back lounge and write songs while we're on the road but that's just my own thing. She gives us rough mixes as the albums are in progress so we can have the songs ready to play before the album is released. We often make nashville chord charts to get started and Keith always writes drum charts, but the songs are always quickly memorized. It's all done by listening. We use our own best judgement as a band on how to translate studio parts to a live performance by a 6 piece band. We're very against using tracks to have a slick production in the live show.
I was surprised about your answer that you made more doing Web Dev. Are you going to have to quit in a few years and get a 'real job'? Well, nobody can tour FOREVER! I hope to get involved in the songwriting scene so I can continue to pay my bills with music and not computer's just more fun. Although I do enjoy programming, I enjoy it much more when it's not for a company that I am not attached to..I like hobby programming like VST plugins and the Reaper SWS extensions i'm playing around with.
Last updated: 2013-02-16 05:07 UTC
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1987 Pretty Polly Stakes Diamondsandrubies- Pretty Polly Stakes (Group 1)- 2015 Pretty Polly Stakes 2011 Pretty Polly Stakes 2014 Pretty Polly Stakes Day 2020 - Preview and FINAL Selections

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1987 Pretty Polly Stakes

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