10.06.2006

how do you know a banjo player with a sense of humor?

over the past thirty years (thirty years!! gee whiz!) i've told a lot of people that i'm a musician. After i tell them that the conversation has a very familiar arc. One of the most common--and annoying is this one:

Me: Yeah, i've been playing since i was a little kid...

Other person: Really! Wow. That's neat! What all do you play?

Me: Well, i play guitar and banjo mostly...and sing a little bit.

Other person: Wow! You play a banjo? [and here's the annoying part:] BARRRNNNTT BARRRNNTT BARRNNT BARRRRNNTT!!!!

The "BARRRNNTT BARRRNNT!!!" part is when "other person" for some reason gets right up in my face and wags their hands around like they are playing a large fish and hollers BARRNNNNTT BARRRRNTT at me. I think what they are doing is imitating the sound they think a banjo makes. I know that they mean no harm by this, but it still is odd how many folks have this reaction. BARRRNNNTTT BARRRNTT!!!

Banjo players take a lot of damage. We tend to be a nerdy lot, fairly focused on the instrument, with the better ones of us having a habit of doing advanced math. (really. for instance one of my favorite banjo players is Bill Emerson of the Seldom Scene who is an actual math professor.)
That not withstanding--and even with the awareness that banjos can be quite annoying at times--we actually can get our feelings hurt. Still, it's refreshing to see that some of us are totally aware of that high nerd quotient in banjo playing and can make fun of it like this facetious auction of ebay.

hurry and look before they take it off of there. i can explain if anyone cares to know what the heck it means.

4 comments:

Kelly Love said...

I absolutely cannot WAIT to yell "BARRRNNTT BARRRNNT!!!" and waggle my hands the next time I see you. I think I would also like to make some twangy noises a'la Dueling Banjos and some references to Deliverance. ("Where you goin' city boy?")

But then I shall redeem myself by knowing that Taj Mahal has some lovely banjo recordings.

The Mom said...

OK, so what was that thing on Ebay? Or maybe the link doesn't go to what it did originally?

And now I want to HEAR what BARRNNTT sounds like - I can't imagine what they're saying. Banjo doesn't sound like that to me...to me it's more like Dueling Banjos.

Walter said...

alison has suggested that BARRRRNNNT! isn't exactly what i was in search of. i made the sound for her and she said "oh!!! yeah, i see what you mean, but you made the word too long. You mean "BRNT-NERnt-NERnt!"

Jemima said...

Yes, please explain what that thing is. It's like the Wicked Witch of the West meets porn.

Oh, and I sort of pictured BARRRNNNTT BARRRNNTT BARRNNT BARRRRNNTT!!!! being the theme song from Green Acres. Was that even a banjo?