Dear Little Bobby: Nervous on Stage, and Wants Single-Payer Healthcare

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Dear Little Bobby, 

I’m new to being a musician and new to being in a band. How can I overcome my nervousness on stage and build my confidence as a performer?

—Nervous On Stage


Dear Nervous,

I am not going to tell you to imagine that your audience is in their underwear, unless you are into that sort of thing.

I am going to tell you to, first and foremost, practice. Know the songs inside and out. And hang out with your bandmates. Hopefully they are friends or friendly folks.

Take some classes on mindfulness/meditation. Even yoga can help with this sort of thing, because it is a practice of balance: physical and mental balance. It is focused on the breath and when we focus on our breath and on the “now” there is only clarity and there is no “nervousness.”

Again, practice is crucial. Being physically and mentally healthy are also important. Getting enough rest and not drinking too much are also key.

In addition to those preparations, I used to battle stage fright by looking it straight in the eye, literally. I would find a section in a song, maybe a quiet section where I was very comfortable with the song and knew my part very well, then I would start looking at people in the audience right in the eye. One by one, eyeball after eyeball. Staring at people can be a risky endeavor, especially when you are wearing as much makeup as I do on stage. Keeping that in mind, I would choose my targets, and just stare at them. I never tried to make anyone uncomfortable and I never overdid it. I just stare at them briefly, then move my line of sight to the person next to them, give THAT person a quick stare into their soul and then move on to the next person.

I practiced this for years and it really helped me to not only connect with the people standing there looking at me, but it also helped me to almost never be nervous. It was like saying, with only a look, “Here I am, there you are. We are both here in this moment, together.”

Which takes us right back to mindfulness. And THAT is the key to playing music well: Be in the moment.

Over the years, I have almost never been nervous, EXCEPT when I do not know the songs, maybe we are playing new material, or have new band members, etc. And in times like that, the nervousness is a kind of drug that propels me to get up on that stage, face the fear of failure and try my best to be in the moment.

So in short, before the performance, practice, practice, practice. During the performance, own your space, be in the moment and breathe. Remember that mistakes happen, and only AFTER they happen, can we learn from them and improve.

—Little Bobby Tucker

“Breathe…breathe in the air, don’t be afraid to care”

Pink Floyd, “Breathe” 1973

Dear Little Bobby,

I’m definitely a Bernie Sanders supporter, and I am very concerned about Clinton getting the Democratic nomination for President. I feel like she is a corporatist, and I’m not sure if I can support her. What do you think us “progressives” should do if Sanders does not get nominated?

-Wanting single-payer healthcare for all


Dear Wanting,

I sure as hell want single-payer healthcare for all too! THAT is what I want my tax dollars to fund instead of building bombs to drop on people who believe in a different God. That shit has got to stop! And climate change has to be addressed like…20 years ago, but I will settle for immediately.

These are just two of the VERY important reasons why I support Senator Sanders. I also have been listening to him speak, on an almost weekly basis, for about six years, thanks to the nationally syndicated Thom Hartmann Show. I agree with him on almost every issue that is of political consequence.

If Hillary Clinton receives the Democratic nomination for President, she will do so using the corrupt system that we have right now, a system of Super PACs and a system where superdelegates have a vote which outweighs the vote of the people. It is truly shameful what we settle for as “democracy” in this country.

I was recently denied the right to vote in a municipal election here in Albuquerque, because I did not have my driver’s license with me. Last time I checked, voting is not a right only for people who drive cars. Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that I or anyone else need to purchase a government ID to vote. THAT is a polling tax and that was made illegal, on a federal level, by the passage of the 24th Amendment in 1964.

But states and municipalities have still spent the last 50 years trying to get around it with bullshit like “must have a government ID” and made-up examples of voter fraud. This ordinance was passed a few years in Albuquerque, by conservatives on the City Council. After the experience of being denied the right to vote, I had one government lover after another tell me that I needed to prove who I am to vote, showing the amount of ignorance on this issue. Now, I am faced with the decision to show my ID next time, so that I can vote for the people who can change the law BACK. Or I can choose to not show my ID (out of principle) and therefore not vote and just hope that the law gets changed on by other people.

That makes as much sense as “I will only support Sanders and will not vote for Clinton, out of principle.”

Progressives will be faced with this decision if Senator Sanders does not receive the nomination. For one, we all know the system is rigged FOR the rich, FOR the powerful and against the rest of us. We also know that a President Trump/Cruz/Rubio would basically make every bad thing WORSE.

So I say that we do NOT sit out a Clinton nomination. If I have to, then I will vote for Clinton, and I will help keep her feet to the fire by helping the progressive voice be heard in a Clinton presidency. Whether she becomes president or not, I hold hope that Mrs. Clinton gets with the program, because as this election is showing me and others, the progressive movement is growing.

We will no longer be silenced, even if the media ignores us.

That is why Senator Sanders has gone from not being known nationally, to being a true contender for this Democratic nomination in less than a year. Superdelegates be damned! His candidacy is helping to expose the hypocrisy of our very corrupt democracy. And for that, I am truly grateful. I would love to vote for a Sanders/Warren ticket, but I will settle for a Sanders/Clinton ticket. Let’s get shit done! #feelthebern

—Little Bobby Tucker

“This land is your land, this land is my land”

Woody Guthrie, 1940

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About Little Bobby Tucker

Little Bobby Tucker was born and raised in Waco, Texas by Big Bobby and Bonnie Tucker. Since 2002, he has been the front man/glitter fairy for Shoulder Voices, a band based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which specializes in stuffed animals and glitter. Their newest album, The Life and Death Tragedy/Comedy of the Stuffed Animal Band, was released in the summer of 2016. He has also completed 10 Duke City Marathons and enjoys eating vegetables and spending time meditating at a local Buddhist center.

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