Local man Colin Butler and his wife Cynthia report having just experienced a thirty-minute performance by area musician Jacob Jeffries. According to the couple, the unprovoked musical imposition occurred when they joined Jeffries and his wife, Melinda, for what was planned to be a double date to a nearby Olive Garden. In an exclusive interview with Awesome, Totally Awesome, Colin reported, “We were supposed to meet them at their apartment before going out to eat so we could all drive together. I noticed that they had an acoustic guitar on the wall and I just casually asked Jacob if he plays. Without warning, he pulls down the guitar and starts playing that song ‘3 AM’ by Matchbox 20.”
Cynthia went on to explain that Jeffries’ performance did not end with his version of the 1998 Matchbox 20 track. “We thought it was kind of cute that he was playing a song for us, so we just smiled good-naturedly. But what we thought was going to be a short version of ‘3 AM’ turned into a thirty-minute marathon of songs by such mediocre acts as Hootie & the Blowfish, Train, and Sister Hazel. I don’t even want to talk about the version of Alanis Morisette’s ‘Ironic’ that he performed in a ghastly falsetto.”
According to Dr. Steve Graphler of the organization No Concerts Without Consent (NCWC), the average couple in their forties will spend a combined six hours-a-year being subjected to unsolicited performances of bad nineties’ songs performed by musician friends with poorly-tuned acoustic guitars and minimal talent.
Dr. Graphler says the problem has gotten so severe that NCWC recently put out a list on their website offering helpful hints to avoid unsolicited serenades. After sharing Butler’s story with him, he analyzed the events of that evening for ATA. “The first thing Colin did wrong was to acknowledge the existence of the guitar. Our research shows that if someone is prominently displaying their instruments in the front of the house, they are 95% more likely to provide guests with an unprovoked performance. So it is important to the visitor to refrain from asking questions about any displayed instruments lest they get trapped.” Graphler reports that in at least 15% of reported incidents, the victims are subjected to not only a performance but a tour of the musician’s home-made studio complete with an extended discussion on the merits of Pro-Tools versus Garage Band. They also tend to not-so-helpfully point out where all the wires and cables lead to.
When reached for comment, Melinda stated that she felt “simply awful” about what happened with the Butlers. “I usually try to make up a good excuse to have Jacob remove the instrument before company comes. However, Molly and I just decided on Olive Garden at the last minute and so this time it totally slipped my mind. It wasn’t until he was halfway through Third Eye Blind’s 1997 hit ‘Semi-Charmed Kind of Life’ that I realized my mistake. By then it was too late. I fear we may have lost our friends that day.”
Dr. Graphler expressed his opinion that relatives, particularly spouses but sometimes, unfortunately, children, have got to do their part in preventing spontaneous concerts like that experienced by the Butlers. “Our organization printed a booklet of excuses last year to compel would-be musicians to keep their instruments in more private locations. Reminding loved ones that they are good enough to be professional and therefore should not give away their music for free is a particularly helpful little fib that has spared many ears over the years.”
Perhaps, however, the Butlers were spared. When asked for comment by Awesome, Totally Awesome, Jacob Jeffries expressed regret. “Maybe I should have played some of my original material during the performance. I bet they would have got a real kick out of that.”