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Royal Bliss congregates in the green room in the final minutes before a show at The Depot in Salt Lake City on Saturday, April 20. Photo by Justin Magleby, courtesy of Royal Bliss.
Musicians talk about their preshow rituals, from tequila shots to naps

Music » The Salt Lake Tribune asked scores of international, national and local performers what they do in the 15 minutes before they hit the stage.

By david burger

| The Salt Lake Tribune

First Published May 02 2013 07:31 am • Last Updated Dec 07 2013 11:31 pm

In the hour before we begin work, most of us will ease into the day with a cup of coffee. We’ll "like" a few things on Facebook and gossip with co-workers about what happened the night before on TV. Only then can we properly begin our day.

Musicians are no different, even though their job usually begins much later. Most bands have a required routine, which includes a soundcheck, media interviews and meet-and-greets. But what do these performers do in the 15 minutes before they hit the stage?

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The Salt Lake Tribune asked musicians from around the world to tell us about their preshow rituals.

The answers are varied and in some cases aren’t that surprising. However, not a single musician mentioned last-minute cavorting with a groupie or — as in the movie "Spinal Tap" — getting lost in the bowels of the arena trying to find the stage.

Utah musicians

DopeThought, rapper » "Go off alone, definitely pray. I’m spiritual. I practice natural breathing, ask God to help me spread the positive message."

Thierry Fischer, Utah Symphony music director » "My only superstition is to have no superstitions. Being alone is very important for me. Sometimes I eat dark chocolate, eat an orange, asking people for extra cufflinks, drink a Coca-Cola. Sometimes I need to be in a dark room. Sometimes I sleep for 10 minutes."

Kyle Henderson, Desert Noises singer » "Sometimes I take my shoes off. I play in my socks. I want to feel comfortable when I’m playing."

Joshua James, singer » "We like to have a little powwow. We try to clear our minds."

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Codi Jordan, Codi Jordan Band singer » "Maybe we do a pep talk, and yell something [about Utah], like ‘Go Utes’ or ‘Go Jazz.’ We’re weird."

Alex Koehler, Chelsea Grin singer » "I usually take 30 to 45 minutes to eat ginger root and do vocal warmups." Do you like the taste of ginger? "Hell, no. I wouldn’t go out of my way to eat it [otherwise]."

Neal Middleton, Royal Bliss singer » The lead singer of the local rock band said the routine has changed over the years, but one thing has always remained — the band drinks a shot of either Jameson or Jägermeister together.

Wayne Sermon, Imagine Dragons guitarist » "We like the quiet and we mentally prepare. We don’t brood too much. We [tell each other] to remember where we were in the first place when we wrote the songs."

McKay Stevens, The Vibrant Sound singer » "For our band, we usually listen to three Macklemore songs ("Ten Thousand Hours," "Same Love" and "Can’t Hold Us") and dance around and sing along to the words."


Hoodie Allen, rapper » "I rush to get my clothes on. We do a circle-of-life group huddle."

Elvin Bishop, singer » "I get nervous. I think it means I don’t take [the show] lightly. I quit drinking 26 years ago. I thought I needed that, but I found out I don’t."

Alex Clare, singer » "I do vocal warmups. I push my voice hard. I pray three times a day, and sometimes before a big show, pray to help get me through this."

Darwin Deez, singer » "Sometimes the band will do calisthenics and core exercises." They often recite skits from Busta Rhymes albums.

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