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"The Evil Cello Twins"
posted August 19, 2006 @12:55a
No matter what you're engaged in, chances are, if there are other people involved, there's an established etiquette. For instance, I went out on a boat this week. We went to a dock to put in, and there was already a line of vehicles at the water. There were no instructions on how to form the line; the line just was. Everybody just seemed to know what to do, and we just followed suit.


I decided to perform in public this evening. I wanted to go to an open place where people could listen if they liked. I do this from time to time to keep me on my toes and comfortable with an unpredictable crowd. My favorite place to do this in Knoxville is Market Square, so that's where I went.

Near my favorite spot to sit on the ground (which is across from Oodles, Preservation Pub and Tomato Head), there is a group of picnic tables. Today, someone was sitting at the one nearest me, enjoying her dinner. If you've ever heard me play unplugged and unamplified, you know that it doesn't make a difference - I'm still loud. So, in order to make sure I didn't disturb her would-be quiet dinner, I asked her permission to play nearby. She was happy to oblige.


I had played a few covers that people may recognize, and I was starting to get fairly comfortable. As I was in the middle of Pearl Jam's "Black," I noticed two college-aged girls walking through the Square with huge instrument cases on their backs. I accidentally made eye contact with one of them, and I had to do a double take: she was GLARING at me.

She gave me the stink eye.

By the time I'd finished the song, they had picked one of the tables in front of me, unpacked their cellos and were preparing to play. I realized they were about to start, so I let them go at it while I sat quietly.


They played flawlessly. It was "Eleanor Rigby" by the Beatles, and people noticed. I enjoyed it, too.

When they stopped, I started a song, having waited for my turn. I don't remember what I chose to play... What I do remember is that seconds after I began my song, they played right over me. And as they did, that same girl glared at me.

My song was finished, and even though they played over me, I let them have a turn again, hoping they'd catch on. They played another Beatles song. I decided it may be fun to have a Beatles-dueling-maestro thing going, so I chose "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" as my next song. I was thinking that hopefully, they'd see it's possible value for them and decide to have a playoff.

It didn't work.

Again, after a few seconds, they played right over the top of me. And yes, they played "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds." But not WITH me, OVER me and not on the same beat, just to drown me out. Don't get me wrong - it was beautiful. But it was completely overpowering. And rude. And uncool.

And they were drawing a crowd. And applause. And money.

So I patiently waited until their song was finished, then belted out "Don't Let Me Down" as loud as I possibly could. The Evil Cello Twins noticed. The same girl glared. And this time, her cello friend joined in the glaring, too. Then they tried to play over me again.

That one, by the way, wasn't nearly as easy to drown. And for every song after, I chose one just as loud.

In between songs, I got compliments from listeners who had eaten at nearby restaurants. One little girl even gave me 50 cents. It was nice. But I left more and more time for The Evil Cello Twins in between my songs until finally, I decided to stop. And that was my total tips: $0.50 US Dollars.

As I was packing up, one of the listeners that had complimented me earlier left The Evil Cello Twins' crowd and approached me.

"Are you leaving?" she asked.

"Yeah... there's not much of a point anyway. They're way overpowering," I answered.

Then she said, "I really enjoyed your playing. Will you play just one more?"

"Sure. You said you liked The Beatles earlier, you wanna hear a Beatles Song?" I asked.

She replied, "it's your voice... your voice... Whatever you want to play is good with me."

I thanked her for the compliment, and played "In My Life." When I finished, she complimented me again. Then she said, referring to The Evil Cello Twins' crowd, "they don't know what they're doing: YOU'RE the one with the voice."

She dropped a $20 bill in my case and walked away.

If you see her, thank her for me. What she did was very appreciated and much needed.


The Evil Cello Twins... I'm thinking they remind me of two other evil twins. They could SURE use some etiqutte. Congrats on the 20 spot. Sounds like some poker money. Later!

posted by Eddie on 8/19/2006 @5:38:10 AM

Exactly. At least The Evil Cello Twins communicated with me in some way (evil glare)... Thanks man, I'm about ready for some poker. Once I get some income, of course.

posted by Jason Wells on 8/19/2006 @7:39:47 AM
Its always nice to know that there is that one nice person in the crowd, and they make it worth everything. Talk to you soo Bro.

posted by Michael on 8/19/2006 @7:44:07 AM

I like me some nice.

posted by Jason Wells on 8/21/2006 @8:46:30 AM
ah geesh, I'm so sorry the "evil twins" turned it into a competition. That's too bad and shows that they are not true musicians. They should have shared and shame on them.........heck , you were there first. I appauld the lady that came to you at the end and left you the $20. You do have an awesome voice!

posted by Melissa on 9/21/2006 @2:32:53 AM

Thank you very much for the compliment! I really was surprised that they kept doing that... Like I said, they played beautifully. I guess their actions didn't match.

posted by Jason Wells on 9/25/2006 @11:12:17 PM
Yeah, I have seen the over powering girls play before against another girl actually.. I really annoyed me. Glad that someone actually told you that you were good and apreciated you.

posted by James on 9/21/2006 @5:27:52 AM

Thanks dude, I appreciate that. Annoying is a trait I try my best to avoid...

posted by Jason Wells on 9/25/2006 @11:13:18 PM
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