Yesterday I had tacos with The Dead Milkmen and I was asking them how they worked. I mentioned how boring I found “jamming” when I was in bands, and Dean quoted a friend of his: “I don’t mind jamming… as long as everything’s worked out beforehand!”
Then I remembered a little card game I came up with to make jam sessions more interesting:
- Have each band member list 10 musical acts they’d like to play in
- Write each musical act on an index card
- Shuffle the cards, and, without revealing the cars, deal one to each band member. Keep the cards secret — the game is no fun if you can see the cards before you play.
- Just like any other jam session, it helps to pick a key and start with the rhythm. Everyone has to pretend like they’re playing in the act written on their card.
- Jam until it gets boring.
- At the end, everybody gets to guess which card each person was dealt.
- Repeat until you’re out of cards
I’d forgotten all about it until I started writing this blog post, but a couple of years ago, I was inspired by the Oblique Strategies to try making my own deck of “Steal Strategies,” using prompts from my books. (I really need to update the deck — there’s only 16 cards!)
As an experiment with Tumblr’s shuffle feature, I turned it into a little mini site which serves up a random card when you click the deck:
Here’s the card I got when I clicked today, which is funny, because my wife and I had already planned a trip to the library with the boys…