This week marks the 9th annual “National Fish & Chips” day by the Irish Traditional Italian Chipper Association. As cover bands, we’ve a lot in common with our local chipper; we’ve both been an important part of society for a long time, we both work late hours, and we both need good personal interaction to succeed.
But over their near 130 years, ITICA members have picked up a few traits that cover bands can sometimes lack. Here are 5 things us musicians can learn from our Italian cousins:
1 - A Little Extra is OK: If you’ve ever ordered just a fish, you’ll know there’s nearly always a few chips thrown in the bottom of the bag. It’s a nice touch, doesn’t come at any great cost to them, and generates goodwill. Playing a few extra minutes at the end of a gig sometimes is the same thing. If playing a few extra songs without being asked will make the crowd and whomever booked you happier, why kill a good thing on principle?!
2 - Give the People What They Want: Italians come from a long proud tradition of excellent gourmet food, òf which you can be sure curry chips and deep fried spice burgers are not traditionally a part. But you don’t see your local chipper belittling someone when they request them! A chipper’s deep fried menu, is our “Galway Girl”, “Wagon Wheel”, and “Sweet Home Alabama”. While we may not get any great pleasure in playing them, they’re old reliables that people love and want to hear.
3 - Consistent: We never dwell on the fact that our local chipper opens when they say they will, that the food quality doesn’t vary, or that it’s always the same faces serving us. That’s because they’re a business and we expect this level of consistency. As live bands, we should be consistent too; turn up on time; perform every gig to the same high standard; use the same regular musicians.
4 - Have Pride & Passion: I’ve never seen a chipper owner raise their eyes when someone orders just a single of chips. Whether it’s one sausage, or a family dinner, all orders and dishes are treated with the same pride. Gigs are no different. If you accept money to perform, then it should always be to the best of your abilities. The term “It’s only a pub gig!” should be banned from cover musician’s vocabularies!
5 - You’re Family: As a band you may fight, argue, and disagree. But at the back of it all you’re still a family, and as any Italian will tell you; families pull together when it counts.
Get Your Cod & Chips in!
So if you’re out and about this Wednesday and fancy a bite to eat, pop into your local Italian chipper. You might pick up more than just a cod & chips :-)!