Are you a fan of the game Truth or Dare? I’ll admit that I’m not. This is a game that has been responsible for accidental drownings, indecent exposure arrests, the burning of public buildings, and possibly the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and the world war that followed. It’s dangerous.
However, since hazing of new bluegrass band members is already considered bluegrass music’s number 3 problem, just behind lack of income and the rampant releasing of bluegrass songs about bluegrass, I thought encouraging a friendly game of bluegrass Truth or Dare might put everyone on an equal footing, without singling out weak and vulnerable musicians who are new to a band.
If you don’t know how the game works, the player whose turn it is must choose either “truth” or “dare.” The player may not change that choice later. If the player chooses “truth,” he or she must answer a potentially embarrassing or awkward personal question. If the dare option is chosen, he or she must perform a dare determined by the group. If the player doesn’t answer truthfully or doesn’t execute the dare, some form of penalty is levied. Examples of the “truth” option could be, “Have you ever stolen anything from a family member?” A dare might be, “Eat a teaspoon of dirt.”
This is a game that’s popular in junior high, and that’s usually okay. The dares tend to center around doing embarrassing things at school (which is already so easy to do in junior high without being dared). It’s when this game is played by older, but no more mature people that the game becomes a danger to participants and others.
I found this bit of advice from the Truth or Dare Online web site (because of course there’s one of those):
“ONE OF THE BIGGEST COMMITMENTS IS TO AGREE THAT ANY TRUTHS OR DARES REMAIN SECRET. Remember, part of the fun of this game is having an excuse to do or say things out of character. If players feel that their actions will remain private, and not discussed after the game or around the water cooler tomorrow, you will definitely have a more entertaining session.”
I don’t think we even need to discuss what the problem with this plan is. Also, for professional bluegrass musicians reading this, I’ll explain what a water cooler is next week (after I Google it).
Another web site listed ideas for “truth” questions, including: “Have you ever made out with someone else in the room?” Please don’t use this; it will immediately lead to bands (and/or marriages) breaking up.
My thought was that if the spirit of the examples listed below, if not the specific ideas themselves, were followed, this could be pretty fun, and damage to people and property could be minimized.
Bluegrass Truth or Dare:
Truth: Have you ever given a really bad interview to a disc jockey, and what was the stupidest or most inappropriate thing you said?
Dare: Replace the band leader’s hair product with Cool Whip (we’re hoping he or she will notice the difference).
Truth: When on the road, have you ever used passive-aggressive manipulation techniques to make sure everybody ate where you wanted, and where did you want to eat? (that’s often the most embarrassing part of this question).
Dare: Attend a Ricky Skaggs show, sit in the front row so everyone in the band recognizes you, and clap loudly and out of time through the first three songs.
Truth: Have you ever had your vocals tuned in the studio? (Common as this is now, it’s not something people like to talk about. Fortunately, as suggested above, no one will be repeating any of these confessions to anyone after the game is over. THEY WILL REMAIN SECRET. Of course they will.)
Dare: Pull a Kanye West move at the IBMA awards: jump up on stage, grabbing the Album of the Year award away from the winner, saying that another nominee made the “best album of the year, y’all!”
Truth: Have you ever attempted to trade CDs with a major bluegrass artist when you knew very well he or she didn’t want one of yours?
Dare: Attend a Taylor Swift concert and attempt to trade CDs with her.
Truth: Have you ever gone back to work for a bandleader who had once fired you and left you at a truckstop?
Dare: Rewrite and perform a bunch of bluegrass standards using nonsense lyrics and portions of Shakira’s Hips Don’t Lie, making sure to include the word “fricassee” in every song and see if anyone notices.