New Year’s 2015 bluegrass quiz

Chris JonesWell, we’ve come to the end of the calendar year (my personal year came to an end in November), and what I usually like to do at this time of year, besides put on a silly party hat and hum Auld Lang Syne slightly out of tune, is present a year-end quiz.

We have two varieties of year-end quiz: the kind that is trivial and insignificant, and the other kind that is unimportant and inconsequential. In addition to these differences, one quiz consists of questions about general bluegrass knowledge, the other one has to do with subjects discussed in this column in the past year.

This week we’ll tackle the second variety. The purpose of this quiz is similar to that of a teacher’s “pop quiz.” It’s just designed to see if you’ve actually been reading these things, or if you’ve just been skimming them, maybe taking in the occasional word or phrase, like “strobe tuner,” “merch table,” or “water buffalo.”

With that in mind, here are several questions about topics covered in 2014. If you’d like to classify yourself (and really, who doesn’t?), here is a guide:

If you answer all 8 questions correctly, you’re good. Really good. You may have also cheated.

If you answer 6 or 7 questions correctly, you are a faithful and thorough reader. If I sent out Christmas cards, you would immediately be added to my list.

If you answer 5 or 6 correctly, you check in from time to time and absorb a fair amount of what you’ve read, and I do appreciate it.

If you answer 3 to 4 correctly, you’re a casual reader, and I understand that we all live busy lives and can’t always be spending our free time reading about things like bluegrass dream interpretation or band anger management.

If you answered 1 to 2 correctly, I’m impressed that you even bothered to take the entire quiz at all. Perhaps you didn’t.

Here then are the questions (answers below, no peeking):

1. Which of the following is an acceptable excuse for a performer to cancel a concert:

A. I was feeling uninspired
B. I had an ingrown toenail that hurt quite a bit
C. I had a broken leg and the flu
D. I had been dead for over six months

2. In a recent survey of occupations that are hazardous to your health, being a road musician scored in the top 20, right between which two other occupations:

A. Low level government bureaucrat, and junior high school substitute teacher
B. Cigarette tester, and Bashir al-Assad  body double
C. Crocodile wrestler, and stunt man for opening sequences of James Bond movies
D. Expendable Mexican drug cartel messenger, and rock ‘n’ roll road manager

3. The acronym “ABMA” refers to which of the following:

A. The Alaska Breaded Meat Association
B. The Androgenous Bluegrass Media Alliance
C. The Argumentative Bluegrass Music Association
D. The Amalgamated Banana Merchants of Alabama

4. In a (mercifully) brief discussion of the recent IBMA board kerfuffle, what suggestion did I offer to help the IBMA survive its “worst crisis since the board meeting doughnut food-poisoning incident of 2010”?

A. That IBMA abandon bluegrass music entirely and devote itself instead to promoting women’s rugby in the United States
B. That IBMA replace all of its current board members with cute fuzzy puppies
C. That IBMA settle all board disputes with public arm wrestling matches
D. That IBMA ban all professional musicians from the organization because they’re “icky”

5. In a survey of bluegrass critics, which of the following did 9 out of 10 of them pick as the least successful attempt at blending bluegrass with another musical genre:

A. Dailey and Vincent Sing the Statler Brothers
B. Berry Pickin’ in the Country – Jim & Jesse’s tribute album to Chuck Berry
C. Beatle Country The Charles River Valley Boys 
D. Extremely White Dove: Pat Boone Sings the Stanley Brothers

6. Aside from the LP, which music format is making a retro/chic comeback?

A. The cassette
B. The 8-track
C. The 78
D. The professional whistler-for-hire

7. Who is Stanley Jackson?

A. The bass player who replaced Cousin’ Jake Tullock with Flatt & Scruggs for 2 weeks in 1964
B. The little-known sixth member of the Jackson 5 who quit performing with his brothers to become a dentist
C. Inventor of the electric capo
D. Carl Leborabbonafeh, who took “Stanley Jackson” as a stage name, using the formula of taking the last name of your favorite bluegrass artist for a first name, and the town you were born in for a last name.

8. Which of the following is a realistic expectation for a musician’s life on the road:

A. I’ll be working with like-minded individuals in a creatively stimulating, supportive, and mature environment.
B. With a few rare exceptions, I’ll maintain a healthy lifestyle, including plenty of sleep and good quality food.
C. People who play bluegrass music are more wholesome than other kinds of musicians, so while I’m on the road, I won’t be exposed to any of the tawdry excesses the music business is known for.
D. I’ll suffer through it in order to play the music I love. Unless I’m killed when our bus drives over a cliff, or I’m strangled to death in a cheap motel, I’ll return home and live to tell the tale.

Answer key: 1:D, 2:B, 3:C, 4:B, 5:D, 6:A, 7:D, 8:D