The 4-Song-Set

Later today is the last Pats game for the regular season.  Each week preceeding a home game, either Sam or I send a note to all attendees detailing time, place, food, etc.  Inevitably, we have a newbie and I have to tell them about our music system.  I am tired of doing that so I will post a longer version here.  If you are attending the Slappy T-Bone Tailgate Extravaganza, be sure to read.


When I first built the Tailgate Box, I figured we would mostly play the radio while tailgating, it was the easiest solution and sometimes I like listening to pre-game.  Within the first few games, I remember connecting my iPad on shuffle and let it play.  CMAC was there one week and of course he had complaints.  So he played some songs, and others joined in as well.  The following week we debated a new system wherein everyone would get to play a few songs.  We settled on 5.  That week I decided that we would DJ in order of seniority, so I went first.  This too was not well received (there were tears- as Sam likes to say).  And so through several iterations we have arrived at the current system, which is not without its rules.

The 4-Song-Set

The whole point is to let everyone play music and build a camaraderie with the crew and to a lesser extent, our neighbors.  We play music LOUD.  It is hard to have a conversation, and if you have some small radio, it will not be heard.  Too bad.  Use text because phone calls do not go well.  4 songs is just enough to build a rhythm.  Or put together a theme.  A lot can be said with 4 songs, but it’s not too long that you get overwhelmed.  It forces the player to put some thought into the list and create an order that really works.  It allows flexibility but yet forces you to make tough choices.  It really is beautiful, I am quite proud that Chris, Sam and I have really evolved it to where it is.

The Rules

  1. Four songs means 4 individual tracks.  The Eddy-G rule was created aptly for Ed who insists that “intro” tracks don’t count.  Tough luck, they do.
  2. Each track cannot be longer than 5 minutes.  This is the Spence-Rule, so we don’t listen to 45 minutes of Pink Floyd.
  3. You must have the playlist assembled and ready to go on a device that can play through a headphones audio jack (3.5 mm stereo).  No Spotify, YouTube or Pandora.  Have the music local.
  4. When we arrive at the parking lot, numbers are chosen at random to designate the order of play.  If we run out of time, tough.  If you are in a port-o-john or playing Cornhole and miss your spot, tough.  Pay attention, Eddy is always there to jump in if you are pre-occupied (endless supply of Cheap Trick not withstanding).
  5. This is a tailgate for football, music should be appropriate to that scene.  No dance music, crappy pop, or country music.  Rock and roll is where it’s at.  If it is played on Jamn or Kiss… NO!
  6. If you play it, you better be ready for the criticism.  If too many people object, you will get the gong (btw guys, we should totally get a real gong for shit music).  The only exception to this rule is for myself, since it’s my setup (too bad a-holes).  Sam also has carte blanche, remember that he might poke you in the sternum, and Jim Croce is cool.
  7. Hard rock, classic rock, southern rock, alternative, metal, punk, funk, 80’s hair bands, and modern rock are all accepted.  e.g. AC/DC, Guns & Roses, Allman Bros, Van Halen, Iron Maiden, Rage, NIN, Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder (both musical geniuses), James Brown, The Ramones, Led Zeppelin, Motley Crue, Def Leppard.
  8. Rap is ok if it is classic and has character.  e.g. Skee-low, Run DMC, Eminem, Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, Slick Rick, Eric B & Rakim, Snoop
  9. No Chicago (sorry Loren), INXS, Hall and Oats, Alanis Morrissette or anything that makes you fall asleep.
  10. There is an exception to rule 9 for covers.  If a cool band covers a bad song but kicks ass, play it.  Cmac and Jiffy are masters here, see The Dan Band.
  11. Themes are strongly encouraged.  All covers, all angry music, all one band, all funk, etc.  These have been well received
  12. Obscure songs that remind you of childhood are awesome.  If a song comes on and someone points at you with a head-nod, you did well.
  13. Order is important.  Make sure you build to a cresendo.
  14. Try to limit the number of swear words used in a song.  Zero is best.  We aim to be family friendly, even while being obnoxiously loud.

I am sure that I will add some more rules as people remind me of things we have experienced in the past.

The 4-Song-Set is meant to express a feeling, it defines who you are.  If CMAC plays No Speak Americano just to make Sam crazy…yeah you get it.  As the token old guy, I like to lead off with an oldie.  Little Red Riding Hood, Poison Ivy did not go over well.  But then that says something about me too: Screw you, I play stuff that you should know.  And it says something about me that I do what I want, don’t care what people think, like the classics, and will think out of the box (Punk Rock Girl, Ray Charles’ Mess Around, The Blues Brothers, SRV – Pipeline) .  I am going to add a page and list out all of my sets here.  It will take a while to type them all out from my phone.  I hope people will comment on this post and either post their favorites or dream up a great set.

For today I am going with an all female singers theme,

  • Joan Jett covers the classic Hanky Panky (my “oldie”)
  • Heart – Crazy on You (awesome lead off guitar solo)
  • Luscious Jackson – Naked Eye
  • Straight Line Stitch – What You Do to Me

About Josh Rutstein

I am an aspiring entrepreneur and hopeful political candidate. Father of 2 very special girls, husband to an amazing woman, and passionate American. I snowboard whenever possible and follow a 20x mentality for exercise. I also play golf and ultimate frisbee and am a die hard New England Patriots fan and season ticket holder. Everyday I wake up wanting to make this country a better place, someday I hope to actually succeed.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The 4-Song-Set

  1. Pingback: More Snooping Than We Need | A Goofy Foot in Mouth

  2. Pingback: Top Fives | A Goofy Foot in Mouth

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s