All Eyes West (Justin)
SPB: Have you ever forgotten lyrics mid-song? How did you recover?
Justin: Oh yeah! Totally. It's happened more times than I'd like to admit. Sometimes during a show, my mind will just wander off on random thoughts. Especially on a long tour. You're playing the set every night for a couple weeks straight and it becomes so familiar. We'll be rolling through songs and I'll be thinking about whether or not I fed the dog or something like that. So, I've definitely gotten to a line in a song and been clueless of what the lyrics are, just because I was spacing out.
We have a song called "Help is on the Way" from our first record. It was one of the very first songs we ever wrote together. That song has been played at every show we've ever done, not to mention, just about every practice in between. We know it like the back of our hands. So, at this one show about a year ago, we go into "Help." The intro is going and all of a sudden it occurs to me that I'm drawing a complete blank on what the first line of the song is! And from there it just snowballed through the whole first verse of the song. I was mortified.
I got through it by just making up nonsensical words and slurring through them to the melody of the song. That's my go-to recovery. By the next section of the song, I was back on track and everything was fine. But that first verse... I could feel the blood rushing to my face. I was embarrassed.
If you're playing through a smaller P.A., 9 times out of 10 no one even notices (except you, of course). However, we've played shows before where we've wanted to throw a brand new song into the set, but I don't have actual lyrics yet. I'll have a melody in mind, but no content. If we're super stoked on the tune and eager to play it out, we'll just roll with it and I do the old slurring sounds trick. That's actually been done in front of some pretty big crowds. Hope nobody noticed! We play so loud on stage, I doubt anyone can really hear what I'm singing even when I'm getting the words right!