For One Night Only: The Fill In

For One Night Only: The Fill In

It has been a while now since my band, Dirty Blonde, decided to call it quits. I believe being in a band is like being in any relationship.  In the beginning it is new, exciting & you can’t get enough of each other.  Then you move to the “comfortable” stage.  You get to know each other’s secrets, limits & boiling points.  Then you come to a crossroads.  Do we stick it out & deal with the aftermath or part as friends?  We decided that rather than go through a “nasty divorce” of sorts that we would end at a high point.  And so we did. The more I think about it, I believe it was the best decision.



Now I have changed jobs this year.  I have become the “fill-in.”  The fill-in has many different facets.  Being the singer in my own band for 3 years, I knew what to expect.  But being the hired gun is something much different.  Stepping on stage with another band is scary.  For one, you don’t know anything about their chemistry.  I think that chemistry can make or break you as a band.  Have you ever watched a band & thought “these people hate each other?”  I have & it is all kinds of awkward.  So then I have to get up there & fit in.  Not an easy task.  I tend to play off of other people while at the same time trying not to step on toes, mess up the mojo & look like a complete ass.

Then there is the expectation.  I like to think that I am experienced enough to walk up there every time & own it.  Sure, I have those fights in my head about what my true abilities are.  I’m a female singer with a boy’s voice. I always say “I can sing but I’m no singer.”  I know my limits.   You know are going to be compared to the person you are filling in for..and that is intimidating.  So I just prepare the best I can and enjoy the moment.

There is also flow to consider.  I was used to a certain flow, the idea of how songs transition, key changes, solo lengths etc.  All these things are up for grabs for the fill in.  Commit and hope you can follow along.  When in doubt: smile, nod & throw out an occasional expletive.

I am pretty excited that anyone would consider me a viable fill-in.  It is a compliment that I take seriously.  I want to put on the best show possible, but that is the fun part for me anyway; the show.  It’s all about the show.  If you put on the show people will react & have fun.  You can have the best voice on the planet, but if you’re a snooze then you’re dead in the water.

I think the fill-in is underrated.  Think about it: you show up, you rock it, you go home. No drama, no bull shit, no commitment.  It’s refreshing. It is difficult to not be in control, though.  Maybe that’s what makes it so much fun.  All I know is that once I am up there it’s on.  No matter what kind of curve balls are thrown at you , you gotta hit it…and hit it hard.

My life A.D.B. (after Dirty Blonde) has made me realize a few things.

  1. I love to perform.  I don’t care with whom, where, when.. I love it. Period.
  2. I do miss being in a band with all its crap and politics.  I miss that family.
  3. Filling in for other bands gives me the live gig rush that I truly miss and reminds me that I’m not quite ready to just be a spectator.

So if your starter is on the DL give me a call. I’ll be warmed up in the bullpen.



Sue Mucera Houde aka Pretty Rockin Mama – Professional makeup artist(and admitted makeup junkie), licensed Esthetician, part-time rockstar & full-time rockin-mama! Trying to find balance & beauty in my world of raising two boys, one husband while figuring out where I fit into all this madness. Sometimes witty & always brutally honest!


You can read Sue’s blog at

One Responseto “For One Night Only: The Fill In”

  1. lsg says:

    Good read! Thanks for sharing this!