Jun 182014

What’s the deal with musicians performing barefoot? Are they not aware that a lot of electricity is surging on stage? It’s not like they’re performing on a beach. Aren’t they afraid that a clumsy bandmate might step on their foot? Or that a pointy guitar might impale a toe? What motivates any musician to go barefoot on stage? Beside a drummer, who might make the case that they have a better feel for their kick drum and hi-hat pedals when they play barefoot, does any other musician have much use for their feet beside standing on them?

I’m not the world’s most dedicated follower of barefoot fashions, but I’ve got no beef with being barefoot around the house, on the beach, or in the yard. You may have a beef with my gnarled toenails, so I don’t make a habit of going barefoot in the homes of people I don’t know well. I respect those “No shoes, no shirt, no service!” signs when I go out to dine. Why would I want to stand on an elevated stage and play guitar with my bare feet at eye level with hundreds or thousands of fans?

What’s your take on barefoot musicians? Is it cool? Sexy on anyone beside a young Linda Rondstadt? Disgusting? Do you find it distracting, as you fear for their safety? If you are a musician of any stripe, have you ever performed in bare feet?


  5 Responses to “Rock’s Unfulfilled Fashion Ideas: Barefoot Musicians”

  1. BigSteve

    I’m with you, I never understood the attraction of playing barefoot, though I am totally supportive of the Patti Smith song Dancing Barefoot.

  2. It can be sexy. Deana Carter, who had a big crossover hit with “Strawberry Wine” — a sort of Mellencamp-style teenage look-back song, has made going barefoot a bit of a calling card.

    Strawberry Wine

    We Danced Anyway

    And young Linda and young Grace Slick and freaking Lana Del Rey can go barefoot all they want.

    But at the same time, I don’t want to see that Future Islands dude barefoot on stage.

  3. diskojoe

    You can’t have a thread about barefootin’ performers without mentioning Sandie Shaw, who was still doing it a recently as a couple of years ago:


  4. Me too. I don’t even walk around my house barefoot so I definitely don’t get the whole barefoot on stage thing.

  5. ladymisskirroyale

    If the look goes with the sound, I have no issue with it.

    This Tame Impala show featured an entire barefoot band. And considerable eau de mary jane, which seemed to fit the hippy vibe. Mr. Royale and I were at this show. I think I wrote a previous post about this show, when Tame Impala performed Massive Attack’s “Angel” – a complete surprise for us. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5VctPD977g

    I noticed on later appearances on Jimmy Kimmel, the guys were wearing shoes…

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