Friday, August 20, 2004

In which I compare myself to a rockstar

The Whiteboard

Good band rehearsal

Did 3 hours or so mixing on Bicycle Built for Two. To be used as a soundtrack for the LUC's video about an award winning project she designed.

Turned out the results of Tuesdays work were crap. Back to the mixing board.

Excellent band rehearsal.

The Commentary
Ya better love practicing if you want to be a musician. Until you're uber-famous and gigging every night you're going to spend a great deal of time in an unhealthy environment with just your band mates for company. Sometimes it's the best place in the world.

On Tuesday we had a normal rehearsal with one abnormally good performance. We've been working up a latin version of a Gordon Lightfoot tune. Very jazzy, almost lounge. It's been a struggle, this is not a feel that any of us are particularly familiar with. Something clicked on Tuedsay and suddenly it was right.

The feeling is hard to describe. It's a little like being on a date that's going well. You're looking across the table and suddenly realize that she really wants to be there. She wants to be there as much as you do. The fact that you've just eaten an unhealthy amount of animal protein and she's a vegetarian doesn't matter anymore, something's clicked. Your heart speeds, things become sharper, the little voice that nags "don't screw this up" falls silent. It's not love, you don't really know her, and it's not quite lust because your mind is still in charge. It's a vast and glorious feeling of rightness and potential.

Playing in a band when things are really clicking is just that. You're in the moment, a moment that for whatever reason feels right. The moments ahead are sought eagerly because they extend that wondrous now. It's bigger than just you. You can feel, and hear, that your band mates are getting it too. The fact that you've been breathing smoke and mold laced air for years to get to this point doesn't matter anymore. Nor does the tintinus that sometimes keeps you awake at night. It's right, it's now and it's glorious.

The next time you hear a mega-rockstar say that the money doesn't matter, they're still doing it for the music's sake, you might want to hold off on the eye rolling. Consider this: I've been playing in one band or another since around 1990. I've never even come close to making a living at it. Although I've played hundreds of gigs they're the exceptions in my musical life. And yet I still do it. I still slog up the hill twice a week, and in winter it's a real slog, to practice for no pay. Why? Because the feeling I'm seeking is all about the moment, it's independent of external considerations including money. It's addictive, and we all know addicts will do anything for a fix. Think about the moments you've had like the one I've described above, wouldn't you try and recreate those feelings if you could? Isn't it possible that someone who's been payed a lot of money over the years to play music would still be searching for that feeling? Seems likely to me.

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