Saturday, September 25, 2004

Sucking and putzing

We rehearsed last night. First practice in a week with all the band members present. I've rhapsodized about how great it is to play with others, but ya know, sometimes it sucks. Nothing worked, we were ragged and un-energetic.

The band dynamic is a delicate system. The personalities and moods of everyone involved affect the experience. It's only been a week since we last got together but it sounded like we'd had a 6 month layoff. The problem wasn't lack of practice, it was mood.

I started the downhill slide by saying I was sick of putzing around with the recording. Because I own the 16 track recorder and the mics I end up doing all the mixing. On Wednesday I deleted almost 2000 megs of unusable material and really only scratched the surface of what's there. I have other projects that I want to spend some time on.

We've got the sound quality up to the point that all we need now is a good performance. I suggested that we pick a tune to record next and practice it a bunch. I also suggested we practice it individually at home and record it next time. The horror! The heresy! By the reaction I got you'd have thought I'd suggested baring Janet Jackson's breast while drowning kittens. live during the Tour de France. Ok, it wasn't that extreme but K made faces and stopped talking. I mean come on! Would it kill him to pick up his bass and run through it a few times?

Then it was P's turn. He said something that was extremely lacking in tact. E has a nightmare story in her background, the kind of thing that makes my emotionally abusive alcoholic father look like Mr. Dressup. The kind of thing that's so beyond the pale you can't even joke about it. P reminded her of it. Not intentionally, just a figure of speech gone wrong. I didn't notice anything but P thinks it affected her. It certainly affected P. He got all tense and quiet. Arrrgh.

Even when I was in a regularly gigging band, one that always got paid, I still didn't call myself a musician. It took me years to be comfortable with that. I never, ever called myself a professional musician. Not just because I've never made a living at it. To me a professional would have been able to overcome the distractions and focused on creating music.

I can't blame E, if she was flashing on her background all I can feel is sympathy. But the rest of us? Professionals or not, we have no excuse.

Good music is about the moment, if you're feeling anything it should be the emotions of the tune. Even an angry or sorrowful tune can take you away from your present concerns. Isn't that one of the best reasons to be making music, to escape your everyday baggage for 3 or so minutes at a time?

Time to sign everyone up for Method Acting classes and hire Ilsa the Nazi-Nanny. She'll make them practice or it's the wooden spoon and off to bed without supper!

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