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Page 7 of 17 pages ‹ First  < 5 6 7 8 9 >  Last ›

This Ain’t No Stinkin’ Gig Report

Saturday night, I played a gig at Bohemeo’s with Collective Hallucination. I had a blast. That’s the punch line to a pretty long story that I will hopefully keep short for now.

On Tuesday, I had an incident at rehearsal that put me in a bad state of mind. Wednesday I worked on the problem, but didn’t enjoy it. Thursday I hung out with a friend who is a former piano teacher of mine, and some things we discussed and some things that happened like when I went to play for him made me start to become more aware of a bigger problem. That night and the next day, conversations with Lori made me realize what the bigger problem was and the extent of it. Frankly, I was overwhelmed by it.

Saturday I was still going back and forth about how I felt. I knew I could pull off the gig, at least for the most part, but my heart wasn’t in it. I pulled out Meditation #1 from Kenny Werner’s Effortless Mastery: Liberating the Master Musician Within and that changed everything. Afterwards, I felt totally fine, and except for some slight concern over the one part from Tuesday, it felt like any other gig. I did have some technical issues with my gear that surprised me, as I had used the same setup at the private party two weeks ago. I will have to investigate that.

Our gig ended early enough that we had time to go home, unload, and then head over to Dan Electro’s Guitar Bar to see our friends The Distracted as well as other friends who were there for the show.

What was looking like it was going to be a “meh” night turned out to be a great one.

I know you’re wondering what “the problem” is. I wrote a blog post about it, but pulled it because it was no longer reflective of how I felt. That’s the funny thing about blogging. If I write too much in the heat of the moment, then I’m stuck with posts that are a bit of a blip and not as much me. I plan to write a post about “the problem” once I get a handle on what I want to say about it.

Sun, 2011 07 10 at 10:25 AM |Permalink for this entry

Saturday Gig and Then…

Nothing for sure.

Saturday I have a gig with Collective Hallucination at Bohemeo’s. If you count the similar private party we did two weeks ago, we’ve been rehearsing most of this material for four weeks, two nights a week. I say most because there were some changes to the set list this week. Nothing major, though one song did have a part that was just tricky enough for me that I stumbled on it at rehearsal. That’s never fun. It should be a fun show though. It’s too bad a lot of my friends in bands have gigs Saturday night as well, so we’re not going to see each other play.

After that, there’s nothing definite lined up. I’m okay with that, for reasons I might get into in another post. I can be happy right now with working on some other stuff that I’ve been doing.

Fri, 2011 07 08 at 3:15 PM |Permalink for this entry

Loving the Limits

Over the years, I’ve heard some people say that they love limits. Until today, I never realized that I do as well. For me, the reason is simple. Give me a choice of anything, and my overactive mind goes, ”                .” But give me some direction and then the choice becomes easy.

What’s really interesting is how this showed up in my songwriting. When Blue Funk was around and I wanted to write blues tunes, that’s what I did. When I heard people make light of songs with few chords, I wrote a couple that only had one. Then there was a time when an email was passed around about “things you’ll never hear in a blues tune.” I managed to squeeze quite a few of those into a single tune.

I really dig the challenge of being creative and unique within the restrictions.

Tue, 2011 07 05 at 1:18 PM |Permalink for this entry

Look Over There

Where?

There have been a couple of times where I’ve been playing with a band, and one guy in the band looks at another and says, “the keyboards aren’t right.”

What’s up with that? The keyboards are fine, it’s the guy playing them that’s not right. (As they say in racing, it’s the nut behind the wheel.)

Also, don’t look at another guy in the band and say my part is not right, look at me and say it. I get it if they look at the other guy and say, “is what he’s playing right?” But otherwise talk to me and let’s work it out. As an adult, you should be able to find a way to say it that’s polite and clear, and not make it seem like it’s a life or death deal. We will save that for your screw ups.

Mon, 2011 06 27 at 12:00 PM |Permalink for this entry

I’m Glad I Wasn’t In Charge

Gig report?!

Yesterday’s gig was… different. To be honest, I can’t comment on it very much because almost all I could hear was drums, bass, and a little bit of me. But I could tell there were some rough spots and Ant, the bandleader, talked with the band about how he felt afterwards. I’m guessing a lot of that was because of people not being able to hear themselves or each other.

Even worse, though, was that some band members showed up Very Late. We were supposed to be there at 4, do a soundcheck around 5, and play at 6. I left the house later than I planned, and got there shortly after 4. Turns out that I was the first one there besides Ant. The last arrivals showed up around 6:15. Apparently, they got lost on the way.

Despite all that, I had fun. I wish I could say I nailed every tune, but I know I didn’t. I dealt with the problems as best as I could and allowed myself to enjoy what I was doing. I can’t really do any more than that.

Sun, 2011 06 26 at 9:10 AM |Permalink for this entry

Another CH Gig or Two

It’s not that different

I have a gig with Collective Hallucination later today, but it’s a private party (in Egypt, TX - seriously) so that’s why I didn’t invite you.

I should be playing with them again on July 9th at Bohemeo’s. I’d love to see you there.

Things have been going fine with this. It’s been a while since I’ve played with them, but I came back up to speed on the songs I knew right away, and learned the other ones fairly quickly. I’m really looking forward to this show. I just got home from seeing my friend Kevin Anker playing keys for Delbert McClinton, and he just killed it. I am seriously inspired. I’m also stuffed with a number one Whatameal.

Sat, 2011 06 25 at 1:35 AM |Permalink for this entry

Who Could Be So Unkind?

I mentioned in my previous post that I got fired from one band days before the gig. There’s a long story behind it, but I will spare you. I think a big lesson if not the biggest lesson I came away with was that if the band leader tells you there is a part or parts that are important to him, get those down as soon as possible. Even if they aren’t perfect, do what you can and improve them over time.

I did the opposite. I focused on learning all the songs in general (there were about twenty of them, I think). While I had figured out and sort of learned the one part in the midst of learning all the songs, I didn’t really start to try to get it down until the very end. By that point it was too late. I had already lost them, even though I had many of the other songs sounding good.

Another reason to get the part done early is that it lets you find out what the band leader really wants. Even though you know you don’t have the part done perfectly, the band leader may think it’s good enough. Then you can either focus on the other material or continue to improve it on your own.

Fri, 2011 06 24 at 12:21 PM |Permalink for this entry

A Review (For Me)

I just updated the About Me page, and because of that, started reading my old posts on this blog, from April 2008 through December 2009 (which includes the point when Blue Funk broke up). I’ve noticed a few things.

  1. I wrote a lot more about music stuff in general. There were comments about shows we saw, artists that influenced me, etc.
  2. I wrote about the downs as well as the ups. Somewhere along the way, I got self-conscious about what I posted on here. In those early posts, I wrote about the difficulties I had getting ready for my first gig with CH, as well as auditions I didn’t get. On the other hand, more recently I’ve intentionally not written about failures I’ve had, like getting fired from one band days before the gig, and not getting called back after auditions with others. I think part of the reason is that I also have this blog set to post on Facebook, and I’m concerned about those people’s reactions as well as the reactions of others. I tend to think I should put up a good front in order to sell myself as a musician. But I also think it indicates a change in my attitude. See my previous post about becoming too concerned about getting gigs.
  3. I wrote more often.
  4. A lot of the issues I am having now were present back then, as well.
  5. I seemed to be happier and having more fun.

I’m going to have to think about this. I think this blog deserves more content. I think I deserve to “care less” about what other people think and have some frickin’ fun again.

Thu, 2011 06 23 at 1:28 PM |Permalink for this entry

Fuggedaboutit

Have you or anyone you’ve known ever decided to turn a hobby into a career? While many times it results in a satisfying vocation, sometimes it ruins it for the person. Most times, the problem is quite simple. Once it became a career, it became “important.” The focus changed. Instead of doing it for fun, it was being done for money and decisions became confused. “I’m not sure I want to do [this], but it will make me more money.”

In my previous post I talked about having fun playing and losing a bit of that. Why did I lose it? Because I became concerned about getting gigs, I wasn’t thinking as much about if they would be fun (or if I could make them fun for myself), and I became too concerned about getting it right (again, see the previous post). When you stop doing something for fun and put all these other demands on it, you lose the freedom and play the formerly fun thing had.

I’m a very lucky person in that I don’t have to play to eat. I can base my decisions about what I do on whether I will enjoy doing it or not. The trick is to not overthink it, to not find flaws just to back out of it, and to do something and not do nothing just because I can get away with it. You know I’ve tried.

Fri, 2011 06 17 at 10:12 AM |Permalink for this entry

What Am I Trying To Do?

I don’t know how to be happy, I know how to be right.

The above phrase is an oversimplification, but it came to me while thinking about some general things in my life. I quickly realized how it applies to music for myself and many others as well.

I’ve been reading Kenny Werner’s excellent book Effortless Mastery: Liberating the Master Musician Within, and he touches on this subject as well. Most of us spend time trying to play the right notes, afraid we are going to play the wrong ones. So what if we do? We get in these two ton metal machines all the time and drive them around without thinking about it, yet we’re afraid to play a wrong note? Which activity truly has more risk?

I don’t deny that there are some musical situations where perfection is demanded. But that is up to the person in charge. Yet, that is what most people think all musical situations are like.

Think about how many people took piano lessons as a kid, but gave up on it, yet wish they could play now that they’re older. On top of that, they think they still can’t learn to play. What happened was, a well-meaning but misguided piano teacher sucked all the fun out of playing the instrument. Instead of being about having fun and possibly even creating, it became about being right, playing properly, and all sorts of other things that were not fun and creative. I’m not saying those things shouldn’t be learned, but there is a time and place for those and they should still fit in the context of the overriding goal, making music and having fun doing it.

I recently lost the having fun part of music. I’ve been trying to get it back. My conscious mind has a pretty clear idea of what the problem is, what is holding me back, what is blocking the fun. Unfortunately, those problems are currently at a level in my mind where it takes some determined effort to rid myself of them. I have to convince myself that there is no real risk, to not worry about trying to get everything right, to have fun, and as Kenny Werner says, that “there are no wrong notes” (I am primarily playing blues and jazz, after all).

“You speak treason, my lord.”

“Fluently.”

Fri, 2011 06 03 at 8:48 PM |Permalink for this entry

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