Thursday, November 23, 2006

You can take a horse to water but... can't stop a guitarist throwing his toys out of the pram.

The little covers band has imploded. These things happen and life goes on but it's still frustrating. The bassist is a nice guy and one of the best I have ever played with, but the other two were frankly a couple of cans short of a two pack. The guitarist, who was the kind of owner of the band had some kind of strop and decided, as he said "to call time on the band". He was one of those types who would say that it was a democracy and we should all have a say on stuff. This only applied as long as the majority agreed with him. When I was younger I'd be bothered about these things, now I just chuckle patronisingly. Some people just don't know the definition af an autocrat.

The dilemna for me was the fact that I was really into some of the music that they did, even badly. Smooth Criminal and the heavier rocky stuff were good to learn but not that much up my alley, but the Chili Peppers songs, Golden Years and the funkier ones were great songs, fun to play and challenging to learn.

I did about 4 or 5 gigs with them and the audience reaction had been enthusiastic all the time. It's hardly a benchmark by which one can judge the quality of a pub covers band but it's still a good feeling when a crowd likes you. I realised some time ago that the standards used by the average non muso pissed up pub punter to judge a covers band are very different from the standards used by us musos.

We tend to look at things like individual musicianship and tightness as a unit but Mr P Punter doesn't analyse that deeply. It's more about whether he likes the songs and whether he can dance or singalong to them. How well or how badly they are played rarely figures in his mental calculations, nor whether the drummer can do a paradiddle whilst scratching his arse. ( for your info I can do both, just not at the same time).

Of course the most important criterion by which any band at any level can be judged is whether the guitarist, or guitarists if numbers permit, can put one foot up on a monitor, play a solo and chat to each other and laugh all at the same time.

Playing originals, as I do in Mimosa, is a different ball game. The music, as much as I adore it, is more mellow than rocky and kicking and the satisfaction is of a different variety. The joy of knowing that people are appreciating music that I have had a hand in writing is rather exciting, as is witnessing us develop and gel as a band. The standard of musicianship is higher than anything I have ever been involved in and it's a continual learning experience for me.

Before long I'll start to miss the sheer fun and laughter of rocking out to some covers and I'll be back down your local on a Saturday night. Not your local if you're a Colomboite, more if you're in the South West London neck of the woods mind.

I've got my first rehearsal tonight with someone who is putting something new together. I tried to be cool and calm and collected about it but it's no use and I must tell you I am so, so excited about it. It's new and exciting with some great covers to play. It might lead to nothing, I might not be up to it, we all might not get on or we may do one gig and implode, but it's got potential. I'll keep you posted.

Many people frequently ask me if I would have liked to have done the drumming thing professionally. It's a weird mindset to be in. I would be delighted if I was good enough to play at that level but, as a professional musician, the pressures are very different. I would be continually trying to make enough money to support my standard of living. That would mean that I would often have to "prostitute" myself just for the money. As things stand now I never have to do that. Sure there are occasions when I have to play a song I don't like but that's no big deal. The way things are I can pick and choose who I play with and, as long as they want me, we are all happy. I can more than happily live with that and it means that my passion stays exactly that, never becoming a chore.

Having said all that, if Dave Grohl rings me up this afternoon because Taylor has retired and joined a local funk band and the Foos need a replacement, I'll be off before you can say "Should I pack a sarong?"

That's my thinking aloud done for today.

What's your passion then?


drac said...

but hold on, can't you have it both ways? There are some really really good "amateur" (by which I mean part time) bands featured on Raw Talent (link here: I gather those guys do what you do, but just more of it and they're exposed to a wider audience.

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

drac - I think having it both ways is possible but usually involves a compromise, either artistically or financially. The small number of musicians who achieve great success both financially and artistically are a tiny percentage compared to the total who are out there just playing for fun. If someone does have it both ways then good luck to them because they have invariably had a combination of sheer talent, shit loads of practice and hard work and a touch of luck.

Theena said...

Does the guitarist double up on vocals as well? Jeez..I hate that sort of attitude in musicians.

And, no offense, but if Taylor Hawkins retires, I'd beg and plead Dave to get behind the kit. I have no idea why he is on guitars and vocal duties. Thats not him.

I was watching Nirvana's Live and Loud concert from 1993. Dave is just a blur at times, hair flying all over, pounding the drums like only John Bonham would. I miss that Dave so much.

Sorry for the irrelevant post.

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Hey Theena, no apologies needed mate. No it was a separate guitarist and singer, both idiots though!

It's a funny thing the Taylor and Dave issue. I actually think that Taylor is the better drummer of the 2 in terms of playing, but I think Dave has written some of the best rock drum parts of all time: No one knows and Teen Spirit. He's still a fantastic player but I would rather hear Mr Hawkins, I find him a bit more refined. In a previous band we used to do the Foos version of Baker St and Learnt to Fly - Great songs