This morning, I had a visitor. It was the leader of the cover band I used to be in.
He is from my dad and uncle’s generation and so was about everyone else in that band. They all had at least 20 years on me and the oldest members, 40 years on me.
I stopped being in this band because the leader was too easy to get pissed off from the band members that were not on time or on note or on rhythm… which caused him to have quite a few verbal riffs with the bassists and the drummers that were frequently changing. I chalk up my being able to be always on his good side to my youth and depth in music theory and feel (my horn: TOOT-TOOT). I had to leave though because it wasn’t fun anymore when practice kept stopping due to the leader’s readiness to be pissed off and the ones to send him to the edge not learning.
I was feeling a generational/age/band member communication gap. They all came from this generation of really good but really strong attitude musicians. You would think that time would gain new wisdom for being less hard and stress-inducing… but according to stories from my uncles and their friends (Pittsburg people come around or are still around often enough), he has always been like that and the few band members he brought in from back then too are like that.
I couldn’t stick with that, being on edge each practice, not wondering “if” but “when” it’s going to implode.
I left and found myself in another band attempt with my friends my age. Just to keep this simple: much better. Much more understanding. Better chemistry.
So back to this morning, the leader of the old band drives up. I meet him outside and he begins filling me in on what has happened in the past few months.
Filling me in? How about UNLOADING.
He pretty much tells me that there is a lot of drama and unprofessional moves on top of the same bass player and drummer problems. A few gigs happened and even during the gigs, certain people in the band making inconsiderate moves.
Yeah, I knew I was making a good move out of there. My relatively youthful mind of the millenial generation is a bit more understanding… and I understood that the chemistry would not change.
It’s too bad because individually, they all have some awesome music experience.
One of the bassists toured with Malo of “Suavecito” fame. One of the drummers has those crazy gospel chops. The rest have all done music in bands that have done decent-sized gigs around the Bay Area or further.
But what do you expect? It’s a grab-somebody-who-can-cover-this-spot type of cover band. When I was there, trying to bring people in was pretty much asking the question “Do you know anybody who plays this instrument or sings?”. It wasn’t even about whether they played the type of music that we do. It was at one point, “Do you know anybody that can sort of get around with this?”. It can be tough to create a band from trying to pull whatever you can from different groups of styles and attitudes.
I am definitely not the best live performance keyboardist as far as the special flourishes of runs and solos. They did help me get better at the solos and I also played horns on keyboard for the first time which was awesome! I provided a lot of music theory and rhythmic assistance to the bassists and the drummers… and again, I was the youngest and at least by age, least amount of time doing this type of stuff. I was the technical music person in the group. I was also a good mediating person just to soften the tone before the leader blew up… but it all became too much.
I appreciate the experience. I loved the songs we were playing but when the love of music is being overshadowed by in-band disputes too often and taking more work to just be in the same room, it’s not something I want to be a part of.
Good morning, Friday… thanks for the reminder!