Originally written January 2013
Now that we have an awareness of music theory we could use something to do with it. How bout starting a band? It’s easy. All that you need is a few like minded individuals that play at your level or hold you in enough esteem otherwise to put up with what you do. Another possibility is that someone holds you in enough esteem to do what you ask of them. In my case, what I did was to book the jobs and then pay them to put up with me. It usually worked.
It is more fun to just enjoy playing. Public performance has brought me the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. It was very difficult for me to be very well accepted at a venue, even get good reviews in the local papers, draw an enthusiastic crowd and then bomb a half mile down the street. It was difficult to write, record, and have high hopes for a big future in music only to have band members get drafted for Viet-Nam or disappear forever somewhere in Canada. Leaving me (and them) having nothing to show for a great deal of work and expense. The compliment of a fair number of people applauding in approval of your music is truly hard to describe. But then the low of rejection is even more deeply felt.
The loss of a band mate is forever. He is never truly replaced. The band must change. It may be better or worse but it will be different. Rehearsal starts once again. Songs are re-learned and some are simply lost to you. Then often there are unexpected additions due to the new guy. I usually fronted the band, I picked the songs, I ran the band on stage. The success was ours and the failure was mine.
Starting a band means finding a buddy. A buddy that shares your taste in music. Then, how do you get to Carnegie Hall. ,,, PRACTICE man, PRACTICE. … You need to be well enough rehearsed to be consistent with what you present to an audience. Then you need to count on your friends to cover your butt if you make a mistake. You need him to do his part every time no matter how it is received. Then add another well rehearsed friend or two and you are ready to go.
I was usually the worst musician in my group. That made it easy for me. All I had to do was have a few new songs ready to play every week and the guys made it great for me. The longest I ever played in one place was two and a half years. I was at others for more than a year. I had two places where they fired me before my seven week contract was done. I had two very good bands. Tom, drummer, Buddy, keyboard, George, lead guitar, and me. The other was Tom, drummer, Lou, Bass, and me. Both bands lasted for a few years and worked steadily.
Tom was best man at my wedding and we are still friends. Lou took a Foreman Job at Ford foundry and we lost touch. Buddy over time just found my music too POP for him. He has since made a very good living in the Jazz scene. I have no idea of what happened to George. He was a superb guitar player and a classic weirdo. We decided to take a month off from the bars and George just disappeared. I never saw him again.
I had several other bands. They taught me and I taught them. It was fun and I still enjoy my music.