I’ve unfortunately been too busy to keep up with my original goal of blogging every week day. I spent almost all of my energy last week giving guitar lessons, rehearsing, playing shows, and preparing for/conducting a garage sale. Yet a primary purpose for this blog is to motivate myself to seek out more musical experiences. The logic being that by exposing my musical life to the public, I would feel a greater need to make my musical life more productive and interesting (I suspect few people would want to read a blog about a musician who only sits in his room and practices). So I am partially excusing myself for not keeping up with my blog the way I set out to, because I was (in lieu of blogging) engaging in a variety of musical activities.
Thursday night I played music for the after-party of the Rock the Runway event at Savoy 1620 with saxophonist and singer Michael Eubanks and his band. Overall it was an easy, fun, and well-paying gig. We performed two hours of mostly 70’s and 80’s Funk/R&B/Jazz covers to a high-spirited (read: liquored up) crowd of some of Little Rock’s most fashionable movers and shakers. At one point we played probably about a 13 minute rendition of Kool & the Gang’s “Ladies Night,” — even though our dance moves were not anywhere near as synchronized as this, the crowd just kept digging it, so we just kept playing it… Perhaps if the collective blood alcohol content had been a bit lower, more people would have noticed that the musicians in the band were actually rarely in good tune with each other. Our bass player had been having intonation issues with his bass guitar and didn’t have time to fix it before the show and my guitar kept drifting out of tune as well. But we gave the people a good beat to dance to and plenty of energy to bounce off of, and that’s all they really wanted anyway.
The next night I played with The See to a sizable crowd at the Town Pump. We headlined the bill which included Nashville rockers (and truly cool dudes) The Paranormals, and the Austin-based indie sunshine-rock (I am just going to assume that is an actual genre) group Gorgeous Hands. My main complaint about The See up until this point was that we played too loud to hear our lead man Joe Yoder’s golden vocals (not to mention just generally being painfully loud to some of our viewers). I expressed this sentiment to the band and we all agreed to turn down, resulting in what I think was our best sounding show yet. I did however become aware at this point that my guitar’s intonation was definitely out of whack, and that I shouldn’t play it for our following night’s show at Maxine’s in Hot Springs.
The show Saturday at Maxine’s was tense. One of us in the band was extremely upset with another member for showing up late to the show, which resulted in us getting bumped from playing second (when the largest portion of the crowd was present) to playing last (after much of the crowd had already left). Additionally, one of our more inebriated fans got himself kicked out for being belligerent, incomprehensible, and annoying. And to top it off, we forgot to bring a drum stool. By the time we got on stage we were sweating from the stress (and yeah the heat), but luckily Maxine’s cocktail waitress (and local artist) Mesilla Camille gave us plenty of towels to dry off with and we ended up playing well. With a multi-state tour just around the corner, we in The See are aspiring for a higher level of professionalism, and nights like these can seem like a step in the wrong direction. Yet this is still early on in our musical journey together, and just as we are still working out exactly how to perform the music on-stage, we are also still working out the off-stage elements of rehearsing, booking shows, promoting ourselves, selling merchandise, showing up to shows on time, and maintaining equipment. In my mind, mistakes in any area are forgivable right now as long as we are working to make sure they happen less and less. We do have an image in our mind of how good this band can be, and the temptation is to become frustrated when we don’t live up to our expectations. But flowering into our full-potential will take time, and the shit that happens is the best fertilizer.