Thursday, December 11, 2008
Life in a band
Last night was the gig. When I say gig, you may be imaging people selling tickets, people dancing, people standing around, etc. However, you would be wrong. Our gig last night was to a bunch of people busy playing blackjack, craps, and poker for pretend money. A song would end and our wives (husband for Jody) and girlfriends would clap. It kind of made me laugh. Every gig I've ever played but one has been to an audience of crickets. (not that I've played a lot or anything, but I'll bet I've played a dozen or so in different bands) It was perfect.
It always happens like this: you finally get a bunch of people showing up (somewhat) regularly to practice and get some songs down. 1 person in the band brings up an opportunity to do a show. You agree on it, because it's usually a ways off and you figure you can work out any kinks between now and then. You're usually practicing an hour or two a week for a couple of months. Then, about 2 weeks before the show you start gearing up. Your practices are between 2 and 3 hours and twice as often. Maybe the night before you do one final practice to go through your set. Then comes the day of the show. You get off work early and meet up at the drummers house (your equipment is almost always at the drummers house: his equipment is a lot more difficult to move). You spend a half an hour loading heavy awkward equipment into vehicles. Then you head over to the show. You get there hours early. You take another half an hour to drag the equipment out of the car and put it on stage. Then you take the next 45 minutes setting the equipment up and trying to get the volumes right on everything. Maybe you go through a song or two to test the levels and warm up. And then you wait. Slowly people start filing in and eventually it's your time to go on. You get up there, a ball of nerves, but once that first note hits you go into a zone. And before you know it, the show is over. People file out. Then you spend the next 45 minutes taking your equipment down and putting back in the vehicles. Then it's back over to the drummers to put all the equipment back.
For your hour long show (if you're lucky), you have probably spent 40 hours getting everything prepared. And if by chance you are in competition with roulette for play money, then God help you! :) You may be reading this wondering 'What a pain in the ass! Why bother?' Myself, I'm in it for the chicks...not. Think about it, though: How much do you have to LOVE something to go to these lengths and keep doing it? It's one of the most rewarding things in my life. I've spent thousands of hours playing music in my life. It's part of my self image. I'm a musician.