Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Being in a band

I've been to my pub to play pool tonight. A couple of travellers were there. How come they play pool so well? They were devastating against all comers. They have this look. A look that sees right through you. Then they thrash the arse off of you. Later on a couple of lads turned up, they were both deaf and dumb.  They were Ok. They both played well. And I'm sitting there having my drink wanting to go home because I am old and past it. And I get another drink put in front of me. Then another. Who's buying these drinks? Shit! I just want to come home. But years of drinking training has taught me that you never refuse a drink. I think I'd better start being strict with myself. Perhaps I can refuse the odd drink.  Even if I have to upset the donor. But it's not that easy. There's a free drink so take it.
That moved me on to another thought about being a musician.  I used to think  musicians were Gods. They were what I aspired to.  I used to sit in an audience and dream of doing what they did. But now I am the one one stage. I am the one playing the music. But I don't feel special.  Don't get me wrong I love to be the one on stage. But I'm not special. I'm just like you. Because I play guitar, that doesn't make me better than you.  I am now the person I wanted to be, the guy on stage. But I've found I admire so many people who don't play guitar like I do.   It doesn't matter that I can do what a lot of people can't. They can probably do something I can't. So I'm no better no worse .  It's just that I have the privelige of doing something I love to do. And people scream and shout for more. Try doing that as a civil servant as a tax collector as a salesman. I'll never be famous
but people see me in the street and say "Did I see you play at.........." You know that's a wonderful feeling. To have someone come up to you and say they have enjoyed the night. You've enjoyed it? What about me? I've had a great time. Entertaining you. It's been a privelige to be able to play guitar for you. I  would do this job for nothing. But if I get paid?  Holy shit!
Years ago I used to play in a folk rock band.  The leader of the band was so up his own arse that any mistake was a hienous crime. I was so paranoid about making a mistake that I got stage fright big time.  Eventually I was so paranoid that I was feeling sick every time we went on stage. I was going to throw up. I used to sit on my guitar stool and clench my legs round the legs sp people wouldn't see me shaking. Eventually it got so bad I said "I can't do this any more." And I stopped playing live for fifteen years.  Playing with my new band Ad Hock was a revelation to me.  I was allowed to make mistakes. Del and Tony made loads themselves but no one noticed. They were not on my case when I fucked up. I just got the odd glance. But we carried on.The crowd loved us, mistakes and all.  I can't believe how lucky I am to be playing music with two such great guys.
We are not like your usual band. We never rehearse.  If someone shouts out a song they want to hear we'll play it. One of us will know it.  I love Del to death. He is always late. We have a joke in the band that we are running on normal time or Del Time. Tony is English but was raised in the USA. He speaks with a vague Irish accent but can't explain why. He is the driving force behind the group. He is brilliant when he works the crowd with his radio mike. Then there's the girls in our group.Tony's girl friend Debs cannot take her drink. She will be smashed on half a pint of lager. God! You'd love her. Del's wife Dianne is such a trooper. She is command of the situation at all times. Without Dianne, Del would be lost. But Del throws the most amazing parties. Get yourself invited to one.   But we're just musicians. We are just like you. We aren't anything special. It's just that we've done something you lot couldn't be bothered to do.  We are human just like you. We have the same problems you have. We fuck up just like you do. But at the end of the day, we are the ones on stage. Don't feel intimidated. We have our faults.
 
May your God be with you.
 
Mike Da Hat

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