Monday, September 26, 2011

old post - picking' and dancin'

Another old post - this one takes up where the last one left off and is from May 9, 2009.

Okay, picking (no pun intended) up where I left off last post...

The pic above is my guitar, or at least a pic of the same model from Takamine’s website. The band was impressed with the sound and quality of it. (tangent warning...) I’ve had it since the early 90’s. Bought it new and have been VERY happy with it. I used it when I was playing gospel music, did studio work with it, home studio work, used it in church, sitting around the campfire, etc. It has served me well.

Anyway, I was an instant fit, like I said. I play by ear as well as note, Nashville Number System, etc. Bar chords are no problem and I only capo to change the sound, NOT to make it easier to play a song.

Kenton - we have a place we dance occasionally on Saturday nights in Kenton, Tennessee. The band that was there is definitely a #2 - they play to be heard, not as a dance band. So, anyway, the band from Friday night “gets the gig,” so to speak, and they ask me to sit in for the entire three hours there. I am very honored to do so, so I agree. It goes great. Tony is very uptight about everything sounding good, but it goes great. Vanessa did sound for the gospel group we were with (New Heaven’s Echos) so she knows her stuff. She helped get the sound balanced and all was well.

So this went well. Everyone seemed happy - I had a good time - etc.

Brian has to be “on call” every third week, so no lead guitar the next week. I took both a lead and a rhythm, just in case they needed me to do some fill in work. Friday night, Tony wasn’t sure, but Donny said “yes.” Max seemed to enjoy it as well as we played off of each other. I’ve never claimed to be a full blown lead guitar player, but I can hold my own with fill in licks, etc. So, needless to say, Friday was fun. :)

Saturday, Tony said they didn’t really need “lead” so I offered to play the rhythm or not at all. He made a big deal about “no it’s okay to play along - let’s see how it goes.” After the first song, he said the acoustic would be better, so Vanessa went to the car and got it. The next three songs I noticed Robert doing “fill in lead” and realized I was stepping on his toes.

That’s okay - I’m already on stage and not going to just walk away. I’m not that type. :) So I continue to play along. Every couple of songs I get “a look” from either Tony or Robert. Again, I notice that Robert is “doing more” than he normally does. That’s fine - I’m cool with that. I’m not an actual member of the band and I’m not being paid. After a couple of songs, though, I’m told to “turn down” and “that sounds harsh” and “it’s not blending well.” Okay - I can take a hint. By the time it’s over I’ve decided in my own mind that I’m done. It felt good playing again and I was pleased that I was able to just “sit in” with no practice whatsoever and play every song they did. However, and this is a big part of all of this, I don’t need them to feel validated.

Is that clear? I was a musician before I met them, was one with them (and acted in a professional manner, I believe) and am still one today. I do not need them to validate me as a musician. I was able to sit in and blend and enhance. Period. It wasn’t what they wanted, so I went my own way.

Anyway, Tony comes to me after it’s over and says, “it’s nothing personal, we’re just not used to the extra instrument.” I assure him I am not offended. I remind him that I offered to back off at the very beginning. I go to dance - picking is just a bonus for me. If I’m not adding to, then I’m obviously taking away from and I’ll gladly back off. No hard feelings - no offense taken.

The next week we were supposed to be camping, but we weren’t able to stay all night. I did take my guitar to the campground bonfire, like I always do, and had a great time. The guitar was still in my car on Saturday (rain set in, so the campers packed up) and we decided to go to Kenton at the last minute. While putting my boots on, Tony comes to the parking lot and tells me “nothing personal” (he said that over a dozen times I know) and if I want to play “daddy’s guitar” while he takes a break that I was welcome to, but that they had a meeting and it was decided that they didn’t need the extra instrument. I assured him I was there to pay my $5 and dance like always. Sure the guitar was there, but that’s from where I’d had it with friends, not where I could play it that night.

So, the band met and decided they didn’t need me, huh? That’s what he told me, but I was differently by other people. No names, as I don’t want to start anything, and believe me it was obvious to me from the body language who was really offended and who was proud to have me join them. I hold my head up proudly as someone who has proven to himself that he can still jump in and not only follow along but add to and blend in with people that play together all the time.

One last word - I’ve been “invited” to join them onstage so “daddy” can take a break and mingle. So far I’ve declined in lieu of dancing with my soul mate. There may come a time/night that I want to - I may hurt my foot or leg and can’t dance like I do now, or can’t hold out for three hours and need a break. Until then, though, I remember that they came to me, I was able to fit, and they decided they didn’t need me “full time.” I’m cool with that.

Know what else I’m cool with? Getting this off my chest... I have had several people ask me, “why aren’t you playing with the band?” and I just smile and say, “I’d rather dance.” Yes, it’s the truth. Dancing is much more fun without the added drama of hurt feelings and squashed toes. :)

Will they read any of this? I don’t know, and frankly I don’t care. This has been more for me to get it off my chest than anything, and I assure you, gentle reader, that there’s not one word I wouldn’t repeat to them in person. They haven’t asked and I’m not one to stir the pot. I’m content and still have a friendly relationship with all of the band. Tony and Robert? Maybe not as much as the others. Okay, not at all as much as the others. I lost a little respect for them as musicians after all this, but they’re still a decent band to dance to.

And Max & Donny? GREAT musicians. :)

Thanks for reading...

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