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It's not always fun

mark555

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Well, this band business isn't always as easy as we would want it to be. I still find that I am the only one chasing the gigs and when our other guitar players wife chimed in with all that she "does" to get us gigs I said that if she was trying there would be results to show for it, which went down like a brick in a swimming pool. So I have backed off the phone for a while to give myself a break although I keep going back to it to get us more gigs. We're earning better money just now which also helps.

 

A few weeks back I thought it would just be much easier if we got an agent because they seem to have some of the gigs we want sown up. I can only say how much a regret even thinking of that. We ended up playing a "showcase" for an agent and I have never been to such an unprofessional event in my life. In fact, before we even set up two of us wanted to put our gear back in the cars and just go home. I haven't the inclination to go into it in detail but what a waste of time it was and the agent concerned has put some poison down for us a result. Well, we can deal with that in our own way. But from now on we see to our own affairs.

 

One thing that really upset me was that on Saturday we played a really good venue for us in the city of Leeds, it was a well paying gig and the venue was a big social club. We hadn't played together for three weeks and I had made the mistake of concentrating my practicing on learning some new instrumentals by one of my favourite bands, "The Shadows". I wanted to learn Foot Tapper because it is brilliant for getting the flow element of your playing going really well. anyway, we were playing three sets that night, and we opened the second set with me playing lead on Whiskey In The Jar (thin Lizzy version). Well everything that did go wrong could go wrong and I really made a right mess of it all and really had a mental block. I just could not find those notes and it left a huge hole in the song. What I did was play an improvised melody within the scale of the chord sequence. I was sickened because I had found the episode with the Agent very upsetting and I really needed to get back on the horse (so to speak) with some positive experiences. Well we carried on of course, but although people enjoyed our set, I was sickened because I felt that I had let the rest of the guys in the band down. I can not tell you how upset and negative it left me feeling, it left me feeling that I just did not want to play the guitar at all for a while but also knowing that it was imperative to open the case, strap it on and practice,

 

We have another gig at one of our favourite venues this coming Saturday, so I have been really practicing what I got wrong to ensure that it doesn't happen again.

 

I think sometimes we can all forget how important it is to practice the stuff we know so well or we will forget it and risk doing what I did which was make a fool of myself on what is usually one of the high spots of our set list. I am going to make sure that never happens again.

 

On to guitars: I recently played a fabulous strat style guitar made by Levinson, it has the "Blade" logo on the headstock and had a HSS pick up format, with a coil tap and boost switch for the pick ups that upped the volume from rhythm to lead volume in one switch, the pick ups were active and sounded fantastic. The colour was a translucent purple on a solid ash body with an ebony fretboard. this guitar was made in the far east and was the equal of anything out of the any of the California custom shops, Fender or otherwise. For what it was, £1200 was not a lot of money. I'm out of work just now, if I was in work I would have seriously considered buying it because by its nature it would have become my go to guitar instantly. Maybe later on next year if I can find another one that I can afford. They come in at about £1800 new, but you are not buying a brand when you buy one of these, you are buying a proper player's guitar. Here's a picture of it.

 

Thanks for reading.



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Mark,

 

I feel your pain. I basically quit a some would call successful acoustic duet because it seemed I was the only one trying to find new gigs and figuring out new cover songs. My buddy had plenty of "free exposure" gigs he found and discount gigs for friends (free food & drinks), but the kids were getting older and I needed at least something in my pocket to justify being away from the family. Then when due to a medical illness I was forced to quit drinking, I didn't mind that my buddy would drink, but he started to get hammered past the point of where he could perform. The first 12 years of the acoustic duet band was great, but I would rather play at Church every Sunday then go back to gigging every weekend and do all the work for practically no money.

 

As far as flubbing a solo, we have all done it (myself numerous times). But it is my experience most people listen more to the chords, melody & lyrics then the solo. Honestly, I doubt most people noticed.

 

Keep on playing because, trust me, you will miss gigging in front of an audience..... I know I did.

 

Best,

John

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Thanks for your comments John, I won't play for free any more, however, we did play for nothing at a club that recently had a fund raising event for prostate cancer research, maany people had given a lot of their time and effort to raise £7000. No one gets drunk in our band, two of us do not drink as were are both of the same faith and the other two are very moderate in their consumtion.

 

Thanks for the kind words about the solo, I perhaps expect too much of myself, and also some of my friends are players that are way above my level and I tend to judge myself against their standards. T=some of these are guys who could walk into a studio and play sessions at a moments notice. But on the whole I really try to give the best performance I can.

 

God bless,

Mark.

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