It seems like forever since I have made an entry in my blog about the story of my playing in a band, maybe all the lockdown had a lot to do with that.
After Lockdown, we started trying to gig again but the market for bands had really slowed down and many of the social clubs we were playing were no longer booking bands. Bars and pubs were booking less also, as they were building their trade up after Lockdown.
We were playing several gigs, but something was just not sitting right with me. We had lost our drummer to a serious stroke, although we had already decided to replace him as we were fed up of his forcing his political viewpoint on us all, in that there was no discussion and if he didn't like your opinion, he took offense. We got a fabulous new drummer after some long auditions, but that didn't work out personality wise. Eventually we settled on a guy in his late sixties who had a wife a fair bit younger than him, which has some relevance. The point being that wives were always welcome at gigs but any wife interfering in band business was considered very bad form and well out of order. It had caused extreme trouble previously.
But back to the main plot. I had for some while feeling that I wasn't really doing what I wanted to be doing by being in the band, I had a vision for it that was successful when that vision was followed, but others were not sharing the vision that I had set the band up with along with my bass playing friend when we decided to give it a go. Because that vision was not being followed, it was getting harder. I'd taken on the role of lead vocals and I know the songs I can sing and can't sing - for example, I can really do well on singing Rolling Stones songs. And, because the vision was harder for me to fulfill, I was losing interest.
On top of that, it was down to me to find gigs, no one else made any effort. Put all this together with the effort to rehearse, play gigs, lose weekends with my family because of gigs and all the effort involved, slowly buy surely, and with accelerating speed, I was losing all desire to be in the band, and just over a week ago, the day before a gig, I decided I'd come to the end of the road. I played the gig, wasn't happy in doing so, and then the new drummers wife told the rest of the band and their wives that she'd been told I was seen playing at venue during the week with another band - a total untruth. Shaun, our bass player, is not just a friend, he's my brother from a different mother and we have a deep brotherly love, we know each others extended family and we used to hang around as kids, stopping over at each others homes. The relationship is close. Anyway, Shaun's wife, Debbie, is a lovely woman who understands how things are, and she tactfully told me what had been said, which didn't make me angry, but just made me even more sure that I'd come to the wright decision. I didn't tell anyone that night because I didn't want to cause any upset, or have people try and tell me I was just being silly. And of course, I wanted one more night to sleep on it. When I woke up on Sunday morning, I knew the decision was right for me, and prior to going out to church, I sent an e mail to the guys in the band explaining how I felt and why I had come to my decision.
The decision was made because my priorities have shifted. I'm now 62, have six grandchildren who live quite a distance from me and I want my weekends free to spend time with them. I want to spend Saturday nights with my wife Helen, we have busy days and after doing all the Saturday jobs round the house, I want to sit down with her and enjoy our time together. Going out for a day is also something we want to do and not worry about what time we need to be back for. The bottom line of why I've decided to put the band down can be condensed into one word, and that word is "family"
Shaun, my partner in the band, has taken it really well, hes been very supportive and I hope they carry on with a new singer and guitar player, they are good musicians and the band has a good name. But for me, it's time to call it a day with bands. The highs have been great and the lows terrible, but that is life in a band for you. For now, I'm gig to sit back and enjoy others playing, and sitting at home enjoying my guitars and maybe, just maybe, I might get that PRS custom I've always wanted.
Thanks for reading - Mark.