Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Losing the gig..

I've always tried to be careful in terms of my priorities. So far I've been very lucky. I have a great family, a good job, and a moderately successful music career which includes performing and recording at my own studio. In my mind, my music career is very successful but I measure it in relation to my other commitments and playing a careful balancing act. I have to know when to say know to a gig or project and have to know how to keep my mind wrapped around the various gigs and ensembles I play with while still doing my job and being there for my wife and kids.

Well, finally things "broke": I got asked to step aside fom a project I was really excited about. Due to work, I would be missing a bunch of rehearsals for an upcoming musical that I've been heavily involved with (recording and accompanying record, composing music, playing gigs to raise money for the production). Since I was missing these rehearsals, the writer (under stong suggestions by the director) asked for musicians who could be there the whole time. As a result, I was forced to step aside.

I'm pretty upset about it as this was something I was really looking forward to. There are upsides: I have a lot more time now during a period which is already busy with gigs and family stuff, I don't have to sub out any of the gigs I was planning on subbing out, I can go see Jonathan Richman.... I'm sure there are others. That said, I feel a bit like this is a watershed moment. In some sense, I just had too much going on at once and things had to be let go.

This kind of makes me play a bit of a "shoulda, woulda, coulda" game with myself. Had I been more serious aobut my music at a time when I was focused on my education/career, would I have been a more successful performer/composer? Could I have been able to support my family as a musician? I know that this is a futile exercise , which makes it all the worse.

Oh well, onward and upward.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

After 11 years, my first electric bass gig

Last time I played electric bass for an audience was in 1997. I was on tour with the Demonics and Incredibly Strange Wrestling. (I was also serving a a ring announcer for the wrestling matches.) The last gig I did was in Chicago and my girlfriend (now wife) had flown out the night before.

So two nights ago I played a gig with an electric bass. I usually play double bass but, like many, started on electric bass and thought I could competently play the bass guitar. I dragged out my 1978 Fender Jazz Bass (modified with a Bartolini preamp and a Hipshot D-tuner) and stumbled through 45 minutes of music. I literally stumbled. I had forgotten how heavy and electric bass can be (especially my old beast). I still have a sore shoulder from where the strap carried the bass. Plus, I got a blister on my right-hand index finger. My hands take a bit of a beating slapping on an upright bass, but man am I out of shape with a bass guitar.

I think I'll make a point of practicing a bit before my next electric gig.