(Artwork care of Karen Ramsay (www.karenramsay.com), profile photo care of brianlackeyphotography.com)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

My musical history...

...is nothing unusual. I started out on piano and picked up the guitar. I was planning to play an hour a day at each instrument, but it quickly became 2 hours a day of guitar. I played folk songs, blues, rock, and started try to learn songs I had been making up. Over time, I got proficient at guitar, picked up bass, and learned to sing and to perform. I've traveled to a multitude of places on the musical map: punk, reggae, funk, bluegrass.

Over time,though, I've flip-flopped between solo performance (in public and in my own room) and bands, with regular forays into informal jams. What I notice is that, when I'm doing the solo thing, I miss the band. I miss having the space to explore a musical idea while others help support it and I really miss going somewhere unexpected because someone else is driving. On the other hand, when I'm in a band, I miss the solo thing. There's a simplicity and clarity of being able to make music happen without having to deal with other people's busy schedules and agendas. Flip: I'm playing coffee houses for little or no money. Flop: I'm playing the same songs over and over in a basement. Flip: I'm indulging in my full eclectic glory. Flop: I'm part of groove pumping orgiastic bacchanalia that's making the house dance-crazy. Sometimes, I cheat and do the middle path: recording projects that have a taste of the band but are just me, playing with myself;-). These don't satisfy in the same way that playing in public does, although it is easier to share the music with my wide circle of friends and supporters.

Right now, I'm kind of straddling both: I've been keeping up some solo gigs and I'm playing bass in an R&B/Classic rock band called the Fabulous Juveniles. Unfortunately, the band has been progressing slowly - we haven't played a lot since last spring. I really need that to pick up to satisfy the band craving. That's the other side of the band thing: each band has its stuff-you-need-to-fix. Sometime, I'll walk through some of that history here.

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