Here we are, 8 years later, and I'm playing with the original guys. Very cool, we have fun doing this and it's way more fun when you're friends
Remember back in high school? You and your buddies were listening to same radio station, the same bands and chasing the same girls?(well, some of us were chasing girls). When you joined a band, everyone knew what songs you'd be playing before you ever had a rehearsal. If you weren't playing sports, (none of my musician friends were) you didn't have any reason for missing a practice. After all, we're gonna be rock stars and you gotta practice! I remember when I heard Cream was breaking up and how pissed I was at Clapton. Now, when my friends and I discuss different band break-ups, it usually revolves around how any band is able to stay together long enough to get anything done. The older we get, the more pissy we get. The less we are willing to compromise and the more we want for ourselves. I don't think that is so bad. Any musician that has put in his/her time should not settle for any situation that does not offer enough gratification. At he same time, players should be willing to make the compromises necessary for the good of the project. For example, I've had guys tell me,"I'm not playing for less than a hundred bucks", then tell me ten minutes later, they don't want to drive more than fifty miles for a gig. Then I have to ask, do you want to do this, or not? I've learned as a band leader that communication is everything, and even though you've said something doesn't mean it was heard. I've spent hundreds of hours with players only for them to finally realize this wasn't what they really wanted, even though I made sure I was as accurate as possible in my communication. My last bass player came out of a eight piece band and landed in my trio. He was a great player and brought a lot to the table. He said he liked the three piece, but after just a few weeks, he was talking about bringing in keyboards and how great it would be to have horns on this or that tune. I saw the writing on the wall but I didn't want to. I questioned his commitment to my project, and he assured me he was in. A day later, I read his want ad in craig's list, looking for a position in a horn band. He's gone, it's too bad he couldn't be honest with me or himself from the beginning. So, now I'll be a bit more careful of a players background and watching for clues signaling the next break-up.
I'm doing my own recording and every project is a learning experience. It's Murphy's law that I learn some new technic that would have made a dramatic improvement over what I have just finished. But, Instead of thinking about how much better it could have been, I think how much better the next recording will be with this new trick up my sleeve. I was in the final mix with Mojave Mojo when Ron Zellmer shared a recording with me; The Santa Fe Sessions by Amazing Common Men (wwwamazingcommonmen.com). They recorded the cd themselves with similar equipment to mine and I was just amazed at the quality. I asked Ron to get the low down on how they got such a great recording. The next time I heard from Ron, he's got the story. They had used high and low pass filters to record only the frequency range of each instrument. It is such an obvious detail, but I had never thought to do it. By not recording what you don't want, you don't add unwanted noise to the mix. I set up my recording software template now with pass filters for each instrument, so I'm ready for the next takes. I've recorded a couple new tunes and I'm getting pretty close to the quality I heard on Santa Fe Sessions. I mentioned it to Ron, and he told me that Amazing Common Men also sent out their recording to a mastering lab. Go figure.
Flew in to Ontario yesterday after a week with my daughter and her family. I met my new grandson; Harrison. I love to be with my extented family, but it's good to be home.
The search goes on, looking for appropriate venues, looking for ways to market the band as well as the recordings. In the past, any gigs we did, we'd always managed to win over a few fans to add to the list. Now it seems we're too old for the hipster crowd, but too young for the retirement home circuit. (I understand the hours are great, but the food sucks.) Most of the clubs I've talked to, want to hire us for a cut of the door. One booker told me, we would get a cut of the door after the first fifteen bodies. I'm considering promoting our on show, if I can find a suitable venue. If anyone has a suggestion, I'd love to hear..