“Funny thing about being unemployed; the weekends don’t mean quite so much. They just mean you can hang out with your working friends.” – Les Claypool, Bassist/Lyricist for Primus
Not to make light of others being unemployed, but I remembered this lyric recently while reflecting on the fact that without a gig, there is little motivation to practice. Early in a student’s ‘career’, there is a great need for an abundance of practice; mostly in an effort to develop general ability to play music. Later, similar to where I am as a player, most practice time is used on repertoire or specific instrument techniques that are unfamiliar.
From the musician’s point of view, this is one of the issues I want to resolve with our concerts. Being able to select the group’s best tunes for a gig and arrange the setlist for maximum momentum requires a gig length of 90 minutes or less.
Most professional musicians have played enough gigs requiring three hours of music that any group of us could build a setlist of 40 songs and only need to learn maybe five songs that we had never played. Which group of musicians can be really, really interesting over the course of three hours?
The Rolling Stones, or Eagles maybe, but not me. Unless we formed a tribute band.
Gig #1 for the 2009 season has been completed and was a success in many ways.
1. The audience had a great time.
2. The band had a great time.
3. The sound crew was superb.
4. Donovan L. took great pictures.
5. Eric’s amp was the only thing that exploded.
6. My family was there.
7. Other families were there.
8. I did not fall off the stage.
9. There were great volunteers.
10. My wife asked: “When is the next one?”
P.S. If anyone produces any video, I will post it on YouTube.
Jus’Tone & Musicianism has recently added a musician. He is Dr. Glenn Buck and he plays sax, piano, and organ. I had not really put in much thought to adding a pianist or an organist, but I am really excited to have Dr. Buck on board. I am sure the other guys are glad to hear someone other than me too.
I had originally called Glenn because I thought adding another voice (saxophone) to the group would give us the opportunity to expand some of our repertoire. As wonderful as guitar is, it is difficult to be super-interesting through entire concerts with it as the main voice. The addition of piano and organ is just a super-thick icing on the cake.
We also added Malcolm Dendtler who is a percussionist and drummer. The difference between a percussionist and a drummer is essentially that a percussionist plays a vast array of percussion instruments and a drummer plays, well, drums. I will have more details later. Maybe I can interview Malcolm and transcribe our conversation in a future article.
A funny memory I have of working with Malcolm was a gig we did at the Backyard Grill, which is Ham’s now. Jazz pianist Lew Taylor was also on this gig at the Backyard Grill. We started a tune and one of these two guys was off-center on the section we were in and one was repeatedly trying to correct the other. The sound was not bad, so the offender simply continued the line so we would not be at risk for falling apart. What was so hilarious to me was watching these two guys playing stuff that I had trouble playing with full concentration all the while whisper-fighting about who was out of sorts. The closest visual that could even come close is found in this video titled: Jazz Dispute.
I believe this group will be a lot of fun to work with because they are all great players and they are excited about rehearsing and getting very comfortable with the setlist. Groups that truly care about becoming a strong unit for the benefit of the audience as well as themselves are the groups that I will be honored to promote.