Well, Lord knows I’ve had my share of what we’d call “surprise gigs” in my time, and in a way, they are certainly the most fun and contain a great deal of wonder and excitement! They can, and do come at the craziest times though, and we must all be prepared for that eventuality!
For example, in the winter of 1978, I got an 8AM phone call from a Mr. Art Garfunkel, asking me if I’d come up to his apartment on Central Park, in the middle of a wicked blizzard, to audition for an upcoming tour he was about to do. I can recall joking with him, and saying, “is this a fake call? Because nobody involved in music makes calls this early in the morning!” He laughed, but he assured me that he was the real deal.
I was in a way, truly prepared for that call, just because of my sheer belief in myself and my playing, and also the fact that I had been playing a lot of that S&G music back when I was a very young and developing player. The gig was mine, and It was one of the most pleasurable experiences of my life! Within weeks, I was touring with other great players in the band, and doing the original Saturday Night Live, and playing in places like Carnegie Hall on a nearly nightly basis.
This kind of thing is what makes the world turn, in my opinion, and you never know what waits around the musical corner for you!
Fast forward to this past week, and I suddenly, out of the blue, get a call from my dear friend, Alan Menken, the brilliant songwriter behind so many Oscar and Grammy-winning soundtracks and songs for movies by Disney and many others. His office said it was to be a Maria Muldaur-ish “Midnight at the Oasis” kind of guitar part, but when I got there, it was obvious that the song was in a totally different kind of vibe, much closer to a Lovin’ Spoonful sound. Regardless, I was ready, mostly due to my background, and of course, Alan knew who to call when he wanted this certain kind of guitar part, and that choice was me! Of course, I was a little apprehensive at first, since it was a long time since I had done that kind of session, but one listen through, and I had it! In fact, the more I could dig into my bag of tricks, and simply sound like “me”, the happier they were. By the time I finished with my final E tuning slide solo, they were all applauding in the studio! It all happened so quickly that when I returned home, I wondered if it had all really happened or was it just a dream?
Be ready for those surprise sessions and gigs, because they can also be surprise “dreams” you may never want to completely wake up from!