Today I’m continuing a bit on that early odyssey I made in my late ‘teens, where I was already on a good path to individuality in my playing and my music, but was still faced with having to play many a gig that did not live up to the billing I was hoping for!
In a live performing sense, this often meant that I was with such an inferior band, that there was never any hope that I could see in terms of a longtime musical growth together…something that is critical in the band context. Also, in the recording studio, folks seemed so unsympathetic to the real needs of a player such as myself, and would rather stay harping on the good old “time’s money and money’s time” adage that puts so much unnecessary pressure on the players and the situation in general.
Still, this is how the world works, and especially a large portion of the music business. I do know that regardless, even though these were at times, great learning experiences, I still had to stick to my guns in terms of what and how I felt about the guitar music I really wanted to play. It’s funny, because sometimes this “sticking to my guns”, and also being such a unique player would really affect the kinds of weird gigs I would sometimes have to play!
For example, there was one time, because I was just about the only Lap Steel player in New York City, I actually got called upon to sit outside at an opening for a version of the play “South Pacific”, and wear Hawaiian outfits, including plastic floral leis around my neck, playing old Sol Hoopii and Jimmy Rodgers songs. Song, by the way, that I had to stay up all night teaching my girlfriend so she could play rhythm guitar along with me! Needless to say, when we finally set up and did the gig, it was so weird, and we were so invisible to everyone else, that I literally can’t remember one person even stopping to take a listen!
All this aside……it was actually FUN to sit there and play some Hawaiian guitar, and being unnoticed even gave me more of a reason to just go off on tangents, and use the time to become a better player! These are the kinds of situations where you MUST look on the bright side, and really focus on what’s good about the predicament you are in! After all, it’s the love of Lap Steel guitar that put me there in the first place, so I might as well make the best of it! I probably wouldn’t have had the patience to otherwise sit down and play the lap steel that much anyway, so it really helped me play better and learn more.
Anyway, at least no one was there telling me what to do, or what to play, so it became a little lesson in making sure I got the most out of a rather depressing situation! You, as a player, will find yourself confronted with this kind of thing many times, and there is really nothing you can do about it except ride it out, and take the best you can, musically and otherwise from the situation! See you next time!
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