So, I had a gig last night.
It’s unusual for me to play on a Tuesday. Wednesdays fairly regularly, Thursdays somewhat less regularly. Fridays and Saturdays often. But rarely Tuesdays. Tuesdays at the bar I usually play at are locked up by a fantastic musician named Mike, who occasionally has to go on tour with the big Canadian Idol tour. Yeah, he’s that good.
So we played last night. As usual, I was there before the guitar player, on account of me living three minutes away and him having an hour drive. I was sitting, talking with this girl I know about her job. She was saying how hard it was for her to change careers without a new education, because her Early Childhood Education degree wasn’t really transferable. I sympathized with her. There’s no way in hell I could look after other people’s kids for a living. I’d end up drowning them or something.
Eventually the guitar player arrived, so we set up. As we were setting up, he explained to me that he was in a crappy mood. Woke up that way, he said. It seems that he had one of those introspective watershed moments when you look at your life and realize that you’ve done a lot less with it than you thought.
He explained that he was upset about being a musician playing cover gigs on the bar scene, and in his thirties. Not a smashing success, by any stretch. He wasn’t ever expecting to be a rock star, but all that time learning music… for what? It’s not like those skills can be transfered to any other career path.
We played the show. It was pretty good. We have some pretty original sounds, even though we’re playing other people’s music. I personally thing we put on a good show. The music’s good, the band is fun, and we make nights race by in a frenzy of acoustic funk and dancing. I’m not a professional musician like him. I have a day job, doing something pretty fun and pretty enjoyable. For me, music is stress relief, as much a safety valve as this web site.
At 2:30 this morning, while coiling cables and packing away guitars, we were approached by a guy who had been listening to us for a while. He told us how much he enjoyed the show, how much he liked our slightly unusual renditions of common radio songs, and our energy on stage. It was a nice compliment, a perfect ending to the night, for me at least.
My guitar player continued to quietly coil the cable in his hand. Eventually he looked over at me, smiled and said “You know. I piss and moan about being a musician. I whine about all the years I spent learning to play music. That guy would give his left nut to be in my shoes.”