Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Classic Rock, Classic Boredom: My Sudden Departure From My Band -- Looking Again

It's funny how one's long association with a band can end so suddenly.  That happened to me about ten days ago.  I was practicing with the classic rock band I have played with for three and a half years, on Sunday before last.  The guitar player was nitpicking and nagging me about my bass playing, something she has done since day one (she rags on all of the other band members too).  Even though I believed most of her comments and suggestions were wrong, I kept my mouth shut to avoid offending her, for the good of the band.  This turned out to be a mistake.

By not expressing disagreement, I allowed the irritation of her micromanagement to build up to a critical mass.  During this last practice, she had found a new obsession to feed her control freak streak:  the number of bass notes that I was playing on a brand new song (new to us, anyway).  The song was "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Cry Over You."  I think Ringo originally sang it.

I was in the process of discovering the chord pattern and not overly concerned with how close I was playing it to the record.  That would come later, when I practiced the song on my own -- as I had done many times before on prior songs.  Our obsessive-compulsive guitarist, however, felt it necessary to tell me three times that I was playing "three times as many notes" as the bass player on the record.  She was referring, not to the correct chords vs incorrect chords, she was referring to the phrasing -- how the notes are played.  This is a legitimate point, but not one to overwork or over emphasize on the first couple of run-throughs.  I put the song on my list of "new songs to learn," but the third time she mentioned it, I lost my temper.  I told her to "Shut the hell up."  She said "Fuck you" and I returned the suggestion.  Then I packed up my stuff and left, never to return.

I hate to be micro-managed.  It is one of my pet peeves.

The guitar player, Lorraine, has been vigorously pushing the band in the direction she wants to go:  playing classic rock exclusively, as close to the original recording as possible.  I have a problem with the former, not so much with the latter.  Playing classic rock exclusively is boring to me.  Lorraine has pushed us into giving up some good jazz and blues songs, simply because they weren't "classic rock."

The truth is, I want to progress musically, and ridding our repertoire of more advanced forms of music is a big step backwards.  "Classic rock" is overdone and a hard sell, and there is much competition for gigs.  I want to play jazz, blues and standards.  I want to play my string bass as well as my bass guitars.  Now that "the Universe" has taken me out of my musical dead-end, I have the opportunity to find a band or bands that are more to my liking. I feel a sense of release.  Leaving this band was a good thing.

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