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I quit the 'new' band just now


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Some of you might know I joined a jazz band last year. A jazz band that played a little pop too. It was hard work. The jazz tunes are complex, dense pieces of music.

The balance of music has shifted in the band. More pop. Ok its easy, but I dont really like it.

 

Also, I have just finished a recording session with them that was a miserable experience. Speed was the main driver. I recorded 5 tunes in about 2 hours (actually more like 60 minutes if you remove the faffing about). I wasnt in control of my sound and was expected to try my damnedest do everything in one take. It was not a studio recording but one of the band in his house trying to learn the software as we worked. Because there were 6 other tracks playing on his PC, buffering lag became a problem. Tracks were drifting out of sync! He was reduced to 'dragging' the misaligned track into place with the mouse as a best guess.

 

I heard the tunes last night. Everyone else in the band are saying how great it is. I dont understand this. It sounds ukicfng awful! The tunes are now being made into CDs. There are advanced copies for all of us. I dont want mine. I dont even want my name on the credits. Its embarrassing.

 

Just minutes ago I composed this e-mail & sent it out to the other six band members.

 

 

Hi all,

Today I have decided to go ahead with something that’s been on my mind for at least two months. I need to quit V.

I will of course fulfil all gig obligations and (where I can) further ones that occur. I will however, in the fullness of time, be undertaking other musical projects that will demand my attention.

R****** at least will not be entirely surprised as he will recall that I never fully committed to the band following the debut gig last year.

 

As it is, I should certainly have prepared for some our practices better than I have. Instead I have over relied on being able to ‘wing it’ too often. I have reproached myself for this, but to be perfectly honest, the core problem is that my heart is not in it, and you all deserve better than that.

 

I had undertaken the challenge of learning some mainstream jazz, because it was the one major music form where I felt inadequate musically. While I have gained some insight from that, the pop music has been neither challenging nor very interesting to me.

 

I like live music for the opportunity it provides to improvise solos. More pop tunes isn’t going to further that opportunity. That is what I foresee ahead.

I had also hoped that in the fullness of time I might be able to contribute more of what I have to offer than has actually transpired. Our different musical methods of working has inhibited that.

 

It’s not anybody’s fault. It was just my misunderstanding. I know better now.

I hope you understand.

Rudi

Edited by Rudi
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A fair departure notice, and far more than most give on leaving a band. Hopefully it will be an amicable break.

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Well I have only heard back from the keyboard player so far. He wants to keep in touch.

He and the drummer in particular make fantastic bandmates, both musically and personally.

I like everyone else too, but its not about that. The music has to be fulfilling.

 

Thanks John

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I remember leaving a band years ago. we started equal. however egos got in the way and the final gig was an utter mess with everyone blaming everyone else for the

awful experience. I was accused of "f*cking around my with hair" on stage (when I had long hair) and we parted ways. the sad bit was at the beginning it was fun and we all saw every gig as luck rather than expected - we were all learning our instruments and none of us could even read music and learnt the songs with listening to tapes!

 

since then I have worked with other musicians and singers and mostly it was good fun... as soon as egos start growing out of hand i move on....

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Ive not quit the old band. Blown Out is still going (just). Have a gig on the 16th April. Trying to decide which guitar to take along.

 

Egos. That is the reason Blown Out has lasted for so long (18 years?). Its the only band Ive ever known that has zero ego issues.

 

'Zero Ego' - good name for a band!?

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On 3/30/2016 at 10:19 PM, RobAsh15 said:

 

The older I get, the more I am learning to do on my own,

 

 

It's so extremely hard to get into a working jazz band these days.  (especially around these parts) Working being the operative word.  It's been dying for a long time now.  Which is why many a jazz guitarist has opted for one man band Chord/Melody approach.  I myself embrace it  Once one starts going down that road an odd thing happens.  One loses the ability/desire to improvise as a jazz musician.  Instead you become focused on the arrangement.  Gone are the solo's.  Which is why Rudi and I got into jazz in the first place.

 

The other option is to... Expand your musicianship to other instruments to fill the void.  Many of us have been or are doing that.  It's time consuming.

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Honestly,,, It's just a lot of hard work and opportunity.  Teachers were the worst!!!  (well some) I'd work out arrangements to jam over and then they'd take solo's and not let go.  To develop really good improvisational skills you really need 2 solid hours of soloing.  Atter awhile it becomes second nature to play any key any changes.  But that's a long while of continually jamming, copying licks working out arpeggios so they don't sound sloppy or cold.  And then you need to play out a lot in jazz jams. Unfortunately the only open mic / jams left are blues jams with an occasional rock song.

 

I'm facing the hardest setback of my life right now with the linnstrument.  It's not the action, it's me.  I've seen what others are doing with it and I want to go in a different direction.  I'm stuck building myself back up from the ground level.  But I can see the goals beyond the horizon.  And as long as I know they are there via hard work and dedication I push on.

 

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Two hours a night after everything else. after you've done all your scale and other workouts.

 

As always when considering jazz....

Band-in-a=Box  http://www.pgmusic.com/

 

 

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Well that's a funny thing with me.  It will usually take me a few days to get my rock chops up to speed if I haven't been playing rock in 6 months.  Every once in awhile I'll work through covers I used to play get everything up to steam play like I did 20 or more years ago.  Be happy with it and then... sink into a slight depression as it's only for my ears.

In years past I could always sit in with a rock/blues band during a jam night, Feel good about myself playing for the crowd or... Bring a guitar to work and try to jam with my fellow guitarists at work between shifts and after work.  Now... no one seems to be a player in the restaurant field. And there is no hanging out after work or between shifts.  Years gone by I'd always be able to find a fellow player or an audience  Usually I work at home doing tech support, go to work, come home do more tech work and with the free time before / after all the work I still try to get in everything else.  I'd never thought I'd say this as I've always thought of myself as a self starter player (and still am) but not having an audience or the expectation of an audience brings me down a bit.  Sometimes I wonder if it's all worth it.  But a new day begins and I like to challenge myself so on I go.

 

I began to seriously study and practice guitar at the age of about 35.

 

Even if you've played other instruments previously starting the guitar at that can be a challenge.  The fact that you are still playing is something to pat yourself on the back for.

I've had a lot of students in my day.  Those that start in their thirties / forties  are usually to consumed by other matters in life to dedicate time / energy / effort.  On the other hand teens / twenties and even 60's/Seventies stick with it longer.

 

The hard part for me is my addictive personality.  When I through myself into something everything else goes by the wayside.  Right now I'm teaching myself the linnstrument.

There are only 600 linns on the market.  I've played the moen method (as I like to call it) on the ztar and on the linn and don't really want to go there as he's got that covered.

.

This type of playing is well less manageable with my current skill set.

 

Scales are easier on the right hand then the left but I'm getting there.  Chords on either are fairly easy till I try to combine them as a keyboard player would.  Walking bass lines are easy.  Trying to put them all together with in a single piece of work either as guitar type chord melody or as a piano type block chords is another matter.  I'm trying to create a more "piano/organ" approach to the instrument and that takes time.

 

 

 

 

 

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It's so weird even when you have all the right stuff happening in a band and hold down a 9-5.  Much more sane to work in a music store where you are working 11-7 then go and play 9-1.  It drove me crazy.  I loved it and it still drove me crazy. 

 

When you get in a very solid band doing a very strict style of music.  You get extremely good at it. Amazingly extremely good to the point where you can't play a bad note to save your life.  The other side of that is if you want to try something different you're so locked into what you do night after night on stage the magic of something different isn't there.  You have to fight with every once of yourself.  When you do fight for the other side bandmates can often take it as a rejection of them and the music you do with them.  When I was in a blues band. we were professionals first friends second.  Which is a good thing. We didn't get into a lot of personality clashes that bands go through.  But all along I was expanding my jazz skills separate because it was something I wanted for myself. I'd drive and listen to particular jazz songs try to recall and transcribe them with a few minutes hear and there and then.... Record em on my four track cassette.  Play all the parts.  While Jim the band leader encouraged me in all things even if they weren't rock/blues.  The rest of the band members thought that I was planning an exit strategy.  Or that my dedication to jazz would pull me away from the "tightness" we had as a band.  

 

Eventually I quit the band, not for internal issues but because I was offered a job in restaurant management.  Which I felt I needed but it meant giving up gigs for working in the restaurant nights.  The band eventually broke up. The lead singer got a job at a factory making good money and got married to a woman who wanted her man at home after a long day,

 

It seemed so surreal playing in a band and being a success in the local blues circuit. I never had the confidence to be a one man band but when I was in the band we were all in it together.  I knew they'd always have my back and mine theirs. I'd pour my heart into playing and many nights I'd be faking it till I made it.  Thinking of myself as an actor playing a part on the stage made it much easier for me.  When I got off stage I wanted to be treated as an average joe. Not a hero.  And yet people would constantly be buying me drinks and treating me like some kind of God.  My personality rejects that stuff. I'm fine with applause and even standing ovations.  I'm not fine with people coming up to me on the street that may have seen me play talking about how great I am. I'd never been good with that.  Nor have I ever been good with glad handing people. Talking to them between sets and telling them where I'm playing next and how it would mean a lot to me if they showed up.

 

I'd seriously thought about returning to the blues circuit again.  Just going through and working out the old standards and sitting in on jam nights and seeing where it went from there.  A buddy of mine for years is a bass player in a number of bands as it's his only form of income.  He invited me to a blues jam.  It was a great show but I showed up too late to sign up and the jammers were coming out of the woodwork. So I watched the show, saw the jammers, met the band but didn't get up on stage.  Since then I haven't been able to get out of work early enough to play on stage.  And my desire to practice the old standards and get my chops back up to par has dwindled.  Climbing the blues heap was excruciatingly hard for me. More so for jazz but that's a topic for another day. Once I'd gotten to where I needed to be I set that as my standard.  If I can't reach my standard I don't want to walk out a blues stage again.  Sure I could play at a lesser level and do okay but why be less of a player?

 

An odd thing about the blues... I only like it.  I don't love it and I certainly don't live it.

 

An odd thing about the "Tapper"  In my early years I was the first kid on my block

to figure out EVH tapping (back in the 70's) I tried to tap as much as I could as often as I could and I got every book and magazine on tapping out there.  Then I saw Stanley Jordan tap. After that point I was no longer interested in shred style tapping. I'd re invented myself towards a more chapman stick approach.  I was actually shamed for tapping on blues and jazz standard. I'd do great versions but people hated it as it wasn't more traditional.  Well SJ does it. Yeah and your not him.

So I put it off to the side and once I'd stopped playing out professionally I went back to it.  That was about 2000.  Back in y2k everything I did was tapped. Hence the name. It's not like I'm a tapper from hell shredding a mile a minute.  The next evolution in my playing was... Stanley Jordan again.  I saw this video before Youtube came around.

 

And then this one...

Ztars were always way out of my range.  Eventually Starr Labs came out with an affordable (then $1200 now 600) Baby Z

I didn't touch a guitar for the first 6 months owning the baby z. Even when I did go back to playing guitar I'd lost all desire to tap on guitar. and even though I'd developed a lot of tap/picking knock and roll ideas on the ztar 90 % of my playing was "tapped"

The baby was and still is great for what it is.  However I kept on getting pissed due to it's limited range (14 frets)  Eventually a z6 (24 frets) found it's way to me.  But it had serious flaws due to abuse by previous owners.  They only got worse over time.  Now more then a third, close to half the buttons don't work and they are on various parts of the neck.  Repair would cost more than replacement.

I'd dreamed of mini12's

Mini12.jpg.JPG

or Z boards

Or Z-boards

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Or even Z 24 x 24 zboards

ZBOARD-2424-1000x800.jpg

 

All way out of my price range.  Then the Linnstrument happened.

Comparing a linn to a zboard is apples and oranges.  Zboards have a depth to the programming level unmatched in any midi controller ever. They also have so many ways to split/layer the bed and well over 6 octaves. Linns have almost 5 octaves but they have amazing expressiveness to them.

 

The linn is magical to me. I'll pull up a simple plugin and if it has a familiar ring I'll try to figure out a song from listening memory. Wont bother with looking for sheet music, won't scan youtube for a rendition. Just use the inner ear and let it carry me there. It's so magical I'll get distracted and not have the time left to get practice in like I should.

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10 hours ago, TapperMike said:

The linn is magical to me. I'll pull up a simple plugin and if it has a familiar ring I'll try to figure out a song from listening memory. Wont bother with looking for sheet music, won't scan youtube for a rendition. Just use the inner ear and let it carry me there. It's so magical I'll get distracted and not have the time left to get practice in like I should.

 

That's why you are still wedded to music I think. I'll bet it felt like that many times in your musical past as you reached for something and were rewarded.

 

I also wanted (recently) to break out and just play some blues. Now, I am not really a blues player, but the form is so basic that to me it seemed easy to get a small band out and gigging pretty quickly.

 

The band I quit was rehearsing for TWO YEARS before I even stepped in. It was only late last year we had our debut gig. I cant face that sort of preparation.

 

The other thing about blues is that despite its limitations it can be expressive almost like no other music form. There are some more of course, flamenco and some latin music come to mind, and I think it comes down to the elastic phrasing that allows this to happen. You can play on, in front or behind the beat in one solo, or even in one phrase. As long as it is expressed naturally, it can grab you.

 

I'm also chasing the magic in music. I have become very cynical of many things. I dont believe in homeopathy, naturopathy,  any religion, any superstitions, alien abductions, reincarnation or karma. Music is the closest thing to magic I know of. I can express it & feel it, but I really don't know what it is or how it works.

 

 

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About the blues.

Not only is it a simple form but it allows for improvisation.  At least good blues does.  You don't have to learn things note for note.  If you listen to.... "Stormy Monday" for example.  T-Bone Walker wrote it but it was covered by everyone different.  Buddy Guy chops off part of the intro and his leads are his leads not T-Bones.  The Allman Brothers have a wonderful rendition of the same song and while it still sounds "Somewhat" the same it's really quite different.  (Different key different chord voicings, different solo's)

 

 

About practicing for 2 years as a band.  I did that once. (79-81). The Miller Brothers. A space, sci-fi band with lots of classical overtones and jazz fusion influences over a disco beat. Like Chic Corea's Return to Forever meets Rush meets Donna Summer.  No covers all originals.  We'd practice as a group four days a week and were expected to practice separately on the days we didn't practice.  We'd only practice on a maximum of one song a week.  Three hours on one song 4 days a week. It was maddening. As John would say you practice till you can't make a mistake.   Finally the band leader felt we were ready to go.  I practiced my arse off with a day job that barely paid the rent living in a boarding house in Detroit and surviving on Ramen Noodles.  It was a boiler maker mentality.   Anyway we recorded to vinyl pressed 1000 copies and started trying to find gigs.  There was no place to play for what we did.  We'd play amazingly and then get boo'd off the stage.  Urban punk bars, Suburban Corporate Building bars.  Everyone wanted something different then what we did.  The funny part was we got airplay on a local rock station regularly (about 4 a.m was the only time they'd play us.) Had we waited around for a few more years we would have been the next Howard Jones or  Joe Jackson that and many other minor miracles like leaving Detroit and trying to set up in California or New York.  Byron Miller (the band leader) was a maniacal genius.  We were allowed no personal input on the songs he wrote.  Everything was always his way.  Eventually he was in talks with a big record label.  But Byron tried the same approach with us as he did with them.  And (as many years later I found out) He wanted to dump the band to become a solo artist have it all re recorded by studio pros.

 

Washing those songs out of my system took forever.  I'd try to write something and out would pop out a song I did with the Miller Brothers it was that ingrained into my psyche.  For a time I'd just play folk rock covers which was as far away from Miller Brothers music just to get beyond it in my life.  And still on occasion I'll be minding my own business and one will pop into my head.  What's funny now is... Most songs I'll occasionally sing at work no one knows anyway.   Sometimes I think if I brought a guitar to work and started playing "The Rain Song" or "No Quarter" They'd be calling 911 because they don't know the song and think I've gone insane.

 

 

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I love songstuff.  Real musicians, real stories a sense of camaraderie exists beyond the boundaries of musical genre's and cultural influences.

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12 hours ago, Rudi said:

 

I'm also chasing the magic in music. I have become very cynical of many things. I dont believe in homeopathy, naturopathy,  any religion, any superstitions, alien abductions, reincarnation or karma. Music is the closest thing to magic I know of. I can express it & feel it, but I really don't know what it is or how it works.

 

 

 

I think a great deal of it has to do with "Peaking" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abraham_Maslow#Peak_experiences

in regards to performance be it live or recorded.  I've had a few where it's practically being outside my body looking down at myself and saying this is good keep on going

 

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I have a lot more in common with you Rob than you might suppose. I never learned to read/write music.

 

I made a half hearted effort to learn (with a book) at 16, and soon got tired of that. I even loved hard rock for the longest time, & anything you love that much never wholly leaves you.

 

Had I been lucky enough to be able to sing, my musical development might have been even closer to yours.

But I couldn’t sing. And at 16 I finally had enough money to buy a guitar. I was determined to learn everything I could. To master every style I could. As you might imagine I became (and still am) a jack of all trades. I took on so much that one lifetime isn’t enough to get good at much of it.

 

Never having a lesson was also a drawback, but I couldn’t see that at the time. With the stupid over-confidence of youth, I believed I could figure everything out by myself.

Playing jazz with a bunch of ‘proper musicians’ who could read was an important test for me. I was able to play with them, and do it on my terms, with my understanding (such as it is).

Sometimes though, I blagged it, and when it came out right, instead of feeling lucky, I admit I felt pretty pleased with myself. I had no right to feel that way, and it made me go away and figure out what I should have learned in the first place.

But playing by the seat of my pants (to borrow an aviation expression) does make me feel elated. If and when it sounds good as well, it is thrilling! But that doesn’t happen too often. Certainly not often enough to rely on.

 

I holidayed on cruises in recent years and a guitarist I got to know on there put on a few ‘talks’ where he would speak about guitars & players. Most of the people in attendance, would ask him about guitarists who were not necessarily the greatest players, but were obviously iconic to them. They would ask about Pete Townsend or Paul Weller, who obviously wrote great songs, made great music in great bands. These guys are not highly talented guitarists, but in the minds of the people who love them, they are!

 

Not many accomplished players are that popular anyway, and never make the huge mark on music scene in the same way that Townsend, Tom Petty or Jeff Lynne do.

What I’m trying to say is that you are in great company Rob. Us players that obsess about technique or chasing around little notes, are seldom the make the sort of music that people really love.

 

Besides which, I haven’t yet written a song as cool as ‘If Your House Just Falls Down’.

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