Every now and then I get it in my mind to do something different. To most friends and people that meet me it probably seems that I do it way more than I think I do. Regardless I probably still feel like I get in a rut like anyone else. A few nights ago I decided that I wanted to start sleeping on the opposite side of my bed. Talk about feeling like you’re away from home in your own bed. I wanted to experience what it’s like to be on the opposite of the room that I’ve grown accustom to in my house.
Did I notice anything different? Hello? Captain Obvious checking in here. Yeah, it’s been different. I’m not sure if it’s affecting my sleep, it could be. Last night I was listening to a talk given by John Mayer at a Berklee College class. In it he’s talking about how he connects with an audience, what to do, what not to do while playing. Somewhere along the line someone spent time observing John and probably brought it to his attention – the stuff he does naturally. Or maybe he’s explored it himself.
Lots of the examples he gives are stuff that I’ve either been taught or do naturally. One such moment came to me while listening to him speak that was a perfect example. I was playing a gig where I was the lead guitar player and on a particular song I had the intro solo/melody to a very popular song. Midway thru the intro of the song, the lighting guy at the venue decided to cut the lights (probably for dramatic effect). As good a guitar player as people think I am sometimes, it on occasion helps to have a visual reference. Well, it was probably an alignment of the stars that those lights when out when I was about to take a look at my next hand position switch. Then of course the game began in that I was no longer in key and now playing wrong notes.
One of two things could be done at that point. Most musicians would likely get pissed, stop, or restart, or run and hide. A great band, or even a good one, will plow onward. This is exactly what my band was doing. Plowing ahead as if nothing happened – as it should. The singer for the band (I wasn’t the front guy) came over and whispered something funny in my ear. I kept plowing into the song but for the life of me my fingers weren’t finding the right notes.
Once my part ended I threw my hands up in the air and started laughing as the rest of the band kept going with their parts. When I needed to play again, I put my hands back on the guitar and kept going, fortunately the rest of the song went as it should have.
Afterwards a musician that was in the audience came up to me and relayed that they understood what had happened, then told me that it was brilliant that I didn’t stop nor get angry. They said it helped with the brevity and kept people interested. I responded with I had nothing else I could do, I had to keep going. It was a natural reaction to me. Listening to John reiterated that fact.
I know other little lessons that I’ve learned include when to keep your mouth shut on stage. Time and again I see artists make excuses on stage. It’s not fun to watch them when they do that. I don’t mind a quick joke or something. But otherwise I and/or any performer is there to complete a job and that job is to play songs without distracting me unless it’s entertaining. Telling me the life story of a song in a concert, isn’t what I’m there for. That’s for a songwriter’s night where dedicated fans are dying to know the background of a song. Interestingly, John mentions all that.
That’s enough of a saga for now, I think I’ll do a part two on it tomorrow. I should get to the music…
Speaking of switching it up or even trying a bit of change, I’m looking at a song I did. It’s actually very much about someone who isn’t recognizing the changes going on in life. I’ve heard it’s a pretty common tale. How people can go thru life and not pay attention to themselves or what they’re doing then suddenly wake up one day and realize they’re not who they wanted to be and then have to deal with that reality.
This song is based on how I noticed people were wanting others to create the change they wanted to be. Not exactly the most efficient way to be oneself.
What did I particularly like about my own song here? I liked the guitar riff. I really enjoyed the drummer I was playing with at the time. He was the kind of drummer that made my job easier. It’s too bad that some things have to change.
If you need a solid guitar riffing song on change, this is a good one to add to your library (legally of course). I might be a little biased about that though.