The forest is beautiful though, even in the midst of winter with the weak sun on the spindly trees. The drummer has just moved out here to a log cabin, which is good and bad; good that we've got a decent rehearsal room in a creative setting, but ironic that when we finally get the piano player up to bristol, the drummer's upped sticks to the forest!
We set up and begin playing through the set in earnest, introducing three new songs and making good progress, spurred on by the idyllic countryside around us. We stop for a bite to eat mid-way, the drummer dishes out bowls of pasta and pesto but when we start up again we've gone all stodgy like the conchiglie, like we've all been spiked, the room is full of tired eyes and the songs have slowed to lento and adagio, especially the new waltz, it's fallen flat on the floor!
We take a break and sip tea, talking about the drummer's new pad, 40 minutes out of town (or an hour and forty if you horseshoe it like us!) We ask him how it'll effect his work, but he works mostly from home. The conversation rolls on; we discus the perils of work and music; how hard it is to juggle them. How all you really want to do is play music but Man's got to eat and being a ramshackle musician doesn't put conchiglie on the table!
I wonder; you readers probably don't know what we do in real life, when not free wheelin' around the country in a renault 4 and stomping around the stages! We're all rather normal i suppose.
I'm self-employed, and to my knowledge the only one of us who is? An actor by trade and training, but an odd-jobbing everything from painting to posing! Labouring, gardening and topless waiting, anything as long I'm in control of the hours!
|The good old days.|
|Brave new world.|
The guitar player, during our 14 year musical relationship, has worked a succession of jobs; for many years he sold office furniture in London and now he's selling insurance for Direct Line, but he's spent years landscape gardening for Clifton's elite or pulling pints for Cornish farmers, or cooking food for the gentry of Nottingham!
The bass player works for a production company in London, he works in post production. I saw his name on the credits of some TV programme the other day which made me smile! He's a sound engineer, or audio editor which is something we really should utilise! The guitar player did utilise this however and recorded his solo EP there; out of hours, in a plush studio. Very fancy. And very vibrant too. Right in the centre of London, the very heart of soho. Just got to be careful of the alley cats at night!
he'd enthuse. And he did meet the targets, and made a decent wage, and he learnt all the tricks and perks of the job; like being able to swap paintball sessions for 60 packets of bacon or a Chicken Jalfrazzi from the Indian restaurant at the bottom of his road! "The other day I was in Taunton and I was starving so I swapped a paintball session for a cup of soup and hunk of bread!" His ability to sell has taken us all by surprise, and in the most bizarre circumstances too, after having his bike wheel stolen, a passer by helped him to the nearest bike shop, and by the time they reached it he'd signed up for a double paintball session! Or the barman who sold him an ale and then signed up to a session before he'd given over the change!
We're obviously all musicians. And perhaps it's still considered a hobby, though it's a job too! It's a time consuming, multi-faceted job that involves driving 100's of miles, reading maps, lugging heavy equipment all over the place, being polite and proper to bookers while retaining a certain mischievous outlaw attitude to the punters. It involves writing music and remembering to buy spare guitar strings and playing your heart out to a half empty pub or a field full of hippies. It involves maths, parking tickets, costume changes, poncy posing, signing CD's and getting tangled up in leads and wires! It can eat up your weekend and leave you giddy, and it rarely pays! But we all love it. For the music we make and those moments on stage and seeing the people enjoying us; our hobby, our job!
We start up with the rehearsal again and finally the haze lifts and we make progress. We pick the waltz up from the floor, dust it down and buzz through it again, smiling at this new rhythm, 3/3 aren't we clever! We pack up and thank the drummer, bundling into the car and feeling confident we'll take the 40 minute route home. "Cross the bridge and turn left, it's straight down to the seven bridge!" he shouts as we pull away. We cross the bridge and turn right, which is of course the wrong way but we've forgotten by then. We follow the river for miles despite it going against us. "We're going upstream!" says the guitar player. "We're not, it's the clouds man! It plays tricks on you. It says Monmouth ahead, that's by the sea, surely!" We continue with the river shrinking and the road rising into the hills and finally admit defeat in the town of Monmouth, which is in the hills and nowhere near the sea! We arrive home; an hour and 40 again!
We swing by The Golden Lion and drop in some posters for the coming gig on February 1st. We bundle back in the car and notice that the piano player is missing!? Moments later he returns. "I just sold a paintball session to the barmaid!" he chuckles.
|poster by Mae Voogd|