Sunday, February 26, 2012

Loco Motion

Why do I keep playing? I play when the practice here in the neighborhood, which is a sporatic kind of thing so we never really get the game up to where I'd like. We also play some things that aren't my favs, but that can be good for broadening the skills. And I play more and more at a couple of open mic events which occur every week on Thursday and Saturday. I've done the Saturday one more than the other.

There are times when I question what it is I'm doing. I don't really get it. Last night, at the Saturday open mic, my friend Cliff was to do some songs that are foreign to me and probably not in need of a harmonica backing, so I just put my name on the play list separately. I had no idea what I wanted to do. I saw that those two brothers from last time were there. I call them Los Lonely Boys, but the call themselves the Orange Pickers. They must pick oranges sometimes, and I guess they like the word play. I also call them Los Gatos Naranjas. I like the spanish names.

Anyway, I asked if they wanted to come play with me when it came to my time. They had a couple of songs they thought would be bluesy so I said OK, we'll do those. They did very well. I like the guitar player's stye and vocals, and his brother's bass is not bad either. There were a few technical issues and I know what I'd do differently, but it was OK.

They called me today and want me to come jam and want me to play with them when they get gigs and such. These are kids, relative to me. Very young. But I think that lead guy has something and that they could make a go of things. So I will go tomorrow and play on their home turf. Maybe I can help them, or maybe not.

Right now I am in one of those mind states which is characterized by thinking I am not any good at all and should be doing something more constructive. It is amazing how I lose all sense of worth when it comes to music. I've been plaing like crazy lately, so I should be in good form, but all of a sudden, bam, it just dissolves.

There was a guy last night who came in with a very nice harp case, and coll bag of related things. He talked a big game too; claimed he plays jazz, classical, bluegrass, blues, you name it, and that he did studio work. I was sure he'd put me to shame and people would realize I am just an angsty lamer hacker.

When I played, he never said anything. Then when he got up there with the people he was going to "play some blues with" he took the microphone off the stand and held it. I never did that there because I didn't know if the sound guy would adjust right. It seemed to work well enough.

After all that talk I expected something that would make me think I need to work on this or that, or to hear something I couldn't do. What I heard was third rate, and I almost would rather have been blown away. It shows how little confidence I have. There were no really good licks, no special tone, vibrato, nothing. He didn't play off key notes and that's about it. I could in no way picture jazz, classical and studio work. I was shocked.

My shock was at my own vanity and fear, and at the fact that he really wasn't what I consider good. Other players can make me nervous, but they usually make me play better, and give me something to strive for or think about. All I wondered is whether anyone actually paid this guy to do a studio gig. If what I heard was a sample, I'd be kicking myself forever if I played like that in a studio or on stage. I do that anyway with my efforts but I would kick harder.

It just goes to show, the spiffy case and goodies coupled with mildly arrogant boasting does not interesting music make. Not to say I even know if what I play is interesting. When I like things it is because I get lost in it and like the way it feels to play whatever I'm doing. Always been in it for the feel rather than the sound, to a large degree. But I hate it when it sounds bad or clashes with the big picture. Maybe I have more sense than some in that way.

I hope I can dig up some enthusiasm for the lonely boys. They should be encouraged. They are good kids and have charisma as well as a great feel for their music. Besides, the guitar player holds the late Robert Johnson in high esteem and knows about the Crossroads.

I'll tool on down to Jamul tomorrow afternoon and see what's what. Just don't want to be one of those old guys that looks stupid because he doesn't know he's not 20.

About Me

My photo
Ballistic Mountain, CA, United States
Like spring on a summer's day


Blog Archive