Re: Musical Regrets (long)
- From: "Sacramento Dave" <diacono@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Fri, 21 Oct 2005 02:33:59 GMT
LONG is the key word
"Horace Caulk" <Horace@xxxxxxx> wrote in message
> All the reminiscing about the "good old days" of playing full time I
> have read in this group got me thinking about my full time musician
> times and how they were some of the worst, and also some of the
> greatest times in my life. If I could go back in time, there are a
> lot of things that knowing what I know now (at age 43) that I would
> have done different then.
> First is that I would have taken it a lot more seriously. Sure I
> practiced and all, showed up for all the gigs, did extra work that the
> band required, but looking back I think I could have done more.
> First let me start this off by telling you all that I am a bassist.
> Yes this is a guitar group, and I am also an aspiring guitarist, and
> that is the instrument that I am putting most of my energy into right
> now. The reason being is that I don't have the time to be in a band,
> so my main source of enjoyment is writing and recording my own songs.
> It is a little difficult to compose on a bass (you know that lack of
> chords always gets in the way). So out of necessity I have been
> playing the guitar a lot. I have gotten to be a pretty kick ass
> rhythm guitar player, and now I am a neophyte lead player. I found
> there is still something missing in my songs with just bass, drums,
> rhythm guitar, and vocals. So hence to fill that hole has required me
> to also try my hand at soloing. I don't think I will ever really
> amount to much as a lead player though. Playing the guitar has made
> me a much better bassist as I have gained an understanding of chord
> progressions, scales and such that I didn't have years ago.
> So much for that intro, let's get to the meat of the story.
> I started playing bass full time in a country rock band back in 1981.
> First I have to say that this really wasn't my type of music, but
> bassists are in pretty high demand, and I wasn't doing anything
> musically at the time. I met these guys sort of by accident. I was
> over at a friends house who played the drums one afternoon. He said
> that he had to go and rehearse with some guys that he was starting a
> band with. Then he said, hey, I don't think they have a bass player,
> why don't you throw your shit in the car and come with. So I did.
> We jammed for a few hours in the guitarists garage. I didn't know any
> of the songs they did, but I catch on quick, and most country rock
> songs are pretty predictable. So afterwards, I was throwing my shit
> back in the car and waiting for my drummer friend to go. They were
> having a band meeting. After the meeting, they walked over to me and
> asked me if I wanted to join. I said sure. Hey even though the music
> wasn't my thing, these guys had gigs!!!!!!
> The lead guitarist who's name was Greg was sort of the leader in the
> business sense, and took his music very seriously. The business
> though for the most part was pretty equal. We all pounded the
> pavement for gigs. But he was the guy who pretty much took on the
> role of "getting things out the door" so to speak.
> Things started out sort of slow, but before we knew it, it took on a
> life of its own. We no longer had to pound the pavement to get gigs,
> most of the gigs came to us. In fact we had to turn a lot of them
> down due to the fact that we were already working. I was playing 5-6
> nights a week and taking home after expenses about 300 bucks a week,
> which isn't too bad for the early 80's. Not only that most of the
> places we played the booze was free, and so was the pot.
> The pot was always sort of a bone of contention with Greg. He was the
> "straight" guy in the band. He would drink a few beers after a gig
> once in a while, but never got high, and never drank during a gig. I
> really can't say that for myself. The drummer and I were major pot
> heads. We smoked before, during, and after the shows. Hell in fact
> we smoked a joint on stage at one club to the cheers of the audience.
> What a job!!!! The drummer and I used to laugh and when asked what we
> did for a living, we would reply that we were "Professional Partiers"
> As has been discussed before, the "look" of the band is very important
> for the entertainment value. I realize that now, and wish I did then.
> I remember Greg telling me that I need to get a cowboy hat and boots.
> Boy did I resist that one. I did cave in after a while and got the
> boots, but never a hat. Looking back I wish I would have been more
> willing to play ball. It would have made for a better working
> relationship, but I was only 20 years old and didn't know anything.
> A couple of years went on and things were going very well. We had
> landed a gig as a "house band" at a country bar called Bogies in
> northern Wisconsin. The bar owner had spent a shitload of dough and
> bought a PA, lights and the whole shebang. All we needed was our
> personal stuff and we were good to go. It was a 5 night a week gig
> and I was taking home about 325 bucks a week. Great money! No
> setting up or tearing down! No travel! And playing in the same place
> night after night allowed us to get quite the following.
> By now Greg, the lead guitarist, who by the way played a pretty kick
> ass Tele, had branched out into some other instruments. He played the
> banjo, and the fiddle. Wasn't great on either of them, but could play
> them acceptably well, and the audience loved it. We would bring down
> the house at the end of the night with a kick ass version of "Orange
> Blossom Special". This song could last anywhere from 10 minutes to a
> half hour depending on our moods. It was a song each one of us took a
> solo on and got to shine. Always the high point would be where Greg
> (who now had a wireless setup for his fiddle) would go out into the
> audience and stand on tables. The spotlight would follow him around
> the bar. When we were done with this song, they always demanded an
> encore, which most of the time was "Gimme Three Steps" by Skynyrd.
> Times were good. After a couple of years of this I found myself in a
> position of having to make a choice. Going to college or continuing
> with the band. You see I had applied to a special program at the
> University of Minnesota 2 years earlier when the band was still in its
> toddler stage. I was finally accepted and would have to start in the
> fall. It was tough to give up the band, but the conservative side of
> me said that these good times can't last forever, and when they are
> over, it will be tough going down to the employment agency looking for
> work and the only qualifications I had was being a bass player.
> You see music is one of those things where things are either feast or
> famine with very little in between. Since I really didn't think of
> myself as a kick ass player, even though I could hold my own, I
> thought the safe thing would be to go to college so I had a fall back
> position when music wasn't paying the bills. My plan was to go back
> to music full time when I finished college.
> So I quit the band and move to the city to start my college career.
> The band continued on for another couple of years. I went back to
> visit a few times. It was cool as the people at the bar would
> remember me. I would sit in with the band for a few tunes. It was
> kind of weird though seeing another dude in my spot. It is kind of
> funny that the band never changed the picture on the poster to reflect
> the personnel change. Even after 2 years, the poster they used still
> had my picture on it.
> Around 1985 Greg, the lead guitarist quit the band and moved to
> Nashville. He attended some business school that had a program with
> emphasis on the music business. So he graduated with a BA in
> business. While he was in school, he got a job working in the mail
> room at Warner Brothers. This would be of great benefit to him in the
> future, because he would have an opportunity to meet some pretty
> influential people delivering their mail.
> While he was working in the mail room, he had a side project going
> with a guitarist/singer he had met. They made some demos in Greg's
> basement. It was though Greg that this unknown guitarist/singer would
> get his big break, and Greg would as well.
> When the exec's at Warners heard the music that this new Country
> Singer did they were quite impressed, and he would go on to having a
> very successful career. This unknown singers name was Travis Tritt.
> Travis's success became Greg's success as Greg had learned about the
> studio when he was in the Music Business school, and he was a pretty
> accomplished guitarist himself. This made him producer material, and
> has been producing artists at Warner Brothers ever since. In fact he
> still produces Tritts stuff.
> I had finished college and had moved to San Diego. This was 1989. I
> was talking to the drummer from the original country rock band on the
> phone and he told me this story. I didn't believe it. So the next
> time I was at my local Tower Records, I picked up a Travis Tritt CD,
> and I'll be goddammed. On the back in black and white, it said
> Produced by Gregg Brown (he had since added another g to his first
> name). There would even be a big write up about Greg in our home town
> paper highlight him as a local boy who had made it big.
> I have to say that even though Greg was a tight shirt and a hard ass
> sometimes, he didn't forget the boys back home. When ever an old
> musician friend from the old stomping grounds would come a calling for
> Greg to hook him up, Greg would give them a helping hand and an
> So to my regrets. I wish that I would have had a better working
> relationship with this guy. Had I taken the work as seriously as he
> did, I probably would have had the opportunity of a life time.
> Instead, I was resistant to everything. I really don't feel like I am
> in any position to ask him for any favors.
> Other regrets include smoking too much pot. See pot never helps
> anything. It affected my playing, it affected my motivation. Some
> people thing that pot makes them more creative. I beg to differ on
> that. Ideas that you get when you are high, really aren't that great
> when you look or listen to them straight. It makes one very
> apathetic, and basically lazy.
> I wish I could have that time back, because I would have put the time
> that I spent high into trying the best musician I could have been, and
> give my chance of playing music for a lifetime a 110% effort.
> There you have it.
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