on the road solos

From the road.

sitting in mn airport, 11am. Waiting for a 1 pm flight to columbus. gate C13 on friday the 13th, and I'm feeling lucky.

Ordinarily I would be annoyed to have to waste 2.5 hours at the airport, but I'm feeling magnanimous because I'm enjoying just being out here doing what I do. Played with bst last 2 nights at a nice club in mn - maybe 250 seats, good food; very appreciative crowd. Makes a big difference to play for people who have bought tickets to see the band - so many of their gigs are no admission charge, for the gen pop who just happen to wander by.

Fun to play in a smallish club - band setup close together, everybody can hear each other better, the music gets tighter and more interactive, more details speak and they matter more. Tomorrow's my last gig with the band until further notice - I'm a fill in until their new regular drummer starts next week. Seems to be my specialty - the short notice sub for hard music gigs. To be fair, my sub status here probably has something to do with me having told the original singer that he was a fucking psycho - but that was years ago in my angrier days. He is retired now, and for whatever disagreements I or anyone else had with him (which were legendary, and plentiful), I now realize that he added gravitas to the music.

Speaking of the music, upon first returning for this spate of gigs, I had mixed feelings about playing some of it - namely the gymnastic bits. There are quite a lot of up tempo, lot of notes, soloistic moments - most of them not from the original repertoire. Being a lifelong drum solo hater (playing them, listening to them except in special cases), I am pretty uncomfortable playing anything more than 16 bars of groove-solo per set. I haven't hung my hat on the jazz-fusion-soloist rung in a very long time, but I made my peace with it gradually over these last few months of gigs. It took letting go of the stubborn desire to make every aspect of a song performance a beautifully crafted chapter of the larger narrative.

Also necessary is letting go of the poisonous thought that if it's not as good as whomever, it's not any good at all; a courtesy I extend to others by default, but not myself. (is that a morphed form of competitiveness / ego?).

Now I'm getting a shoeshine, from an enthusiastic young man who tells me that his uncle invented the machine he's using - basically a giant dremel tool with a buffing attachment. My tired old clarks are gleaming.

Life is good.

Graham Hawthorne 2012