A Guerillero is a warrior that uses any means to fight: terrain, weather, vegetation, anything. If you expand the word, it becomes someone that has to be quick to adapt to any situation and make the best of it as he goes. In one word: a musician!
Every concert we do always has something unpredictable. It could be that the stage has a riser. Just that can disturb the flow of the performance. The guitar player trips, messes up his balance and dives into a broken arm.
It could be the sound man. All too often, that’s what it is. You play blind, as we say. The monitor is there, but nothing of value comes out, just a big wash of static that covers the instruments you’re supposed to play with. Good luck with that!
It could be the weather. Rain, for the most part, especially in the summer, will stop a gig dead in its track. Or, if you got a promoter who’s really tenacious and wants you to play in the hurricane, it could also mean playing with electrical instrument while the water drips everywhere. You get close to the microphone and your teeth get zapped! Fun!
It could be the room. There is no stage. There is not really a designated area for you to play. There is not a crowd either. At that moment, you play wherever, for nobody. Tragic!
It could be the time: a Monday morning at 5:00 am in a 24 hours festival that was packed the night before but now is nothing but an empty space littered with plastic bottles and a few sleeping people. Oh no!
It could be the equipment: you borrow the drums of another band. The cymbals are about to detach from the stand, the snare is dead no matter how hard you hit it, the toms are so far away, you can’t reach them. As for the amps, they give you only one sound at full volume, they smell of beer and they’re sticky.
And, finally, it can be you. Yes, you! You can be the biggest part of the problem. You go on stage when you just had an argument with your girlfriend, or your mum, or your best friend, or your dog! Or you step in front of the crowd when you barely had 2 hours of sleep in the last 3 days. Or you have forgotten your pair of sticks, that’s a popular one, or your guitar, or your dignity! Or you’re drunk, you can’t focus, you can’t thread the notes together. Or you’re stressed, so much so that you rush all the tempos, that you perform with half of yourself (and not the best half!), that you break your equipment!
Going to any gig is like going on an impossible mission. You have to be flexible and alert and ready. But you can never be ready for everything. You can only adapt as you go. You stay calm, no matter what. You never, ever panic, because it doesn’t help. You do your thing, as much as possible and fight against everything that will stop you from performing.
We are doing tonight a battle of the band with my family band. We have trained for it: we’we played with ear plugs. We’ve played with an amp cranked to the max. We’ve played our little set without the bass or the drums or the guitar or the main vocal. It’s hard! It’s impossible to adjust sometimes. But we have done everything we can to prepare for this gig. And yet, I know that we have not even scratched the surface. Because life has a sense of humor.
So, I sat down with them and explained that we have to do the show no matter what. With a smile. With the energy. No skipping on that. You are on stage: you do the show. Guerillero.