A difficult gig!
I need once to sing the despair of musicians.
If you are new to this craft, you need to be informed: all musicians are nerds. Yes, even Bruno Mars, Eminem or Diamond Dave Lee Roth. We are all convinced that we can prepare life. And the way we prepare our lives will make us successful. We all have a great plan you see.
They’re are many many problems to that theory, the first one being that life doesn’t care much about our plans.
So let’s take an example, shall we? I think you and I are becoming pretty good friends, I wouldn’t want to lose you now.
We take a fairly novice musician. She is a great student. She has been working on her instrument for EVER! She has a concert to do. It is important because -pick the reason- her parents will be in the audience, because that’s the first time she’ll be on TV, because her boyfriend is coming from out of state to hear her. In one word, she’s about to have a big moment.
Because she’s smart (nerds are smart, look at Bill Gates. Don’t like Bill Gates, look at Trump, oops, wrong example), because she’s smart, she is going to prepare. She is going to rehearse that piece if that the last piece that anyone has rehearse the piece as the piece should have been rehearsed since the beginning of time. Did I lose you? No! Still with me? Good. I keep going.
On top of preparing the music itself, which is no small feat, she will make sure that everybody in the band will be equally prepared. Even if it means bugging the crap out of every musician that has the misfortune of sharing the stage with her. They will come and know their stuff and be exhausted, and well, you don’t make a piano without breaking an omelet.
The day of the gig she will start fretting everything. Will the weather help? Is the PA system working? Does she have a monitor? Will the weather help? Can she hear her fellow musicians? Can they hear her? Are they in a good mood? Will the weather help? It’s getting pretty late, just a few people have showed up, why? How is that darn weather?
And she goes on stage and, on the way, she stabs her toe against a five hundred million mega pound fuse box that she didn’t see. Kababloom! It’s the right foot! Oh no, it’s the right foot! That the foot she will use the most to play them drums! And now she’s crying because of the pain and she still has to do the gig. Look! Her John is here, waiting anxiously to see the love of his life jump on stage with a big smile.
But she ain’t jumping, the poor one. She ain’t jumping none. She ain’t smiling either.
So, because she’s brave (did I mention that nerdy musicians are absolutely fearless!), she takes one minute to regroup. She takes her shoe off, looks at the five toes she’s now missing and decide: this performance is a launch! Why? Because we never cancel a gig. Ever! Don’t ask me why that is, I’m a nerd too, I don’t know everything, life is a mystery, and by that I mean that life inside myself is a mystery too.
So, she goes on stage. Not jumping and smiling but limping and wincing. And she plays. She manages to do the whole gig.
Anyway, I think you understand the point. That’s the point that musicians have such a hard time understanding, that’s the point that John Lennon described so eloquently when he said: Life is something that happens when you’re making other plans.
But, hey, don’t corner me too hard. I’m a musician too. I prepare the crap out of… well, everything. I would prepare the weather if I could. And sometimes I crash my toe against life. And it hurts and I hate it. And why is life so unfair? I don’t know, ask John Lennon.