Once Bitten...

*** I have resumed re-writing & posting those updates which Google had lost some months back. Once I'm finished with my April "butterflies" project I will unveil my new blog over at Wordpress. *** Much love to all, bobby 2011-09-14

Inspiration, joy, beauty, Oneness, the spark of recognition...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Day171 - Quandary

Playing in a band can be an interesting lesson in relationships, exponentially complicated by the number of members involved.

I've played in bands where I've been the primary songwriter, singer, creative & driving force. This offers complete freedom, much more responsibility - which I'm perfectly comfortable with - and very little frustration.

The converse can be true with a collaborative project. Recently I've found myself restricted. I don't like having to "dumb down" my playing, but I encountered a situation where I was essentially asked to do exactly that.

We'd short-listed a song written by another member several months back when working through our repertoire and picking the most suitable live songs. This process involved unanimous agreement on every song selected. If even one of us wasn't enthusiastic about any of the potentials, we would drop them in favour of others - with over 2 dozen tracks to choose from, we're okay with trimming the "fat". Then a few weeks back the songwriter decided that something wasn't quite right with this particular song - this after several weeks of rehearsals.

Something one needs to be conscious and respectful of in a band situation is giving fellow members room to move while playing their parts. In another song which I play bass, he started playing a guitar solo over my already established bass solo. It's insidious, because when you call someone out on this sort of thing they can easily turn it back on you as if you're imagining it - and there is every chance that it's unconscious on their part, so the case is not black & white. If conscious, one can only speculate as to the reason behind this.

As I expected, it turned out that he felt the bassline I'd written for his song was the problem - it was now dominating the track. He then proceeded to play me a demo he'd recorded of said song, with him playing a bass and asked me to play it the same way.

So I'm faced with the decision of either playing a shitty, boring bassline or vetoing the song outright. It's not like I'm stubborn - I tried playing it his way tonight and I was underwhelmed by the result. I would be somewhat embarrassed by playing something so weak.

Chances are I'll go for the veto option. The risk in that is of a backlash going forward with other songs. I guess I'll see how it plays out.

The beauty of collaboration and partnerships is that the resultant creative works can be greater than the sum of the respective invidividuals' creativity. It's something I hold dearly in life, whether in a band or with friends/other artists.

I suppose I should be proud that I wrote a bassline so powerful that it eclipsed the original song. That this is a problem at all makes me giggle somewhat =)


I need to relax. This will do the trick:

The Doors - Riders on the Storm



  1. I tried to comment from my mobile phone this morning but after typing with my thumbs for a mammoth reply it wouldn't let me post!! arrghh. So now I'm at my computer trying to remember the incredibly intelligent and insightful reply from my thumbs.... but no.
    I guess it's not as simple as coming up with a compromise - something not as weak as what he has given you but not as overpowering as what you first had? I've obviously never been in a band. The singer in my husband's old band was a complete diva though.

  2. My old phone once wiped a draft post I'd been working on for over 2 hours! Frustrating in that you never feel that you can capture the exact sentiments of the original, with that first flush of inspiration missing =/

    We discussed this further in the intervening days and pretty much came up with the same conclusion as you suggested. I floated the idea of dropping the song outright, explaining that I would've have shortlisted a song that I wasn't happy with playing - at least until we begin working with a drummer - but this was viewed as a case of sour grapes. Although I received much praise for my bassline but it was decided for our current acoustic sets we need to find a compromise.

    I would've been okay with this but the very same person began questioning the bassline I play on another song! Fortunately I was vindicated in the second instance by the third member who loves my playing but I still feel as though there's something more underlying.

    Sometimes it's like being married to 2 people at once lol.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...