Let me start by saying I may go on a bit. If you get through my ramblings then I thank you for your time.
I haven't been active on the forum for a few years, life has been manic, but I wanted somewhere to release some thoughts with likeminded folk and maybe have a little bit of advice from someone wiser than I.
I'll start with a bit of back story to help things make sense...
I'm around 31 and been a bass player for not very long really, 12-15 years or so. I've never had lessons or learned anything too impressive but used my heart and ears to play what I feel. I started to get back into music after a bike accident and haven't looked back. I've been through a couple of bands, 2-3, and ended up in, what I feel is the best thing I've ever done.
Now we're not the biggest of 3 piece bands, heck we don't always get paid for some gigs or have large crowds, but we enjoy what we do and the people that see us are mostly blown away. (regular comments of 'bigging up' and 'wow what was amazing' etc)
We haven't a genre really, just jam and play whatever happens. I guess we're like Rush mixed with Tull and a bit of 90's grunge. That's nice for me as I tend not to be able to play the 'Normal' sounding bass parts and end up having a very unique style in some ways but still comparable to the likes of Geddy/Foxton. Quite aggressive, toppy, slightly dirty tone and have regular comments on how lovely my bass sounds.
I've been with these guys since 2006-ish. They are far better than I technically so I had a pretty steep learning curve to get up to speed with what they had already written. It took me almost 3 years to fully understand the quirks of the other two and how to really lock in with them.
We’ve never had decent recordings of our songs so to get a real feel for us is to see us live. We started recording 9 tracks over 2 years ago! And still haven’t finished them yet… plus we have another 30-35 tracks halfway finished plus a tone of jams that are worth saving or turning into songs.
The guitarist/singer and the drummer are brothers, 40 and 30ish of age respectively and have been playing their whole lives. Our drummer is amazing. His playing is incredible, steady, different and mind-blowing. I've seen him do things either while teaching, performing or jamming that some of the top greats would be blown away by. I feel very lucky to be able to play with the guy and sometimes feel my lack of understanding holds him back. Our guitarist and I have a very similar head space so his self-taught style is not like anything I've seen from other guitar players but offers us an understanding of the odd riffs, (Fripp/Claypool). He's a wonder to play with. Both interesting, technical yet simple and full all at once.
We jam every week and have done almost without fail, illness or a gig or Christmas of cause, but it's not often we'll play through and actually practice anything in particular. I mean there is the odd occasion obviously...
They've had their fair share of 'life' with mental breakdowns and drug issues etc, some of which are still prevalent but manageable... myself included. One member doesn't work, well does his minimum 16h a week or whatever it is and the other teaches for a living.
The third component of the make-up of the band is their Mum. She books our gigs and helps us promote as we're all not great or have little spare time so it's a great help and we probably wouldn't gig much if she wasn't around.
I have a wonderful wife and a house of my own, first step on the property ladder in the first part of the year and a full time job in charge of managing people building parts for aircraft. (It’s a lot of work let me tell you... bloody paperwork...^_^ anyone say 50-60 hours a week some months...)
[i][u]I've realised, reading back through, I'm going on a bit so I'll cut to what is relevant now...[/u][/i]
I've recently begun struggling with gigs. I've never been one for 'going out', I can't drink because of medical issues and being around people is hard for me. Playing shows hasn't really ever been an issue before. I can get up on a stage and play for anyone, blimey I've played to two people in a backstreet pub and thousands at festivals but being in amongst them... *shudder*. I am one of those people that can get to a gig, setup, sound check and then sit back stage or in my car until it's time to play and feel absolutely fine about it. Being at the bar or talking to people I don't cope with very well and never have.
We NEVER have a set ready for a gig. Ever! Normally we get to a place, find out how long we have to play, and then work out 'oh we haven't played that for a while' or let’s just jam that, before we go on stage.
Also we hardly ever know what gear we need or a time to be at said show or how long we are playing for or who we need to speak with or where exactly the show is! These are the most basic of needs for the muso to know in advance of any show imo. The main issue here is that we have gigs booked for us and then this information isn’t even asked for as far as I can tell. It feels like many of the locals on the music scene don’t like us in some way or another. Whether that be because of who they’re dealing with to book us or a lack of communication I don’t know. There is a feeling of awkwardness when interacting with the people in charge of the show, not just from my end and my insecurities. This may be a normal thing for any music scene…
I've been finding that now if I find out I have a gig tomorrow or in a month I begin to feel sick. I panic, over think and stress about it like I've never done before. The day of the gig comes and I feel even sicker. I shake once I arrive and can hardly speak fighting back my insides that are trying to escape my face. The whole experience isn't fun. Don't we all do this because we enjoy it? Leaving this band doesn't feel right though as the time invested and the jealousy that I would feel having some else have the amazing opportunity to play with such amazing musicians I don't think I could bare.
I am now at the point where the disorganisation and lack of communication is killing me. I feel ostracised and alone. This has all finally outweighed the 'fun' part of playing in a band, so much so that I haven't wanted to and haven't played in over a month. I haven't been to jams or any of the gigs that I mostly didn't even know about. It's feeling like my bass playing time has come to an end with a spare room full of thousands of hard earned pounds worth of basses, amps, recording gear, keyboards and synths that I can't bear to look at let alone touch. I don't know how to feel or what to do next. Lost in a head space that is both crippling and hard work for those around me that I love.
I have thought of maybe having a few lessons. Maybe talking to someone that's playing is far in advance of my own that could advise me in a positive direction? I don't know. Maybe I need a break... Maybe I have taken on too much in my life... Maybe I need to grow up and be a man...