Blog 26: A guitarist’s perspective

It’s been a while since I put some comments together about the band, so I thought I’d provide a few thoughts on how things have been progressing from my little corner of the stage. Lockdown, for most of us, caused us to re-assess how we live, how we work and how we play and for us, each with our individual and busy lives, we haven’t been immune from what have proven to be some fairly profound changes. Playing great music with great friends is a real pleasure and whilst those two hours or so of live performance are both fun and rewarding, there are downsides. Amongst these, the amount of time we spend either side of the gig setting up and packing away, the time spent organising gigs/ liaising with venues and travelling and getting home at some unearthly hour.

To say that I missed the long hours would be disingenuous but what I did miss was the camaraderie involved in playing gigs and in rehearsing and the sense of family that exists within our band. Whilst some friendships existed before we got together in early 2017, our families have become an integral part of what makes this band feel so special and having personally had some doubts about wanting to continue, I have re-discovered my sense of purpose and feel that collectively we are pushing ourselves, not consciously, to up our game.

I have long thought that even in the very best bands, the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts and that the collective effort brings out the very best in individual musicians’ abilities. I sometimes sit strumming an acoustic guitar at home often playing something and nothing and sometimes it sounds good and other times not, but our rehearsals seem to bring out a whole different dimension to my playing. We have never been a band to say “do it like this or do it like that” so there is always plenty of freedom to improvise, to experiment and to add new parts. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t, but from a player’s perspective, it’s all about progress and development and for me, this is a large part of what keeps me wanting to pick up a guitar.

We’re back in the swing of face-to-face rehearsals, and we have a pretty full diary for the remainder of this year and into next. We’ve worked on some new songs recently and Jane wrote about two of these, Sound & Vision and Young Americans in our last blog. There are several songs in the pipeline that we will be looking at in the coming weeks and it will be good to tackle some new ones. Some of Bowie’s songs are straightforward to learn musically, some less so. Lyrically, some songs can be very “wordy” (Young Americans is a prime example) and this can and does give Jane headaches when trying to commit them to memory. Overall, though, I sense that our enforced hiatus through various lockdowns has renewed our sense of purpose and whilst rehearsals in the early days were hard work simply because we put pressure on ourselves to learn lots of songs very quickly, we can now afford to be much more relaxed in this regard and this, I hope, translates to our live performances.

Speaking of which and from a local perspective, we are back at The Lion at Basford on the 23 October, and we are pairing up with fabulous Ruse Springsteen and the DE Street Band once again at the Hairy Dog in Derby on the 27 November. We are also making our inaugural appearance at The Royal Oak in Radcliffe-on-Trent on the 4 December. For any of you that are further afield, or if you fancy a trip up to Leeds, we are teaming up with Where’s Brian?  on 13th November at the Fox & Newt, who will treat you to a wonderful set of Queen hits. We hope to see you in the coming weeks.