Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Dynamic Duo: Back in the Shadows Again

The summer lethargy had set in fully.

Weeks without practice shamefully had passed. A few feeble attempts at practice and even the task of changing strings was delayed until it could not be delayed further. Equipment was in disrepair. The beloved amp, an old solid-state bass Polytone, is having age issues. Most likely the transistors are going. All this didn't matter because the gig, a wedding, was on the books. The gig is set and it's no one's fault but your own if ye ain't ready. Besides, poor musicians don't cancel weddings because overall they are good paying gigs; probably the best.
Fingers need slow resuscitation, especially the ones of the left handed variety. It is a fool who doesn't follow this rule, as the discomfort of trying to warm them up too fast is long lasting and painful.
Time is a bastard and is not your friend. Underneath the watch, note the notes of the more complicated Ave Maria-ditched because there was no time, nor fingers, to work it up properly. Weddings are not concerts, but they do carry their own brand of pressure.
Small comforts of the necessities: the nail file, (Classical style players have to maintain nails and they must be shaped. Yes, it sounds gay and looks it, but that's the demands of the style. How I envy guitarists who do not have to endure this hassle.) the finishing paper (the gray thing under the file) and the Sabine tuner(a good unit but a little precious at times).
Sometimes, when it is quiet and I get to practice, I feel so content and grounded that gigs are just an intrusion into this private and happy world. Alas, no reverie lasts forever and so it is time to open the outer hatch and interface with the real world. So be it! Time to entertain the wealthy!
But the gig is not bad, so put on your monkey suit! Get thee to the country club, guitar boy. Dance! Dance! Dance!
Even if my bank account weren't laughable, I would not join this swanky Lawn O' the Green country club. First, they wouldn't let me in. Second, since I am more likely to become a serial killer than play golf, it would be foolish just to join to attend functions or swim in the pool. Understand this:
we are not part of this world. We are paid for our service. The lines are distinct. The Dynamic Duo only visits these sacred playgrounds of Charleston's "important" people. We are only interlopers, the hired help, the folks who merely see the the glittery side of the social life of the lawyer-doctor-executive-corporate-old/new money. We see them dressed to the nines (especially the women-the true outward expressions of social status)wandering about with placid expressions, chatting, hugging and drinking all manner of expensive wines and liquors. They are among their own. And while the snob vibe was quite low on this gig, the lines are never invisible to me. I just ignore them and do my job. (But I know my place.)

I want to state this emphatically: no Bridezilla here. These people were wonderful. Easy to work with and no hassle.
The wedding, as you can see, was outdoors. We were safely sheltered under the porch. (We have played gigs under a sun so sweltering, that my strings felt like rubber bands and the sweat was rolling into my eyes. I go into a fog/dream state in such heat. All music is merely functional and barely so. All the guests, of course, were under shelter or inside with air conditioning, but musicians, since we fail to qualify as "people," we had to continue to melt under the solar flare. We nearly froze to death at another gig under the same circumstances.) History almost repeated itself. We were scheduled to play 20 minutes of pre-wedding for guests, but all the guests were inside, near the bar, staying cool.
The super (a great guy and a pro) soundman told us that our sound was being pumped into that area. We didn't know and had been talking freely beforehand, not realizing that all of our conversation were now public service announcements.

"Then I hope they weren't listening to us."
"No. I have the sound down until you play."
What if we had been discussing something very private!? Holy wireless mic, Bat Man!
Our set was short and soon the guests were told to move outside as the ceremony was about to begin. Despite all the thorough equipment checks, something always goes wrong with electronics and so the soundman must run to fix it. The wireless mic for the minister went dead. If you know anything about shorts in wires, you'll know that you often have to twist them in odd ways to get to work. This evidently was the case because the soundman had to stand behind the minister for most of the service. He stood there for so long that the minister forgot he was there!

And so the gig turned out to be easy and so the Happy Gigsters are already paid and happy that all went well. Time to go home, return to the lethargic rhythm of the summer months and wait for the next gig.


Anonymous said...


When does the Terrific Trio get to come out?

Anonymous said...

Nice Pics. Musicians seem to many times be in the cat-bird seat for wedding pics.

Storm comin' in. Love it.

eclectic guy said...

If you book it , they will play it.

Book us a gig, Terrific Trio meister!