Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Crim Relief

The law of diminishing returns. The older musician knows this very well.
Now that King Crimson has decided (er...Robert decided) that a new Crimson is possible, concert dates have been set and rehearsals underway in Tennessee, where Adrian Belew lives outside of Nashville (or NashVegas as Cx2 calls it).

As a musician, to watch this would be quite a learning experience. The rehearsal is when the musician is naked, making mistakes, trying out new things and generally the band sounds like shit.

Surely the seasoned musicians who make up this unit know when it's time to put down instruments and declare that practice is over for the day.

How do the Crimsonites spell relief?

Monster Margarita at the local Mex.

Happy times.

Rehearsals? A Sunday rehearsal for the Icarus group reveal a reflection of age and the wisdom gained from the Guitar Craft seminar: When is something completed? When are we focused and when do we need a break? Earlier in my career, I would not have understood this at all, nor would it have been considered. Time was so wasted.

Mentioning the old band, the Velvet Brothers, brother Al commented that the old rehearsal place was "party central." Not only was that true of the typical VB rehearsal, but certainly true of the lifestyles of the members living at the home at that time. So much time can be wasted at rehearsal if the members see it merely as a socializing time. And nothing gets done if cocktails are involved during the process. At times, there was an abundance of friendship and goodwill among the members (and plenty of rum) that rehearsals were so much fun that getting anything done was a problem. Our drummer had to constantly keep the boys on track. Those were mad, mad days.

Fast forward to last Sunday, we were shaping the program. File this part under: Ok, we got this gig. What the hell are we going to play?

Working with Al and Lisa is so easy. There is a genuine courtesy among us, exploring ideas as to arrangements as they arise. We have all been through the band thing and the experience shows.

"Do you care if I start this one to establish the tempo?"

Such politeness! Is it for real? Yes, indeed, but Li-Li need not even ask questions like that. Nope. The way I see it, I am the only gitar player here. Not like I have to fight for space. Plus it's important to allow the music variety.

Once the sets were agreed upon, I said, "Let's take a little break and evaluate what we have done." It was indeed break time. My hands were feeling fatigue and my mind was a little drained.

Al offered up some scotch. I am not a scotch fan, but what the hell. It was smooth, but still had that unpleasant aftertaste. After a few sips, I asked:

"What do you like about the taste of scotch?"

"Peat moss."

Huge laughter. Add to that a bigger, "No doubt!" Add further furniture polish and insecticide. Yummy. Why does anyone drink that stuff?

We returned to the last set to get some details finalized. As is always the case with the lightest consumption of alcohol, I felt unfocused and was merely playing at the music. Time to end the day's work. Time to let these people get on with their evening. This is not a Velvet Brothers mad house of chaos rehearsal.

(Rumors suggest that a reunion for the Veebs may be possible. We shall have to see. You can be sure that you will get a ringside seat, gentle readers, warts and all.)

Driving home, I can see why even the world's best musicians, like Tony Levin, Adrian Belew, et al, recognize the need to take a break and head for the local Mex.

And the Monster Margarita.

1 comment:

Al Peery said...

Yo Jim,

I have some really tasty scotch brewing in the compost. Stop by tomorrow night and we'll have a taste ;-)

BTW...most happy of birthday wishes coming at you.