Post-Tour Musings

Well, for those familiar with my previous post you’ll know that I just finished the second of three tours across Europe with the blues-rock band I play bass for. Many exciting things went down from playing a 5 hour gig to a packed out audience to playing to an audience so indifferent I’m fairly certain they weren’t even aware we existed, all with the odd rock and roll story I’m sure I’ll be still telling mates about in the pub months from now.

But what was by far the most interesting to me was how all this constant gigging affected my playing. I tend to manage a semi-regular gigging/rehearsal schedule with other musicians but in the weeks leading up to the tour most of my efforts were focused on nailing the tunes for the tour, not really having time for much else so to actually realise these tunes in a gigging situation was something fun.

First was the fact that I didn’t know the tunes anywhere near as well as I thought I did, as soon as I got a chance after the first few gigs I buckled down with my ipod and ran through everything again, really trying to get inside them. That helped a bit, but it still took quite some time before I managed to be comfortable with most of the songs, still not quite there but I don’t think we’re far off.

Outside of the tunes themselves, my playing in general has become exponentially better in the last 7 weeks, I feel much more confident about attempting things that I maybe wasn’t so before, and everything in general seems much more solid and confident than it was before I left. It’s also given me a lot of flaws I’ve noticed that I can now buckle down and hone over the three weeks I have before the next set of dates, mostly rhythm exercises that I seem to have neglected far too much in the past.

But anything that can push me to do more is got to be a good thing. I’ve never seen the point in not being bothered to learn something more, what’s the worst can happen? Of course, it’s a bit of a blow to the ego to realise you’re not as good as you maybe thought you were but if you can overcome that and do more, then that’s just spiffy. 🙂

As for the road life, well that’s a different kettle of fish all together. The drummer for the last tour decided he couldn’t handle most of the day in a van, only to be faced with the prospect of hauling some gear around for the next hour, and so decided to leave the group. But all this comes with the territory, and if that’s what it’s done to my playing then I think that’s definately a fair trade off.

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3 Comments

  1. Yes – there’s nothing like lots of playing to sharpen you up. I don’t know if playing with and for other people is essential but it does mean you have to keep going (as well as being supported by the stimulation of what others are playing and the appreciation of the audience).

    I wonder… could the same results be achieved in equivalent time soley in private practise? What do others think?

    1. It’s not so much the material, it’s how well you play the material. The problem with private practice is your sitting in the comfort of your own room, good lighting, good temperature, sat down maybe. Playing something in those conditions is vastly different to having to unload a van in the rain, jump on a cramped, cold stage and still expect to nail it every time.

      Kinda hard to practice that kinda stuff on your own, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to practice on your own. I know lots of musicians who gig plenty but never get anything better because they don’t hone things in private practice.

  2. Sounds like you’ve had an amazing time Sam – to get that kind of experience, that amount of time playing and come back with a few useful life lessons too can’t be beat. 🙂 Please do keep updating us here with what you’re up to. It’s great reading!

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