Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Late In The Evening

As some may have noticed, I haven’t been very prolific lately. Part of it is writer’s block, or better yet, “bloggers block,” because I don’t qualify as a writer. Hermann Hesse was a writer. “The Glass Bead Game” and “Siddhartha” is what I would want to write if I was a writer.

Also I have been busy as it happens toward the end of the year.

One thing I was thinking is that Bobby Lightfoot is one influential cat. I tossed a couple posts away because I found myself riffing on his blogging style and I can’t cut it.

But it isn’t just that. It is the way he sees it and the way he says it and the way he lives it.

I come to find out that Kevin Wolf felt the same way and posted about it.

Music has always been special in my life. One of my earliest memories is my mother putting on “The Nutcracker Suite” to keep me busy while she cleaned the house. I was maybe three. I remember picturing the pliers-style nutcracker that we had dancing to the music. I was so little that I was still naturally in a state of Zen. I didn’t consider why someone would make music about a nutcracker. Someone did, and I liked it.

This reminded me of a great and often over-looked song by Paul Simon. I should say right now that I’m not a big fan of his solo work; I much prefer the music he did with Artie. Still, I love this tune, lyrically and musically.

Late in the Evening
by Paul Simon

The first thing I remember
I was lying in my bed
I couldn’t of been no more
Than one or two
I remember there’s a radio
Comin’ from the room next door
And my mother laughed
The way some ladies do
When it’s late in the evening
And the music’s seeping through

The next thing I remember
I am walking down the street
I’m feeling all right
I’m with my boys
I’m with my troops, yeah
And down along the avenue
Some guys were shootin’ pool
And I heard the sound of a cappella groups, yeah
Singing late in the evening
And all the girls out on the stoops, yeah

Then I learned to play some lead guitar
I was underage in this funky bar
And I stepped outside to smoke myself a “J”
And when I came back to the room
Everybody just seemed to move
And I turned my amp up loud and began to play
And it was late in the evening
And I blew that room away

The first thing I remember
When you came into my life
I said I’m gonna get that girl
No matter what I do
Well I guess I’d been in love before
And once or twice been on the floor
But I never loved no one
The way I loved you
And it was late in the evening
And all the music seeping through”

From "One Trick Pony."


I’m going to come clean right now and say that I am not a great musician. I have some talent, but it doesn’t come easy. I can’t just pick up the bass and go. I have to learn the song and feel my way around a part and play it for a while before it is nailed. The end result is often an effective bass part that I am proud of, but it doesn’t just pour out of me.

And I can’t sing a note.

Still, my love of music and small amount of talent mixed with an ambition and ethic has gotten me to a point where I can play, and I get a lot of enjoyment from it. I am currently working on an original project with some ex-band mates and Soundsurfr, but the going is very slow, and I really miss performing music.

Reading Bobby made me want to join a band again, play some Stones, Beatles, Elvis Presely and some 70’s stuff too. There are a lot of people out there who want to go to a pub on Friday or Saturday night and hear that music played competently, and that I can do.

I answered an add on Craigslist and am now in a start-up cover band. Should be more fun than it is, but it is coming with a cost. The drummer is a great guy, and he is one of the founding members. He is in his early 40’s and has been playing drums since he was a kid, but never in a band. He recently joined his church band and it gave him the confidence to join a cover band. He is very enthusiastic and calls me and emails me frequently about the project. The rhythm-guitarist / singer is in his later 40’s. He had played in cover bands before he got married and had kids to. He is very good at his role and is a great guy. When I first joined the band they had a female lead vocalist, but she wanted to make it big so she left. She had a fine voice but otherwise was not a good fit.

My experience was very attractive to the two founding members. I know how to run a rehearsal. I know how to make a band sound tight. The problem is that the drummer is a few beats shy of adequate. He really can’t cut it. I am angry with myself because I knew it from day one, but I told myself that "it would be ok. It is just a small cover band."

Except it isn’t ok. He can’t keep a steady beat. There are other problems, but there isn’t any point in mentioning them. It would be like saying, “The lead singer is off-key, AND she doesn’t remember the words.” This is making me feel awful, because I don’t want to be the one to burst his bubble. I wanted this to be fun, and the last thing I want to do is tell some nice guy that he can’t play. He is a decent man and he wants this to work out so badly. I thought this sort of thing was behind me, but it isn’t.

I don't want to waste my time in a band that can never be good, and with the current drummer, we can't be.

I have raised this issue with the guitarist, and we are going to record the next session so he can listen back and see if he agrees. Not sure what we will do after that. I might just have to quit.


I thought I would start posting some of the music I’ve done over the years.

This was the first track original song I ever played bass on. It was done New Years Eve 1976. I was 19. At the time we were blown away by the sound of it, as most of us had never set foot in a recording studio. Made me think, “We could do this. We really could.” I can hear the flaws now, but I’m still glad we went for it.

“He Sits in His Chair.”

Pictured above and featured in the song “Late in the Evening” is Steve Gadd.


Blogger fgfdsg said...

Music - how it seduces us... holds us close and whispers beauty in our ears during the dance, the possibility of a brilliantly intensified and more truthful existence, all about the breathless moments and dizzying heights, then rudely pushes us back into to our space amongst the other wallflowers at the songs end, disappointed and hurt we can't stay in that private world forever, swept up in sound and wonder.

If i could only find a way to crawl inside 'Easter Theatre' and spend the rest of my curled life there... I can't believe in God, but I can believe in Music. Should it be its own religion?

Sorry, I've had 4 hours sleep in 2 days, so i'm not making a lot of sense, though I'm about to pick up a pen and paper and see what happens. It should be... interesting.

I'm glad you're posting your music, for the stuff i've heard was really enjoyable, and better than you thought.

5:51 AM  
Blogger Kevin Wolf said...

Thanks for the link, Al.

I've heard your music and I can at least say that even if it was a lot of work, it didn't sound that way. It just sounded like good music.

Simon: I think your comment makes perfect sense. Clearly, music is powerful since even religion uses it. But I like the idea of music being its own religion...

9:05 AM  
Blogger The Viscount LaCarte said...

I agree with Kevin - Simon's comments make perfect sense.

Thanks for your kind words regarding my music.

10:45 AM  
Blogger Nous sommes les trois chiens said...

very enjoyable... be true to yourself...

9:32 PM  

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