For the past 18 years, I have been privileged to hang out with some of the most talented musicians in the area and play in a band. This is a church band - but don't let that full ya. We are as quirky, contentious, contemplative and sometimes very crass as the next bunch of creative types. And we play all types of music from the Beatles and James Brown to classic hymns or contemporary christian. We've performed at dances, weddings, conferences and summer camps.
So I've learned a few things about bands - how they operate and function and I'm about to let you in on a few secrets.....
Bands become families. They bicker and call a spade a spade.
It is not unusual for us to finish practicing a song with such a statement as "Well, that sounded like s---."
We also laugh a lot, have a lot of inside jokes and nicknames for one another.
This is Dan -whom I affectionately call "Papa C".
Papa C has been in the music business all his life and knows just about everybody. He is the one we lean on the most, incredibly talented and creative.
These are "The Tomatas!"
I am always blown away by their talent!
We have team members come and go. In fact I think I am the only original one left from 1996....
They have left for a variety of reasons; some being very painful and as we become a family, it affects us all greatly. Recently one of our lead singers, the only other original lost his son in a motorcycle accident. Needless to say he has stepped down for a while and we all grieved deeply with him.
But we miss him.....a lot.....
We could not do what we do without our sound team.
I cannot stress how important the drummer and bass player are. If they are off and out of sync, it throws everyone else off. A good, solid bass and rhythm section is tantamount!
I love watching the secret cues band members give to each other when they are playing. The cues that let you know we are ending a song or heading to the bridge or take a solo. The really good bands that have been playing together forever, they just give each other certain look!
For some reason, if rehearsal is really crappy, it makes for a better performance.
You also get certain looks from team members when someone plays or sings either a)really badly or b) really good. Usually, the audience is oblivious to these.
So there are a few secrets for you. Next time you are watching a band perform, watch how they interact, try to find their secret cues other than the obvious ones like pointing their guitars towards each other so they know which key they should be in! Take time to appreciate the sound team and the rhythm section. We are a family that is sometimes in pain and sometimes totally connected.
That is the secret life of bands.