Demoting myself


So, I’ve been having delusions of grandeur leading me to thinking that 1. I should make some new music (well, that’s more of a compulsion, I guess), and 2. that I should perform live again, which, mixed with a pragmatic appraisal of my skills lead me to thing that 3. I need a band because solo shit just ain’t worked to my satisfaction (and probably not the audience’s either) in the past.

I’ve been scheming to this end, having a notion for who to rope into the lead guitar job (and getting him to agree might well involve rope and a bottle of chloroform plus some serious blackmail material), a potential rhythm guitarist who is more likely to agree in principle but less likely to actually show up and do it because reasons.

I was thinking in a pinch I could do rhythm guitars except then, well, we’re gonna have to really dumb things down as playing guitar takes my full concentration to the point where I can barely remember to breathe, and well, I have to do that to sing, so…

I was debating maybe me playing synths again but… ugh.

Either way, that still left the drums and bass unaccounted for.

Drums… well, I’d prefer a real flesh and blood drummer, but I have a stack of drum machines, so in a pinch or until we kidnap a competent drummer, I suppose Mr. Alesis can have the gig.

Bass… shit. I dunno. Mr. Alesis can add a shitty stacatto synth bass line, but it’s kinda out of his pay grade. I suppose if I play synths, I can handle the bass, but I kinda was hoping for real bass, which sounds more rock n roll.

Also, live synths lead to all manner of headaches, so if it’s at all possible to not have any synth live, then Wikipedia’s slandering of me as a “Canadian industrial artist” aside, ain’t gonna be no fucking synths. (“Wah… all I ever wanted was to play was sleazy rock n roll like Faster Pussycat and Guns N Roses… it’s not my fault I let myself get sidetracked into the I-word when I was too fucking lazy to learn to play guitar instead of draw MIDI notes on my computer… waaaaahhhh!!!!”)

But seriously. Synths are a pain in the ass live and there’s far too many things that can fail in the signal chain that will fail in the signal chain at the worst possible moment, and if they don’t fail then your soundman is guaranteed to not know how to mix the damn things well so they don’t sound like shit in the house, which isn’t always the soundman’s fault or at least I have my pet theories of how synthesized sounds have a tendency to droop and wither in the hall, acoustics, pure waveforms, overtone series, yadda yadda yadda…

Some things just sound better in your headphones than they will in any live music club.

Also, synths are bulky and a pain in the ass to load-in and set-up, and if you’re playing them, you ain’t moving all night. Which is pretty boring if you’re the singer. You become a potted plant for the audience to ignore.

Plus I recall from the days when I did play them that you inevitably find the perfectly placed microphone on the boom stand is never perfectly placed after 30 seconds, and your hands are busy so you can’t adjust it til between songs, so you’re either stretching up in a weird way or hunching over in a weird way, which fucks up your voice pretty quickly.

And of course the synths that have the coolest sounds are never the synths that the easiest to switch sounds on. And the good sounds are always far apart, so you will be stalling for time while you press the > button 124 times to get to the next sound you need for the next song.

Point is, I don’t want the headaches, I wanna plug into an amp and let ‘er rip. This requires guitars and real bass (and at some point real drums).

So, I’ve trying to crack this Rubik’s cube of live logistics vs. potentially available and interested talent pool (who are willing to work for beer because I ain’t no Trent Reznor, funding-wise).

In completely unrelated shit, today I decided to dig my old Ibanez 5-string bass out from under my bed in order to put it with my guitars in preparations for needing to figure out bass lines for the new songs for the new album.

For shits and giggles, I decided to look up the old song bass lines for the 10 songs I would most likely play in any future live performances.

Holy shit.

I am a much less sucky bass player than I am a guitarist. Even rhythm guitar. Even powerchords.

Hell, I’d say for the bass on those songs, I’m probably only a few week’s of casual practise away from being ready to play them live.

(Rhythm guitar? I was figuring end of summer at the earliest if I spend an hour or more a day at it. And that’s all powerchords.)

Well…

Somewhere in Frank Zappa’s book The Real Frank Zappa Book, he talks of how no one ever wanted to be a bass player. They want to be a guitar player, but one day in the garage their bandmates have a pow-wow and demote the shittier guitar player and inform him/her that if he would like to stay in the band, it’ll be as a bassist.

Now, there are some odd exceptions, and there are many great bass players, and there are some like Duff McKagan who demote themselves for pragmatic reasons (Duff noted that there were a zillion guitar players looking to get into bands, but few bassists, and therefore he’d have a better shot getting to play as a bassist because there was less competition).

Anyway, I don’t have any bandmates yet, but I sense what their verdict would be, and so I am willingly demoting myself to bassist, because it’s the right thing to do and also because I’m lazy and impatient.

I’ll still work on guitar for fun and for songwriting purposes, though.

So… bass is settled. Drums will be Mr. Alesis for now. Excuse me while I go bribe/blackmail/roofie a lead guitarist… and get to working through these:

bass books

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