You’ve lost that loving feeling….

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I’m going to be straight up… this year has been pretty shit for me, band-wise.

At one point… around 2007… I was in 5 or 6 bands at once and juggled band practice, gigs, my day job and family life and loved it. I was playing at least a gig every two weeks, catching up with good friends and playing my awesome guitars / basses LOUD (and getting free beer!). But as of today, thanks to my band The Arcolas officially finishing up and my band the Horrortones finishing up a few months ago… I now “only” play bass in Sixfthick (I know, I know… which is pretty damn kick ass) and am just starting up a band which is very slow going. So that’s one and a half bands. And I must admit… I’m feeling down. I always feel like this after another band shuts shop.

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gig poster for the last ever ‘The Arcolas’ show…

There was a period after I got booted from my first Brisbane band (they wanted to go full time… I had a day job) that I didn’t play in a band for about 4 years while I studied design and worked etc. And I hated it. I love to play live. I love to get to a gig, set up my gear, and play. I’m a pretty quiet, awkward guy usually… I don’t dance, don’t go to night clubs… so playing music is my release and social outlet. And my playing suffered when I wasn’t in a band… I learn a lot by playing with other people. I thought I was a pretty good guitar player before joining the Horrortones and The Arcolas, but I’m leaps and bounds better than I was a few years ago. Every band I join, I learn something new.


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gig poster for the last ever ‘The Horrortones’ show…

And in the 4 year period of not playing… I did not buy one guitar. Not a one. NOT ONE GUITAR IN 4 YEARS. My enthusiasm just isn’t there, as I can’t justify buying cool new gear if I don’t have a band to play it in. What am I going to do… look at it? With The Arcolas, every band practice meant a chance to bring ANOTHER of my guitars to crank through my friend Terry’s 60′s 100 watt Marshall Super Bass (the best amp in the world).

I must admit, I take it personally. It’s probably a Sicilian thing. Being in a band is such a investment of my valuable time, that to give up is crazy. Hundreds of hours spent learning and refining the songs, hundreds of dollars spent on rehearsal rooms… and when the decision to not do it anymore is someone else’s and I’m still keen to keep on going… I get shitty. I kind of think “Why are you sick of this when I’m not?” On the other hand, when it’s mutual that the band has run it’s course, I fully understand and agree it’s the right thing to finish up. But when it’s just one person… argh! I know the reason to stop is not a personal thing against me (or maybe it is!) but it does hurt. And I can usually see it a mile coming. A band member usually drops out of contact and avoids confirming a time for the next band practice. And then 4 months have passed and you haven’t played a gig. Finally I just ask “hey… do you want to do this anymore?”…. I just need to know so I can get on with my life.

A big shame is that the camaraderie you build from being in a band for 4 or 7 years is really strong and then instantly it’s gone. You’re all in it together… you help lug each others gear, sweat it out in rehearsals for hours, have many beers together and when you play you have an almost telepathic connection to each other. And when the band finishes, the friendships usually fade away as you don’t have that constant contact anymore. You might say ‘hi’ when you see them at a gig, but it’s not the same. You start moving in different circles and then you haven’t seen them for 4 years.

Another thing is… the older you get, the harder it is to start all over again with a new band. Finding fellow like minded musicians who are keen, organising rehearsal around family commitments, writing and rehearsing a full set, organising gigs etc with decent bands… it’s a big commitment. Until the pin gets pulled. And then you start again.

It’s hit me like a brick that now I’m 40, every gig I play is one closer to my last. I know there will come a time when all the bands I’m in will finish up, and all I’ll have are a box of gig posters I’ve saved and some CD’s and recordings we made. I think optimistically I may have 5 years or so left of decent gigs, and anything after that will be a bonus. We had a big scare this year with Sixfthick where our drummer got very ill and apart from being scared shitless for my mate Fred, the thought of never playing a Hick show ever again was really a kick in the guts. I’ve been in the band for 12 or 13 years and have played hundreds of shows with them. My wife and I met at a Sixfthick show when both our bands were supporting Magic Dirt. The band is a huge part of my life. If I’d never joined… I’d definitely be on a different path to where I am now. And to suddenly not have that… it doesn’t bear thinking about.

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So for now on, I’m going to really cherish the gigs I play, and not take it for granted. Being in a kick-ass band that people want to see live is a real privilege… not too many people get to experience it. To all past band members… thanks for the good times. I hope to be playing for many years to come. If in 20 years you see some skinny old dude mangling a song with a shiny red Maton Fyrbyrd in some shitty blues band, that’ll probably be me.