Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Ego wall

I've gone off my music a bit recently, and I've been wondering why.  I've started wondering if it's because I've actually achieved a lot of what I wanted to do, albeit in a very small, non-commercial manner.

So, what have I done exactly?  Well . . .

I played electric guitar in a fairly straight ahead indie pop band (Scatter)

I played acoustic guitar in an acoustic duo (Jim and Nelson/Flowers For Algernon, Mk I).

I played harp, by which I mean harmonica - note: not harpsichord, as was claimed in Visual Opinions ("Nelson Wright played the harpsichord and gave a wonderful texture to the piece") - in a Blues Band (Sawmill Buddhas, Mk I)

I played djembe and bass in Norman Lamont & The Innocents (Mk 3?), and also guitar in Norman's "Roadblock Band"

I played bongoes, djembe and an occasional full drum kit with the G (along with the aforementioned Obi-Norm-Kenobi)

I played bass with The Sawmill Buddhas Mk II

I played all of the above, apart from drums, in various incarnations of Flowers For Algernon.  I played piano once for them too.  Not that I can.

I played fairly distorted, reasonably loud and dirty electric guitar in a sort of heavy pop band (The Hairy Apes).  "Surprisingly heavy" opined Mr Cakes at the time.

I played acoustic guitar and mandolin with Norm in The Wright Brothers.

I've also done quite a few collaborations, e.g. I've played guitar with Jill Hepburn, and Ben from The Honeyshot, harp for David Ferrard, electric and djembe for Ms Fi etc.  I've doubtless done more than that, but I can't remember right now.

I currently play djembe and harmonica with The Storm.

So, I've been in an electric band, an acoustic band, an acoustic electric band, a two, three, four five and six-piece band, a folk-pop band, a blues band, a rock band, a pop band.  I've written songs, I've written lyrics, I've arranged songs, written second and third guitar parts, sung backing vocals, got to know how the basics of how a studio and sound engineering works.  Speaking of which, I've also done live sound, recorded sound (not very well), created music websites,   organised music nights, designed logos, posters and fliers, handed out fliers in the streets, and flyposted.

Until relatively recently, the one thing I hadn't done was to play solo.  It's not the most obvious course to pursue when one is 37, not least because the notion terrified me.  Now though, I have managed to do that, and I've got to the point where I can tell that at least some people in the room want to listen.  I think the culmination of this phase was playing a solo set at the Blue Blazer (along with the excellent musicians Fi, Dr S and Norm that is), something which I found unthinkable even a year ago.  It's not exactly the Albert Hall, but for me, it meant the achievement of something.

So, what now?  As much as I like playing the acoustic, I'm starting to miss playing the electric.  There lies a whole other world though, one typically beset by the demons of transporting amps and drum kits, practice room fees, wasting hours at soundchecks, and a load more hassle for potentially no more gain. 


  1. 'And now, the end is near, and so I face ...' etc

  2. "Tune up, plug in, play loud". (Timothy Leary)

    I thought that you were the ghost of John Bonham in that Arcade Fire comment.

  3. Did you? How strange. Was that because of the similarity of our respective monikers? Are you alluding to that, Mr Impossible, or something more sinister . . .

  4. Monikers? No but what a useful word. Sinister? No but what a sinister thought...