Like Sand Through An Hourglass…

Pablo Picasso - Old Man With A Guitar, 1903I just circled by Stevie B’s and picked up some bass strings today. I’ve been getting ready to do some recording, so it probably says a lot about my general outlook that I don’t intend to put these strings on before tonight’s gig in Ybor. These are for recording.
My spirit has been kind of low today. It seems like each week I look forward to going to Ybor a little less. Victoria and I really can’t afford the gas and other expenses that it takes to go to Tampa every week, and it’s really beginning to feel to me like the band isn’t going to go anywhere. On one hand there’s no real direction or drive other than us playing cover tunes and maybe booking some gigs. On the other, at least one member has stated that he has no interest in recording originals. Which is fine, I guess. But put it all together and I find myself scratching my head and wondering what the point is. No one, including myself, has been shaking the bushes trying to get us some weekend gigs. And if we’re not going to work on or record any originals, and we’re really not going to get out there and hit the clubs to play, what are we really doing? Why do we bother?
I guess I’m feeling my mortality today. The weeks keep slipping by, and I never seem to get anything done. Musically, I’m more aware than ever that my days of performing are limited. It could be another ten years. It could be another twenty. But I’m painfully aware that I have arthritis. I have probable nerve damage which sees my left hand cycling through various stages of numbness. On a few occasions it’s gotten so bad that I couldn’t feel the fretboard of my guitar beneath my fingers. But it’s not just numbness. I can’t physically throw off the same bass runs that I could ten years ago. Sometimes it hurts just to play. I’m not convinced that this is a matter of getting back into practice.
I really do feel like I need to get my music recorded while I can. Time’s slipping away. Which leads me to wonder why I’m spending money we don’t have traveling to Ybor City every week to play a bunch of songs that I’ve already been playing for the last twenty five years. Sure, there’s the obvious benefit of getting back into shape musically, as much as I can. My strength and stamina are returning. My timing is strong again. So playing with the band has been good for me. But I guess the big problem for me is simply that I want more. Much more. And if the sand is slipping through the proverbial hour glass where my capabilities are concerned, I need to figure out where my priorities lie.
Well, that’s an easy one, actually. This week I’m going to start recording the Crewe album. I’ve already re-strung the Stratocaster, and I just bought new strings for the Alembic. I can’t wait on the band, hoping that’ll it’ll morph into something creatively challenging, but doubting that it will. I look forward to playing with the band because I like these guys and playing with them helps keep me in shape, and I’ll continue to do that. But I can’t afford to wait for them. We just don’t have the same priorities. I’m not going to play with this band for no other reason than to get out of the house a bit every week. I have definite ambitions. If that’s all there’s going to be to this band, then it really does seem more like a distraction than a benefit.
Victoria has suggested that we have a band meeting. That I invite the guys over this weekend to talk about this stuff. I think I’ll do that. If nothing else, it’ll give us a chance to clear the air. For all we know, we all might want the same thing. We might be having the same frustrations because we’re making assumptions about what the others are thinking. If we’re going to do this, it has to be with everything laid out upon the proverbial table. Otherwise, we’ll just go along until the whole thing falls apart beneath us.
As for me, though, in the short term I’m going to start recording Crewe songs. I’m too old and too achy to wait for anyone else to come along and help me to get this done. Really, at this point in my life I’m painfully aware that my music, art and writing are all I’m going to be leaving behind when I’m gone. I need to get on with it.

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