Tonight wasn’t much fun.

Man, tonight was so hard. I really hope the fans didn’t feel it like I did tonight, because it was TOUGH. I was really struggling tonight.

Because of my background in Music Hates You and all of the other punk and hard bands I have played in, when I get a really exciting song in front of me, there’s a temptation to play it way too fast.¬† I have been fighting my instincts to play a couple of songs at punk rock tempos this tour….¬† In an attempt to stop “Into You Like A Train” from running away like… well… a runaway train, I made some changes. Tonight I had a click track running in one ear so that I could keep the songs within an acceptable tempo.

BUT… apparently a couple of the click tempos felt too slow for Richard tonight, so he gave me the “pick it up” high sign, so I had to play the song AGAINST the click track in my ear, which was really weird. Imagine that if you can, playing a song while this metronome clicks away in one ear at a completely irrelevant tempo. It’s downright disorienting.
It was impossible to know after that how the song felt to the rest of the band because it feels to ME like I am rushing terribly. Additionally, one of the great things about Richard as a singer (and one of the things that makes him so distinctive) is that his phrasing is very languid and loose. He sings behind the beat. Sometimes he’s actually singing *way* behind the beat, so there’s a temptation to slow down, because it sounds like he’s saying “You’re playing too fast so I am going to sing more slowly to let you know.”
so…
I have the rest of the band in one ear at one tempo, with Richard singing another tempo, and the click track banging out a third tempo in the other ear. I was so disoriented that I anticipated¬† the breakdown coming back from the guitar solo in “President Gas” and played it too early. This frustrated everyone. After that, I was just struggling to hang on. There were some parts of the gig that went well, but I was mostly just losing my mind. I am probably overthinking this and making it harder for myself, but there was one point tonight where I felt like jumping off of the drum riser and running away.

I haven’t been that uncomfortable onstage since I was a kid playing my first gigs. I felt lost at sea. The rest of the band said that despite the fuckup in President Gas and a little bit of rushing on a couple of songs, it was all-in-all not so bad a gig. The fans seemed to be having a wonderful time, and I guess that’s what matters at the end of the day. Tomorrow is another show in another town and another opportunity to get it right. I really like this band. I hate to disappoint them.

We shall see.

7 Comments

  1. Hi Patrick,

    It was great to meet you the other night at HOB!
    Thanks for the plug! If you want, I can meet you at the Ribfest in Naperville today and give you a DVD.
    Just let me know. Would love to see the show again! You have my number.

    Thanks,

    Phil Ranstrom
    Writer/Producer/Director
    “Cheat You Fair: The Story of Maxwell Street”
    http://www.cheatyoufairthemovie.com

  2. Keep your head up, brother. Before you know it you’ll be banging out excellent shows and fending off calls from other bands begging you to tour with them.

  3. Jeff

    Don’t fret — I thought that the DTE show was outstanding. Please pass along my thanks to the band for giving me a great evening out, and I especially enjoyed seeing Mars back on stage.

  4. Lisa M in Boulder

    Hey P!

    It’s great to read your updates! I’m sure you’ll be settling into the groove of things right quick. It’s only been a week, hasn’t it? Pat yourself on the back, bud. That’s a huge endeavor to come into an established band situation on such short notice.

    Good luck in Naperville tonight. I lived there for a year when I was a young lass and it was the bane of my existence. I’m sure it’s improved greatly since 1980.

    I don’t know many folks in NJ anymore, but I have informed the one’s I do know of your Jenkinson’s gig. Hope you have a great turnout! I’ve been there once and it’s a pretty nice space. Opens right onto the beach, if I recall correctly.

    Wishing you continued success!
    ~L

  5. anodyne

    this broke my heart! but i know you are doing the best you can. three tempos would make anyone want to crawl under a rock.

    thank you so much for posting all of this! i feel like i’m right there with the furs. i especially love hearing about the bus.

    keep up the good work!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *