Lieutenant's Log #12
If you enjoy what you do, whatever it may be, it hardly seems like 'work.' The last few nights have reminded me that playing music can indeed be hard work. There you are, putting your heart into a song, and it doesn't matter. No one's listening and they sit right in front of you, speaking and laughing loudly as if you're not there. It wouldn't seem so bad if the most obnoxious ones weren't so close. Last night, folks were sitting at the piano, literally right next to you, chatting loudly as if we weren't there. This really annoyed me. I'd give less to the performance if I knew how.
These are the times that separate inflated egos from maturity. These are times that define what a professional is.
It's taken me years to understand one's place as a paid musician. Unless it's a concert, the folks aren't there to see 'said act.' They're in the room to socialize and drink while a live band is playing. Premium Ambience.
Getting back to our venue the"Manhatten Room", unless you're sitting upon us, you can hardly hear the music. Of course if the room isn't noisy you can hear the band. The folks who want to hear the music, usually wants the band to be louder, so they can hear us over the crowd noise. However, we can't risk offending the rest of the patrons who are more interested in 'anything else but the band', for fear of getting a pink slip. Fortunately, the house PA system has a great monitor system. So usually, we can hear ourselves just fine. Usually. Occasionally, there are evenings when the night feels like a concert performance. Occasionally.
Sometimes it takes everything I have to remind myself of the mental focus it takes to ignore all the chaos. It's an exercise to say the least. I was a little out of shape last night. It felt like a battle to see who would be the first to shout "SHUT UP!", someone in the band or someone in the audience.
Given a choice, I'd rather do this, than work at McDonald's.
Considering that I've been very good at taking care of myself, getting rest and pampering my voice, it's still very difficult for one singer to sing 4 sets a night, 7 days a week. Particularly if you're not used to it. I'm starting to feel it. There's a total of 5 sets, but I play guitar during the 1st set which is instrumental.
I didn't sing nearly as much 2 years ago. In addition to the instrumental set, the band then, would play a few instrumentals before every preceding set. I'll have to suggest that we might continue with that idea, before I have real problems. Again, it's "work".
Oh, there's only one break for the contracted 10 week gig. And only because we have to change ships.