Thursday, October 27, 2016

Are You Phoning it in

I attended a multi-band event with my brother, who had a very successful teen rock band years ago. Part-way through the third band’s set, he made an interesting comment: "I don't get it. In my day our job was to get the party started." He was referring to the unfortunate fact that many of the performances were lifeless and lacking enthusiasm. The bands played as if they'd been doing it so long it had lost all meaning for them, had almost become a chore.

I suppose it's like any job that you don’t find interesting enough or challenging enough. Or maybe these players have just become too comfortable … too complacent.  Whatever the cause, it would seem that the thrill is gone.

Playing music is awesome; for me, playing is its own reward. And when I'm on stage, I have a responsibility to the audience as well as the other musicians. This is even more critical if I'm being paid.

Music is a great way to create, unwind, entertain, and more. Now, I may not be an exciting player to watch, but when I play I put 100% into the music, the energy, the creativity. In fact my favourite indicator is the dance floor. If it's filled with bobbing heads, then I know I'm not phoning it in. And if there is no dance floor, I watch faces and feet.

What I've found is that a job is generally as interesting as you make it. Even the lousiest jobs can have positive elements. But music is supposed to be our thing -- it’s in our blood, as we like to say. So how can anyone not be as excited as possible to have a chance to play? We may not always have an appreciative audience or a pay check, but even then it should still seem like fun. And if we're playing for money and a crowd, well I think it's our job -- our obligation -- to 'get the party started' and to never phone it in.

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