Nev introduces our feature packed issue...
HAVING JUST COMPLETED a 30-date rock’n’roll tour it struck me that discipline is vital when being in a band. It can simply mean getting to the shows (I drove 6000 miles in five weeks and neither I nor any of the 13 band and crew, missed or was late for a gig). That kind of discipline should be a given - as should being in a sober state, arriving on stage dressed appropriately and so on - but of course there’s also the discipline in the playing.
This particular gig is not tough from a technique perspective, but it’s a professional show so things need to be right. I had to create a few new solos on songs I’d not done before - an interesting challenge. I’m always torn between a set piece that I recreate every night; winging it totally, or using a basic template and deviating from it as the mood strikes. I almost always go for the third option, as I like to give myself something to aim for, but also to surpass. The danger is that one can come unstuck - I found myself in unexpected areas of the neck once or twice but never messed up completely; I prefer this approach though, as gives me a feeling that I’m more musician than parrot!
I played a pair of electrics - a Tele mostly and a Strat for the last bit - I needed the vibrato for some Hank stuff and it’s nice to have a change anyway. One night I got the strap caught around my neck and totally missed my cue, which gave me palpitations and the rest of the band a laugh! It went well every other night, thank goodness.
I also played acoustic for about a third of the songs. Several had a fast ‘galloping’ rhythm that not only required stamina, but also demanded concentration - the opposite of my soloing stance, you might say. Oddly, while I forgave myself for an imperfect solo, I was livid if I messed up my strumming!
Discipline is also important when playing the same songs night after night after night. It’s tough to stay focused and not drift off. I found that trying to beat last night’s ratio of ‘perfection to cock-up’ usually did the trick. Come to think of it, GT is all about discipline, concentration and getting it right. So good luck with your own ‘perfection to cock-up’ ratio this month! See you soon.