Death, it can often send us into a state of reflection. When someone we care about passes, we usually focus on all the good, funny and daft things a person has done and eliminate the thoughts of any wrong or bad. The same reflection period has happened to me this week with the death of Aretha Franklin. Not that I knew I cared for her you understand, aside from being a fan and appreciating her voice and contributions to music and civil rights. The same thought process has happened many times, to many people over the last few years with the loss of Prince, David Bowie, Whitney Houston and many other famous musicians. A quick look on Facebook shows people to be fans of people, and I am sometimes shocked by the people who like a certain artist as my perception of the person, some of whom I’ve known for many years, is that they wouldn’t like that kind of music. Shows what I know.
A situation arose in our band recently. Our bass player Bobby had to miss a gig. Now, as a drummer, we are often the butt of the joke, I’m sure you’ve heard some. It is in my nature, to pass this ribbing on, and it usually goes in the direction of the Bass player, sorry Bob.
Being in a band is not just about getting a few people together who can play instruments and vaguely like the same kind of music. Its not about putting a supergroup together of the absolute best players that you can either. Its about people and their characters, the way the pieces fit together. In We Are Troubadour, we are blessed to have it all. We have 4 very different personalities and approaches but our styles cross over and fit in a way that will only work in this band, at this time. If we’d have got together as a band 20 years ago then it just wouldn’t be the same. The analogy that springs to mind is its like driving a car, it’s got 4 perfectly matched tyres.
In our recent situation, one of our wheels fell off. We prepped the gig as a stripped down 3 piece and the usual line of ‘Its only Bass’ and ‘you only play 2 notes anyway’ were out in full force. Playing the gig was a different story altogether. Without one of us, the band just doesn’t work the same. I can’t even use the term without a key member as it applies to all of us.
Obviously, the situation we had is not as severe as someone dying, but it does force you into a period of reflection. We rely on each other so much in the band that we can often take it for granted. In the words of the great Joni Mitchell, who we should cherish while she’s still with us - Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got till its gone.