We have a gig on Friday, a rehearsal on Thursday, and this means one thing: I better practice. When we took our short hiatus, Brian kept playing, “woodshedding” in the music room, trying new chords, writing new songs. Meanwhile, I pushed the practice pad into the corner and started leaving mail on it. And without even noticing, a month, even two months went by and I hadn’t picked up a drum stick. Hadn’t even really listened to drummers on CD. I just went and did other things.
I am not one of those musicians — one of those bio-pic musicians who “save” their lives with music. I am not one of those musicians who, as Kevin Spacey as Bobby Darin (and yes, I saw that movie, and liked it) does, says that “one day I’ll be a star” (or something like that). I am not John Coltrane who practiced every moment he was awake. At night he would practice with his saxophone when others were asleep, his fingers working his horn while he had the reed out. I am not Jimi Hendrix or Eric Clapton or Nick Drake or even Brian Cremins. I am a regular person with an average amount of discipline who would rather write this blog, clean the bathroom, do a load of laundry, or shop on-line than practice. I’m THAT kind of musician. I’m the kind who daydreams of being magically a great musician without actually practicing. I’m the kind of musician who practices my tv screen pitter patter with Craig Ferguson while I brush my teeth.
“I’m so glad you liked the CD, Craig. Well, you know, we recorded it in the south of France, and that made such a difference to get away from L.A.”
And he would wink in that cute, Scottish, way and say “Oh yes! El Ay!!”
I am the kind of musician who still has to count my way through a song because I lose my time if I don’t.
I am the kind of musician who forgets whole songs that I have already recorded. I am the kind of musician who occasionally forgets how to assemble her own instrument. Does the drum head go this way or that way? I am the kind of musician who hasn’t taken a lesson in over year. I am the kind of musician who wonders how far I can get as a musician being this kind of musician.
We have a gig on Friday. I have to remember how to assemble my own drum kit. I have to practice and work the muscles in my hands and arms so that I can play a whole set without getting fatigued. I have to listen to our own CDs to remember the songs. I have to remember to breathe when I play or I get dizzy. I have to remember that if I want to be the kind of musician who saves his or her life with music, I have to forget that I’m the other kind of musician who would rather be at home with a box a donuts than on-stage with ten people staring at me blankly while I’m trying to remember all the things I’m trying to forget.
We have a gig on Friday. Did I mention that? We have a gig on Friday.