More video this week: http://www.youtube.com/user/MLinsenmayer#p/a/u/1/u3nNXdV8tbQ.
The linked song is one of two I’ve just put up there from a 1997 gig by The Fake Johnson Trio. This was the very last gig for that band, and one of the few played as an actual trio: I switched to bass for a couple of shows for that incarnation. The song is “Retrogress,” a cheery tune with lots of little arrangement nuances to screw up the band. It’s about not letting yourself get pulled back into moldy old modes of feeling.
Also now on my channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/MLinsenmayer) are songs by two different line-ups of Madison Lint.
Both of those bands (FJT and Madison Lint) had a good deal of turnover, which brings me to my topic: how much ownership do you have to have for an artistic project for it to feel fulfilling? From a young age, I was always someone who had to either lead the game, or I wouldn’t play. So though I’ve flirted with being “just a sideman” in bands, it would never stick: I like playing my own songs. I do enjoy my current situation as co-frontman, though; I am able to feel good about filling out my fellow New Peoplers’ songs, so long as that isn’t my only role.
So I’ve fundamentally never understood the sidemen I’ve played with. Why are you here? Why would you put up with being in your situation for very long? Well, they don’t. For some (drummers, mostly), playing in a band is like doing a sport, like intramural soccer or something. Few would SUFFER for a commitment like that in the way that is routinely required to play in a band (i.e. driving a lot, hanging around dingy clubs with bad sound, small crowds, long hours in the studio). Clearly, these guys were doing me a favor, and in return, I, the leader, was obliged to set up situations for them to enjoy themselves, which usually involved getting lots of good shows, which I was–through ineptitude or lack of patience or simply facing tough odds–seldom able to do, so of course these awesome musicians would wise up and move on for the hope of something more stable and rewarding.
…And, like a VH-1 Behind the Music special, I’m supposed to say now that that’s all behind me, and I’m in a good place, playing with people who do not see themselves as sidemen and so will not quit. So that’s what I’m saying. All is right with the world… for the moment.