Thursday, August 21, 2008

Tilting in the Key of G

Gahhh, I don't even know where to begin. Sometimes, you get really amped about certain prospects, and if you don't rein yourself in, you do nothing but set yourself up for extreme disappointment.

Such was the case with me this week, as it regards my cyclical attempts to make some wonderful music.

After learning one of my favorite new bands, Hawks of Paradise, was losing their bass player, I did what every self-respecting fanboy bassist would do. I wrote the band, asked for an audition (they said they were auditioning replacements), and started practicing the hell out of the four tunes on the band's Myspace page.

As it turned out, I ran into a mutual acquaintance of the band's on Saturday night, while out at a show. He indicated to me that the band had actually already tried out a couple bassists, and hadn't seemed to settle on one. Of course, I hadn't heard anything from the band by this time, so on Monday, I wrote them again as a followup, and included links to some of my playing with previous bands.

Well, yesterday, I get word that the band has already found its replacement, and that the band is not interested in me auditioning. This truly sucks balls. Of course, the most obvious answer as to why is that I'm 42, and thus clearly too old to actually make interesting indie rock, and should be summarily restricted to joining classic rock cover bands. (I just threw up in my mouth a little at the prospect.) The second most obvious answer is that I'm simply not in the Denver incestuous clique of hipsters that run in concentric circles, floating in and out of each others' bands. Instead, I'm just a fan who likes the music of a lot of those bands, but I am left to conclude that while my fandom, patronage, and customer business is appreciated, I am clearly not cool enough to be qualified to actually play with them.

Of course, I am still jamming with New Ben Franklins, and I think the dudes in that project are really nice guys, and I enjoy their company. But as each week goes by, it's more and more obvious to me that I was way off on my understanding of the type of music we'd be playing. Not a criticism of the music itself (because it's well written), but I don't want to play the blues, and I don't want to play covers of multiple old country songs in the same key. The odd yet interesting idea of combining alt-country and shoegaze intrigued me, but it's just not what it turns out we're actually doing, so my interest is waning very quickly.

One the one hand, it would be really easy to just say fuck the whole thing -- if I'm not cool enough to merit an audition, I'm clearly not the type of music fan you want to see your shows and buy your records, so fuck you. But that would be incredibly immature, and really, why should I allow that to detract from my ears' enjoyment of good music. After all, I don't go to see bands with the idea in my head that someday, you're going to lose your bass player and I'm going to be their replacement. It doesn't work like that. I like awesome live local music of certain type(s), and the fact I've been trying to find a band like that to play in for years doesn't alter that fact.

As much as I like Hawks of Paradise, there's a good chance that I'll never be able to be as excited about them as I was before they decided to completely bypass me in finding their new bass player, because it will be difficult to watch them play without being jealous and envious. They really are that good, but that's just human nature. I suppose we'll see, when I go to their September 6th show.

But knowing that doesn't make me any less bitter. Bitter about the fact I am pretty much forced to live 35 miles out of town and will never be more than peripheral to the local music scene. Bitter that people seem to think that if you're over 35 (never mind over 40) that you're hopelessly out of touch with interesting and compelling music. Bitter that the only bands typically looking for bass players via Craigslist here are the usual cover bands, death/doom/speed metal, or worship bands. Bitter that circumstances required I leave the best band I was ever in, in order to be a good partner to the Good Doctor Mondo and move out west.

And, mostly, bitter that it appears I'll never again get to play the kind of music I enjoy, in a band I like and respect, onstage ever again, for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with my ability or desire to play bass.

Hope your week's better. At least my Rockies are 5-0 on their current road trip. Naturally, just enough to give us delusional types almost a reason to think our season's not done yet, when we're so toast you can call us pumpernickel.

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