Now that I am regularly playing with a band again I am increasingly finding myself outside of my comfort zone. The funny thing is that I love it! I have had to learn 30 plus songs in a short period of time, been asked to sing backup vocals, including 3-part harmonies. I spend hours learning songs only to find out at practice that we are playing half of them in a different key. I work on a handful of songs at home to get them down only to come to practice and have two new ones thrown at me and then work through songs I haven’t even touched in a week or so. Hell they had me singing lead vocals on a song as I was learning it, now I knew how the song went as that it’s a song I have listened to many times but still, I normally prefer to learn a song, get it down pact and then learn the vocal if I have to sing it.
Typically I try to be pretty precise when learning a new song, listening to the track and trying to play it note for note as well as capture the subtle nuances. I may change or drop a fill here and there, but basically I like to stay true to the original. Well, it seems the guitar player in my band is the complete opposite. On top of changing keys, he will change the song structure, play the bridge twice or drop it completely, change the tempo and feel of song and basically make it his own. While I think this is pretty cool, it’s not how I am use to doing things. Needless to say, it certainly keeps me on my toes.
I wanted to get back into a band as that I feel it is key to becoming a better player. So far I think that is exactly what I am doing. By having my boundaries constantly pushed, I am learning a lot. Thankfully the guys in the band are very supportive so if I am way off the mark on something, they take the time to work through it with me to show me what they are trying to accomplish. As Victor Wooten would say, “Boy have I got a lot to learn!”