I thought we were in for another dragged out evening when I got to the Left Bank for the appointed time and found a play in full swing, complete with audience, in the hall where I had expected our first spot to be starting. That’s been so typical of the last few live dates I’ve done that I didn’t get too worked up, just went and met Nelson and retired to the Elephant House.
We discussed the various interpersonal strains that appear in bands, and the turmoil they can cause that undermines the simple act of turning up at the same time in the same place to play music for people. We touched on a topic that Lynsey and I had talked about earlier, namely the question of sharing the costs of band membership.
For example when a rehearsal room is booked, in my experience, there are several approaches band members take to paying:
- ‘everyone splits the cost equally’
- ‘it’s your band so you pay’ or ‘it’s your band so you pay most of it; I’ll chip in a pound or two’
- ‘I can’t afford anything this week’
- ‘I’m off to the pub, see you’
Rehearsal rooms are relatively small change – what about pressing and artwork and distribution for CDs? My CD was a solo effort, and entirely my responsibility by choice, but if the CD is a band one, in a band’s name, who pays? In the rare event of a gig being paid, how is the income split? We don’t hear a lot of ‘it’s your band so you can keep most of the dosh’. There are no right and wrong answers to the above, and it’s never easy when some members have more income than others, but these things are best thrashed out before they become the source of bad feeling or confusion.
My spot, following an excellent set by Andy H and Chris Duncan (Afraid of the Up must be one of the best songs written by anyone in these parts), went like a dream. The looper/guitar synth rehearsal I mentioned yesterday paid off and the feet hit all the right pedals at the right times with the exception of the encore where discretion was the better part of valour. As well as djembe Nelson contributed harmonica, which added warmth and spontaneity to the machine rhythms. My friends who had turned up were full of praise during and after the set and I left with a spring in my step (and, for once, all the equipment I had arrived with!). And I got paid! (It’s in the post, Nelson!)
- A Forest Trail in Autumn
- Damn Grey
- Ballad of Bob Dylan
- Hungry Ghosts