I've been asked a lot of questions about what it's like to play out and I'm going to try to answer those questions. But I can only do that from my perspective, that of a working drummer in a jazz band with no tales of drunken debauchery to tell.
I would like you all to get the image of rock band and a rock setting completely out of your head. Jazz clubs, jazz bands and jazz musicians are distinctly different from rock-the terms cannot be used interchangeably. I'm playing music written by people like Miles Davis and John Coltrane, Sidney Bechet and Charlie "Bird" Parker. This requires a particular set of skills and the music defines the experience. Click on the links and give some of these greats a listen so you can understand what I'm talking about.
So what's it like "out there"? It's not what most people think it is. As the drummer, I'm seated in the back, behind a row of cymbals and my view is the back of the horn players heads. I don't see the audience, which is fine by me because I like to play with my head down and my eyes closed. Audience contact is something I'm not interested in. I'm interested in creating the musical bridge with the bass player that gives the other musicians the freedom to play what they want, whenever they want and to come back together in perfect time.
In a jazz club, the people are there to listen, they know the music and they want improvisation. They do not want a note for note rendition of something they heard on an album as that would be boring. Also, it is not uncommon for other musicians to be in the audience and when a girl drummer blows into town more musicians have a way of turning up. Which leads to the best part of the night.
After the place closes all those musicians get together and play with no one but the bartender to listen. Even after 2 three hour sets, the energy is still there and the musical "conversation" that takes places is richer and more interesting than it was with a paying audience. These other musicians also solve the pesky problem of "where are we going to sleep tonight". They'll put you up for a few days and feed you as well. Otherwise you're either sleeping in a van or your staying in a cheap roach motel, hardly a glamorous experience.
I want to address the question about what happens when a guy hits on me when I'm playing out. It rarely happens and for several reasons. I'm not personable when I'm playing, I don't accept drinks from men and I'm always within eyeshot of a bandmate. Guys in a band don't like it when men approach their drummer and they don't really let people near me. I'm protected by four guys, I'm perfectly safe out there and the Hubby knows it. My bandmates would never lay a hand on me as they respect me as a musician and I won't tolerate anything less than that.
Now enough of that business. You may have noticed that my blog has had a makeover. I'd like to thank my friend Dezz for making the banner and for helping me with the color scheme.
Next week I'll be back to posting figures as I've gotten 11 of them off the painting table and I'm keen to get them up here.
It's Sunday folks and that means the weekend isn't over yet. So if you haven't made merry, there's still time left for it. Have yourselves a great day. I know I will.
NOTE: I TRIED AUTOPOSTING THIS BLOODY THING AND APPARENTLY THAT DIDN'T WORK AS ONLY A TITLE SHOWED UP AND NO FECKING POST. I'M SORRY FOR THAT!