Sunday, 13 November 2011

The Invisible Band Member

Many odd years ago My Man was in a rock band. He played the bass and I was The Band’s loyal whatever. You name it I was their audience, photographer, graphic designer, biographer, and all round moral support. For those familiar with Scott Pilgrim you can easily imagine that I was a cross between Ramona Flowers and Knives Chau, minus all the ninja fighting and general awesomeness. Mind you, there were moments when a bit of ninja action might have been called for.
I watched The Band’s development. I was aware of their aspirations and goals. I knew their songs like the back of my hand. I brainstormed with them marketing ideas. I made their flyers and album covers and even developed their first website.
I witnessed The Band consume so many drummers. One of them disappeared to Queensland [with the police hot on the trail]. Another simply didn’t turn up at the gig. Another left a long winded letter about how he couldn’t be a drummer for The Band, which actually read more like a f##k you letter. With the number of drummers The Band went through it ensured an uncanny parallel to fictional band Spinal Tap. I would be no more surprised if one of the drummers had actually spontaneously combusted on stage.
Having such close proximity to this band meant sharing in their joy when they were allowed to perform at the Espy, which for an emerging band was like entering Shangri-la. I knew of their disappointment when sound engineers turned out to be deaf hacks. Publicans who cried poor, trying to get out of paying The Band its pocket money [free beer anybody?].
Despite the smoke haze and the late nights, following and preceding a work day, I got a buzz out of being on this journey with The Band. There were plenty of other musicians to meet with and there was always potential for networking with other likeminded bands. And besides, let’s face it. It was an opportunity to get out of the house.
I remember the first performance with a group of other bands. It was something of a tri-force. The venue hoped that by having three bands that would increase drinking numbers. Of course these were somewhat unknown bands, which meant only their truly loyal friends with no place better to be turned up. What was not funny that night was my splitting migraine. What was sort of funny was the drummer not turning up. What was really hilarious, was seeing a guitarist from one of the other bands using a soldering iron on his homemade stomp box.
Fast forward a year or so and The Band were invited to perform two songs live at Triple R FM… at midnight. After the first song, The Band was told they would have to wait another two hours before playing the next song. So there we were, The Band and me, wait in a decrepit building, at an ungodly hour, exhausted, bored, and our tummies began rumbling. So we jumped into a car and searched for a 24 hour eatery. I will forever be grateful to McDonalds for being open so late. Goddess bless the Big Mac meal at 1:30 in the morning.
Another time I remember between sets trying to explain to one of the singers that his words couldn’t be heard because his nose was pressed against the microphone. He didn’t believe it, until the sound engineer came along with the same advice. I didn’t know whether to laugh it off or go all Knives Chau on the singer.
As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end, and in my case after a few years of following The Band this became very clear to me. A lot of my time and energy was invested in this one band and it was time that I move on to other projects that were more ‘me’ orientated.
I spent so much time working with and supporting The Band. So much so, that the last drummer called me Yoko. But My Man doesn’t agree. He describes me as the invisible band member.