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a personal music-related dilemma

Discussion in 'Ask Mike Watt [Archived]' started by CJ_Marsicano, Sep 23, 2001.


  1. please allow me this particular indulgence,

    over the weekend i have once again come to wonder if i am even going to be wasting my time desiring to return to performing. it has been something i have thought to myself frequently over the past few years, but i have never thought of discussing it publicly until now.

    between june 1985 and october 1996, i played as a bassist in a total of seven bands, doing an estimated 300 or less shows, all in the norhteastern pennsylvania area.

    the first band was a top-40 group called _fallacy_, which i did the most shows with of all - approximately 150 to 200 of them between june 1985 and january 1987. enjoyed playing with them, but a couple of members (chief among them the second drummer that was with the band during my time with them) frequently gave me sh*t for playing bass with a pick, and for listening to bands like the minutemen, black flag, flipper, and dead kennedys instead of jazz fusion.

    the second band lasted less than a year -- the first half of 1987 --, played only a dozen or less shows, and while playing and practicing with them was great, quickly getting to the point where we could pick up songs or even create them on the fly, things unfortunately got boring and disorganized towards the end.

    band number three was a hard rock band called _bigg trouble_ that lasted between february 1988 and april 1989. chemistry was good, set list was good (although i can't figure out why, as all of the original members were sex pistols fans, we _never_ played any of their songs!), but management (the guitar player's mother) f*cked things up in a big hurry. i was the first to quit (the original drummer was let go in september 1988, to much sadness on my part). the band lasted a mere two months after that with two different bassists.

    band number four was a pickup band that i blundered into immediately afterward, what a waste of the summer. the band leader had an elvis fixation and tried to play electric piano (badly). the rest of the group went through a lot of time-wasting auditions for other members and only ever played one gig on its own. group broke up afterward, i limped back to college.

    bands number five and six didn't get anywhere. the first one never got past a couple of months of rehearsals, the second one was another doomed one-gig affair destroyed by ineptitude on the part of the other members. the only saving grace of the latter group was i was reunited with the original _bigg trouble_ drummer and that our only gig was the only time i've ever been "bootlegged" (someone taped our show with a microcassette recorder; the whole band, all by coincidence, happened to meet up with the girl the next evening in the mall, and we borrowed the tape and ran over to our practice space (my basement) to copy the recording to a regular cassette deck.

    band number seven was another top 40/rock band, and was the only time i was ever deliberately _lied to_ regarding the group's modus operandi. i was told that we wouldn't be doing the same old crap all of the other bar bands were doing and that i'd have an equal say and equal share in what went into the set list. i only ever got two or three songs of my choosing into the set list, only one of which was a lead vocal of mine. after about a month or so of shows, the rest of the band were talking about doing _lynyrd skynyrd_ covers to appease the very small handful of bigoted redneck types (one to three at every show, except for one club out in the sticks that was crawling with these subhuman pricks) -- a direct reversal of our "not the same old bar band bullsh*t" credo. eventually i got fed up and quit by not even showing up at one of the redneck bars the drummer had started to habitually book us into. i came to the conclusion that those statements made before to me were lies to lure me into the group as they were rather desperate to get a bass player.

    that was october of 1996. i have not played in a band since.

    thoughts over the past month or so of getting into the swing of things again, this time as a band leader, have frequented my brain, only to be disheartened by the cold hard fact that the type of music i want to play (influenced by minutemen, husker du, meat puppets, dead kennedys, stooges, rollins, bif naked, etc.) is not conducive to an post-nirvana, post-badlees on a&m records environment where anything outside of classic rock and/or southern rock cannot even get into most of the clubs in the area, and where most musicians feel that repitition of these cliches is the only way to succeed in this area.

    my only question is, do i give it one last shot, or do i just say "f*ck guitar-based music", get some electronic gear and go down the only non-rock route that has given me infinite pleasure in the wake of tuneless nu-metal alleged music? my only bass amp was stolen by the drummer of band number seven (ironically the only band member who ever respected my musical tastes and who was the only one talked to after i quit), do i even bother spending $400 on a new amp?

    i'm at a quandry, dear friends. any input?

    at the fork in the road, cj marsicano -