I usually post about my main band, but for once my "other band" has provided some post-worth material. I hardly ever consider this project a band because it is very disorganized. A little background: The lead singer is from West Africa and actually had a recording career there, but is no longer under contract. She's been working on a CD project for over a year and a half (I was in the band for about three weeks before we went into the studio). They had me record 14 bass tracks (and guitar on two tracks) in one day and never called me back to the studio. Then, they replaced me with another bassist on a few of my tracks for some reason, then had me re-record my parts in two of the songs in a different studio a year later. After all that time and remixing and rerecording, the disc, minus 4 or 5 tracks, is ready to duplicate. This band is like a revolving door: The original keyboard player has been in France for the past 2 years and the other people in the band are still acting like he's on leave from the band, so to speak. Early this year, I met a percussionist who's been in the band longer than I, but whom I had never seen. He dubbed his instrument later and we never did much playing together after the recording. He's now quit the band and was immediately replaced with a guy the singer met playing in the park. (Luckily, this guy's a great musician and I'm excited to have him on board) We had a less fantastic trumpet/keyboard guy for two weeks, then he was gone. We got together today and met two new band members: one new guitarist playing a very cheap instrument, I mean, below Galveston, it was that bad, but he's a friend of the other guitar guy, so he must be ok., and a congolese guy to do backing vocals who sounds like a tone-deaf didgeridoo. Maybe the songs are in a bad key for him. I just thought the previous simile was funny. Rehearsals are few and far between and more often than not, start late and don't cover everything. Why do I stay with this band? 1)My main band does gig and travel regularly. Having a sporadic "b" band breaks the monotony of the main gig without straining my schedule, 2)The main backing musicians (The ones I met two years ago, plus new percussion guy) are very good players and have become good friends. Playing together keeps us sharp. We create many great musical moments together and appreciate each other's efforts. 3)The music is very rewarding to play. It is very groove oriented, but with varying dynamics and more complex rhythms. I feel playing this music made me a better player. Ok, now for the story: I go to the singer's house to rehearse today (first one in about 4 weeks, because I was out of town 2 weeks ago playing with my "A" band)<- BTW, thanks for coming, Sheep Man. There, I meet the new guitar guy and the didgeridoo guy. I set up, play, hang out then split to meet another friend. Singer tells me next week's gig was moved to October. Anyway, after meeting the other friend, I went home. Half an hour later, I get a call. "B" band lead singer asks me where I am, as if I were flaking on a gig today (Nothing was scheduled for today). Turns out she sings in this west african restaurant and apparently some industry people are there. "Producers", she said. As I was not able to drive, someone had to come and pick me up. When we got there, guitar guy 1 and nu-guitar guy are there. Nu-percussion guy's and didgeridoo guy too. They're on break. I arrive, set up, the break ends. We played three tunes and I was really having fun. We had people dancing in a restaurant(!) and we hadn't been on a stage as a group in months. Then, the singer says "Thank you, good night". I was pretty pissed. I spent more time standing in the fog waiting for the car than playing. Then, some dude shows up with another percussion guy who sits in. I'm ready to leave the stage when the guy's teaching chords to the guitar guy(F-E-D-C, exciting, huh?). So now we start playing this dude's song, and I must confess, while the singing was good and the percussion guy was good, it started getting boring around the fifth minute, so I started noodling. In the context of the song, but definitely overplaying for its own sake. Hey, it's just some guy who crashed the stage, right? Wrong. Anyway, the lead singer ends the set with La Bamba and I start packing up, Then I hear that the other guy, the guy whose song I noodled on, is actually a recording artist in Congo - d'oh! The guy liked our playing, though, shook the musician's hands and took my card. It's good to have your name on a piece of paper you can give out quickly. Anyway, here are a couple lessons I walked away with today: 1) If you want to get good, or if you want your band to get good, get on a real stage and play in front of a real audience. No studio or garage can prepare you completely toface a room full of people who don't care about you. 2) If you end up accompanying some singer you don't know, don't be a dork about it. Just play as well as always. You never know who's listening. There must be some more lessons in there. I just gotta figure them out... Sorry it's so long.