His best band we followed over the years was "Bootleg" in Bangor Maine.When you make music for a living, or to subsidize your living, you see quite a cross section of life from a stage. As you set up for a gig in a bottle club, or wedding or for a charity dance, my brother Steve said it let you see all ages showing up to move and groove, shimmy and shake. Friends meeting for a drink, to joke. Cougars trying to capture some youth. Three piece suits, blue jeans. Long hair, short hair, no hair. They come to laugh, to let go for a few hours, to forget, to socialize, to let their hair down. To get higher, to go lower. Getting along like the animals to the right. It's a party and new friends, old friends, ones you have not made yet. All in the same room, same event, same venue for a few hours. Assembled for entertainment, enjoyment, to get lost, found or looking for something they need or think they do.
Some of the crowd are happy campers, some have had hardship and it shows in their face, their steps. Some want to fight, carry baggage with hair trigger latches.But for a few hours, they suspend from what they do day in and day out, they walk away from personal problems, bad marriages, problems with health or their children's issues. Or they just take a break from a good life, as a distraction, a stress release valve. My brother Steve who was a singer, a keyboardist said you would look out over the crowd from the stage and see the lady removing her wedding ring, the guy getting a few too many drinks into him and his voice volume increasing, his words slurring. You saw folks really excited when you played a request they made that was very significant to them. And here comes the husband as the night progresses and the boyfriend getting suddenly scarce.
Brother Steve said you made sure to brag up the hardworking bartenders, the waitresses and reminded the audience to tip til it hurt as they workers there and the band breathed in two packs for each smoking patron of second hand smoke a night. Tearing down the equipment at 2am and heading home to hit the sack with songs, images, videos still playing from that night's gig which is now history as they split the take among the band memebers. Life as a musician. For some it's a job, a hobby and others wanting to be in the top 1% who make it big, touring worldwide for awhile. We are all colors, shapes, sharpness like a box of crayons as an earlier AR blog referenced. We are all in the same box. And have to get along, learn from each other. We entertain each other, make each other feel good about ourselves. Smiling, singing with your heart not your head. Caring, sharing with others.
Like Billy Joel in the "Piano Man" song, everyone has a tale to tell, a life to lead, things to do. Mistakes made, success bragged about. Lost opportunities, lucky breaks. It's your life. Do you get out and dance, do you laugh with friends, are you having fun besides just working your fingers to the bone? Do you worry too much? Not enough? Would you like to be in a band and what type of music do you like? My kids have 3500 plus songs in their ipods and exposure to that big a library and earlier days in radio and I'd be pretty hard pressed to find a type or genre of music I don't like. Right now taking in a Farm Aid concert with Neil Young telling me it's time to get back to the country, the place it all started. And now Dave Mathews is jamming and hitting a chord within that says small town rural living, growing your own food, raising animals and crops and teaching your kids work ethic, responsibility are not that bad an idea afterall. Where would we be without music from Steve Earle, Harry Chapin and others that make your think, reflect, consider your course in life? Music is the mortar for your cracks and helps connect the dots, making what is vague crystal clear.