Monday, October 03, 2011

Use Me

I might not be playing in a regular band these days -- and probably won't be playing with a regular band for the foreseeable future -- but that doesn't mean I have given up the drums.

Hell no. For as long as I have working limbs and a desire to tap along, drumsticks will be nearby.

Last week, I took up an invitation to play on a jam night at a small bar a little north of where I live. I'm happy to say that I had a wonderful time and will be back.

Playing old school blues and R&B is not something I've ever done in front of people. But like I realized when I played southern rock songs at Rock N Roll Fantasy Camp last year, if you've played something John Bonham and Bill Ward have played, you've received a partial education on the blues.

All the years I've spent watching a guitarist motion around, whether on the neck or with the foot going towards a distortion pedal, came in handy for this jam. Playing a slow blues song that I was not familiar followed by a mid-tempo groove I was very familiar with ("Use Me" by Bill Withers), it helped that the guitarist was dictating to me what to do and what not to do -- by showing plenty and saying little.

The thrill of playing together is when people who don't know each other lock in. Improvisation can sound great when you're in sync with one another -- and it's especially great when you can extend a song into a lengthy jam.

I have not abandoned my love for playing rock music. It's just at this point, I'm very reluctant to play in a regular band, only to see everything collapse not too far down the road. One-offs are nice for me at this point.

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