Kelly In Catty

This blog is Kell's attempt to keep in touch with friends far away who complain that I don't e-mail nearly enough.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Bass-ic Brain Surgery

I've been reading Another Day in the Frontal Lobe by Katrina Firlik - and it's driving me crazy. It's a neurosurgeon's account of being a woman in a male-populated talent pool - and what goes on in the hospital. The actual information on brain surgery is fascinating. The part that drives me nuts is Dr. Firlik's stream-of-conscious writing style. One second, she's recounting a tale of surgery, the next paragraph, she's flashing back to finding an ancient brain-drill at a flea market... It's a maddening read - maddening - because I can't put it down. Where I love her though, is during those focused paragraphs where she writes:

We'd love to be able to blame a certain chemical, work environment, home environment, bad habit, cell phone, or deity - we could work on prevention - but there's just not enough strong evidence against any of them. I'm confident that a GBM (or glioblastoma multiforme - a tumor that originates in the brain) is not retribution for any sin or mispent life (it would probably affect more than just fifteen thousand people per year if it were). In short, a brain tumor is the fault of no person or thing. As with a deadly hurricane, nature is often both powerful and indifferent.

See what I mean? Compelling as all get-out!

Not to pull a Dr. Firlik on you, but in other news, Scott, our band's bass/dobro/harp player, is leaving the band. It began as his wish to spend more time with his new baby - and ended as a career change for him - He's switching jobs - and moving to another state.

What I'm saying is - that where I'm bummed, I can't fault Scott for any of his reasons for leaving the band. What's got my brain spinning is the long, arduous process of finding a new bass player. We put an ad on Craig's list that said something like this:
"Local band is seeing bluegrass/roots bass player. We'd consider it a bonus if you could play an other instrument (dobro perhaps?) and sing. We practice weekly and play approximately 2x/month. We're very serious about music, but laid-back otherwise, so divas need not apply... blah blah blabbity blah."

We got a surprising response, but one wanted to play originals (we do mostly rootsy/bluegrassy covers of songs we like), one wants more money than we typically make (I told him I'm all for making more money) - one guy - I completely accidentally deleted his contact info. This leaves three really viable candidates - one who has heard our band before (we love that he loves our stuff) - and two others who seem really interested. One will come to our gig tomorrow - and the others I'll have to schedule.

Then will come the long, arduous process of teaching them our stuff. I'll have to make a new book (or add the new stuff to our old book) - We'll have to get used to a new personality (We liked how the four of us interacted for the most part) - and hopefully, the new person will like us enough to sign on. It's a lot of spin going around my head. I got one comment regarding this news - from someone I would have thought might know better: "Kelly, you'll find some middle-aged bass player. It shouldn't be brain surgery..."

But in a way, it is. A lot of synapses have to fire in the right succession, the right pattern, and the right rhythm to find a bass player who can do our stuff. See - we don't play traditional roots music... We jam a lot of different songs into a bluegrass/rootsy genre... And that may not be easy for a purist to swallow - it may not be the right repertoire for someone who wants to play originals - and hey... we've already been through a lot of ego massaging with previous band members (I'm not talking about Scott - I'm talking about two previous players for whom the term 'high maintenance would barely describe the tip of the musical iceberg.)

In all, losing a bass player is like losing the rhythm of your band... but the upside is - that when it's all said and done, we'll find a new bass player - and get something new - and hopefully creative and cool out of it.... It's all bass-ic brain surgery - but I think we'll recover.


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