Saturday, December 12, 2020

Ken in the Wascana Park Bandshell

 This is a short post but I wanted to relay an old memory that came to me the other day while  I was practicing.

First some background…..

In the mid-80s, after getting my Diploma in Jazz Studies after 2 1/2 years studying at St. FXU, I moved back to Regina Saskatchewan and tried to be a working musician as much as I could. Now, I was 20 years old, and I had leaned just enough to think I was pretty hot stuff, that there wasn't much an older musician could show me, and I was easily the best drummer in Regina at this point! (Yikes! I know, right?)

Anyway, I don't know who else was on the gig, or what it was for, but I have a memory of playing in the bandshell at Wascana Park with bassist Ken Coffey. Ken and I worked a lot around that time, and although he was much more experienced than me, he generally appreciated my youthful enthusiasm, and put up with a lot of the stupid b.s. that can often accompany it.

So, we were on the last tune, and I remember it was an up tempo swing number. About 1/2 way through, Ken comes over to the the drums and says, "I can't tell where 1 is". He probably said this 3 more times over the course of the rest of the tune. I want to make clear that while he said this, he didn't seem angry or upset. In fact, I remember him looking slightly bemused. We finished the gig, and I don't remember there being any weird feeling or anything between Ken and I, just the thought inside my head that Ken just didn't get how hip I was……..


There were SO MANY lessons in this that I was too ego-based at the time to learn!

I can't remember what I was (or wasn't) playing, but I'm sure Ken was right! And even if I had been doing something oh so clever and modern (which I wasn't) ], it doesn't matter if you've lost the bassist! HELP A BROTHER (or sister) OUT! 

What I'm pretty sure what was going on was I WAS MORE CONCERNED WITh SATISFYING MY EGO THAN MAKING THE MUSIC WORK! Talk about messed up priorities and a missed opportunity. Not only to play the gig better,. but to learn from my folly!

You may surmise I'm looking back on this experience, cringing and feeling ashamed. Actually, I'm not. I'm thinking back on how young and experienced I was in those days ( as a drummer, musician, AND human being) and feeling grateful I've learned a few things since then.

Remember, any honest criticism of what you'er doing has the potential to make you better, and it's a gift! 

See you soon! :) 

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