To Lead or Not to Lead

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Playing music again has been the best thing that I could have done with my life.  There was a time not that long ago that I could have counted the people I knew outside of my day job and my family on my fingers.  Maybe even one hand.  I certainly didn’t need to use my toes.  Playing music changed that for the better.

When I started playing again I thought I would have been content playing music in someone’s basement with maybe a gig at a bar from time to time.  This second crack at a musical life has certainly worked out much better than I ever though it could.  The musical challenges keep getting better and better and I now need a lot more fingers and toes to count the people I know.  600 and something according to Facebook.  Sure, I haven’t met a lot of those folks but many of them I have and I can call friends.

Many of those friends are musicians and some of them I work for although you can hardly call it work if you are doing something that you love.   But there are musicians who can turn something you love into something rather ugly fairly quickly.  Bands break up and people fall out and like any relationship it’s most often about money or ego or both.  That along with poor management or leadership can leave a group of musicians spinning their wheels and going nowhere.

So which musicians do I want to work for?    Ultimately I want to play bass for the ones that make me smile whether that’s due to their talent or personality.  That’s an easy measurement for sorting out who you want to be with in any aspect of your life.  I want the leader to call me with a date, length of the gig and how much the show will pay.  Although it’s not always about the money so don’t just assume I’ll say no because the gig doesn’t pay much or anything at all.

What I really appreciate are the leaders who know what they want when they hear it and what they don’t want and aren’t afraid to say it.  Contrast that with the leader who wants to run a tune again and I ask if there is anything they’d like me or any member of the group to change.  “Let’s just run it again”, is the response.  If it was a good run through and there’s nothing to change or observations to improve the show why run it again?

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