I’ve read a few top 10 lists from others and really enjoyed reading their memories of 2013. I thought I’d do the same. These are in no particular order other than a list of 10 moment in my 2013.
10. The surprise and tears that happened when I managed to have my wife’s dad show up for her 50th birthday. He had not been to the house for a long time!
9. Playing bass on a recording session for my son’s production lab at Fanshawe College. Easily the most nerve wracking gig of my entire year. No doubt the same for my son who was hoping the old man wouldn’t f**k it up.
8. I started teaching at Long & McQuade in London. Its been a long time since I’ve worked anywhere where someone else was signing the cheque. I taught people to drive for almost 20 years and signed everyone else’s cheques. It feels great to be teaching again and try to encourage people to play music. It’s also an even longer time that I’ve held my breath during a phone call as I waited for L&M to confirm I’d been hired. I’m glad they said yes.
7. Playing bass in the musicals Bat Boy and Cabaret were musical highlights this year. The challenge of playing the music was one thing but the humbling part was that all the actors devoted far more time and energy months before they added the bass player. It truly is a labour of love since none of them are getting paid.
6. My parents have been through the ringer the last few years. My dad fought and is still fighting a battle with a rare lymphoma. I know he has had some very tough times through his chemo but he is still a great example to me in dealing with adversity and being strong in the face of it.
5. In 2012 I played a gig where I experienced what I think some would call an anxiety attack during the gig. At the very least I’ll call it stage fright. It was a challenging jazz gig with amazing players but during the first set there were some moments that left me wanting to load out and head for the hills. It wasn’t just me. Everyone played their part in almost wrecking the train on a couple of tunes. That experience left a mark and the anxiousness around a higher pressure gig can still creep in but in 2013 I’ve made great progress in keeping that in check.
4. The anxiety I feel in number 5 is party due to that moment when I have to take a bass solo in a jazz setting. This year I’ve spent a lot more time focusing on that part of my bass playing. My friend Joe Edmonds has been running a workshop on Saturday mornings and that has been a great way to learn and build confidence. I don’t really consider myself a jazz musician but my goal is to be able to make a coherent musical statement in that setting before I eventually have to stop playing. For now I’ll make jazz-like noises.
3. I mentioned my son earlier who is attending Fanshawe College’s Music Industry Arts Program. I’m so proud of him and his success at school. He’s moved out of the house. He’s working hard. He’s held in high regard by his peers and his marks would indicate that his teacher’s think he’s doing well too. When I went to Humber College for music another life time ago I was not at the level that my son is at relative to his peers. “What’s the view like from up there?”, I asked him. “Pretty good”, was the reply. Most people ask me what his job prospects are like after MIA. Our perspective has always been that he go to school for something he loves and figure out how to pay the bills later. As he heard in school, 9-5 is for getting by and 5-9 is for getting ahead. I look forward to the rest of the story.
2. I connected with many new friends this year as well as a few old ones as well. Many are musicians and artists trying to find their way and make their mark. While I ran a business for 20 years I know it was never really me. Steve Clark On Bass is a business too and my life before turning to music certainly helps with that. I’m just glad that I finally figured out what I want to do with my life. Better late than never.
1. I said at the beginning of this post that my top 10 were in no particular order but really there is a #1. It’s playing music live in front of a crowd of people. I highly recommend it as a life experience for everyone. Whether its a playing a bass duo with a student at Long & McQuade’s year end recitals or a sold out show with a group like Rant Maggie Rant. There really is nothing like it. 2014 is going to be even better than 2013.