Funny business?

Nuff said.

It’s a funny old business, this making music thing. I’ve spent all week (when not working in the electrical shop, or doing my household chores, or preparing a lovely meal, or playing sport with friends, or – most importantly – celebrating our ninth wedding anniversary) in my studio trying to record some decent demos. Just acoustic guitar and vocals, so I can post some sounds on my website and say “this is what I sound like, if you’d like to book me for a gig”.

I’m pretty sure that I’m a much better singer and guitarist today than I ever was. But whenever I think that, the voice inside my head says “you must’ve stunk when you were younger”. That voice inside my head is a really sarcastic bastard. At least I manage to keep it inside my head these days – it used to get me into terrible trouble when I was younger…

When I’m rehearsing – headphones on, strumming away, singing into a vocal mic, little bit of compression and reverb on the vocals – I think I sound pretty good. Then I press the record button, record a performance, play it back – I rarely seem to sound as good as I thought I was. When I’m recording, yeah, I sound like Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, Neil Finn. When I play it back… I sound like me again. Okay, not as bad as Bob Dylan or Neil Young, but… I wonder what Dylan thinks when he hears himself on record???

Tonight, I’m playing with my band Liquorice Allstars. The set is mainly covers, a pretty mixed bag (hence the name of the band) – REM, The Waterboys, Foo Fighters, Crowded House, Thin Lizzy, Level 42 and the like. When we’re performing, I’ll be thinking “hey, we sound pretty good! I sing pretty good too!” Hopefully the crowd will be thinking the same thing. When I was younger, first starting out in a band, I used to record every performance. Now, I don’t record a note, just in case it shatters my illusions of being good.

Tomorrow night, I’ll be taking my acoustic along to the annual badminton summer barbecue, where I’ll be singing for my supper. The folks there will be mainly aged the wrong side of 50, and they’ll be quite sober. I will play a pleasant selection of mellow tunes – Beatles, Eagles, James Taylor, Simon and Garfunkel and their peers – and I’ll think I sing and play pretty well, and people will smile and sing along and thank me for playing. And I’ll go home and think “yeah, I am pretty good…”

Next week, I’ll be back in the recording studio, thinking that I’m good, then thinking I’m rubbish again. And so the cycle continues…

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8 thoughts on “Funny business?

  1. “Wrong side of 50” If that includes my Dad, he’ll be thrilled at being bracketed with such youngsters! Thanks for the amusing musings Gary.

    • Yeah, guess your dad is one of the more senior members of the crowd. Shame he retired from badminton before I started playing – never had the pleasure of playing with/against him. Amy’s told me stories though…

  2. At least you have the talent to play and sing – some of us are not so lucky – and besides, we all look at what we do through a negative lens – am sure you are much better than you give yourself credit for – good to see Neil Finn and Crowded House in your selection!! Cheers J

    • Hi Jamie, thanks for your kind word of support. Yes, I’m sure even someone like Neil Finn will have doubts about their qualities and abilities from time to time. Right at this minute, I’m listening to a couple of demos of songs I wrote yesterday – one’s a parody of Mumford and Sons (I tried to sing like Marcus but couldn’t, so I’m singing like Mike Scott instead!), the other a country rock song in the style of Toby Keith – and I’m thinking I sound pretty good! I’ll try recording them again today and post them on my blog while they’re still fresh.

      I love Crowded House – I think when I first heard songs from Woodface, I thought “wow! That’s how I should sound!” A lot my songs are very Finn-ish. I’ll post these too one day…

      Thanks again for taking the time to comment – Gary

  3. I love CH too – Finn being my musical hero, so I look forward to hearning the songs – I also write bad poems on my blog (thats my negative lens) – if there are any fit for music feel free to try! Cheers J

  4. I think Mr Finn is massively underrated as a songwriter. I play the odd gig locally – I’m due to play this Saturday night – and I think I do his songs pretty well, yet I’m not sure whether people wanna hear them. Having said that, I recently decided I’m just going to do the songs that I do well, so they’re gonna hear them anyway! Along with some of my own, and maybe my new Mumford and Sons “tribute”…

    I shall take a look at your “bad poems” (!) when I’ve got time to kill this afternoon – I may see if I can take you up on your kind offer! Tomorrow, I’m gonna post a cover of Four Seasons In One Day, inspired by finding another Crowded House fan!

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