… in a band, that is the question: whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous guitarists, unreliable drummers, erratic bass players and prima donna vocalists, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing end them. And play solo.
I better state right now that I’m not referring to anyone in particular in that opening play on Hamlet’s soliloquy, so please do not take offence if you are one of the many guitarists, drummers, bass players and vocalists that I have had the pleasure of playing with over the past few decades. However, if you are one of the few guitarists, drummers, bass players and vocalists I’ve had the displeasure of playing with, take as much offence as you like!
Last weekend I had a couple of gigs: my regular monthly spot in the White Lion, West Kirby, where this month I was accompanied by my good friend, multi-instrumentalist Joe Elephant (AKA Joe “Duke” Ellerington); and a solo acoustic gig at the Hilltop, also in West Kirby (I don’t travel well – or far – as you may well know). The two being just 24 hours apart gave me the opportunity to weigh up the pros and cons of being solo versus being… erm, nonsolo.
Joe is a great bloke, who also happens to be handy on acoustic, electric and bass guitars as well as various bits of percussion. He’s got a great voice, and can harmonize too. In fact, he reminds me a bit of myself… ahem. Except for the percussing – I can barely shake my maracas, let alone anything else. Joe also has his own PA and his own home recording studio. And he can fix things like leads and amps and stuff.
I really couldn’t ask for anything more, could I? Though to be honest, I sometimes find myself wishing that he was more like Kate Bush, around the time of Hounds of Love. Though maybe slightly less nuts. Agreed, Kate is probably rubbish with a soldering iron, but back then she could sing and dance and play the piano, and she looked pretty darned foxy in a leotard. Joe? Leotard? Let’s not go there.
To be continued…