Who really loses in the end?

As I have stated throughout my writings, I am a musician. I have been aware of this talent since I was 12 years old. I’ve never considered that making music or performing would be a great way to make friends. It actually is, however, my primary mission, or intention, to share my love and respect for music, not just as a form of entertainment, but as a way to educate people. Many times, a book or movie or song may deliver a message to you that never was written into it. You may ‘get’ something out of it that no one else ever will. And many times, the point is completely missed, or you may get a message that was never intended to be delivered to anyone. If I make friends along the way, it’s all good, but it isn’t my motivation.

So, recently, within the last couple of years, I have played music with and helped to start a band. (I’m not naming names.) Things went well. We were composed of a group of core musicians who had worked together before. We had no vocalist. We made the offer of the position to a few people, one of whom just didn’t follow through, and a couple of people who just didn’t fit the bill. It was kind of fun, a little embarrassing in a couple of cases, but we all have to start somewhere. It wasn’t my first rodeo. I’ve been playing music for 40+ years.

So, one person (whom I will refer to as Lady X) made the grade. It was actually Lady X’s first shot at working with accomplished musicians. Lady X’s first band. Lady X fit in well. Sometimes flirty. Lady X did well though.

We all worked together for about six months I think. I wasn’t actually keeping track. There were five of us in the final band. A vocalist, good one too, two guitars, a bassist and me on the buckets, or sticks or skins. Some even call them drums now and then. Anyway, through the six months, we rehearsed, rehearsed and rehearsed. It never really got solid. It was trying at times. Some guys were consistently late, some never did the homework, cigarette breaks after every song. Those got on my nerves. I’m not fond of cigarettes and I have no sympathy for those who use them. Cigarettes are a health hazard, we all know that, and they are annoying. They shouldn’t hinder your productivity or the productivity of other people. Ok, enough.

At one point, we threw a little back yard party for our friends and neighbors. It was fun. It was no Woodstock, but we got to play in front of people. That’s always fun. That’s why I bought a drum kit. Beer, food, etc. No drugs.

Then we got a spot at the benefit for the people who were hit by the run of tornadoes that ran through Alabama and Tennessee in April of 2011. I’m not going to name the place, it just happened and was a good thing to do, the benefit. I’m certain many felt abandoned and the recognition can go a long way to helping lift people’s’ spirits. We also got an open mic slot through this time. It went well. I had to play a broken down kit, but that’s how open mics go. At least for drummers.

At one point, there was a romantic situation budding, and as we all know, don’t sleep with people you work with. I had advised the two against it, but I wasn’t listened to. Hence, I felt much less like an integral part of the band. I saw things differently from that time forward. Eventually, the romance ended, there were tensions arising amongst the two members due to them remaining in the band after the tryst, and I never felt as though I was taken seriously after that time. Well, eventually, I became tired of what all was going on and decided to leave.

There were guys who didn’t do their homework and all of the smoke breaks were very annoying. “Sorry that your cigarette addiction limits your productivity.”

So one day, at the end of a rehearsal, I told them I wasn’t going to continue with this band and I meant it. There was no response. I felt good about that. It told me they all had no intention of changing what they were doing and I knew if they were going to continue with me without abandoning all that was holding us back, there would be more problems. We rehearsed for nearly six months before we even played out. Not because the music was hard, certainly not, but because no one could give 100% to what we were doing. It honestly makes me laugh to look back and realize how extremely unprofessional things were going. Sad indeed. Mainly because I know that we all, yes ALL, could have done better.

Well, I packed my kit and left the next week. The band held together somewhat. The only person who actually stayed in contact with me was Lady X. I felt good about that for a while, but eventually, I started feeling as though I was being followed.

Lady X decided that she was going to be my vocalist in whatever musical situation I decided to involve myself in. At first, I was flattered. It felt good to be admired. After a year, I decided to look a little harder than I had before, for musicians who were a bit more dedicated, she was still staying in contact with me, but not singing for anyone. She also had bailed on the band we were in. I had told her I would get her into whatever gig I could, that I may take, if I could, but no promises and to do some stuff on her own to stay in shape. I honestly had hoped she would move on. As I stated above, “I didn’t start playing music because I needed friends or was lonely.”

Well, at one point not too long ago, Lady X got an invitation from someone she had been jamming with to interview for a vocalist position. She called me with this information. I told her I was very happy for her, and I sincerely was. She told me the person who called her had told her to bring ‘her’ drummer to the interview. I figured why not. I went, we sat around and discussed the same old thing. Drugs, ‘it’s all about the music,’ don’t over play, etc. Things I had learned 30 before, but for some reason seemed to be the first order of business. I didn’t feel all that good with it, but I had no other game going on, so I thought the best of it. I should have just said “No.”

Well, Lady X got the gig, which I was happy about, because A) it took the spotlight off of me, and B) it got Lady X into something she had wanted for a long time. I honestly felt her elation, and I was, indeed, happy for her. Way to go gurl (sic).

She called me and told me she had no way to acquire all of the 40+ tunes she would need to know, or hear, to go the mile. I told her to send me a list “I’ll get you squared away.” She did. I found all of the tunes she needed, burned them to four CDs, labeled them all and met with her to give them to her. It took me all of a rainy day to do this. She was happy, I was happy she was happy. I would have been an ass to refuse to help.

So, a couple of weeks rehearsal and they were doing their first gig. Very good, way to go. Absolutely.

Well, with the impending gig date approaching, Lady X messaged me on Facebook to ask if I was going to come to the gig. I wasn’t really interested, but had thought about it. I told her I wasn’t sure. As it happened, I went to a local show by “Get The Led Out” in Chattanooga. I wanted to do that above a local starting act. Sorry. One time I had tickets to see Led Zeppelin. Their ‘Presence’ tour, 1976, and I wanted to see the show. My car broke down two days before I was to drive the 150 miles to the show. I had to sell the tickets to buy parts to fix my car. No Zep, but I didn’t lose my job, either. Not an easy decision. So when the ‘Get The Led Out’ act showed up, I wasn’t going to miss it. They had great reviews, so I figured I couldn’t lose. And they were amazing.

So, I didn’t go to my friends gig. I went to the ‘GTLO’ show, took photos, not very good ones, but I posted them on Facebook, not thinking twice about it. I am not concerned with what people on Facebook think of me. She railed me for it on Facebook. Called me some names I never thought a ‘God’-fearing “Christian” woman would use because I went to some other place, or gig, or show or whatever. She sent me a long nasty text as well. Not a full deck here. I’m a grown man, try to communicate with me on that level……please? Well, that friendship is gone. I’ll still do things for people, I always have and don’t plan to stop. Sometimes you have to take what comes along and move on. I’d rather not be stalked. What silliness. I’ll take the lumps. No biggy. I also fixed her computer once for free.

Now, what does this have to do with anything? What’s my beef? I could tell you that she was no friend to begin with if she acted that way, but I don’t see things that way. Honestly, I’m not concerned with what she does, and we’ve heard that cliché’ before, too many times.

I will relate this, though.

I have met many people in life who consider themselves to be someone to be admired, but you really have to earn that position to get that gig. Had my friend left things alone, I would have given her an answer. That answer being what I have explained here. My ‘missed the Zep show in 1976,’ because it is the truth.

Here’s the moral.

If you have a friend, and you consider that friend a good enough friend that you follow what they do and hope to do things with them, don’t pressure them. If they are your friend, you don’t need to question that friendship. You just need to be a friend. If you are my friend, do what you like to do. Don’t worry about what I think of what you do. Hell, I’m your friend.

I hope that Lady X someday understands what the truth is and straightens herself out, but until then, I’m where I always am, and someday that failure between us may be healed. I’m not holding my breath, but I certainly hope things heal and mend.

Take life easy, it’s not worth losing a friend over.

Thanks for looking,
Kelly J.


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