I'm in the band, but I'm not drunk!
Updated: Mar 9
SO....I was the lead female vocalist of a classic rock cover band back in the day. I had answered a Craigslist ad, went to the audition & swiftly got the job. In fact, the lead guitarist was my parent's neighbor. Small world, huh?
We performed mostly at dive bars in the South Bay, but we did a day show at a golf course, which was such a fresh change from what could be a seedy audience at the late shows. I even convinced my bandmates to do an acoustic version of "Landslide" by Fleetwood Mac for that day show -- the audience enjoyed it so much, they asked us to play it twice! Our set list typically included songs by The Doobie Brothers, Pat Benatar & Heart amongst others.
Being in a band taught me a lot. I purchased my first on stage mic and mic stand, learned how to take proper care of my voice, warm up effectively & practice my musicianship. For the first time in my life, I was part of a group of like-minded individuals all chasing the same goal in music & I saw them as mentors.
One problem. The male lead vocalist enjoyed alcohol way too much -- pretty sure he was an alcoholic. Having a beer in between songs or after the show is one thing. This guy would get tripping-over-himself drunk during the show. He had a wireless mic & would leave the stage, walk over to the bar & order himself another drink in the middle of a song! He'd slur the lyrics or forget them altogether. Now let's be clear here, I'm all about having a good time when performing, but I'm also about being professional & coherently aware to which this guy definitely wasn't.
When you're in a band, you're a team. You've gotta leave the ego at home & recognize that everyone has a part to play & actions good or bad, reflect back on the group as a whole. This guy didn't get the memo or didn't care. Either way, his behavior was a pattern & once I realized that, I had to call it quits.
It was disappointing because I always knew I wanted to be on the road with a band & the positive aspects of my short-lived experience confirmed it. But at the end of the day, I'm thankful I didn't have a top notch experience w/that band because it forced me to grow musically on my own.
If the opportunity comes up to join a band, go see them live, talk w/each band member separately, grab coffee or lunch w/everyone.....gain as much information before making the decision. And if you do end up deciding for whatever reason, that it's time to throw in the towel, give them ample heads up. No regrets, right? Because even if it's not a stellar experience, it's one you can learn from. Cliché to say, but true.