Experiences with Return to Playing Music in a Band

Discussion in 'Support' started by MikeA, Jul 17, 2016.

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    1. MikeA
      Curious

      MikeA Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1992
      I want to share my experiences over the past year+ playing music with old bandmates. I've been meaning to do this given the abundance of musicians here.

      I've had T for 20+ years. Too many AC/DC concerts and the like. T spiked a bit 3 years ago and is now about a 3-4 on 1-10 in my best estimation. I'm well habituated. Mask when needed.

      About 14 months ago I reconnected with the old cover bandmates from the 80s. We are all in mid to upper 50s in age. Big challenge is that they live 5 hours away, but near my family that I visit fairly often. I'd hardly played guitar over the past 15-20 years, save for myself w/ an acoustic from 2003-2008 when living near a beach.

      Recently we've been practicing together about once every 8-10 weeks and have worked up about 20 cover songs. Classic rock w/ a country flavor: John Mellencamp, Stones, Eagles (sans great harmonies..), Tom Petty, Johnny Cash, etc. Problem is, these guys won't practice at home and seem to have little true interest in playing gigs. Clearly we could have easily played a set of 10-12 songs months ago if everyone did their homework, and someone arranged a gig near where they live. Also, the other guitarist wants us to play several or more of his original songs. Tunes are usually G, C, D w/ nearly identical strumming patterns. I'm not interested and pretty sure the others aren't very much either. Also, I'm singing lead on quite a few songs and he won't learn the needed fills. It's starting to feel like real work; too many mistakes due to lack of true practice, plus the time I spend practicing and the traveling.

      Now for the noise. We play in a small basement. Our sessions run about 3-4 hours at ~90 dB. Of course I wear hearing protection: 30 dB Extreme Isolation Ex-29s. No ill effects so far. In facts sometimes afterward I'll go to see friends that were a major act back in the 1980s (MTV, Letterman, Arsenio Hall, American Music Awards) play reunion gigs.

      Next week we'll gather again, and we are going to each separately do an online poll to rank the songs from 1-10 to see who likes what. Then I'm going to let them know that I'm done with what's often called "practice". If a gig is booked, I'll "rehearse" the set(s) with them. Just plain foolish to endure the noise and hassle just to play. Good news is that between those songs and others I've been practicing at home, I could probably soon do a 3 set gig myself sitting on a stool with an acoustic and a mike. My retirement gig! Or maybe I'll form a band where I live with more serious players. But still, overall, it's great getting back into music, and I'm much better now at fingering and changing chords!
       
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    2. PaulBe

      PaulBe Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Cairns
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably sound, though never proven
      Ahh yes.....bands.
       
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    3. Greg Clarke

      Greg Clarke Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Wicklow, Ireland
      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2006
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma, Live Music
      @MikeA Thanks for sharing that, its always inspirational to hear of others with t still doing what they love
       
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    4. Sam Bridge

      Sam Bridge Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music/gigs probably
      Whats the meaning of this post?
       
    5. PaulBe

      PaulBe Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Cairns
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably sound, though never proven
      The homework...or lack thereof. Lots of wanna-be's want the glory without the work.
       
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    6. MikeA
      Curious

      MikeA Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1992
      In this case, it seems that no one but me wants the glory. Actually, I don't seek glory, just to play in front of anyone but my bandmates. Two are brothers, and the basement is a recording studio. It's convenient for them, and they like music. But just little desire to go out into a club. The other guitarist prefers his originals and just won't learn fills and solos. The last time together he said "I don't bend strings". Cowboy chords only :)

      I did an open mic night recently. Two songs, Eagles "Lyin Eyes" and Mellencamp "Pink Houses". First time performing in front of strangers in about 25 years. About a dozen people, and I heard some singing the chorus to Pink Houses. Felt great.

      How's this? The other guitarist plays frequently with another set of players. Their keyboardist insists they do not leave his home. Great. Show up at my house to jam to weak original songs, with the understanding that it's just a jam session, no more. I don't get it. Perhaps if I did not have T, I could do that. But, man, I just want to hear some applause.

      Here are the songs we've been working on. Thanks for reading!

      Found Out About You - Gin Blossoms
      Downtown Train” - Tom Waits
      Mixed Emotions” - Rolling Stones
      Someday” - Steve Earle
      Ticket to Ride” - Beatles
      Runaway Train” - Soul Asylum
      Lyin Eyes” - Eagles
      Scarecrow” - John Mellencamp
      Dead Flowers” - Rolling Stones
      You Wreck Me” - Tom Petty
      Beer Drinkers &Hell Raisers” - ZZ Top
      One” - U2
      Pink Houses” - John Mellencamp
      Wild Horses” - Rolling Stones
      Norwegian Wood” - Beatles
      I Fought the Law” - Bobby Fuller
      Solitary Man” - Neil Diamond
      Peaceful Easy Feeling” - Eagles
      Lonely Old Night” - John Mellencamp
       
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    7. PaulBe

      PaulBe Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Cairns
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably sound, though never proven
      I'll join you when you tour Australia MikeA. I'm a keyboard player, and I know nearly all those songs.
       
    8. MikeA
      Curious

      MikeA Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1992
      Great. Thanks for the offer @PaulBe . But I think we should modify the set list to include more songs where you can show your stuff. Like the Black Crowes, Allman Brothers, etc...
       
    9. Sebastians

      Sebastians Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      13/10/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Guitars, loud girls and guns
      Yeah, been in a couple of bands with guys like that. Usually their behaviour in a band setting is very congruent with their a-hole personality in other social settings. Don't waste your time with such people
       
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    10. David Whitehouse

      David Whitehouse Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2015
      Hey MikeA....I find that even on the day of a gig when my head is on fire, playing with the band (70's Rock, nothing newer than 79..Band rule) actually makes me feel better! The next day I actually find relief from playing the night before and would feel like a million bucks if not for going to bed at 5:00 am...And I hear you about commitment. I played (hired gun guitar player) with a terrific song writer and the band expanded from six down to three semi acoustic, three vocal arrangement because the keyboard player and the bass player had zero retention and did not do anything to remedy it...At 54, you play me a song I have never heard before and I am playing along second time around ( string bending included, no extra charge). And so goes it.... I am sure we all would agree that happy positive moments in our lives do provide relief. I rarely notice my tinnitus before its time to get on stage. Setup? That can be stressful...
       
    11. PaulBe

      PaulBe Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Cairns
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably sound, though never proven
      Yes. Allman Brothers. Lots of that.
       
    12. PaulBe

      PaulBe Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Cairns
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably sound, though never proven
      That's me too. Age and all.
       
    13. MikeA
      Curious

      MikeA Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1992
      In this case, he's generally a really nice guy. Before I caught up with the drummer and bass player and we reformed the band, he and I had seen each other several times a year, played racquetball, and generally get along very well. He has a very active social life with wife and grown kids, and he also plays music, mostly originals, with at least one other band. His lead guitar skills aren't very strong either. Not that I'm pleased, but I see where he's coming from. So several months ago I suggested to all that we add a lead guitarist. make it a 3 guitar band. I'd be happy to drop my guitar for several songs and just sing. But we all know that bringing in another guitarist takes commitment and dedication. No one else wants to go there. We're all friends, and I know they understand when I say "hey, let's s&$t or get off the pot. Fish or cut bait..."

      I've been using free software called Audacity to do multi track recording. The others have expressed interest. It may be that we stop fooling ourselves that we'll play gigs and I'll show them how to do recordings. Then I'll transition to working solo on acoustic songs, and go from there. But if someone wants to arrange a gig in a club, we can rehearse a set and play.
       
    14. MikeA
      Curious

      MikeA Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1992
      Good points. The important thing, to me, is that everyone stays friends. I feel everyone should be candid about expectations and the level of commitment they can give. I'm brutally honest, to a fault. I assume most musicians are loath to say, "I'm not doing homework". But two of them have! Yet they agree to "practice", but that's because it's convenient for them, at least for the two brothers who live close together. The biggest challenges are with me: I have T and I live 5 hours away. The solution, to me, if I want to be in a band, is to seek out musicians in my local area who understand fully what works for me. And that is 1) agree to a list of songs, practice on ones own time, and then come together to rehearse the set(s) prior to a gig. And of course, this approach is not uncommon at all. That's what serious musicians do. And 2), bandmates should be sensitive if someone has T and says "hey guys, can we turn it down a bit?" I don't know if that flys well with most other musicians. But I do know that the current bass player's volume seems to correlate with number of beers consumed...
       
    15. MikeA
      Curious

      MikeA Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1992
      An update.
      Lately I've been spending more time working on arrangements that I do solo on acoustic guitar. Still may do something with the band, but only if a gig is booked. No more loud mistake-filled practices given the marginal commitment. I'm going to do some open mic nights and look for any opportunities to play a few sets myself. I'm managing my T well lately and feel confident that places I'll play will not be too loud, and ear plugs are always close by.
      Here's my 3 sets:
      Pink Houses” - John Mellencamp
      Lyin Eyes” - Eagles
      Sunday Morning Coming Down” - Johnny Cash
      Last Kiss” - Pearl Jam
      "Brown Eyed Girl" – Van Morrison

      Mother” - Pink Floyd
      Dead Flowers” - Rolling Stones
      Push” - Matchbox Twenty
      Runaway Train” - Soul Asylum
      Peaceful Easy Feeling” - Eagles
      -------------

      I'm a Loser” - Beatles
      Black” - Pearl Jam
      Lola” - Kinks
      Take It Easy” - Eagles
      Lonely Old Night” - John Mellencamp
      3 AM” - Matchbox Twenty
      Wish You Were Here” - Pink Floyd
      Lightning Crashes” - Live
      I Am The Highway” - Audioslave
      Plush” - Stone Temple Pilots
      ---------------

      Only The Good Die Young” - Billy Joel
      Wild Horses” - Rolling Stones
      Rock Star” - Nickelback
      Maggie May” - Rod Stewart
      One” - U2
      Scarecrow” - John Mellencamp
      You Wreck Me” - Tom Petty
      Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” - Green Day
      Who'll Stop The Rain” - CCR
      Losing My Religion” - REM
       
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    16. Nati
      Alienated

      Nati Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      November 2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      who knows...
      Good for you mate! It took me a while but I returned after 8 month since T started to jam with my friends, bought custom made ear plugs and felt ready. After playing every other week or so for a few month I felt like my H is completely gone and my life is coming back to normal!! then I did a terrible mistake and got curried away one jam and didn't wore my ear plugs for the first 15 minutes.. ahhh I'm such an idiot, got the whole shabeng again.. doll hearing and screaming T!!
      Everything came back to normal shortly after.. I've even stayed and finished the jam with ear plugs, lol true warrior. Anyway it's better now but I'm sure I've expanded my hearing damage to some degree though I dont know for sure. The worse thing is that after getting so much better I returned emotionally to the beginning, not as a rookie but still... H, OCD Depression.. couldn't stop checking my hearing and T all the time! which obviously made it way worse.. fact is that there might not be new damage at all And it's all a reaction of deep anxiety from that stupid mistake. I'm thinking of getting another hearing test although what's the point really..
      Anyway what I wanted to say is keep on playing, but never let your guard down! if your doing somthing that makes you feel better don't stop because It works.. my friend described it in a nice way, Rock n roll goes on, but quieter :)
       
    17. MikeA
      Curious

      MikeA Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1992
      I agree @Nati
      We live and learn. I bet you'll be fine if you take it easy for a few weeks. Emotional upset is indeed an aggravating factor for T.
       
    18. MikeA
      Curious

      MikeA Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1992
      Another update. See above posts for context.

      On Sunday we played 3 songs at an open mic. I guess I'm feeling pretty good about my T. The night before I saw other friends play a reunion show. At the side of the stage it's about 95 dB for 1.5 hours, and I use Mack's ear plugs which are rated at 22 dB.

      As for the 4 of us, it is telling that in rehearsing before playing, the others could not recall (or never properly learned) parts of the arrangement and chords on songs we've played many, many times before. They said I was wrong several times. Turns out I was right. You see, I've been practicing my butt off. I could play those songs standing on my head. Chords, arrangements, song start and end. Tight. The others can't be bothered to practice at home. They view the rehearsal space as the place to learn arrangements and their parts. I favor the conventional view that musicians practice at home, and then come to rehearsal knowing the songs well. So we had to run through each song around 5 times. It would have been just as effective for them to play along to the recording several times while I sat in another room, away from the loud 100 dB noise. Goes without saying that my concerns about 'practicing' too loud are being ignored. If everyone would make a modest commitment, we could rehearse 10-12 songs once or twice each instead of 3 songs 5 times each.

      It was fortunate for all that we took the time. They were unprepared. I'm now looking forward to playing more open mic nights as solo acoustic. I've recently added “Champagne Supernova” - Oasis to my solo acoustic set list posted in my earlier post. In time, a full night. Or I might form a band, where I call the shots. When you're the lead singer, and committed to being well prepared, having to follow instructions from an unprepared rhythm section is unacceptable.
       
    19. Jomo

      Jomo Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      9/4/16
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      going for a rim shot on the snare drum.
      cool stuff..as a drummer i hope to one day be able to get back to it.
       
    20. MikeA
      Curious

      MikeA Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1992
      That's great. I'd say take a break for a while if that feels right, and work back in slowly as you gain confidence. I understand that with hearing protection many musicians do fine. I love the idea of playing BEHIND the P.A. speakers, after many years of standing in front of them!
       

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