Journal: News & Comment

Sunday, August 22, 2004
# 10:04:00 AM:

Who's that guy again?

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One advantage of being in a band where everyone wears wigs and has a fake British accent is that there's no need for a consistent lineup of musicians: once people are in costume, each is just one of the Neurotics.

In the more than ten years we've been running this band, which has always had at most four members at a show, there have been more than 20 people who have filled those roles. (Three months ago, we actually had two different versions of the Neurotics play on the same night, one in Whistler and one in downtown Vancouver. We split the regular group lineup in two and brought in fill-in musicians for the rest.)

Last night was another example. Friday, while my wife and I were still downtown celebrating our anniversary, I got a call from Sebastien, our guitarist (a.k.a. "Dirty Neurotic"), saying that our agent had a well-paying show for us at a wedding reception on Saturday—the next day. The client had asked for us by name.

After phoning around, we found out that our regular second guitarist (Adam, a.k.a. "Woody") and bass player (Doug, a.k.a. "Swingy") were already doing other shows. Over the next several hours, we rounded up Mark ("Bumpy"), who usually plays guitar and keyboard but who can do bass in a pinch, and Myk, a fine guitarist and singer whom we'd never worked with before. We christened him "Randy Neurotic."

Saturday morning this untested lineup met at Mark's apartment to run through song arrangements for a couple of hours. By 4:00 pm we were setting up gear at the venue, the Eagle Harbour Yacht Club in West Vancouver. By 8:00 we were onstage, and at midnight we'd played three sets of music and had a fine dinner. The celebrants had a great time, and so did we.

However, that kind of instant lineup would have been impossible for us a decade ago. It takes years of experience to be able to pull off a last-minute show, especially when playing some songs several of us had never played together (or, for some of us, even heard of) before. Our playing was sometimes sloppy, but part of putting on a good show is playing through the mistakes so no one in the audience even notices.


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