Thursday, May 7, 2009


Over the weekend, I received an uncharacteristic phone call from the other guitarist in Cache. The night before, we had played at a private party, the very first time in front of anybody, and though it was hard to hear, lacking all the right equipment, I was pleased and excited with the blends and the confidence that grew with every song.

But there was a clue in his message, a phrase about hearts and minds, that tipped me off, so it was no surprise the next day to get a follow-up message that I had been voted out of the band. My initial reaction was a bit of a snivelly little boy whine (“…they don’t like me, boo hoo”), followed by a defensive snort (“…well, I’ll show them!”).

The truth, I told my son a few minutes later as we fiddled around with instruments in a music store, is very understandable and should be expected. If it is so difficult and takes such time, effort, risk and patience to find a girlfriend, multiply that by four and remember that everyone has to get along with everyone else.

Each member of Cache contacted me individually to express their respect and support for my music. Their insistence that I should be pursuing my songs whole-heartedly without distraction removed much of the sting. They felt I would do better staying focused and not side-tracked trying to accommodate the taste and directions of others.


It was a curious burst of emotion to absorb, especially on my birthday and combined with a similar heart throb that stole my breath for a little in the afternoon. Each event, however, was so full of appreciation and the promise of wonderful, exciting and ever unfolding adventure, like getting comfortable with not seeing any whale spouts, I found the joy in the day and reveled in the sunshine and companionship that was right in front of me, enjoying the best birthday ever.

Sharpened and inspired, the next morning I immediately placed an ad and scoured Craig's List for potential matches. Like the search for a date, I looked at bios and pictures, listened to voices, wondering how that keyboard might sound, judging this style too punkish for me, that finger too fast and wiggly.

Quickly, I received a message back from a young drummer who was very enthusiastic about the sound, my sound, and had some impressive local credentials, having already played with people more known than little old me. Emails turned into phone calls, and his excitement hurdled my concerns over his age and maturity.

On the way to the audtion in his home, I still had low expectations because he is just graduating high school, after all, and getting a driving lesson from his mom. Into the first song, however, it was clear that he paid a lot more attention to his drums than a car. By the third song, I was amazed by his ability to read my body language and change the beat as the song stopped short or raced ahead. By the sixth, we were rocking like we had played music together for months, his flourishes and rolls perfect on the crescendos and backed off on the verses.

Two hours flew by faster than most fifteen minutes. In the same way I might peek in and introduce myself to a new friend of my own son, his mother came down to say she liked the music, and was relieved, I imagine, to see the kind of man who might soon be taking her son to dark (and no longer smokey!) bars.
Other drummers, I know, are available, but my intuition tells me Ian is worth the risk. So the landscape of my musical avenue has changed as radically as the highways we traveled last week in Oregon, my vision turned sideways and re-routed, but more focused and immediately achieving a more stimulating result.

Likewise, by having the intuition to trust me so quickly to frame her paintings, a marvelous woman has also contributed to this lesson that the ones who do actually reveal themselves are able to honor, support and hold precious, with leviathan strength, our creative journeys no matter how young, or beautifully petite, these whales may appear.
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1 comment:

Hayden Tompkins said...

"so it was no surprise the next day to get the message that I had been voted out of the band"

Band chemistry is so delicate, and even people who have known each other for many years don't often get it rights. I do like that they were upfront instead of keeping it to themselves which would only allow things to get emotionally intolerable instead of being able to let you leave in such a loving and supportive way.

I'm sorry, Kip, I know how much that can wound the heart. But I will say that your path has been taking you in better and better places.