And the beat goes on


Please find the “one”…


Ok, this is a two parter. The band, a couple of weeks ago had a spot at the Overheat club. It was listed as Blues Night Hosted by our band. I did not know what to expect, so I just prepared myself to roll with whatever, stay flexible from moment to moment and just play.

I was told it started at 8:00 I should be there earlier. Ok, i just said, OK not knowing why, just rolling, w/it. I got there just about 7:35. I figured, I do not speak Japanese so all I have to do is be ready to start, no chatter. I was right i got there and sat…finally I asked the Doc. “So what is the story are we going to play at 8:00 start things? Ohh, yeah he said we are the house band for the night. Hmmm ok, I thought, different, whatever. I just went on stage and started setting up. The “new” keyboard player was there, he came up shortly after me. He was quite friendly to me, acting like we were old buddies, I rolled with it, he is a nice guy.

Finally all set, and we play, this was not our regular drummer, he was off, then the Doc was off, he gets off beat anyway. I am thinking, oh snap, where is the “one” beat!? Where are these guys!! At first I thought maybe it is me, and my hearing is flipped out. This happened on a couple of songs, when I listened back to the recording I made, no it was not my hearing, both of them lost the beat. Something I heard from my shakuhachi sensei was, Japanese, have a different sense of timing from westerners. He said the younger generation not so much but the older ones yes. Even I, he said, have trouble with keeping, feeling, Western beats at times. Jazz players do not like to play with me for long. Hmmmm Ok so that may explain things with the Doc and his sense of timing. Tonight was bad though, since both he and the drummer where on different timings. I was following the keyboard player who was on beat, but not strong on the 1. This gave an off-sense to the song from me, playing blues , based on the 1.

Anyway the evening , went on, I ended playing for 3 hrs. People came in an sat-in, Jammed with us on some songs, some songs came out good, ok, and some better forgotten. The evening was long, sort of fun at times, I got paid, (basically train fare) less than when a played last time for 4 songs…I rolled with it.

By the Sea in Kobe

We had a showcase scheduled the night before the Tai Kai at Osaka Castle…
This was something, I really did not want to do from the beginning. The Doc, said he really wanted to play this place. I said do it, you do not need me, you’re the Matsuo Blues Band. This was a club owned by a friend ( again) for the drummer. Ok, I gave in, after some pleas…I did so very reluctantly, the loyalty to the band thing.. This was an almost two our train ride, no money paid out, but we did get something to eat kind of deal. I agreed…reluctantly, as I said. We where to get picked up at the train station by the owner or somebody and taken to the club. This place is on a small man-made island off Kobe city. Another bus or Mono rail ride after the train ride, the car pickup was suppose to be a help.
We arrived at the station, it was a cold night, after the prior nights had been warm. We waited, and looked, and waited. No driver, no pick up. The club was called, the drummer was called, still no drive, he is supposed to be there we are told. After about 30 minutes of waiting we are supposed to be on the other side of the station, to meet up. Somewhere, somebody screwed up. I rolled with it…
the gang
We got there late and got settled a little bit. Said hello to some people we knew. Some of who I like and was surprised to see. Then we are called up. We get organized somewhat one stage. The Doc asks if I am ready, I say no, 30 sec later he starts. From where I am in the corner next to the amps, i join the song the best I can. I am having some technical issues with my cord. It sounds like a short or/ and it is too short for this stage. I roll with it for the song. I ask afterward for a spare cord from the stage person, or somebody. Some guy bring one up, I thank him and plugged in and more to my place at the mike. 
We do a song, it sounds off, like no one could find the one. I thought I noo , not again! It sort of resolved, but to me it sucked, it was hard to hear what was going on, stage sound needed to be adjusted. Next song, ok, let’s do blah blah, I say the name and tell the key. The Doc says, something I say no in “G”. We start, it sounds way off, I wrenched, he changes key, it sounds better but still not the right key. I play on…yup “rolling with it”. It would not have been so bad if he was singing, then I could have just changed, but I was singing, so key changing to where he was not a good move. The audience, still clapped, I was embarrassed. The Doc says, loudly, oh you were playing in G, I was playing in A ( the key I told him it was not it)…
Next song, I took it as mine, it was old enough and slow enough for the guys, so even we could pull them off ok, with no rehearsal. That went well, I put a little extra chi in the vocals to make up for the last couple of songs. That went over well enough to be asked for one more song, now that we were warmed up the owner said. Everyone laughed.
The last songs, I chose more upbeat and funky, the crowd like it and I got some good reactions afterward. Now after much back and forth getting my stuff together off stage it was time for me to head home. We were supposed to get a meal, dinner out of the deal , no way I had time to hang out for that. I had a two hour train ride ahead, which, was catching the last or next to last train running for the night. This currently needed to be caught within the next 45 mi !
A couple whose house we had played at, last year, offered to give me ride. As it turns out I thought we were getting a ride as a band back to the train station… From the owner. Well no! I had to take the Mono-rail, to the train station about a 15 min walk away. Just great I thought, before I got the ride offer.
I couple wanted to finished their food and hear one song from the up coming band, then they were out! Ok, I said , thanks for the offer.
my ride
I made it home in reasonable time, still could get in about 4 hours sleep once I got fully settled in for the night. It was going to be a long day tomorrow at the Tai Kai, but luckily I didn’t have anything to do but hang out an shoot. I already knew my shooting was going to suck, so why worry about only a couple of hours sleep….

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