I had a rehearsal last night with Paul Eccentric's band for the Rrrants Christmas Special in December.
This was a real education because I had to communicate all sorts of stuff about my songs via Paul to a whole band: Mp3s, parts written out, chords, lyrics, and all at speed because of the huge teaching mountain that is casting its shadow even at breakfast time.
The rehearsal space was just off the M25 in a converted stable, and they were all set up and ready to go when I got there: drums, double bass, keyboards, trumpet, sax and two vocalists. We worked hard, abandoning Memento Mori, which, it became apparent, is really only suitable for solo performance. But I had a chance to share out lead vocal lines, and On New Year's Eve is going to work really well as a band song, even though by then some of us were literally propping ourselves up on the walls with tiredness.
Paul realised halfway through, after a call from his partner, that he had left our mid-match snacks on the cooker at home and had practically set the kitchen on fire. Oops!
There were some lovely musical moments- it's great to work with other vocalists (in fact the Desperado Housewives have started to work with harmony now too), I was able to punt a nice sax and trumpet harmony, there was some beautiful double bass playing, and I left knackered and happy.
It does feel a bit like touring with The Chefs or Helen and the Horns- I am just about to pick Martin up from Luton to take him to the Half Moon in Putney, where the Daintees are playing tonight. I shall play a few songs as well, before taking Martin and their bass player Lou to back to their hotel in Enfield after the gig, then up at 6.30 tomorrow for a day's teaching. I have spent the morning writing Friday's lecture and buying leads for the P.A. for Monty's 50th Birthday Gig which I am doing on Saturday.
I have what I used to think of as 'tired bones'- I wake up in the morning already tired, and follow a plan of what I have to do as though I have been told to do it by an invisible Sergeant-Major, focusing on each detail of the day as though it was the only thing I had to do.
At odd moments, I imagine my life as an illustrator and musician, creating things instead of managing them.
On the plus side, I have become adept at realising when people are just about to snatch the credit for something from under my nose, and I am becoming fierce about defending the effort I have taken to make things work.
I suppose you could say that I'm toughening up, and I may surprise a few steamrollin' personalities over the next few weeks!