Originally Posted by aydee
Pol, I think some things in this world just aren't fixable or have politically acceptable solutions.
You can't really fix insecurity, lack of maturity, lack of taste, listening skills or the lack of sheer playing skills.
Constant overplaying is a sure sign lack of maturity, listening skills, cluttered playing and sloppiness is lack of musicianship skills.
Sadly, this is my gut feeling. Yet he's so mature in the rest of his life ... his weak listening skills and overplaying are out of character. I think Meg has shown us that lack of playing skills is no barrier to being tight. You just need to know your limitations, but that means acknowledging them first ...
My guess is there's friction between the musical idealism of his youth and his current lack of time for private practice. So he always seems a bit anxious when he plays - trying to do the double somersault with triple pike as he expects of himself, but with nowhere near enough time to practice on what is one of his secondary instruments.
Last Thurs we had an unplugged practice (such a misnomer ... amplified acoustic instruments :) He's sitting near me on a box with castor wheels. His left foot was jiggling on one of the castors making a helluva racket to me, given that I'm playing brushes with just snare, djembe & cymbal. After a while I gently asked him to stop making the noise and he seemed surprised. He was so wound up that his busy mind was blocking his ears.
In another song he was to do a solo following on from another solo. The other player played a different solo to usual because he was on acoustic guitar ... Mr X leaps into his solo totally trampling the ending line of the previous solo - sort of like Bob's tractor.
In another, a highly ethereal tune, he chose a staccato voice which he plays out of time.
Last Thurs I suggested he play a washy, legato sound and he said no, it would be too muddy with the other instruments. This is after I'd sent around a copy of the tune we played a couple of weeks ago while he was on hols, where I dubbed an old ambient piece I did decades ago over the end passage ... and it (flukily) sounded spot on. I didn't say "We should do it like this", which would have been uncool, but "Hey, listen to how this turned out - amazed!" (which I was).
If I was in his shoes I would have gone "Cool! I'm stealing that!".
I have attached the ending of that version plus last week's one - in one 2-minute file - so you can see where I'm coming from (bear in mind that in the 2nd version I was using a 10" djembe as a faux timpani as opposed to my usual 12 x 5" tom haha).
I'm not crazy, am I?? The ambient sound in the first ending is about 100x better than the dinky harpsichord in the second ending, yes???
How do you get someone to listen? Maybe I should periodically send him John Cage compositions?
Will try to arrange band listening sessions for what it's worth. Andy - I'm not inclined to turn my old friend into compost with Bob's instrument of death ... yet :)
Sorry about the long rave but I need some objective ears to say, yes Polly you are not mad and your ears aren't playing tricks on you.
Originally Posted by aydee
Great story about 'overdoing it'...
Halfway through the recording of 'Thriller' the Sony Music execs realized they were sitting on a gold mine and started to ride Quincy Jones about the arrangements.
When one of them asked him why there was " all this empty space" in the opening groove of Billie Jean, Quincy replied " I'm leaving a little room for God" .
How's that for diplomacy?
Haha, nice, but it wouldn't wash in a band full of science-heads! Be nice if we had to ask him to play more notes. Closest we had was in '81 where we had a singer who wouldn't sing up and project, even though she had a fine voice, good pitching and her own special vibe.
Go figure(s) ...