I’ve almost come to the end of bassist Victor L. Wooten’s ‘The Music lesson’. Music, finally, is a a universal power and force, a feminine entity or spirit, that never leaves us, but we leave her.
The spiritual principles in this book delve very closely into new-ageism, and I see nothing wrong with that. It appears to me that Music as is conveyed by Wooten’s book comes exceedingly close to the other, more generic, concepts of ‘God’, or ‘Life’, ie, the unlimited presence of stillness, love and peace. Reading this book makes me realise how close Music is to me, and more importantly my relationship with Her. Moreso, it shows up the grey areas, the areas of negativity that serve to push Her away from me. And believe me, I have a few of those blotches appearing ad Infiniti in my psyche. Music is so dear, so close to me, that the spirit of Her is equivalent to the spirit of ‘life’ or ‘being’ as it were. Therefore I feel I can gauge my strengths and negativities in my relationship with Music. Music brings out the best in me, and the worst in me, so that is always a good place to go hunting for my own cellar-locked gremlins.
I don’t have to look far. Just the other night I went down to the Vanguard to watch a group of singer-songwriters strut their stuff for 30 minutes each on that lovely velvet stage, and they were all excellent. The sound was awesome, too. One of the performers even offered free CDs to all patrons, so Sarah & I obliged on that, obtaining copies for ourselves at the front bar.
Sarah got Tim to sign her CD. So did I. I went first and Tim signed a heart for me, after having forgotten my name and having to ask for it. I felt a little non-plussed about the whole thing, like who is this guy? Perhaps even a little patronised. And yet I know that I felt a little humoured by the whole situation so that in a way, I was posturing. The shit really hit the fan when Sarah had her CD signed with Tim writing and telling her with gushing, quivering lips how honoured he was that someone so talented would like his music. I was fuming. I wanted to lash the guy to shreds with my tongue. It almost happened but luckily I let my words trail and nothing nasty was said. In hindsight I was thinking of all the things I could have said, like "ZaraMeow has chosen one person to collaborate with and one person only, and that someone is Me!", or, "Zara has absolute respect for my talent just as I do hers!" Silly, really. I wanted him to have seen me wipe the fucking floor of the Parade 4 nights previously to a packed house. I really wanted attention, or moreover, my imagined idea of respect. I was actually paying respect to my wretched emotionality, not life or love, or Music. Besides, Zara is brilliant and it's very pleasing to me that he respects her talent.
I calmed down later. Tim is very actually good and so is his songwriting and CD. He's really a decent guy. It's just something in me that makes me feel hostile towards men sometimes. Rarely, thankfully. Crazily I want guys to show me some respect - always in the music scene, rarely anywhere else - and if they don't show me that imagined respect I find I have it in for them. I emailed him the next day and pasted a review I did of him at a previous gig that had just been published in the latest monthly song-rag. I told him I wasn't pleased with his cool reception of me when I asked for a CD. He replied and told me he was so thankful for the review and that he's terrible with names and that the heart was a quirky demonstration of his sense of humour, and that he's so thankful for me taking the CD and he hopes I like it. I do Tim, I do.
I spread myself a bit too thinly. I try and be a singer-songwriter, and with that, a keyboards player and bass-player, and a song-coverer. And to top it off now I want to do a lot more narrative writing and improve that particular craft. It's all a bit too much to juggle really. Most of the good singer-songwriters in the scene are predominately "singer-songwriters" who play guitar and perhaps know a few covers as well. It makes me wonder why I bother with learning Bach preludes when I should be working on a craft that's made starkly public to others who are doing the same. People just do what they do and who am I to tell them otherwise? Part me wants my comrades to know that I play classical music and learn a lot about contemporary music through this medium, that I can play a large chunk of Eva Cassidy's repertoire, that I play fairly sophisticated bass. That I spent years playing rock/blues piano in bands. Why why why??? Music is such a passion to me and yet it's also a source of frustration too.
I have revealed the worst about myself, yes. And last night in a most driven state of mind I drove myself out to Newtown and crashed a gig and performed to a small audience towards the end of the night. I decided to smooth out the songs a little and pull back the rough edges when playing them. I also decided to stand, wear a hat, talk in between songs and look people in the eye during performing, ie, perform with a little more aplomb and self-assuredness. And golly it worked; I really enjoyed the set and I played and I performed with a lot more grace and natural confidence than ever before. I decided to feel the songs and enjoy their spirit as I played them, that is, I let Music in and flow through me. Yes I'm a competitive bugger and I want to be the best - and I want others to know it too. But I equally realise that to do that is not solely an act of will-power. More importantly, to be the "best" involves grace, calmness, and a giving-outness of me, of who I am, through my songs, my Music.
It's all fucking silly really, this ego stuff. If I could let that go - and I can drop that like a hat anytime (most of the time it's on the floor anyway) - I'd be spiritually enlightened by now. The ego-stuff is only a very small part of who I am, thankfully.
Tuesday night at the Vanguard was excellent. I enjoyed Music through receiving her through five different vessels throughout the course of the night. To receive, to give, receive. But most importantly, to Give.