Shenanigans

We’re backstage, at the start of a show. The Edwin Drood pit orchestra. We’re in a “loft-pit”, as I’ve come to call it…a second story loft that is above the stage area. This pit is not visible to the audience, so shenanigans do occur.

I’m sitting on the floor next to my bass. It’s a two show day, and we’re on show four in three days. My legs are taking a break since I like to stand when I play upright.   They are pretty shot between a new workout routine and the shows.  The bass is ready to go though…in tune, bow is tightened, cables are connected, everything checks out.

I have my stomp pedal Boss tuner in the signal chain.  The music director wants us to tune.  In reality, this is one part actual tuning for folks who are doing it by ear, but it is also part of maintaining an illusion for the audience.  Since I’m ready to go today, I reach over from where I’m sitting on the floor, unmute my bass, and pizz an open A string to maintain the “illusion” for the audience. While the note rings, I reach back to my amp to retrieve a beverage. I kill the note with my foot pedal…and then crack open a Starbucks Refresher. The moment I kill the note times out with everyone’s tuning A falling silent as well. Which is not typical, but it is a two show day…I should have anticipated that.

So, the sound of the can tab cracks open the lid loudly in the void of sound…almost too perfectly, like a commercial. Didn’t plan on the void of silence happening so quickly today post tuning. As a result, more than a few pairs of bemused eyes from my fellow musicians settle on me as a result. I stand up, beverage in hand, and get ready to play.

“What? If you think about it, that really *should* be the sound that follows tuning.” I take a sip from my green coffee as folks chuckle.  No harm, no foul.


Saturday morning before the two Drood shows…..I’m up and teaching. A serious student walks in with a new bass. I see the new hardshell case from my office window as he’s coming up the walk to the studio. it’s going to be a great day.

We’re talking a drop dead gorgeous bass. A new Spector…one of the Helium series basses. I gush…it’s one of those moments akin to bringing a new baby or a pet home. Celebratory cheer is expressed. I try it out. It’s amazing….great tone, great feel…total win all the way around. A bass truly for a lifetime. He expresses that this is his forever bass. He fell in love with my Spector during a bass camp event when I let him borrow it for a class (I had to repair the output jack on his bass, so I let him borrow mine during the time period I was working on his).

He settles in to tune up and get started. I smile with a mix of humor and experience and ask, “So, how long did you hide that from your wife?”

“Two weeks.”

I nodded. “Yup, sounds about right. You have no idea how much gear has gotten hidden here or at student workplaces.”

Thankfully, his wife met the new bass and was completely encouraging and supportive of him to keep it. Not surprised by that piece one bit, knowing her.

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