Many moons ago, Maz and I played in bands together in Toronto. Yes, I am someone who used to be in a band. Two, in fact. Maz stomped into Band One sometime in 1992 (was it?), six foot tall and working-class and way more punk rock than you, thank you very much. Frankly, I thought she was a bit of a prat at first, but in spite of this fact we became close musical collaborators and, eventually, even closer friends.
After Band One imploded – you guessed it: “creative differences” – Maz and I started Band Two, which trundled along quite artily for a couple of years before it too imploded. In retrospect, Band Two was transparently the rebound band: i.e., the band you start immediately after the break-up in order to prove to your ex-bandmates that you’re still brilliant and fabulous and that you really don’t need them anymore and probably never did. Except, of course, you’re still all fucked-up from Band One so you inevitably bring your shit into Band Two. And when Band Two doesn’t work, you give up on music entirely for ten years. Or at least I did.
Bands are eerily like relationships in most respects, except instead of dealing with one person and their various wounds, demons, and idiosyncrasies, you have to deal with three of them, or five, or in Band One’s case, as many as eight. At any given moment, there are multiple relationship partners who are feeling hurt or neglected or jealous; who are competing for power or desperate for understanding; or who need more attention or acknowledgement or space or something they haven’t quite figured out yet. Add to that the anxieties commonly associated with recording and performing and touring and doing all of it on your own, and you come to realize that it’s a small miracle that anyone ever makes any music at all.
Maz, to her credit, became an audio engineer and started still another band, but eventually she gave up on music too and sold off all her gear and moved out to Victoria to try to be a non-musician. But then her guitar started talking to her.
GUITAR: You still love me, you know.
MAZ: No, I don’t.
GUITAR: Oh yes, you do.
MAZ: No, I don’t!
GUITAR: C’mon, you want to play me again, don’t you?
MAZ: No, now fuck off!
GUITAR: I’m even still in tu-une – feel.
MAZ: Oh, God damn it!! (Sighs.) Okay, but just this once. . .
So, Maz is saving up to come back east, and I’m writing again and thinking about sound and the stage, and suddenly it’s ten years ago, only different. Better. Happily, we both realize that we’re too old and too smart to try to start another band, so we’ve agreed to make some Inter-Art instead. No expectations, no committments -- just process and play. And, unlike sex, you can get grants for it.