Tuesday, January 18, 2005

The Full Story

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.


Anonymous said...

I should sue you for pulling one of the oldest tricks in the marketing book: bait and switch. :P

Anonymous said...

Well being in a band is nearly as good as getting laid, because it means that you'll get laid all the time, you know, nerdy lanky boys who like to get beaten up by mean women.
it will be beautiful

Vila H. said...

Yes, I'm well-acqainted with the type. Remind me to tell you about Dave from Detroit sometime...

Anonymous said...

From Comments section of mazfusion Live Journal:

I thought I could come out here and hide from being a musician... start working normal jobs, ya know like it was just a phase in my 20's or something, at first realising you're prolly a Lifer sucks Arse, but in a funny kind of way it's also very freeing, kinda like getting the sure fire knowledge that you'll always live in poverty no matter how hard you try to make cash, would almost be as good as having loadsa money... because you can just stop trying to resist it. Now I don't have to be a Lawyer, or an Office Manager or some other type of acceptable "career" success. I can finally just be a weird chick who does music, and stop apologising for that, or trying to change that, or trying to life a "normal" life.
Anyway.. I ramble...
Vila H. is my old homegirl from Band One 1988-94(as far as I know the worlds first all female industrial band) and then Band Two 1995-96(a Post Industrial Cabaret... or something) God we were sooo pretentious in the mid 90's hahaha. This time around we've decided we're gonna be pretentious on PURPOSE, and try and invent some kind of "High (f)Art" word/sound performance collage that will get us some Government Grants n shit. *giggle* This should be fun. Yes *fun* what a novel concept.

Vila H. said...

Actually, Band One was 1987-94. My God, we're old!

Anonymous said...

old.. but cool as hell. Can you imagine.. one day.. I'm gonna be a 65 year old retired (female) sound engineer/ experimantal guitarist... and you can be a retired Academic/ almost Musicologist/ contemporary writer/ spoken word artist?

I could Volunteer at my local seniors community centre and work the sound board... this.. has never happened before in human history.