I may just be speaking for myself here, but I think there is a point in most people’s life where they think they are going to be a rock star. And it seems that they have no solid plan to help make it a reality, but they do know it will definitely happen.
Perhaps they’ll be at an REM gig and the news filters through that Peter Buck has been arrested on a plane and so, obviously, you are picked from the massive crowd to go up there and do the job. You don’t know the chords but that’s not a worry, because it’s moments like this that address your inner most rock star. And people will love it. Perhaps you they’ll be heard whistling on a subway train and be asked to appear on the new Travis album. Or, perhaps, you would meet Radiohead in a pub by chance after a train delay (because they’re good guys that care about the planet and still travel by train) and you manage to convince them that they should go in a new direction- a direction with you as the lead singer and of course, people will love it.
Maybe it will happen another way but it is, none the less, definitely going to happen.
Well, it must happen that way for some people or how else can anyone possibly explain Bono?
My friend Iain told me that he used to get the same vision of himself at football games; the star striker would get injured in the pre match warm up and so he would be plucked from the stands, play a blinder and become an instant hero to over 50,000 people.
While I was waiting for my inevitable moment, where the universe would allow to release my rockstar status, I decided to get myself a little insurance plan- some friends and I formed a band. An actual band. With actual songs and actual gigs and everything. It was great, we were doing it. I had one up on Iain. While he sat in the stands, I was proactive and I was making it happen.
We had such a laugh- from the joy of discovering that we actually had some great songs, to the agonising and beautiful process of trying to come up with a name (why there is not a band called Cheese and Coffees, I’ll never know) right through to playing the Barras and the QMU and hearing our tune on the radio. We were young, we felt invincible and we were definitely going to make it.
The only slight blur on this perfect vision was one small, yet significant detail. I couldn’t play any music. Nothing. I couldn’t read it, I had no natural ear and I struggled with basic rhythm. Solution- I would play bass! I would turn my amp down and dance like I was on the Pyramid stage. Rock and fuckin roll!
That only lasts for so long though. Clearly in over my head, I found myself, more often than not, playing the chords to verse during the chorus and sometimes the chords for the completely wrong song. I was turning my amp further and further toward zero and I was no longer dancing.
In the world of football, I’d have been put on the bench years ago and quickly transfered to a lower league team. In music, there is no bench, there’s no transfer market. The other guys are your mates and it’s a heartening moment when you realise that you are holding something back, more so when it’s your friends.
The reality is Iain would miss passes made for him, be caught out of position and miss any chance in front of goal just as I would sing out of tune along to the songs at the back of the stage. The difference is that I’m pretty sure Iain knows this. This is why he pays his money and sits in the stand.
That’s what fan’s do. They watch and appreciate the art or craft that you’re watching, wether it’s music or football or anything else. You might imagine what it would take to be up there, fancy it even, try it for a while but if you’re just a fan, you can get in the way of the thing you love. It dawned on me that I was stood on the wrong side of the stage.
The other guys in the band had been practicing, inventing and creating some pretty awesome stuff, whereas I was just fantasising. They were extremely generous with their time and patience and never made me feel bad for the fact that I had the musical talents of a bottle of Domestos.
I discovered that some dreams are best left as dreams. However, you can sometimes have one hell of a laugh whilst failing bring a dream to life.
Tonight, it will give me a great sense of pride to be part of the crowd at Mono as the new version of my old band release into the world there first recording since I left and I can’t wait to hear what it sounds like with an actual bass player. Most importantly I can’t wait to hear what it sounds like from the other side of the stage, from the crowd, where I belong, with the other fans.
I do still whistle on the subway though… just in case.
The Courier’s Club’s EP sounds great and you can get it here, I think you’ll agree they found themselves a great bass player. Thanks for the memories guys, all the best and remember to put me on the guest list when you play the Pyramid stage one day.