This post will be in the spirit of artistic therapy via the medium of mass brain data dump.
Debuting a composition is always scary. Seldom does it just flow out nicely first time around, even if it’s been aired to the rehearsal room walls a dozen times in the preceding week. That moment of first presentation always instills within me a sharp sense of panic; it’s the Juggling Effect.
The Juggling Effect: You rehearse a trick meticulously until it’s perfect. You perform the trick. You drop all the balls.
On this night I managed to hold all the balls. Playing Clock Handshake, something unexpected occurred in the old psychological realm, just prior to the third verse. I began to question the worth of the composition. I bottled out, hastily recompiliing the only loosely-defined structure of the back-end of the number, so as to end it with minimum fuss. I am calling it the Third Verse Crash.
Lucidity Indicator, in the second half, went the same way. This was a more severe tumble, during a tune which had been aired once before, in which the whole song suddenly seemed worthless. Even worse than worthless – kitsch; pretentious, forced and over-decorated. A collage of too many intricacies that just looks uniform and bland. Empty. I literally hated the song in that instant. Is that the power of Third Verse Crash? I mean, I had spent many hours lovingly crafting this one, during which times I felt it meant something.
Definitely a confidence thing. I was removing the word ‘I’ from the lyrics where possible, worrying that the song appeared too self-centred. I had revealed too much.
I didn’t sleep well. I resolved to take some positives. At least I had debuted, and pushed myself. I had felt like I couldn’t go on, like I would forget the middle eight when it came, but I had carried on and my fingers and vocal chords had found it. I had held the balls. Perhaps I had even thrown them well.
How to solve the Crash? Is it a problem of structure? I get bored repeating myself; I can’t write choruses. I have always held in high regard my mate Chris Lynn’s principle that as a musician, you have to be comfortable repeating yourself. I know I am not comfortable. Is that because I dislike repetition, or is the discomfort elsewhere? I have been flirting mentally again with the ‘I’m not a natural performer’ train that leads to jacking it all in. I am absolutely not going there again. I have worked hard to get back to enjoying doing this. There must be a solution.
Maybe Lucidity Indicator doesn’t need a third verse, or that elusive bridge that finds it nicely. Perhaps the whole tune can just be sliced in half, curtailed abruptly after chorus one, when all the useful prose has been spouted. And of course, no one’s obliged to perform every song they’ve created.
Accepting the compering duties at next week’s meeting was the evening’s best move. I am looking forward to it!