A Family Affair
In what was my first live gig in a very high number of years I recruited a couple people to help me. They were, obviously, my children.
It started before I ever hit the stage. One of my twin boys is getting guitar lessons and has to practice tuning up his guitar so he asked to practice on the guitars I re-strung for my weekend gig. So as I worked on one Fender Stratocaster he tuned up the Fender Esprit I had just re-strung and polished. It was tuned to perfection.
When the time came to hit the stage my son was my tech…handing me the myriad of guitars I switched from song to song. When I played Vaughan he handed me the SRV model. When I did Hendrix, my beloved green Strat. He knew their names, watched and listened.
His brother listened from the audience and sang along with songs he knew. Midway through the show I brought their sister up and she played acoustic guitar on an Allman Brothers song we played. It was, after all, a family affair.
While the gig was amazing . . . it wasn’t necessarily the performance – which I absolutely had a blast doing -that was the highest point.
When our keyboard player, an amazing musician in his own right, told me how much fun it was to play together I had a bit of beaming pride.
But the greatest moment was when my son gave us a compliment.
That Allman Brothers song is one of the most complicated pieces we played. It had harmonized guitar lines that along with the acoustic guitar. While I thought we had more than a few hiccups my son ran up next to me as we were loading up our amplifiers and guitars at the end of the night beaming.
“That sounded sooooo cool when you played Jessica,” he shouted. The harmonized lines, the live feel, the melodic tone was enough to have him bursting at the seams. Then to see his sister as part of it I think he began to see just what the possibilities were if you could play guitar with a group of people you admire, sure, but have deep friendship with as well. We didn’t rehearse as much as we should have but our playing was pretty spot-on.
“You guys sounded so good,” said my daughter! As musicians, we tend to see only the flaws and want to improve on them. But sometimes it’s great to hear what others heard . . . the fresh ears that haven’t been there to hear your rehearsals and the clunky notes or broken strings.
But more than that . . . I can’t help but be a little proud that I impressed my kids . . . even the teenage one . . . and showed them that you can still do some pretty cool things, even if you’re a Dad.