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Life on the Road

When I joined Crimson Creatures in 2021, we talked a lot about the music. We talked a lot, full stop. We talked about writing songs, and recording them. Pretty soon we had 12 songs done. We also talked about the possibility of playing the songs live. And, as it became clear that we were able to do the songs justice as a live group, we stepped up the search for a drummer.

We struggled to get the right drummer, but, 8 months later, we finally managed it. After 4 months of rehearsals, we played our first gig, and it was largely a success. I say “largely” as there were some technical problems beyond our control, and some that were down to us. And the audience was small—many people being distracted by the other goings-on at the festival. But the main thing was that we played well.

Crimson Creatures, live in 2023

With another couple of gigs lined up, it seemed it was onwards and upwards. But, with the change of focus to live performance, Ego started to affect the band dynamics, and the ecosystem of the previous 18 months started to unravel.

I’d been quite nervous about playing live. In my last gig (with First Night With the Indians) I was almost 20. I’d had a 38 year hiatus from gigging. But, as I watched the band on before us, I realised I was raring to go. I was buzzing at the end of our set.

This all changed with the 2nd gig. From the outset, my reservations about the venue were realised. For 45 minutes on stage, I had to struggle with feedback, lack of space, and poor sound. On top of this, the Ego was bolder and more vocal with the audience.

We finished the gig with different feelings. Half were pleased, half were disappointed. We’d been building up to this for months. And for what? An audience of maybe 20 people, one of whom was complimentary afterwards. We packed up without much talk that night.

Third time lucky though, eh! I brought along a big group of family and friends to gig number 3. We played our best chops, and the sound was spot on. I relaxed a bit, and enjoyed the intimate atmosphere. Unfortunately, the Ego had fully blossomed by this stage, and the evening was punctuated by a series of annoying incidents.

Fortunately, I’d thoroughly enjoyed myself, and I had lots of friends in the audience to distract me. But, after sleeping on it, I started to see more negatives than positives. Do I really want to be putting this much work into what is effectively just a hobby? Can I really stomach any more of the Ego? Is the audience ever going to match or exceed this, without bringing all my mates? Why does no one else in the band share my concerns?

Of course, it’s always the last straw which breaks the camel’s back. A silly argument about something which shouldn’t reasonably need discussing was the tipping point for me. I’d had enough; I wanted to make it stop. And, all of a sudden, I quit the band.

So, the moral of the tale? You shouldn’t regret decisions to try new things, but be wary of changing circumstances affecting the delicate balance of something as simple as a rock band. And keep talking.

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