It all began with a bass solo.
We had been touring around the galaxy, with great success, for about a year. Everyone was having a great time. We were almost down to our last gig.
Then, came the idea that would ensure our demise…
Jerry, our bassist, had been wanting to do a solo for some time now. It was a modest enough request. Everyone else in the band had gotten one. We’d even invited one of our fans to come up and sing a verse or two. So, it was only fair that he get his fifteen bars of fame.
The only problem with his request was simply this: Jerry, as I’ve mentioned before, played bass, and the bass never, ever is supposed to have a solo. This rule is practically inscribed in the laws of gig-dom. However, Jerry was very insistent, and I have to give it to the guy: no matter how many times I shot down the idea, he kept on asking. Eventually, I caved in, which seemed like a noble thing to do at the time, but was actually a momentary lapse of judgement underscored by Biblical-level weeping and gnashing of teeth.
On our last gig, I let Jerry have his solo. Needless to say, it did not go well. At first, the audience grew quiet. Maybe, they figured, the song was over, and the bassist had just forgotten his cue, but that opinion subsided as the bassist continued. Confusion turned to horror as Jerry ran up and down the fretboard with the giddiness of a kid in a candy store. I have to admit, it was a pretty sweet solo. If it had been done on a guitar or piano or mandolin or fiddle, even a zither, the audience would have gone wild over it. Instead, there was only judgmental silence.
By the time Jerry finished, the entire amphitheater was glaring mercilessly back at us. We tried to win them back by pressing forward, but they just turned around and left. I have never seen a venue clear out so quickly. Worse yet, there was nothing I could do about it. Our next song only became exit music to the disillusioned masses.
When the dust cleared, all that remained were a few diehard fans in row 17 who devotedly applauded the solo. (Jerry admitted later than even those poor people were relatives of his.)
The ensuing media fallout was bad, really bad. Within a week’s time we went from being at the top of the charts to being virtual pariah. Our tour locations cancelled on us. The only places that would take us in were art houses and coffee shops, places where they talked about music like it were a fine wine or an aged cheese. I’m sorry, but if “notes” refers to anything but those that are found on the musical staff, count me out. Of course, we took a couple of these gigs out of pure necessity, I mean, we all gotta eat, but it soon became apparent to me that these venues were neither true to the spirit of the band, nor were they remotely able to handle the true problem that we, thanks to this sick twist of fate, found ourselves in.
I may have borrowed money- lots of money- to get the band going. (The other band members don’t know this, but it is still sadly and irrevocably true.) Nothing comes from nothing, and artists are not known for their great wealth. So, I had to hit up the only source of funds crazy enough to sponsor our kind of people: the mob. Of course, they do not refer themselves as the mob. “A helpful, but assertive friend,” would be their preferred way of referring to themselves. That’s the Maestro Clan for you: always willing to give, and just as willing to take back. With interest. When I found myself without the funds to repay them, they knew, and quickly.
So, we hightailed it out of known space, hoping to lose them, and that is where we, as a band, find ourselves now.
If this open letter finds you well, and touches a sweet, sensitive note on your heartstrings, give us a call. We would love your patronage and your support.
Stephan Gear, lead singer of Ezekiel’s Flight