There are certain things in life you can do without. Like a phaser. I like phasers. But if it came down to it, I could get rid of it and make due. But there are other certain things that you just can’t negotiate against; and some of them I’m learning about just recently…like…this weekend. Here’s the ones off of the top of my head:

  • Rhythm. Tempo is like, the most important factor ever and very few musicians seem to care. Without tempo, every time one person in the band does anything other than ‘block measure playing’, the tightness dies. Sometimes it’s murdered. Brutally.
  • Celestion Alnico Blue or some sort of Blue speaker. If you have an EL84-based amp, then your answer to the question, ‘Should I get a Blue?’ is ‘Yes.’ Not should be ‘Yes.’ No. The answer just plain is ‘Yes.’ 
  • Moby
  • A fresh battery in your acoustic guitar. (I hate the word ‘fresh’. It’s just so gross and pseudo-happy sounding. It’s like ‘slice’ and ‘treat’. Ech. Disgusting. I seriously feel like I need to shower right now. But I didn’t know what other word to use.)
  • Irish flutes. You should definitely use an Irish flute whenever possible. At least those are the words I live by.
  • A solid bass player. Makes everything else in the band ‘fit.’
  • A tuner. The ‘I tune by ear’ excuse is really not holding water as I listen back to the recording of the service. ;)
  • Delay. I’ve rigged my amp not to turn on unless it senses a delayed signal in the signal path. Not really.
  • Love. I didn’t run into a single perfect person, instance, sound, song, or piece of equipment this weekend at church (except for my Tim pedal ;) ). Which leads me to believe that neither me nor anything I did was perfect either. Love.
  • String cheese. Life may as well not exist if you don’t have string cheese.
  • Braveheart, gluten-free pizza, and my wife.
  • Power conditioners. A great-sounding rig can be killed by both noise and by parts of it not getting enough power.
  • Practice. (I can’t believe I still have to tell myself this)
  • Singing on key. Hit a wrong chord on your guitar if you have to, but stay on key vocally!
  • The internet. Have you ever stopped to think about how cool the internet really is? I mean, seriously! I shared our church service with the world (or the 4 people that tune in), bought a pedal from overseas, and learned from opinions across the country on how best to isolate power, and checked to see if it was raining (so I didn’t have to actually get up and walk outside), in about 5 minutes. 
  • Songs people know. We’re up there for their sake, not ours. If you can’t stand the song, but the congregation is absolutely worshiping to it, then trudge through. Play the new one you like when you get home, and worship your heart out there. At church, it’s not about us.
  • Even if your tone is bringing tears of joy to your eyes, turn it down if you see people cringing on the solos. Or check that you’re in the right key. Either one. 
  • Candy. People only sign up for your ministry if there is candy at your sign-up table. If need be, steal it from the spiritual growth table.
  • Spray-on deodorant and tic-tacs. After a rousing session of worship, if you want to participate in any type of relational activity involving other people, this is vital. 
  • And lastly, delay. I think I said that already. But just in case, ‘Delay.’ Ever just love your tone, but then look down, and you don’t have any delay on? So you turn a delay pedal on, just so that you’ll know that the tone you love has delay in it? Ya…