Why We Need Girls

And by ‘we’, I of course mean ‘musicians’. (Just in case that wasn’t clear.) 

So the other night I’m playing with some musicians at a church. And they’re quite prolific musicians…it’s cool to hear them warm up with some really intricate jazz licks, and then once we start, they’re able to simplify and play only what the music needs. Very cool, and a little rare…well, rarer than I’d like it to be; and of course, it’s all about ‘what I’d like.’ 

We start this song in practice, and it’s gonna kick off the set. And at first, it’s just my guitar and pad starting. And then I stop and ask if there can be a pulse, like on the original recorded version of the song. And it absolutely warmed my heart to the core (if he wasn’t a guy I might have kissed him…hmm…maybe that’s why we need girls) that instead of clicking us in on his drumsticks, he grabbed a wire brush and just started the pulse on the ride. Then the bass player came in just repeating the two note phrase. So lovely. And then, and only then, would I let my guitar come in…once it had something to lie on.

And I thought it sounded pretty good. Of course, I’m a little biased…we tend to like what we do…even if it sucks. It’s unfortunate, but true. But the worship leader dug it, too, and he turned around and said, ‘Whoa! That sounds like someone just turned on the cd!’

Enter the girl. The female background vocalist. (Or drummer, or guitarist, keyboardist, bassist, or violinist…I don’t know why most girls are usually the vocalists. Is it the same everywhere, or just in the circles down here?) The one member of any worship team who will usually say not only whatever she means, but also whatever she feels the truth of the matter is; feelings of band members not considered. Not even a little. And, I hate to say it, but what she feels the truth to be…ya. It’s usually the truth.

So we’re just grooving away, enthralled in our own magnificence, and right after the worship leader turns around and says that it sounds like someone turned on the cd of the song we’re playing because we’re so awesome and the greatest musicians to ever pick up our respective instruments, he turns to the background vocalist just as a natural way to get her assumed confirmation of our awesomeness. And she turns around and looks at us, tilts her head to one side as if listening intently, and says, ‘Eh…’

Yep. We went from sounding just like the cd to ‘Eh…’ in one brief moment, by the slight tilt of the head of one, female background vocalist. And she wasn’t even being mean, either. Female background vocalists are also some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet……and ya…the most honest, too. 

And that’s why we need girls on the worship team. Not only do their voices sound, on the average, way better than ours, but they also know when to let us know that we’re not Phil Wickham. And this is a good thing. Us guy musicians need that harsh honesty from people every once in a while…or…most of the time. So, ladies, if you’re reading this, thank you…and quite honestly at that. We really need it. No. We’re not Phil Wickham. Instead, we’re ‘Eh…’; which, in girl language, is slightly above ‘Gross’ and just below ‘Hi.’

Splendid.
Karl.

17 thoughts on “Why We Need Girls

  1. Because they come prepared and don’t ask to borrow gear. I just got my head back tonight from a friend with some tolex missing from the bottom. Not cool.

  2. Since the worship team that I’m on has….uh…no woman. Just three twenty something guys and me (The King of AARP). It is my wife’s facial expressions in the congregation that insure that I am kept grounded at all times. She is my greatest supporter and ultimate critic. A world without girls would be….lonely.

    Mark

  3. Dan–aw, that sucks, man. Did he say anything about it, or just give it back and walk away?

    I was playing at a retreat one time, and the worship leader had borrowed someone’s acoustic; he dropped it on a boulder in the mountains (?!) and put a huge hole in the back of the guitar. An actual hole. I was there when he gave it back to the owner and copped to it. It was so awkward.

    Chris–lol Ya, that’s the spirit!! See, I knew there was something I wasn’t thinking of that would actually make us be the ones who were right! haha Killer comment, man.

    And hey, if you’re ever in the area, you should come out and play with us!

    Mark–bro! My wife’s the same way…she’s my ‘reality check.’ But bless her, she does it in a very loving way. But she’s also a vocal major, so it’s like…ya. I can’t get away with anything. lol But wow, has it helped my musicianship, and also me actually knowing where I need to work on things, instead of just getting an inflated view of myself and thinking I have nothing to work on. lol Great comment!

    • I remember when I first started getting interested in playing slide, I tried to break it out while we were playing “Center” by Charlie Hall. We didn’t really do it anything like him, in fact I had never even heard the actual recording. But the chords were so easy and repetitive that I figured I could just ad-lib with the slide. (Yikes!) The next time we played that song my worship leader was like, “Hey, don’t play slide on there. My wife said it sounds like crap.” Haha. At the time I was a punk who thought I already knew everything about what sounded good (ok, more of a punk. I might not be totally past that yet…) and I thought, “Your wife is tone deaf. When she learns how to play guitar better than me, she can tell me what to play.” Fortunately I’m non-confrontational enough that I didn’t actually say that, or anything really, and just didn’t play slide.
      Thinking back on it now, my intonation while playing slide was still pretty off so I’m sure it really did sound like crap when I tried it.

      Thank God for straight shooters.

  4. Thanks for your post – I loved it, my hubby sent it to me this morning as I am that “female background vocalist” at least in our praise band anyway — married to the lead electric guitar guy, and best friends with the worship leader…those poor men…=) I’m often referred to as their bulldog with lipstick or their “donk” (think Crocodile Dundee) and I don’t mind a bit. I’m just hoping God keeps working on this gal to make me more and more like Him focusing on His glory and praise.

  5. Karl – no mention and I didn’t see it until he left. I don’t normally lend gear and this is the reason why. So lesson learned. It’s not a big deal in the grand scheme of things but still a little annoying. All I can say is yikes when hearing that acoustic story!

  6. Jen–welcome!! I think you may be officially the only other girl to visit this site besides my wife. :) Really glad you enjoyed the post, and please keep the honesty coming! We guys need you gals! lol And that’s really cool…my wife and I got married while she was the background vocalist and I was the lead guitarist. Good times! Again, great to have you here.

    Dan–lol That’s terrible!! He just left it for you, and then hoped you wouldn’t notice? Wow, bro. You’re right, it’s only gear, but at the same time, I’d be a little annoyed, too. ;)

  7. “kenrick

    you mean you need the girls so someone can sing like Phil Wickham.”

    HAHA!! I love it! That was great! One of the 2 best comments I saw today.

    THe other:

    “My useless pedal concept is a pedal that will only produce out of tune pentatonic blues bends.

    The input will be stamped “Strat here” and the other side will say “Connect to Tubescreamer”.”

  8. yeah, my wife is pretty good with the eh, it’s ok.

    It’s ok? Seriously… she doesn’t understand my geniousness at all. *sigh* I go back to work though… or I stubbornly ingore her but deep down I know she’s probably right and slowly change my ways.

  9. Thanks, Karl – even if I give the eh, I also try to understand more and read things my hubby sends my way – I hope we all tend to sharpen each other like iron on iron…rather than just one being the sandpaper. =)

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