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.’