Second up is my second summer at Cedar Point, as part of their Live! Entertainment division playing in the house band for the 70′s review, entitled Retro Daze. A lot of people will ask why the first year isn’t mentioned as much, and it’s a valid comment. Simply put, that year was spent drinking too much (and being too drunk/hungover to play while standing…that’s for you, Sandy), finding out that my roommate was gay (by walking in on him sleeping with a man…who was our other roommate) and just other silly shenanigans.
However, the first year did introduce me to the work ethic that would be needed for a career in the music business. We had a week of intense rehearsals, followed by playing six gigs a day for six days a week. There really was no time to be sick, hungover (but truly, I found the time) or anything else except to be on your game. All I can say is that I must’ve done a good job the first year, because that fall my audition for the second year consisted of me shaking hands with the music director and having him say “Okay, what show do you want to play this year?”
I picked the long run; the early May to late August run. Mainly, it was for the money. Also, it was for the fact that my drummer from the previous year, Greasy Pete, was going to do that show also. Many musicians will cite that having a good rapport between musicians is vital for a good musical experience, and I will say with utter certainty that Greasy was the first drummer I really understood, and pushed me to another level.
The reason I bring this particular run up is because this was the tipping point for me, from saying “I’m a bass player playing music” to fully understanding that “I’m a musician playing the bass.” When you play 36 shows a week, you get it down to the point where you can do it in your sleep. It was probably during week five of the run where I got bored listening to my part, and said “Hmm…I wonder what Greasy’s doing.”
That opened a new world. Suddenly I was hearing these little nuances that he was playing that I, until then, wasn’t playing with. My part was fighting with his. So, I started modifying my part to help accent these nuances. The results were fantastic. The music was grooving harder, and it was sounding better. Greasy was quick to catch on that I was listening to him, and as such, really starting pushing the envelope. That entire summer (at CP, the two after hours bands and various other gigs we did) resulted in getting completely schooled in what it meant to be a MUSICIAN and not just a BASS PLAYER. To this day, the main reason that I play so well with others is because of that summer, and to Greasy.