I guess I have to start out this week by apologizing for skipping the last one. I’ve been on the road, and although I managed to find time to do the first couple in spite of my travels, number three came up right when I got sick. Touring is difficult enough as it is. Actually, I shouldn’t say difficult: Something that is so much fun and provides so much satisfaction shouldn’t be described with a negative adjective. But it’s ‘tiring,’ at least. So if you’re already exhausted, and then you get sick on top of that, life starts to actually get hard. And of course it’s impossible to get better on a tour bus. Once you’re sick, you stay that way, and that prevents someone like me from maintaining his blog-esque duties.
I’m a bit better now, although being back at home for a week is starting to seem like harder work than the road. I have a long list of errands to run and rehearsals in preparation for the next tour. Lately, I’ve been juggling my duties with K-OS and Small Sins with very little rest in between. Steve and I had been doing K-OS rehearsals on Small Sins press days in September, mixed in with Small Sins shows, and then we immediately started back with K-OS again without a day off. We threw in a video shoot somewhere, left for a month, came back; now we’re doing another video, having more rehearsals, then leaving in a few days for a November cross-Canada Small Sins tour. And as soon as that’s over, we’re right back into K-OS land again, not to mention my other life duties that don’t involve music. My schedule feels hectic, but in a good way. I love to be busy.
So for this short stay at home, I thought we might have a listen to ‘Til I Go Home,’ an album track. And what’s it about? Yes – the obvious.. Coming home from tour, missing your lady, toughing it out on the road, blah blah blah. If you’re listening, you get it.
Juggling between the two acts seems tough sometimes, but I’ve always felt it was important to keep at least two gigs in my life. Before K-OS, it was Major Maker. Before that it was the I-Spies who used me as their bass player when Small Sins was still called ‘The Ladies and Gentlemen.’ When The Carnations was my band, it was ‘Another Blue Door’ who borrowed me, and before that even, it was ‘All Systems Go!’ that leased my schedule from time to time.
Small Sins is my child. I am expected to steer the ship. They’re my songs, and it’s my band. I’m not saying that the other guys have no say, because they do, but at the end of the day I have to make final decisions and generally be the man in charge. I don’t mind that responsibility – in fact, I think my personality is attracted to a leadership role for better or worse – but there is something to be said for being a sideman from time to time. I always want to have a gig where my role is to feel what it’s like to be a team player. Everything I do in K-OS as the lowly bass player is to complement Kheaven’s show. I am happy to take Kheaven’s input and try to translate it live for him as best I can. I learn parts that I wouldn’t otherwise have, practice in alternate styles (especially in a band like K-OS where we really do incorporate about a million different styles) and learn my trade better than I would have if I were just sitting around the house. Essentially, it opens me up to new experiences that I never would have had otherwise. And having always been the singer first and bass player second in my bands, it’s been important to find roles that help me work on the neglected half. Playing bass and not signing in a band allows me to focus on being a better bass player, which always helps by the time I’m back with SS.
And from working under the leadership of another, I am always learning new lessons about how to be a leader in my own band. Whether it be good treatment or bad, experiencing what it is like to be in someone else’s band always makes you think how you should treat those in your own band. How to manage personalities, and respect the people that support you. There are constant reminders that I think ensure that I’m always aware that there are two sides of the table. Learning to be both master and servant will keep you balanced.