“Let me take you down / cause I’m going to “Strawberry fields” – by The Beatles
A few weeks back, I jammed with a guitarist friend of mine, Rob, during an “Open Mike” night at the London Music Club (LMC). We hadn’t played together since the ‘60’s, but with me playing bass, we teamed up with a drummer and the three of us just jammed together – great fun! It was short – just a few songs – but the chemistry was still there after all these years. We even laughed at our own mistakes and the audience loved it.
Soon after, my wife and I are welcomed at their front door by Rob’s wife Jackie – who I recall as Rob’s girlfriend when we were a newbie band. The first thing from her lips was, “Fred, you haven’t changed a bit.” (Did I say I really liked this woman?)
Since we grew up in the same city, we shared common musical experiences of bands and musicians from the ‘60’s /’70’s era – some of whom reach international success – with many apparently still active in one form or another.
I am sad, however, to hear that our former bass player had passed away – predeceased shortly before by his older brother (also a musician and a heart surgeon). I also found out that our drummer called Rob three years earlier, but had all but disappeared since then. Renewed efforts to find him on social media have been unsuccessful.
That’s when we approached LMC co-owner, Pete, who was very supportive. As he said, this is why he and his wife, Jan, started the club – for moments like this: using the power of music to bring people together. (Fortunately, the music world is really quite small and we have a terrific stand-in drummer for our “re-union” gig.)
It reminded me of something a famed ‘60’s rock musician who said about Rolling Stones’ lead singer Mick Jagger – saying that when Mick retires, he’ll know that he’ll still have ten more years to go. Not that I can compare with that endurance record, but our ‘60’s group was the Tempos. Ever heard of them? That’s okay … almost no one has … but, apparently, back in the day, we were a “happening”!
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As I said to another musician friend, I don’t know if we’ll be great, fall on our face, or something in-between, but we’re determined to work hard and have fun playing for our peers, family and friends – all this to say that lately, I’ve been feeling like a kid again, and, at our ages, that can’t be all bad, right?
With all the heavy-duty violence that has always been a part of our world – realizing that the worst thing that can happen to us is something like a broken guitar string – I feel more grateful than ever… being able to carry on the tradition.
“Nothing to get hung about / Strawberry fields forever” – by The Beatles