A lot of people seem surprised when they find out I’m a soloist, that I have no musical backup. They seem perplexed when they find out I’m content being a sole proprietor. After all, shouldn’t all musicians aspire to be in a band?
Certainly, I believed that at one time. Now? Not so much. And here’s why:
I had been in bands, duos, trios, and small combos and ensembles for almost my entire musical career. In my band experiences, there’s always someone who does the majority of work, and someone who is a total slacker. There’s also someone who has no concept of time (I.e. punctuality), and someone who micromanages. When you’re a soloist, you are the ONLY one responsible! You do all the work yourself, you’re responsible for being on time, and you can hash over a song until its absolutely the way you want it, IF you feel like it! Sure, going it alone is hard, hard work, but there’s no fights and no ruined gigs because someone didn’t show or didn’t learn their part. Its all on you.
Also, finding rehearsal time can be very tricky. I live in the boonies and I have two very hectic day jobs. It’s hard enough trying to find time for myself to practice, let alone finding time when my crazy schedule meshes with someone else.
Bands also seem to be fairly limited in scope. If you’re a soloist, you can play whatever you want to play, and you don’t have to answer to anyone. If you want it, play it! Easy as that.
Certainly there can be a large amount of enjoyment gleaned from communal music activities (I love me a good jam night). Certainly I’ve been in some really good bands who were more like family than coworkers. But here’s the biggest reason why I have no desire to return to being “one of many” any time soon: I haven’t found myself yet. Up until this recent exploration, my solo experience was limited. In a group, it’s all about blending. No one can stick out or the entire group falls apart at the seams. I got real good at being whoever they wanted me to be. But I didn’t know how to sound like ME. I need time to find out just who I am.
And that’s why I am not tripping over myself to go back just yet. I’m still working on me. With all the writing I’ve done, with all the genres I’ve picked up since I’ve quit the band scene, I’ve come a lot closer to knowing what my musical heart is made of. But I’m still not quite there. There’s a ways to go yet…