Support is never glamorous

Stan counted them in clicking his sticks in time, “1-1-1-2-3” and Phil launched into the lead.

“Billy’s been on the road, oh so long.”

Paul rolled into the rhythm, providing the bass while Kurt sang.  Keeping the dust bunnies company on stage right, close enough to the stage door he could feel the draft at his feet.  Stan banged them through the second verse.

“He’s tired, he’s old and still he sings this song.”

Paul kept the steady thumping of the bass coming.  There were never any bass solos and even if there were they would have to be overt because bass players are meant to be heard but not really seen.  In the shadows, where he stood now, he knew his place, sort of the inverse of the old adage about kids.  Heard but not seen.  It would be extremely uncommon for him to lead the band, let alone sing lead.  Still, he was the foundation for the music and the band, even though he would never stand center stage.  At least the guys knew this, even if the crowd was oblivious.

Out of the spotlight and working this old standby he could play in his sleep he studied the knots of people on and near the dance floor.  He tried to pick out the bass players.

The group of four straight ahead of his spot was easy.  The chick with her hands in the air, dancing and singing; lead guitar/lead singer, no doubt about it.  To her right, the woman swaying actively and singing too:  rhythm guitar.  The guy leaning against the bar, directly behind them, thumping on the bar with his hand: drummer.  And then there was the guy far back and to the left of the group.  He wasn’t looking at the stage.  His gaze swung around the room at the other revelers, at the waitresses.  He almost looked disinterested and yet he wasn’t.  Paul couldn’t see too clearly but it almost looked like he might be holding one of the women’s purse, trying to hide it behind his hip.  No doubt about it, bass.  Occasionally his focus was on the stage and those illuminated by the light which included the group of three women center stage.

If the lead for the group of four was active, these three were nearly frenetic.  They danced, they jumped, they banged into each other and sang along.  They weren’t so much part of the chorus and no one would mistake them for back-up singers.  These were three all straining to sing lead, each one trying to outdo the other two.  Their support was most likely the front table.  Three men, one actively thumping the table, one bobbing his head and one sitting quietly with coats hanging on the back of his chair and keys and phones on the table in front of him.  Clearly the bass for the group, filling his role.  Paul watched these two and others he could identify throughout the room.

Some were alone, or seemed to be.  It was nearly impossible to put them together with a group even though he knew they probably had one.  As separate from the rest of the crowd as the appeared he knew they needed a clan and their clan knew they needed them.  Being the bass had its own satisfaction even though it was only a private one.  He strummed on as they brought the song to a close.  Kurt finished on a high note and then announced to the audience they would be taking their second and last break for the night.

There were some calls he had to make to a couple of clubs they were trying to work their way into.  He knew he’d tidy things up to make their tear down smooth and ensure they got out of there with all their gear.  They would all be spent when the gig was over and having things easy and obvious would be a good thing.  Maybe not tonight but for sure tomorrow and the day after the guys would appreciate it.  He knew that, and for him it was enough.

What’s your role in your band?  If you’re the bass and sometimes feel unappreciated; don’t.  You’re the one everyone else relies upon.  They need you, they really need you.

Every week I write a little about life and the spots we find ourselves in on a daily basis.  Sometimes they’re profound and sometimes they’re run of the mill and that’s okay.  If you would like to read more, click here to go to my blog’s home page.  I hope you’ll get something out of my writing and you’ll subscribe.  It’s free and you can do it by clicking this or at the blog when you’re there.  Either way, subscribing just means you’ll receive an email once a week with links to the week’s posts, nothing more and nothing less.  I promise, I never sell or share your email so no worries about getting a bunch of junk.  Thanks for reading!