A Life Changing Experience – Yes really!

A Life Changing Experience!

Really” I hear you ask, “Life Changing?”

ABSOLUTELY – Read on…

It was end of Summer 2009, in Spain. I was performing a last party of Summer. The set was four hours finishing at around 1AM.

It was end of Summer 2009, in Spain. I was performing a last party of Summer. The set was four hours finishing at around 1AM. On completing the final song (I always ended with “Knocking on Heavens Door”) the crowd went wild. It was awesome. Imagine the feeling of euphoria when have just moved 150 people to stand up, applaud like their life depended on it and genuinely make you feel like this was the best night of their lives.

That feeling right there. That Life Changing Moment.

The owner of the bar was feeling great – However……

Then the police came because the neighbours had complained about the noise (didn’t think it was that bad to be honest). Fortunately, we had turned off already. What happened next though was completely unexpected. Having gone to the bar feeling elated at what had just happened (quite possibly the best performance I had ever given) The police had come in after a neighbour had complained.

The police were asking me questions like I was a criminal (I mean really?) where I lived (no idea why because they knew me – I lived about 20 Metres away and chatted to them often). They were telling me that if I had gone on for another 5 minutes I would have been arrested.

Then it happened…

First it started with a few bottles being banged on the table, then it quickly built up into a very noisy crescendo , 150 bottles and glasses being banged on the table at the same time is not a quiet noise – with pretty much everyone in the whole bar shouting “Otra, Otra,” (which in this context means “Encore”).

Imagine 150 people crying that out – and it didn’t seem to be going to end anytime soon. I spoke to the police and said “listen, you can either arrest 150 people for making a noise – and you’d be hard pushed to fit them in your two cells, or you can arrest me, I am going to go out there and play.”

Without waiting for their response, I went out anyway. (always been the black sheep of the family and never doing as I am told). I went back up – the crowd went mad (there was only 150 of them but it sounded like 10,000).

I played Dire Straits “Walk of Life”. I had two backing tracks for this song. One with the keyboard part at the intro and the other without. I put on the wrong one – without. After a couple of bars I realised my error, but by this time about half the audience were already dancing right in front of me and the rest were dancing in any place they could – I kid you not, tables, chairs, on the bar.

So I improvised and where the keyboard part comes in I just sang “Nah Nah Nah Nah….” – in the very next bar, everyone was singing “Nah Nah Nah Nah”. Completely impromptu and spontaneous but the effect was dramatic and sent a shiver down my spine.

After finishing the song I said thank you and goodnight (yet again) put my guitar down. When I went to walk to the bar this time the crowd closed around me and four guys in particular (3 of whom had been air guitarists earlier) closed round me and lifted me above their heads passing me over their heads towards the bar.

WOW, I thought the response the first time I had ended was one thing but this was just blowing me away. I was very moved by this as the rest of the crowd were standing giving an ovation. It ranks as THE most amazing experience to do with music I have ever felt.

The police? – well they were there cheering too.

So have you ever felt that overwhelming emotion, that epiphany moment that takes your breath away? Can you blame me that my thoughts then turned to “This is what I was born to do”?.

Have you had one of those moments that changed your life?

It was that moment in time when I decided that I really should make music my career. Fast forward 8 years a lot of gigs a few lineup changes of the band, lots of changes in the songs themselves, and it’s still that feeling that I crave when I think about my life and career as a musician. That really was the moment that changed my life.

When it comes to being a musician it has been a rollercoaster journey. The band we have now are great people primarily, great musicians second but they all get the one underlying principle – when we put on a show it is YOU, the audience – we are there for. So we try to put all our efforts creating a show that you will walk away with that same feeling, that epiphany moment.. that I had way back then

After all, it is you, The Listener, the audience that make the experience so much worth the while. I am sure you can relate to that in your own life. Perhaps you too have picked up an instrument, thinking “if only” – let me tell you, I started at 38 – you’re never too old. Just look at Sea Sick Steve, 68 before he got his first break.

I look forward to many more sometimes hard, sometimes ugly, always worth while experiences along this musical journey. Here’s to hoping that you are part of that journey.

Until then Keep on Rocking!

Vince

Have you ever tried to play a musical instrument?

If you have you will recongise things here. 

I started playing guitar when I was 15, but like many of us (and perhaps you recognise yourself here) I picked it up every year with the steely determination to master that instrument – then after two weeks – just as the fingers started to callous – I put it away for another year.

Sound familiar?

Let me tell you about an inspirational character in the band. Phil - the drummer 

It was Sept 18, 2016 and the event was Walpole Music Madness. The others in the band had just joined. We had a stand in drummer. Phil had come along to watch with his two boys (my nephews, Phil is my brother).

After the show he came up to me and said "You know what Vinny, I would love to join Free From Gravity as the drummer"

To which I replied(to his amazement)  "Ok, You're in. But you will need to learn the drums first."

Yes, he didn't even play the drums. I told him he had to take it seriously.  He would need to go to lessons, practice at least one hour a day, take direction.

The Struggles

It hasn't been an easy ride for him.  In the November 2016, we went to Real World Studio's (set up by Peter Gabriel) to have a bonding weekend rehearsing with no distractions.  He was getting stressed out and on the Sunday morning chucked his toys out the pram and said he couldn't do this. He was having issues with timing - mostly when he tried to do fills.

We sat down as a band and identified that the issue was just because he was trying to be Keith Moon (his icon) but was not working on the basics (ie solid rhythm without the clever stuff). We agreed that he should focus on the basics.

We also changed his drum teacher as we found out that his drum lessons were 30% teaching and 70% the drum teacher showing Phil how wonderful a drummer the teacher was. (Sound familiar?)

Along the way there have been other issues for him. But he has stuck it out and in the past month or so - especially since Jose joined the band - his confidence has grown and his timing is much better.  He is even putting in fills without tripping up. I am proud of his achievement, (despite him being my brother) because he has not only had to learn the songs but learn the drums.

And now - 8 months on?

8 months later, nobody can really believe when I tell them the story. Perhaps one day I will get him to relive his experience as it really is an inspiration. 8 Months later - in June 2017, he played the same festival in front of 2,000 people and you would never know he was a novice 

So, have you ever tried to pick up an instrument?  
Did you ever join a band when you were at school?
Is it something you still hanker after - getting up there and playing with a band?

Take inspiration from Phil's story. You're never too old. Phil was 50, a few days before that festival. You just need to want it bad enough. And let me tell you, when you find band members who are kindred spirits, who get the vision in the same way you do, it is a brilliant experience. Rehearsals are such fun, creative processes where we try and create new moments that will make people remember that part of the show, make them connect with us and feel part of it.

When that happens at a show, it’s like everyone in the show are "locked in" mentally, on the same page. The band, the sound guy, you the audience. So come along and experience it for yourself.

VIP at Driftwood?

Our next big show will be at the Driftwood Festival on July 29th at Stokes Bay. It should be a real fun affair and we are performing a full show. Lots of good stuff in store for you and hopefully you will walk away feeling buzzed up.

If you want to get in as our VIP guest here’s what you get.
1 x T Shirt / 1 X CD – signed by the band
Access our VIP area (exclusive to Free From Gravity)
A Beer with the band / Photo with the band
Proper toilets (thathas to be wroth the entry fee itself)

Interested?

Then get along to www.ffgmusic.co.uk/driftwood for info

Until then Keep On Rocking!

Vince