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Showing posts from 2015

How to Lead a Band - Part I

OK... I'm not Bob Wills, Woody Herman, Benny Goodman, or Johann Strauss the Elder, nor even the Younger. I'm just a seat of the pants geetar picker who start his first band at age 12, and has been at it now for 55 years. If you're reading this after 2015, then add an appropriate number of years on to that figure... I assume that if you can read, you can probably add.

I've played probably close to 10,000 gigs plus or minus, both as leader and sideman, so this blog comes from the perspective of both. I've played for as many as 25,000 people, and as few as zero... that's right -- ZERO. (I'm not sure I like ZERO, but I'd far preferred the ONE GOOD LISTENER to 25,000 inebriated idiots, just for the record.)

First, here's a few things that leaders should be aware of, followed by some things that sidemen should be aware of. If you're in a "band" and it's very democratic and no one is really the leader... enjoy your childhood. This is not …

Part V - Some Life Lessons

Some Life LessonsAction vs. Consequences
It's alarming that an innocuous action such as putting your foot down on, what turned out to be, a non-existent step, can be one of those before and after points in life. Although I expect to recover as fully as possible, nothing will ever be the same for me again.
Not only did I disrupt my own life, but also the life of my wife, my co-workers, and everyone that I am associated with socially an professionally. The ratio of consequence to action is extremely high -- very small action with huge consequences.
Life Goes On
I'm almost like a ghost, dwelling in the world I previously inhabited. 
I found replacements for gigs... and the gigs went on a scheduled. Different, to be sure, but the Earth continued to rotate.
My racquetball playing friends are still running and sweating. I'm sure they don't really miss my presence in any material way.
Everyone can be replaced -- and this is actually a relief in many ways. At this age, it'…

PART IV: Recovery and Hurdles Along the Way

This section will be in "diary" form and I've included this entry largely for my own perspective, though I hope it will be of interest to others who have had quadriceps tendon repair. It's just my own experience -- if there's anything I've learned it's that each individual progresses at his own pace.

January 16, 2015 "Operation Day" Early day -- 6:00am at the venue where my surgery would be performed: Texas Orthopedics in northwest Austin. I don't really remember much about this day other than they knocked me out and when I came to, I had a big bandage on my right leg. I had opted for a "nerve block", so I could feel absolutely no pain at the incision. Somehow, Dana managed to get me piled back in the car, and we picked up the prescribed pain meds on the way home -- Hydrocodone for pain, and Diazepam for potential muscle spasms. I was pretty much out for the day.

January 17, 2015 "The Day After" I slept... the nerve block…

Up to my Knees, Head First

I've written a series of posts related to my recent knee injury. I wrote that for several reasons:

1. They'll explain what happened and why I'm absent from my gigs;
2. They'll be a helpful resource to others with similar injuries;
3. They'll be characteristically witty and entertaining to read, and not become known as "Stringer's Pity Papers";
4. I don't really have much else to do while I've been lying around waiting for this knee to heal;
5. And last, a chronicle for myself and family... the first three won't change much... the last two, I'll try to keep up to date.

PART I - What HappenedPART II - What is a Disrupted Quadriceps TendonPART III - Getting TreatmentPART IV - Recovery and Hurdles Along the WayPART V - Some Life Lessons
I would appreciate comments and reposts.

Thanks

--Jim


PART III: Getting Treatment

How I Did It vs. How it Should Be DoneI injured my knee on the evening of December 26, 2014. I had surgery to repair the injury on January 16, 2015... exactly 3 weeks.
All the authoritative sources say you should 1) be taken to the emergency room; and 2) surgery should be performed as soon as is possible. The tendons and muscles begin atrophy almost immediately and the repair becomes more and more difficult, and less and less effective!
So... what happened?
First... I'm an idiot musician -- the show must go on. I felt that I need to play the show at Belly Up, regardless of the fact that my role was a bit part. In my nearly 55 years of playing gigs, I can count on one hand that shows that I've cancelled because of health issues. I played my Hall of Fame show in 2007 with a 104 degree fever and walking pneumonia!!! In a snow storm!!! In sub zero weather!!! Geez... you get the picture?
Second... as I mentioned, I have a history of pulled muscles. I sort of figured that's what…

PART II: What is a Disrupted Quadriceps Tendon

Way back in the old days, I was a sprinter, something you certainly would not guess from the present day body that I drag around. I was fast... fastest in the state the year of my graduation. I was offered various full ride track scholarships, but opted to attend the University Of Kansas which had offered me only a small stipend, having spent all the scholarship money on lightning quick, out of state runners. But, it's where my friends were going -- particularly the guys in my high school band.

The point of this aside relative to the topic of this blog is that I injured by right quad so many times that I had to drop out of track entirely. I'm no newbie to Quadriceps Injuries in general. However, I entered college in 1966 when we wrote with pens and paper, added and subtracted by "thinking" (or more accurately, by counting on fingers and toes) We avoided long division entirely, when possible. There was NO internet -- all research was done by thumbing through the libra…

PART I: Disrupting the Quadriceps Tendon -- DON'T DO IT - E V E R

How it Happened
I suppose that if you're going to "disrupt" (i.e., rip like a cheap piece of packing tape) your quadriceps tendon, as I did, you might as well pick a really beautiful setting to do it... as I did.

My wife, Dana, and I took a little Christmas trip to SoCal for the holiday... a multitude of in-laws: sisters, brothers, parents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, dogs, family friends... gazillions of people to visit... parties and feasts. The wads of colorful wrapping paper, which having delivered their mysterious payloads, now litter the living room in clumps, like used shell casings on a battlefield... AND,, most importantly, EXTREMELY cute. lovable kids everywhere.



Our friend, Rosie Flores (best living country/rockabilly singer on the planet, and a rockin' geetarist, to boot) was going to be playing a gig at Belly Up in Solana Beach during our stay. Dana and I made arrangements to get the entire "of-age" gang down there for the show -- roughly 1…