Yesterday I spent a good chunk of the day on the mid-deck of a small yacht docked in Burnham Harbor, a private portlet just a stone's throw east of Soldier's Field. Fun, you say?
I was attempting to play my bass guitar with a quartet, smashed into a tiny corner of the deck next to the bar... in about 50 degrees. We worked (and I do mean work) for four hours - it was too cold and windy to sail so we just sat at the dock, which was fine by me. My drummer pal N was in his third or so day of recovering from pneumonia. He had coughed so hard a couple of days previous that he had broken a rib. The doc told him not to "sit around", so there he was, gamely making the most of a snare and hi-hat, wincing with pain every time he coughed (I don't think it was my playing.)
Sure, he's got Vicodin for when he's on the couch, but out here in the wild he couldn't be all doped up. Despite our reputation as druggies and lushes most of the musicians I know are as clean and sober as it gets. We have to be to navigate to the gig, find a place to park, figure out how to get into the venue, get set up in time, remember what the couture du jour is etc etc. Playing music is the easy part, most of the time.
Then today I spent the day in the recording studio. Oooh, very cool! Yeah, well recording is a lot of grunt work. You have to stay focused because every tiny glitch is preserved for all to hear. It's like being under a sonic microscope.
I happened to be the producer on this session so the atmosphere was convivial - but we still had to get a certain amount of work done in a very limited amount of time. We were working with a vocalist from LA who was only in town for the day so, again, not a lot of time for shooting up or passing the bong around with Jimi Hendrix on the stereo.