[KM exclusive] Bohemian Rhapsody, by Kathryn Bibby
Published on April 17th, 2012 | by Caesar (Kuwait Music)
Good Afternoon Kuwait Music Readers,
Its Kathryn again, hope your all well and hope you don’t mind if I spill the contents of my head here.
I’m sat here on my lunch break, my mind was wondering, as usual to music in Kuwait and it’s up’s and Down’s and Queens – Bohemian Rhapsody came on my I-pod “Easy Come…Easy Go…Will you Let Me Go??” which reminded me of a subject I have been pondering all weekend and I am going to attempt to capture what has been buzzing around my head.
I will write how I feel the most comfortable and that is by giving you my experience of this issue and why I think it happens. I do not like to try to put words in other people’s mouths, and I do not claim that what I think is right, I will just take my thoughts, my feelings, and my journey and express it as best as I can. From that you can take what you will.
So here goes…
When I wrote my first article about my band, CHROMATIC’s, drummer Aakash’s departure, It got me thinking about an issue that all the bands here in Kuwait face from time to time, sometimes frequently, sometimes not so frequently but it happens all the same, and for a change, mostly, it’s not the law that’s to blame.
What is this Issue?? Surely there isn’t much we can’t blame the laws and regulations for when it comes to hiccups in our little music society? Well there is and that is the movement and changes of band members within our bands. This, in my belief can sometimes affect a bands quality, morale, productivity and performance! However not all bands suffer negatively from it, for some it has little or no effect, sometimes it has a positive impact, which ever category we fall under, it happens more frequently in this country than in others and we cannot blame Kuwait Laws for this!
So who can we blame then? I think no one! For once I’ll try and work through this logically, lol that just made me giggle out loud and my colleague is looking at me strangely!! Me and logic are not close friends! just acquaintances, you can ask Dejan (SWITCHBACKS BASSIST) so forgive me if I lose the plot ;p
Ok so let’s start with the obvious one…Circumstances…Kuwait holds a large number of expatriates and this naturally reflects in the music society, a lot of bands are made up of people from all over the world. My band SWITCHBACK is a prime example, just in this band alone we have 7 members coming from 6 different countries and a broad range of ages too. Personally I love this about my band, I describe us kind of like a recipe, Take 7 people, add 2 different genders, a pinch of Arabic, a dash of Persian, a teaspoon of Caucasian, a little Asian spice and a sprinkling of Russian, stir them all together, cook in a hot oven and what do you get? SWITCHBACK!! An explosion of varied tastes in musical genres, eras and musical styles, perhaps, because of this variety, more willing to play a broader range of music.
This is one positive way to look at a band being compiled from mainly expatriates, on a more negative note; of course there is always the risk that the day will come when one band member has to leave the country for whatever reason. This happens a lot in most areas of life here in Kuwait, I have found myself saying goodbye to friends and making new ones every year! So it must affect the musical society too!
Age is also a factor, of course a lot of musicians here are students, high school or graduates, they may decide to continue their education abroad just like our beloved Aaksah!
And finally what about the taboo subject of….A simple clash of personalities!
This one we don’t really like to admit to generally, as we don’t like to think that we are that immature, but let’s be honest, we are all so different we cannot possibly get along with every single human being on the planet! But at times like this I always try my best to remember it could just as easily be me that is the issue! So whether you are the person being judged or whether you are part of the jury (this time) the important thing here is to remember these things happen, we can’t help it and we must handle it as maturely as we can.
This one is a big one I guess as it can severely affect a band. There will be disagreements about what songs you want to cover, what style you play, if there’s more than one guitarist who plays rhythm who plays lead, and what about writing originals! Well that can be disastrous when band members aren’t on the same page! So this has to be dealt with somehow, whether by discussion to try and come to an agreement or in other, preferably mature, ways!
This is never a nice situation for any band to find themselves in. I know from experience how difficult it can be when you are in a band with an extremely difficult member. You start to dread rehearsals instead of looking forward to them all week, when you get there it’s tense, you could cut through the atmosphere with a knife it is that thick with bad vibes and the music itself is never as good as it could be when you just don’t want to be there! From that a lot was learnt by my band members and I and we realized how vitally important it is to not just to chose the most technically able musician to fill a spot, but the person who stands out as being your kind of person, will they gel with your band members? Do they have a similar sense of humor? Do they seem friendly, approachable, and easy to communicate with? Do they have the same goals and aspirations as you have for your band? If yes then this is the one for you!
Ability can grow if they have the support of their band mates, practice makes perfect! The latest auditions SWITCHBACK had we chose our new members not only on ability, but a very big factor was personality and we haven’t changed and are still going strong 3 years later. However we also have to look at it from the perspective of the person being judged or replaced, that too can be a painful experience, where you once felt you were part of a group suddenly you find you are no longer needed, you feel not good enough, your morale hits rock bottom and you either get angry, or down, either way it’s not a good feeling, again I know this from experience, not being chosen by a very close friend hurt me, and what caused my pain? Well ego of course! Not the person who didn’t pick me! But me, for allowing myself to think in a childish manner. Anyway that’s another story for another day…I’m starting to steer off my path now! J
Finally I will conclude my ramblings here before my break is over with a little message to the people who may watch our bands perform, be they music fans or fellow musicians…It has been known that once or twice a few immature audience members heckle the bands performing by throwing comments about members changing frequently, to these people I say grow up and enjoy the show or leave simple as that!! If they are fellow musicians I say… Shame on you!! You know better that these things are 99 percent out of our control and it has or will happen to your band whilst you are in Kuwait I can pretty much guarantee it!
We live on a big rollercoaster ride called Kuwait and as quickly as people get off the ride, people also join!
So let’s make the most of it together and say adios amigos keep in touch, to those who leave and hello my friend to those who join us anew!
To those of you who made it to this point…I thank you for taking the time to read and please give me your additions and views on this subject as I am curious to learn more about it from different perspectives J
“Mama Mia Mama Mia Mama Mia Let (it) go!”…. ;p