Imagine this: You are in a band and you have not seen each other for two weeks, and not rehearsed the material you are about to play for six weeks. You have arrived in the nick of time, rushed all your gear on to the stage, wired it up wrong, not had time to really check the tuning on your guitar, and you haven’t had a soundcheck, so you’re not sure if you are going to be able to hear yourself or anyone else in the band. You’re using a guitar amplifier that, while you have played through it before, you still don’t know it all that well.
Your drummer is, quite frankly, prone to changing tempo without warning, sometimes halfway through a bar. You are playing for an hour.
You’re playing on an outdoor stage at a local community festival at midday, before most people have shown up, in between the zumba demonstration, and the middle-aged ladies from the Wednesday burlesque dancing class doing a wobbly and strangely arousing routine. You have just eaten a foul pork bap which had far too much gravy, thus turning the bap into an inedible slop, with lumps of tasteless but salty grey meat and mushy stuffing and apple sauce. You have just kicked your can of Diet Coke over, and the liquid sloshed all over your power supply, the multi-plug extension cable, and your effects pedals. It is a windy day, and the noise from the other PA speakers all over the recreational ground is quite distracting, plus a loud diesel-powered miniature train goes past every couple of minutes ringing a loud bell.
The drummer has just started a song without waiting to see if you’re ready or not – you’re not, and you’re fiddling with your delay pedal settings, and in the panic you stand up too quick and your back gives an ominous sharp twinge of pain. That sloppy pork bap wafts up your throat. The sun is in your eyes, and you’re trying to remember how to play a song in 9/8 that you last played in a sweaty pub well over a month ago. The bassist shrugs at you with an amused but slightly panicked look on his face, indicating he’s also playing by mostly guesswork and muscle-memory.
You have no audience, save for your wife and your two-year-old daughter who, after two songs, marches up to the stage and shouts “No Daddy, you can’t play guitar!”
That’s how I roll these days.