The story of learning to play bass is a strange combination of curiosity, necessity, hubris, and stupidity.
I was leading the band at church and we always had trouble finding and keeping bass players, which I was later to find out is a common thing everywhere. A good bass player is like a good plow guy – once you find one, you do what you can to keep ’em happy and keep ’em around. Anyways, we’d been lucky enough to have a med student on a 6-month rotation step in and play bass for us, but he was about to leave town.
A bit before that, I’d hinted to Kim that I’d like to learn to play bass and she got me a new Fender Squier bass for my birthday. Nothing much happened with it until a week before I was about to lose our med student and made the decision that the week after he left, I was going to make my debut on bass. Further complicating this was telling a couple people that was my plan. Once I discovered how difficult it was to play bass and sing, it was too late to turn back.
That first week, I fumbled my way through and managed to not derail the entire band, so I kept at it. Of course, it didn’t hurt that I was the only option, so I got plenty of reps. But I keep thinking back to that first week and whether I ever would’ve gotten this far playing without opening my mouth and backing myself into a corner.
So here I am, working my fingers to the bone because I went and did something else stupid. I suggested doing the song below on Christmas Eve, singing and playing bass.
You know what? Zero regrets. I’ve become semi-comfortable with the idea that no matter how well something is planned, any moment on stage can turn into disaster. However, as we should all know, a big front has got a big back – and that any moment on stage can also turn into some wonderful.
Sometimes, we need to do something a little stupid to put ourselves so far out of our comfort zone that it’s not a quick hop back that no one will notice. There are times when being stuck out there in a sink-or-swim situation is just the kick in pants we need to take a leap forward.