Gary’s departure from the band is a good occasion to pause for a moment's reflection. The last year has been a blast, I have learned and grown, played some really enjoyable music, met some great people, made new friends, reconnected with old friends, and had a lot of fun along the way. Many good memories have come out of the last year’s endeavors.
It is now time to move on, and I believe this will be best for all of us.
I wish Gary well – and I appreciate his honesty. In the end, you have to follow your heart, and play the music that inspires you. At least, that’s the way it is for me. Or, if you just want to go out and play gigs and make money, or be social, meet girls; whatever it is that floats your boat. For me, it’s writing, recording, playing and singing music that inspires me.
That's what I have found with this band.
Playing with Gary has reminded me how much I really do enjoy playing with a drummer, and his departure has alerted me, rekindled my awareness of how important it is to find a drummer (or any band member for that matter) who really ‘clicks’ with the other members, and with the band’s music; and ultimately with the band’s direction. There is nothing quite as satisfying – or in my opinion, as critical – as a rock-solid rhythm section.
But for now, I am really enjoying getting back to our roots. Practice the other night was a refreshing joy; just the three of us, unplugged, no cables or wires or mics – just tuning in to the instruments, the voices, and each other.
Yeah, I know; it’s really amazing when the acoustic band goes unplugged. LOL
The net result for IR is a process of ‘re-birth’; and like the Phoenix, the core group has emerged even stronger than before.
Speaking of band members that really ‘click’…
Scotte and I have a long history, and he is #1 on a very short list of that most rare and coveted player: a rock-solid bassist whose bass playing has a distinctive melodic ‘voice.’ And of course, his singing voice is pristine and beautiful to the point of making me jealous. Over the decades he has come into his own as a gifted songwriter and lyricist, and has a real knack for song-crafting.
JJ has become the third member of that solid triangle. His singing has a distinctive, delightful charm. His songwriting is superb. He and I have really found our niche for playing together, so that our two very different playing styles support and complement each other; he is the other of those equally rare and most coveted players: A guitarist whose playing locks together with your own like yin and yang – balancing each other out and harmonizing. It now feels like we have been playing together for a long, long time.
I consider myself lucky to (once again) be in the middle of a group with two very gifted songwriters, who complement each other brilliantly.
And on top of all that, the MOST coveted of covets: the ability for three voices to harmonize and blend together into something that at times seems magical. Each person has their own ‘space’ in the harmony, where they can truly shine, and the combination becomes bigger than the three individual parts; it takes on a life of its own.
I truly feel that IR - as a core group, and as a band - is much greater than the sum of its parts.
On top of that - oh yes, there's more - the members [and management ...Toni!!!] are a joy to be around, and deep down great people. Their friendship is as valuable to me as their musicianship.
This is a really good time in my life. I am a really lucky guy.
I lead a charmed life.