It's the day of a gig. The excitement of getting to entertain others via playing the guitar is at a fevered pitch. Soon I'll be able to join my comrades in arms & demonstrate the results of hours and hours of practice. It is truly a physical & mental workout... my version of sky diving.... the gig!!!
There are so many intangibles leading up to that moment when I announce "Ladies & Gentleman, Hobos & Tramps, Cross-Eyed Mosquitos & Red Fire Ants" that I can't prepare for: Being tired, illness, equipment trouble, few people in the audience, etc. Regardless, it all goes away when the first power chord drops.
For me, prep is an all day process (If my bandmates are reading this they're shaking their heads): Eating three meals so that I have enough energy to get me to the after gig snack, drinking tea with lemon to clear out any junk that sinus problems & asthma may hinder, and getting at least an hour of practice in so that my hands don't completely feel like rocks before the gig. I guess that I can be pretty high maintenance after all!
|CLEAN SLATE- Brett P. on bass, JP on drums...oh, I'm on guitar...|
I don't have much equipment to take to a typical gig, but I make sure that it's working. The big thing for me is charging batteries. My pedalboard runs on a lithium ion powered pedal that keeps most everything powered. Fiona & Ginger Quicksilver, my robot guitars, can take up to twenty minutes to fully charge. After they're charged, I play them similar to a quarterback rotation in the NFL: Fiona getting the majority of the reps and "GQ" getting some work just in case. This worked out because the most recent gig required me to put "GQ" in play thanks to loud ambient noise & the retuning process. Just like Forrest Gump's response to a famous t-shirt..."It happens."
|A previous incarnation of the "Big Boy Board"|
Two hours before it's time for Goldfinger (my van) to depart it's time to play my version of Tetris: Pack the Van! I try to make things as compact as possible making sure that my Vox amp is safely surrounded and doesn't move (an attempt to protect the guts of the amp). Guitars DO NOT enter the vehicle until it's time to roll. Other equipment includes the not-so-big banner, mic stand, guitar stands, miscellaneous box, monitor, pedalboard and amp. My jacket (see above) stays in the van at all times. This past week I almost forgot one of the most important mojo inspiring pieces of equipment: Ace Frehley action figure. This resulted in a new tradition of Ace riding shotgun in the van to & from the gig.
FIVE MINUTES, MR. RONAN
Setting up is a nice peaceful time to collect your thoughts and make sure everything is in its proper space. This time can also include some friendly ribbing of each other and/or getting a small meal (you prepare for this depending on the location). You also have some time to mingle with patrons, pass out business cards & get your beverage of choice. Whatever is going in your world is about to take a backseat to your duty to ROCK!!!
|Visit our website|
Pack up, get paid & go home. Hopefully, the drive is a safe one. Personally, I like the drive & a little talk radio. Put the gear back in the guitar cave upon arrival home & relax. The circle is now complete, that is, until the next gig.
I hope you enjoy my thoughts on game day prep. I've went through this process MANY TIMES. Please visit me online at jimronan.com and on social media. Also, visit Clean Slate online to see us live. If you would like to comment please do so on this blog or click here.