Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Things We Do For Love

Filed under: Music — Tom Pittman @ 4:36 pm

It’s winter. It’s Alaska. To my frustration, my boss made me work late and we were playing a private dance that night. Although we had set up the night before, I still had to drive home to change clothes before I went to the gig and I was running so late the band was going to kill me. Adding to my aggravation, the road conditions were not good making the drive to my house was so slow I was almost ready to pop out of my skin.When I finally got home, I couldn’t get the car up our road, so I left it at the bottom of the hill and ran up to the house. I quickly changed and being a certifiable idiot, I grabbed my beautiful, perfect, 1977 Fender Jazz Bass by the neck and decided to save a second or two and not bother to put it in its case … and took off down the hill.

Now, if the driveway was too slick for a 4-wheel drive car with studded snow tires to make it up, why on earth didn’t I realize it was also too slick for a person in dress shoes to run down?

I take that back: I DID realize it was too slick to run down in dress shoes … the instant I felt my feet were no longer under me.

I started to fall hard, and I was falling on top of my bass. All I could think of was, “Tom, you can heal. The bass can’t.” While falling, I tried to lift the bass as high as I could and rolled hard to try to make it so it would land on me, instead of me on it.

When I got to the gig, the band was all on stage stalling as best they could — praying I was alright with one face and cursing me with the other. As I came up on stage three of them started to lay into me at once. I just raised my right hand and showed them the open, still-bleeding gash on my palm, and my broken pinky finger pointing 90-degrees in a direction it shouldn’t. That shut them all up instantly and I grabbed my tuned and waiting Ric and we went right into our first set. Someone from the floor saw my distress and got me a towel to wipe up blood. I set the broken finger myself on our first break.

I still have that bass, my beautiful, still-perfect 1977 Fender Jazz bass. And if I had that night to do over again, I wouldn’t hesitate to take one for the gear. After all, I DID heal. I would, however, do one thing different: take the extra minute or two to put the bass in its case.


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