Entry 135, August 6th, 2011, 11:02pm (GMT +2)
Ben, our trombonist, signs off tomorrow. He usually leads the jazz set, but he was busy packing last night, so I took it over. This involved a bunch of running around, putting a set list together, finding copies of lead sheets, turning them into PDFs and printing them off for the band, all in about an hour. It was a bit stressful, much as I don't like to admit that I get stressed out about things . . . so when some friends told me to take a double shot of vodka with them before I left for the gig I took them up on it.
Later, during the gig, I felt funny. After a tune or two I realized that it was the alcohol, sitting like a haze in between my ideas and the horn. On an empty stomach, the sudden influx of vodka was not treating me kindly. I was embarrassed and a bit ashamed . . . I don't think anyone else on the bandstand noticed that my playing was affected, but I did.
Musicians, I know why you drink before you play. It's to forget that part of yourself that judges and is afraid you won't sound good. I can understand that. But booze is not going to work as a solution for me; I've got to get rid of it the hard way.