Monday, April 04, 2005

The wind-up

So I'm backstage a couple of hours before tonight's show in Spokane, sitting in a deserted hallway of the arena, just outside our dressing room.

The British have a penchant for what is known as the wind-up. To wind somebody up about something is basically to play some kind of a practical joke - larger or smaller. There can be a set-up to precede a wind-up, or maybe not.
It can also be poking fun at someone. You soon find out people's threshold for tolerance and/or embarrassment!

When we were rehearsing in Italy, Sting was teaching me the backing vocal part for Desert Rose - in Arabic, maybe?

Everything we played was being recorded. I'm trying to grasp the sound, scansion and melody of this odd foreign sound.
Quickly Dominic calls across the room, "Donal! (the man in charge of recording to the computer) You've got to get this! This is good!"
The sound of me trying to get the pronunciation and phrasing of this lyric, "Hadi muddah twela, wana n'hauess ana wala la rzalti" was appealing to Dominic's brain - all the possibilities of potential humiliation that could be enacted!

A few days ago, Sting changed the key of Driven To Tears. Last night, I started it in the "right" key - the only one of us to do so. So in a heirarchical kind of a way, I was the one who was wrong!
Today at sound check, Sting says to Dom, "What key do you think we should do Driven To Tears"? Meaning the new one, or go back to the old one, if in actuality the old one was what seemed more natural.
We agreed to stay with the new key, A minor.
"One, two, three, four".......and the same clanging sound as last night.
Sting and Dom fell about laughing. They had agreed to play it in E minor while I wasn't!
"Okay, here we go...." and the same again.
"You're doing it fuckin' wrong", Dom quotes a line from the infamous and classic Troggs tape - a studio argument caught on tape many years ago and a real life pre-cursor to the fabled Spinal Tap movie.

However, it's all part of the British way, and I must say it's a sort of homecoming to spend time around a lot of British folk once again, after many years. A lot of familiarity and common ground for me. Oh, and no one is immune from the wind-up!



Gurla said...

Hi Shane!

Writing to say I caught the show in Eugene, OR on April 4th and it FANTASTIC! Rock and Roll, baby!

I had not ever seen you perform live - I really loved your playing! Very strong!

It has been great reading your web journal and I've been visiting Dominic's as well...

The pull for myself to this tour and maybe for other people is that the songs you have been performing on this tour actually SAY something - as an American I am sick to death of all the empty, meaningless blather (and outright lies...) - coming from the media, pop music, politicians.

I have been on high since I saw the concert in April! Part of it was the joy of being entertained by such skillfull musicians - but also the knowledge that 1,000's upon 1,000's of other people have been energised and STIRRED UP! To the possibiility of dissent and unrully rebellion - so personified in those classic Police tunes!

Keep up the great work! Thanks and ever thanks for the wonderful experience! Have a great tour - many happy returns!

5/3/2005 3:15 PM  

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