Whatever happened to Harlequin’s Kiss? (Part 1)

It’s very much a knotty question, because I think the band essentially imploded. I can only guess at motivations etc. so, giving my now former bandmates more fairness than at least one of them deserves, I’ll stick strictly to a narrative of known events.

We were always plagued by technical problems, mostly PA systems screaming at me, which left me singing at a volume where I couldn’t hear myself. Not hearing myself, I was out of key and (let’s make no bones about this) we sounded like shit. So one day, we let the drummer set the volumes of all the amps and, hey presto!, I could hear myself again. At which point our guitarist at the time decided we had to move from the Lamp Tavern’s function room to a real studio because there was too much echo in the room and he couldn’t hear himself. It took us months to finally realise that most of our issues stemmed from a particular syndrome that young guitarists have where they believe they can’t hear themselves if they’re not the loudest thing in the mix. And boy did he try everything not to have to turn down. Unfortunately, just as we had finally reached the conclusion as a band that we had to try out a lower volume, the guitarist’s college course turned out to be too much pressure, so he gave me a polite phone-call to say he couldn’t commit any more. This was late March. We’d moved from the Lamp to Carbon studios in January.

A lot had happened in between. We set ourselves targets, but every time we looked like reaching the point where we should have been gigging, said guitarist cited our poor sound as a reason not to. So we agreed new targets to try and improve ourselves and get ready to gig. Every time a new plan started coming together, the same thing would happen – the guitarist would pull the rug and we’d agree a new plan. Unfortunately, the guitarist and the drummer knew each other socially and spent enough time together that, as frustrations with not gigging began to surface, we were starting to function as two half-bands.

The split didn’t have to be acrimonious. The guitarist’s polite phone call had no hard feelings and I didn’t give him what for either. The problem came when I contacted the drummer and he told me his frustrations with not gigging, told me that he found my lyrics to be in poor taste (he’d never said anything before in the preceding eight months), and that he found my sense of humour offensive. To cap it all off, he said, “Whatever [the guitarist] has told you, he agrees with me.”

That’s a potted version. Make of it what you will.

Now we were two, and Ed and I decided to rebuild the band rather than call it quits.

This tale continues next week.

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~ by Scary Rob on 21 December, 2011.

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