On The Beat

On The Beat (To Us, The Year Is 1950)

“On the beat,” I said, trying to get Rotten Joe (on upright) back on cue.

“I am on the beat!” he retorted.

“You’re behind, you’re lagging, and it’s not working right now. Keep it straight ’til the B section. For now, sit on the beat.”

“I am on the beat!”

Micky spoke up, “Try playing ahead?”

“On the beat!” I reinforced.

“I am on the beat.”

There was an out-of-time flurry somewhere between the kit and the soprano sax

It was Skaz on clarinet who, up until now, had just been sitting in the mix

“Quit it,” she says, “We’re all on the Beat, man.  We’re all Beat. We’re all downtrodden, under paid, down played, under-preciated, ‘head of our time. We’re all scum and we all know it. They don’t care out there about us unless we play, we’ve got nothing less or more to offer. So just play. Right now, else we’re no better than those we keep shouting at.

“I want my music to mean something, and we do that by doing what comes naturally. And for me, that means open up these windows, and take it from the top.”

We digested this. We knew it. The consequential psychological ramifications of Skaz’s little rant hit us right in the gut and robbed us. We had to stop thinking about playing, and play. Knowing our changes didn’t mean squat once we were outside.

“And Joe? Keep it on the beat.”

– Scott Sandwich


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