May – The Cue For The Band

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Unlike a lot of my recent songs, this one wasn’t written in the shower. Instead, I wrote it in a comfy chair. This comfy chair was wedged in the corner of a room with terrible wi-fi, and that makes it perfect for being productive. The only thing you can do in that chair is get something done. Or read a book.

The ukulele enjoys a sip of tea while sitting in the comfy chair. (This comfy chair just so happens to be in Yangon domestic terminal).

The ukulele enjoys a spot of tea while sitting in a comfy chair. (This comfy chair just so happens to be in Yangon domestic terminal).

When I was younger I feared dancing and I blame my first middle school dance. The DJ (aka the school principal) was playing the Aerosmith/Run-D.M.C. version of “Walk This Way” and everyone was going nuts. People were just jumping up, down, left and right. It looked so easy! Because it was a group dance, I didn’t even have to build up the courage to ask anyone in particular to dance with me. Thinking, “what could possibly go wrong?” I jumped in and started to bounce around with everyone else.

BAM! Blood was all over the place. Within seconds I had hit a cute Indian girl (that I had a small crush on) in the nose with the top of my head. She was in tears and her clothes were ruined and I just stood there in shock, not knowing what to do. This was definitely The Worst Night Ever.

After The Worst Night Ever I gave up dancing until I was halfway through college. Unless I was careful, I knew it would lead to tears, so I played it safe; I signed up for ballroom dancing. I figured the rules and predetermined steps were there to keep everyone safe. However, once I learned a few steps, I noticed I was never in sync with anyone else. It was a mess. I moved early, and, to my mind, everyone else moved late.

I didn’t know this at the time, but different people have very different ideas about the beat. Classically trained musicians anticipate the beat. They are taught to lift their bow and move it across the strings just a moment early, so the audience will hear something at the exact moment the beat occurs. In contrast, many people react to the beat. They wait until they hear it before moving. As you can imagine, if one person is early and their partner is late, the result is a disco fiasco.

After a few years of playing with rock bands, who are relaxed about everything, I finally learned to be flexible with the beat. Now I don’t fear dancing nearly as much as I used to. It’s fun! (And it’s been years since I last bopped someone’s nose on a dance floor!)

Now the ukulele is relaxing on a nice park bench. (In the botanical gardens in Singapore).

Now the ukulele is relaxing on a nice park bench. (In the botanical gardens in Singapore).

Folks! It’s been a great month! For this tune I owe a huge debt to Robert Cantrell for coming over on a Sunday afternoon and recording the fantastic pandeiro part that you can hear throughout the song. If you want to sing, or play your own pandeiro along with the tune, here’s the song sheet.

2 thoughts on “May – The Cue For The Band

  1. Fletcher says:

    Great tune. There is also a reason no one sees me “dancing”. While you may have found the beat, some of us are still trying to. I am sure your uke has more moves than I do.

    1. Josh says:

      Ha! You clearly haven’t seen my uke dancing. It’s got…. what’s the uke equivalent to 2 left feet? Four G strings?

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