Many years ago I was in a band and one of the drummers I worked with was a tricky fellow, he was a self-confessed wind up merchant, whose favourite hobby was to set one musician up against the other. I once spent 4 hours recording a vocal for him to “accidentally” delete every take, he wanted to see my reaction. As in all close relationships that fracture it is often the small victories that give you the most satisfaction, you find yourself engaged in petty one-upmanship. It is only after the break-up you realise that you were acting childishly. I am not very confrontational so any little triumph over “the drummer” that I managed to achieve was undoubtedly passive aggressive.
One particular memory stands out, it was a victory so slight I doubt he even realised we were competing. I had written a song called “The Joker”, it was clearly inspired and influenced by Bob Dylan and calling it “The Joker” was a further tip of the hat to Mr Zimmerman. The drummer did not like this because he felt it was too obviously a Dylan pastiche, he wanted to at least change the title. We debated the pros and cons of this within the band and I reluctantly agreed. I went away and at the next rehearsal announced the new title to be “Buried In The Hail”. The drummer was happy with the change and I was delighted because I had just made the song even more directly linked to Bob Dylan. “Buried in the hail” is a line taken from the Dylan song “Shelter From The Storm”. The drummer seemed unaware of this fact and I was suitably pleased with myself. My satisfaction was gained from my own cleverness and his ignorance and I am not proud of my pettiness but I am still slightly amused by my trick.
Relationships can be tough and complicated, whether it is a creative partnership or a personal relationship. I think one of the key elements to making a relationship work is mutual respect, you have to genuinely respect the other person’s individuality and talents. This respect never existed from the beginning of my relationship with “the drummer”, the feelings were mutual and I was equally at fault. He never liked me and I never truly liked or trusted him.
Another harsh lesson I think I have learnt from relationships is that honesty is critical, sometimes a confrontation is bloody hard and awful but it is better to be honest if you are unhappy than to fester on resentments. My relationships with people are better as a consequence, I am still far from perfect but I am less likely to commit an act of Bob Dylan based passive aggression against you.