A Follow up Regarding Team Building (Or better yet band building. . .)
It is the thirty five years since the release of When Doves Cries, the release of Purple Rain. It has been three years since Prince’s death. With the release of a new collection and a tour featuring the Revolution, his first band, there are a flurry of articles focusing on the artist, his music, and his first band. I have come across various interviews with folks such as Wendy Melvoin, Mark Brown, Liza Coleman, and of course Dr. Fink. All members of that group.
In all of these articles and interviews you hear a respect for the man, his intensity. His tenacity, his vision , his expectations, his desire for perfection. And the amount of practice and work required to get there. One of them was retelling how Prince had instructed her on how to look on stage and off. there was a certain pose. . .a certain engagement. It was almost like he wanted them in character all of the time. He wanted them focused on, conscious of the band, the tour, the music. Perhaps more cult than band?
Beck, going back to the Yardbirds, would arrive late at recordings, rarely engaging his mates whether it was in the studio or on the tour bus. He was a Yardbird, but he was not. They did take him shopping when he first joined so he could at least fit in on stage. That might have just been cause he had just come from the garage and was still in his mechanic gear, covered in grease and 30W oil. In many ways that sounds like Prince at least regarding the reserve. Just that Prince ran the show.
So we may have gotten Jimmy and Jeff to work out their differences but as far as the integration of Jeff into the band? No. He was there a year and a half and it never quite happened. He contributed much, but yet he was not there.
Jump to Jeff’s mate, Jimmy Page and his band, Led Zeppelin, the New Yardbirds. He was fully in that band. He put it together but I am not sure we could say it was “his band”. When John Bonham died they were done. They decided that they could not continue. Some will claim that was Plant taking advantage of his mate passing. Plant was on his way out regardless is the speculation. My guess is that Page would have continued. Certainly years later he tried! We will never know. For roughly 12 years they held it together.
Zeppelin, Prince and the Yardbirds. . . Mixing it up a bit. All changed their respective scene. All were intense. All did have a core group of musicians. The players typically become almost one. There is a solidarity. You defend and protect each other, you know each other, yoou feed off each other. You are band mates. I assert this and know I am dreaming but. . . but there is some truth here too.
There was in each of these a loyalty for periods of time, even in relation to Jeff and the rest of the Yardbirds. Part of what I point to above, his arriving late and offering the solution to how a song should go might just be a style as opposed to a statement regarding his mates. He was how old at this point? 21? What I point to could just be an issue of maturity.
He might have liked the role of rescuer, of coming in late and doing it. Offering a solution. This as opposed to him just dealing with or not dealing with the the tedium, the fatigue, of this company he was required to keep, his band mates.
Anyway, I leave you with a Prince clip I have found myself watching several times. I wonder how many rehearsals this was the result of. How much toil and sweat. How many shows?