Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Broken Fingernail...and a Mouthful of Gnats

A few of you have sent emails asking me how the SpiritFest gig went. do I even answer that? It was probably the worst gig of my entire musical career...and it was all my fault. Let me take you back to 10 days before the concert. My guitarist, Brian, and I had decided we were going to do this gig as an acoustic set-up. Two acoustic guitars...simple...nothing too fancy. But 10 days before the gig, Brian called to tell me he can't make it. Something had come up...and he wasn't going to be able to do the gig. So, I panicked. I'm not a very good guitarist. I can come across as half-decent when playing with Brian because he's so good...he covers my mistakes. I'm definitely not good enough to do the gig on my own. So I called my friend, Clint Garcia, who is the worship leader at Valley Bible Fellowship in Colorado Springs. He's a great guy...and a great guitarist. To my surprise, Clint said he was willing to do the gig--on such short notice--and not only that, but his bass player and drummer would be joining us! BONUS! I was so excited to have a full band for SpiritFest. So, we scheduled a practice for the Saturday before the event. We ended up practicing for three hours--trying to teach them some of my songs...some new worship songs, etc. It went pretty well. Then, we scheduled another practice for the day of the gig. We would practice from 1-3pm, then drive down to Pueblo and do the gig at 8:30. Here's where things started falling apart. At the end of the practice that afternoon, I was horsing around, jamming with the band...and my finger got caught on the high-E string...the thinnest string on the guitar. The snag ripped the top third of my fingernail on my pointer finger off...and bent back another third of the nail. Man, did it hurt! I wrapped a band-aid around it in hopes that I would be able to play. But when we got to Pueblo, my finger was throbbing. Funny how something so small can cause so much pain. I took a few ibuprofen, but it wasn't helping. We started the first song... and I start strumming along on my guitar. It hurt, but I was able to tough it out...until the first chorus. It was humid, we were playing right on the RiverWalk, and I was sweating in the heat. My band-aid went flying off right at the beginning of the chorus. Ever notice how, when your finger hurts, that's the one part of your body you keep banging into things? I kept banging my fingertip into my guitar. Every tap hurt. To make matters worse, there were thousands of gnats flying around. I bet I swallowed 40 of them during the gig. Halfway through the chorus, the piece of my fingernail that was still hanging on got caught on the string. OUCH! I thought my fingernail was going to rip all the way off. The blood was flying...and I had to stop. My eyes seriously started watering. I was in so much pain! The rest of the gig, I tried to hold my pick between my thumb and middle finger. Not only did that affect my ability to play--which isn't so great to begin with--but I must've dropped 20 picks during that gig. All I could think about was how much my finger hurt. I forgot words...forgot to sing when I was supposed to. Then, when I tried to talk between songs, I was making no sense. I'm sure people must've thought I was high or something. It's the first time in my musical career that I honestly felt like saying "I'm sorry folks. You deserve better than this. I'll just leave." We managed to make it through the gig...but we didn't make any fans, that's for sure. All that to say, it was a terrible gig. Most disappointing of all, we didn't get a single child sponsored for Compassion. I was really hoping we'd get some people to sign up for the $32 a month to sponsor a child. I even offered a free CD to anyone who would sponsor. But the way I was performing, I couldn't have given a CD away for free anyway! I really took this one hard. All I could think about on the way home was whether it's time for me to stop doing music. If a broken fingernail knocks me so far off track, maybe it's time to hang it up. I'm just embarrassed that, after this many years of doing music, I can still do such a terrible job. It was humbling, to say the very least. Humiliating is perhaps a better word. My thanks to the musicians who helped me out for this gig. Clint, Steve and Ray did a great job. Poor guys, trying so hard to figure out what I was doing! I just wasn't up to par. For more information on Tim Glenn, go to tim glenn

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