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"The Dysfunctional Band"

An example of “Synergy” 
is when a group of musicians make better music together 
than they could do separately. 
Killer Turtle was not one of those bands. 
In fact they had Reverse Synergy. 
They were all good musicians, 
but together they stank. 

Chuck was a great lead guitarist, but he had one weird fault… 
He always thought he was out of tune. 
During every song, 
he spent half the time with his back to the audience 
and his ear to the strings, 
trying to tune up. 
Nobody else thought his guitar needed tuning. 
They just thought he was nuts. 

Matt had fine technique as a drummer, except for one problem… 
During every fill, between phrases, 
he would drag the tempo down a little. 
You could hardly notice it at first, 
but fast songs would end up slow, 
and ballads almost came to a stop. 
He once tried to commit suicide 
by throwing himself behind a train. 

Herbie was one of the best, as a bass player, 
but after playing with the dragging drummer, 
he began rushing the beat to compensate. 
The other guys tried to find a middle ground to play in 
somewhere between the bass and drums. 

Wayne was a genius steel guitar player with a drinking problem. 
The more he drank, the more vibrato came into his playing, 
until it was hard to tell what key he was in. 
Late in the evenings 
you had to take Dramamine to prevent motion sickness. 

Jack, the piano man, was over-educated, 
and knew too many nice chords for his own good. 
He threw them into his music 
in the hopes that the other guys would eventually learn them, 
but they just thought he was playing wrong, 
and dreamed of finding a new keyboard player. 

Don was a talented lead singer, 
but he constantly fiddled with the sound system dials, 
causing loud squealing feedback, 
and making the audience cross their eyes, cover their ears, 
and do a pain dance. 

One night two simultaneous miracles happened. 
1. A major label talent scout came into the club, and… 
2. The band played one whole song perfectly. 
It happened to be the last song of the evening, 
and the agent signed them to a big bucks recording contract. 

If there were any justice in life 
Killer Turtle would have been a big flop, 
but in the modern recording studio 
the engineers could correct all of their faults. 
Their electronically perfect recordings sounded wonderful, 
and were hits. 
On personal appearances they pretended to play and sing, 
but actually worked with karaoke tracks. 

The moral: 
You don’t have to be good 
if you can make people THINK you’re good. 

Copyright © March 5, 2006, Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission. 

 

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