For a gyroscope to spin rapidly and keep its original plane of rotation it must be correctly balanced. A good one will spin for an amazingly long time.

Well musical groups are similar to gyroscopes in that they need balance to keep going which takes effort by all its members.

Rock bands don’t have as many members as orchestras or marching bands do but to perform well all of them must play together in harmony. In the “big” time there are many more opportunities to rehearse, learn new material, and perform in great venues, but on the local level it’s different so let’s take a look and how the average rock band around here manages to spin effortlessly like a balanced gyroscope.

I can tell you it isn’t easy. There are so many factors that make it difficult that one wonders why people do it at all. Of course there is the musical drive that musicians have and it is a powerful drive, but coordinating the whole program takes some doing. Now I’m speaking about what could be called semi-pro bands. They probably won’t be your next superstars, just working men and women. They are the kind that work here and there occasionally for small amounts of money. They work the lodges, bars, restaurants, parties, festivals and any other jobs they can get.

If you live in a large metro area like Portland there are more places to work but more bands also and everyone on the semi-pro level is looking for the jobs that pay. Now a lot of these bands don’t have record contracts or CD’s but they still have to have all their equipment in order, be able to entertain for several hours, and decide what kind of material to do.

That seems simple enough but because most semi-pro bands have members that have to work regular jobs to survive, simply getting together on a daily basis to rehearse can prove challenging. The first challenge is equipment and how are you going to get it to and from the job? Do you have trucks or big trunks in your cars? Then as a group you have to decide what kind material you will be doing and depending on the skill level of musicians that can be easy or an arduous task. Once a decision is made the good material is kept, the unwanted trashed.

If you’re lucky all the band members live fairly close to one another but I know of several bands whose members live miles from each other. After a day at a regular job then a sixty mile round trip ride to practice can make for long days. Finally to keep a gyroscopic balance there must be harmony among the band members. Often there is a strain on a member of two because of personalities, family obligations, work schedules, personal musical taste and a plethora of other distractions.

But hang on! — There is a light at the end of the tunnel! Someone saw you performing and told someone else how good you were and the next thing you know you have a couple of good jobs coming up! With that boost of energy what were problems when you were just rehearsing and not playing live in front of people disappear. Who cares if you work all day and play all night, drive many miles and have to play the dreaded “top forty cover songs”!

Soon you will be performing for appreciative crowds under the bright lights and doing it as effortlessly as a good balanced Gyroscope spins!

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Rick Schultze

A few years ago at a writers conference held in the central Oregon coast town of Yachats, where I live, I listened to the late Ken Kesey, a frequent visitor to the area, tell a writer that this could be a hard place to write. “If you think you can sit there staring at the ocean for inspiration you’re wrong, it’s not out there, it’s in your head!” He was right; it is beautiful here in Lincoln County, the kind of beauty that makes concentrating on anything else tough and since hearing that insight, I’ve written at a desk facing a wall, no windows opening onto a ocean view, although I have one, but it’s worked. I’ve done, and do, different kinds of writing. As a freelance writer I’ve been a observational columnist, a humor columnist, a book and music reviewer for newspapers, magazines, and online. However, as a creative writer, my heart belongs to fiction. In that genre I do short stories, road adventure stories, musical adventure tales, and in current production, are three small novels. So really the purpose of this web site is to give you a glance of some of the things I’ve done, a preview of what’s coming, and hopefully, a view of what it’s like to be a writer living in a small town on the Oregon coast!