The time I butchered an acoustic Oasis cover
As one of the most influential bands of my formative years, Oasis have been hugely important to my development as an acoustic singer in the UK and a songwriter.
Noel Gallagher is gifted beyond words, having created some of the most enduring songs of all time and I have the utmost respect for him.
It seems a shame, then, that my first live acoustic performance was an uneven and shameful rendition of their titular second album track, What's the Story Morning Glory.
Like many young musicians, my first performances were found in events being run by my school. I will talk about some of my more successful ones in later stories. My very first was an audition for a school talent show and I was in year 9 (I think, to be honest my ego may have erased as many details as it could over the years).
Now, anyone who has ever auditioned for anything will know the utter fear which grips you before you take the stage. Whether it's musical, acting, or even a job interview, the butterflies are the same, as is the immense sweating.
As me and Seth (bassist and lifetime friend) took our seats in front of a row of sixth formers who formed the judging panel, it is safe to say I was one ill-timed sneeze away from soiled underpants. The guitar felt super heavy, the lights were blinding, and I am sure I could hear someone in back whisper "wankers".
But, we summed up our courage and played for a few minutes of a song we have practiced perhaps 30 times. And when we were done, there were a few claps and a few faces looking awkward for us.
We knew we have failed to raise the roof and I'd be lying if I said I was not more than a bit disappointed with how it went.
Heading back to our tutor room, the reaction from our classmates was mild to put it optimistically.
One girl called Amy said, "What was it you were singing?".
Already a bad start, it got worse when I told her the name of the track and she said: "Oh. I thought it was What's the story Balamory?"
For anyone too young or not British enough to know, Balamory was a popular children's TV show, and about as far away from Brit Pop and Oasis's spunky culture as you could get.
This kind of outcome, whilst hard at the time, was really important to allowing me to see the simple truth about any one performing.
...we didn't get into the show :(
What I learned
At the time it felt like total failure and reason enough to give up the whole lot. But it was an important moment for me.
I realised that often the thing that makes doing anything in public so hard is the thought of other people laughing at you. Or at least that's what you think it it. Instead, you probably feel you would laugh at someone if they were up there doing it.
So I decided, then and there, to never laugh at any other musician no matter how unrefined their skills. Because they are super brave to be playing in front of people and should be shown love.
So often now, if I'm playing live, I don't get nervous as such, just excited - which still causes butterflies. And I have since played some acoustic Oasis songs, as well as some electric ones in a full band, and found redemption in my performances (aside from an elongated solo at the end of Supersonic whereby I ended up playing on my back - more on that later).
I share this story with you simply to let you know something vulnerable about me and hope that any musicians out there might want to share back in the comments.