Monday, 12 January 2009

In Praise Of Train Wrecks

Train wrecks (of the musical kind) can be good for you. First, they're funny when happening to others. 

Two examples from my early years.

Rival band's drummer starts gig standing on bass drums, twirling sticks and 'making rock faces' at crowd.
slips and falls through the kit bringing the whole thing crashing down on top of him.
plow through opening song while RBD meticulously reassembles every part of kit.
finally sits down ready to play just as first song finishes. Classic.

Local metal band play opening song.
's guitarist snaps top E string during widdley-tastic solo.
walks off stage to find another string.
walks back on stage, then off the other side.
House lights come back up.
LMBGP temporarily abandons search to pose with LMB for a photograph for local newspaper!!
LMBGP finds string.
Gig recommences with same song.

It's not just unknowns either.

King's X @ Rock City, Nottingham.

Start song.
Bass player sings verse 1 while guitar player sings verse 2.
Both start laughing.
Band stops.
Band starts again.

Van Halen @ Hallam Arena, Sheffield.
Sammy Hagar sings a sensitive solo acoustic number.
SH plays wrong chord.
SH swears loudly while hitting wrong chord several more times in an unsensitive manner.
SH continues song.

Being part of a church that values the role of the congregation in leading worship we have more opportunity than most for spectacular train wrecks, usually around transposition. Twice I've managed to change to a new key on my guitar while my voice went to a totally different one. Once two members of the congregation started two different songs at the same time. A keyboard player auto-transposed for the first song then forgot to change it back for the next, playing the WHOLE SONG a semitone out! The favourite though has to be starting 'The grace of God upon my life' a fourth away from the right key and being unable to get to the right one. Grinding to a halt after having sung

The grace of God upon my life
is not dependant upon me
on what I have done or deserved

was priceless!

Good for the Spirit

That's the second reason train wrecks can be good. They are powerful reminders that our worship gatherings are more than

musical skill + good planning + adequate rehearsal + good content

We're not trying to build atmosphere or even have a great meeting, but rather welcome the Spirit. And, praise God, He is not frightened by our musical disasters.
If he was he would have left Grace Church long ago.

So if you happen to be the cause of a major derailment next sunday, give thanks that,

it was only a regular sunday morning not anything like, oh I don't know, a major worship conference
No one was recording, much less filming it
Someone like Bob Kauflin wasn't around to post it on his blog for all to see


  1. Talking of Van Halen trainwrecks, here they are playing Jump with the synth audio at the wrong speed:

  2. Hi Matt, great to find another NF worship blogger and King's x fan. Look forward to reading your future posts

  3. Si - ooohh that's painful!
    But EVH has the right idea. If it's unbearable to listen to a few scissor kicks will make it all, all right !


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