Blog

Married To A Man and His Bass Guitar

Here's where my story begins.........

One night about 38 years ago I went out with friends, we walked into a bar where a 4 piece band was playing classic rock. Front man, none other than, Mr. Steve Haywood, who also happens to play the bass.

It's for sure been a crazy time being married to a musician with the passion that burns your soul, to be in a band and play music! (Well actually make that 3 active bands right now!) Steve has been in many bands throughout the years, with not much space in between each one, the passion just kept driving him to find more....always more! Hours and hours spent rehearsing, photo shoots, recording studios, clothes shopping for new images. The vast amount of money that has been exchanged for various pieces of equipment, chasing around the country trying to get the best deals and this was all before searching on the web was with us! Miles travelled to shows, where if the band were lucky, they might just catch their "Big Break" The list is endless, I could go on forever and this is just part of what happens behind the scene, before the band hits the stage and performs to the people who decided to go out and see them, like "that night" I went out with friends, before I knew all of this.

I'm not saying I'm a saint or I'm perfect, far from it, but this lifestyle is not for the faint hearted. I've had friends say things like, "No way would I put up with that" "Don't you think that's selfish" etc. etc. I've heard it all. Yeah of course I've complained along the way and still do sometimes, when we have to miss an invitation because of a show or cuddling up to watch a movie at the weekends. I've lost count of how many birthdays and anniversaries I've spent sitting at a show waiting for a chance to sneak a quick kiss and "I love you" when he has a break, sometimes that doesn't happen because he can get tied up talking to the potential "customers", but hey that's the way it is, this is the wife behind the man who plays bass.

The hardest time for me was when we had our first daughter in December 1989. The music scene of course continued, but my involvement ended. April 1992 and we had our second daughter, so for some years, I felt very alone and almost a single parent it seemed. That was a difficult time for sure and it did effect our relationship in a big way, but we are a team and a dam good one, always have been and always will be. We worked hard and came through the other side, all relationships have ups and downs, good and bad parts along the way, why should this one be any different just because he plays in a band. If I'm honest, there have been times where I've felt jealous and "it's not fair ", but that was when I was much younger and thought I was missing out. There have been times when we've overspent and lived pay check to pay check - those weekend shows have put some food in the pantry and paid for gas and utilities, which I have been very grateful for, so there is some good comes from it all.

In 2006 we moved to America (we are English), we packed up and moved over here and left the UK behind, starting a new life here in Colorado. We bought a big house with a basement and guess what the basement became, yep you guessed it, an all singing, all dancing recording studio, the music continued! More bands were formed, more rehearsals, in the house this time (couldn't do that in the house back in England) - forget trying to watch TV on rehearsal nights. It was during this time Steve met Kelly "The guy behind the drums" making a pretty decent percussion team. They played in a couple bands and did a few gigs along the way, but sadly that came to an end in 2012 when Steve got let go from his day job and we ended up having to move to California. It wasn't long before we realized we missed Colorado too much to stay away, plus we became grandparents in the 2 years we were out there, so Steve focused on getting us back "home". Once we got re-established, Kelly approached Steve and asked if he would like to get a band together, The Midnight Growlers were born! So when you go see these guys at their best and you hear the song, "We're An American Band" (........with a Brit) you now know that, Mr. Steve Haywood, the man behind the bass is in fact from the UK.

At this point I'd like to say thank you to the ones that have read the blog to the end and it was fun sharing with y'all what life is really like being the wife of the man behind the bass and that's all folks, but, that won't be all, you know that as well as I do, the passion, the love, my story will continue for many more years I'm sure. As the saying goes, "The show is not over 'til the fat lady sings "I'm not about to start singing; I can guarantee you that!

Life from behind the Sound Desk - Vickie's view!

Picture, if you will, a 2 x 3 piece of electronic equipment with 200+ knobs, 30+ sliders, and 16 cables coming out of the top/back. To a novice, just this piece of equipment can be pretty complex and scary. What does the white knob do? Does it affect what the blue and red knobs do? What are those orange knobs? Which black knob goes to the bottom speaker and which one goes to the top? Why does that guy sound like he's singing into a box? So many questions!

Let me give you a little musical history on me: I was a classically trained vocalist in college. I sang in a Capella choruses in high school and college, but I've been too shy in my life to perform on stage with a working rock band. Back in school, one of my biggest influences was my high school choir director who trained us to listen to each other and blend with each other by singing in a circle with our eyes closed. This was how I learned about getting a good sound.

Now, put this ear training together with a daunting piece of equipment, an amp with crossover, 4 speakers, 4 vocalists, 2 monitors, two guys with in-ear monitors, 2 guitars, a bass guitar, a drum kit which gets 6 mics, and see what happens. A few months ago I gladly accepted the challenge of helping my 4 favorite local performers to sound better on stage with as minimal technical problems as possible. The twist of a knob here, the push or pull of a slider there, push the volume up a little bit more, get that guy out of the "box." It looks easy, but unless you know what those knobs do to a sound, how they can make it good or bad with the slightest turn, it's not as easy as you think, and that piece of equipment isn't all there is to it. If one speaker or microphone isn't working right, if wires are crossed, the sound can go into the toilet and it's your job to figure out what isn't quite right and fix it. Not to mention when the sound isn't quite right to your musicians - not enough of this, too much of that - When you see me running around that's what I'm working on. When my back is turned and my eyes are closed, I'm listening to the blend: whose guitar or vocals are too high? It's a big job, especially if you don't understand how it all works, but if you have an inkling, a willingness to learn, and 4 guys who trust your ear training, it's so very worth it. I am honored to be the newest "member" of the Midnight Growlers Band! Be sure to stop by and say "hi" to the girl behind the "desk!"

Our Friends over at Drumming Up Hope held a record breaking event last weekend for continuous drumming by a group - 81 hours. By doing this, over $10,000 has been raised for Denver Hospital St Jude's. Kelly is a VP of the Drumming Up Hope Foundation and we are so proud of him and his lovely wife Vickie, for all...

The Growlers played their first show at Nissi's Event Center in Lafayette, CO last Thursday night. "We have been waiting a while to get access to this wonderful local venue" said Steve today, "but it was worth the wait". A great turnout saw the boys rip through 2 one hour sets, with fantastic transitions that kept the dance floor...

Last Friday night at the Island Grill in Fort Collins was, in a word, AWESOME! The energy in the venue and the performance level of the Growlers was at an all-time high. In my three months with the band, this was, in my opinion, our finest night so far. There was not a spare piece of dance floor available and...

A great back to back double show weekend at the Island Grill in Fort Collins was successfully dispatched to a full house on both Friday 23 and Saturday 24 February. Standing room only and a full dance floor all night each night told the story. The boys in the band were late packing the show down on Saturday night due...

The Midnight Growlers played on a Double Bill with Stereo Collision on Friday night (16th Feb). The Growlers tore through a 75 minute set to a full house and made a whole new set of friends and fans. The band hired the services of local videographer Vickie Jo Mullins, who captured much of the set on video - some clips...

We are really pleased to announce that after a 2 year absence, The Growlers will be playing the Patio at Jerry Ds in Dacono throughout the summer, the highlight being an afternoon show on Labor Day, Sept 3rd! "It's a great opportunity for us", said Steve yesterday. "We have been working with Dawn at Jerry Ds for a few months...

So we decided to upgrade the PA this weekend. When you are managing the dollars, that means go get the parts and roll your sleeves up! Mike went and got 2 new Sub Woofers and Steve acquired a new crossover. A couple of hours later on Saturday and we have a completed overhauled and re-vamped PA with tight, punchy 18"...