Rudolph Edwards: Journey with Desperados
WITCO Desperadoes and Arranger Clive Bradley
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Interview Recorded: July 03, 2005
Posted: July 19, 2005
Your supporters are your first judges
Pan has come a long way and it is still going further. There is no end to where it can go because somebody is always doing something with it. Right now, 'Ellie' Mannette is doing a lot of work about pan in New York. 'Exodus Steel Orchestra' just won the World Steelband Music Festival at Madison Square Garden, but we didn't take part in it. This is not bringing down anybody, but to really win you must have the top gun bands to compete with. If internationally respected top bands like 'Despers' and 'All Stars' had taken part I could understand that, but neither one of those bands were there, so 'Exodus' got a free track to run. 'Trinidad All Stars' and 'W.I.T.C.O Desperados' are not joke bands when it comes to playing classical music. 'Trinidad All Stars' is a good, top band and they are also a disciplined band just like us. Discipline is an important thing in playing pan; it is like a part of your pan. In anything you are playing, discipline plays a great part in it and as long as you have good discipline, you are much higher.
Most of our supporters are big shot people. When we used to play at the country club and for the tourists J'ouvert morning, the band used to start from by the Queens Park Hotel with a whole set of white people and our people as well. We have real good players in our band and we do not make joke when we reach on stage to perform. You should hear some of these players from other bands when they are rehearsing in their pan yards. They will say things like they will win, but when they reach on stage to perform they cannot do what they were doing in their pan yard. When we reach on stage we do more, and if we make a mistake, which we have, they would boo us, but the booing made us play more and the same people who were booing us had to end up applauding us. That has happened many times and if you ask anybody who goes to the Savannah to listen to pan, they will tell you they had people booing us. There are plenty bands that play very well when they are rehearsing in their pan yards, but when the time comes for them to perform on stage, they cannot put out the same as when they were rehearsing in their pan yards. We are not like that because we have that killer instinct and we don't study any crowd.
There was a time when Clive Bradley left us because we had a falling out. When he left, he went to 'Tokyo' and he gave them a winning tune 'Pan in Danger'. Then he went to 'Pandemonium' and gave them the tune 'Sailing' by the 'Mighty Trini'. Those fellas were wining in the semi-finals, but when the final night reached, they were no way near to what they were in the coming out; they didn't have that 'ting' to make it. We 'doh' make joke with the final night when we go to Panorama. After that night, Bradley said, "I have my thing with 'Despers', but 'Despers' is a band with killer instincts and if I had given them that tune they would have been flying." That's because of the players and how we look at competition. When you go to competition, you have to forget about the people and think about what you are going to do. When we reach on stage, we do not study the crowd because we know what we are going for and we do not make joke with that. When we come off the stage then we could 'lime'; I don't drink when I go to the Savannah to perform. It is a task when you are going to perform in a festival or Panorama competition.
Your supporters are your first judges after a performance. For instance, if you have plenty supporters in the audience when you go on a stage to play and they are not jolly after you perform, immediately you will know that things are not going to be good. When you have to go and play in competition, firstly, you have to study what you are going to do and the first person to please should be your supporters because they will know if you performed as you ought to. With all the good we are good, there was a time when we played and before the judgment came, we knew to ourselves that we didn't perform well. Although we perform well most of the time, our performance will not be good all the time. You will know when you played good and your supporters will also know when you played good. You do not have to wait for the judges to say whether you win or you loose; you will know. Another thing that contributes to a good performance is a good mic system. If you want good sound when you are performing, it is important to have good mikes for balance. Sometimes, they could sabotage the mikes when you are playing on stage. There was a time when they did it to us and I didn't know because I was focused on playing, it was only after we came off the stage we heard people talking about it and saying that they were not hearing us when we were playing. It is important to have people know that you should be fair to all and not do things one-sided. They should always give all the bands a good mike system.
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