Ok, maybe it wasn't planned, but I was thrilled when it happened, anyhow. We got the call the night before (as is the case with TV) to appear at the end of Friday's The Last Leg show and play a song that Adam Hills had written. The sticking point was that only the vocal part and a bass line actually existed, so we had a few hours in the afternoon to write the rest of it. Unsurprisingly, that challenge was loads of fun and (perhaps more surprisingly) the producers having something dreadfully vague but sincerely demanding to say after every rendition we put forward was also very enjoyable.
What made this special was how it was so different to what I'm used to doing as a musician. Normally, I'll arrive at a session and there will be a part waiting for me on a music stand or an iPad, written by someone else. Maybe there will be an element of improvisation, and things will probably change a bit with some discussion, but the basic part exists before I get there. Or if I'm playing with a pop artist or band, there will often be a completed song for which we'll devise a part for me or a horn section at a rehearsal. On Friday, however, neither of those scenarios happened. There were the bare, bare bones of a song in existence just a few hours before it was performed, and the whole band had to write all of the music (except that bass line and the chord structure). Some might find that scary, but I find it so exciting – and I love that the industry expects us musicians to do that with no questions asked.