What I’ve learned playing in a punk band

CID captured live at The Local in Guelph. From left, me, Michael Clifton, Keaghan Nelson, Robert Grant and Chailey Nelson.


One of the greatest things about playing in a punk band is just telling people, “I play in a punk band.” 

Of course, my attention-loving ego is delighted with the surprised look on people’s faces that a 62 year old who plays golf and goes to bed at a reasonable time would play bass in a punk band. 

I also feel cocky in saying that our Guelph-based band, CID, is ‘loud, thrashy … and we’re very good.’ We are!

Other than the ego nonsense, playing my favourite punk anthems with four great guys who also love this energizing music is an absolute blast. It is positively thrilling to walk on a nightclub stage, turn my amp up, and rock out nuggets such as Blitzkrieg Bop and Clampdown with the lads (well, everyone except our drummer is over 50).

Speaking of surprises, you might be surprised what you can adapt to golf, sports, business or anything from hammering out 2-½ minute buzz-saw rockers in a band. Here goes:

  • The more fun that we have, the better we play
  • That said, you must do the work of preparing and practicing. Performance reflects the amount time spent preparing
  • When it’s time to perform, the work is over. There is no ‘try.’ In the truest sense of the word—Play!
  • Emotion trumps talent every time
  • When I’m present to what I’m doing, I’m not willing my fingers to do anything. I let them do their thing—it’s like they know what to do and when. I just have to stay out of the way
  • If I’m thinking about an upcoming change or riff, I’m not in the present moment, and I’ll inevitably screw up
  • That said, no one notices mistakes—except me. The trick is to let it go, re-connect and stay present
  • The more I pour myself into the emotions and stories in the songs and feel them, the better the performance
  • Being part of something bigger than yourself is a rush
  • For some, punk connotes a degree of looseness, but playing this music well as a band requires planning, scheduling, commitment, and accountability. If I say I’ll learn a song for next practice, I better do it.
  • Everyone knows their role. Mine is to fill out the sound—not to draw attention to whatever ‘chops’ (aka skill) that I may have
  • No one cares if I nail a Clash bass line note-for-freaking note. That is just ego. It’s about doing my best to provide a foundation for the songs
  • The best bands are comprised of people who want to have fun, do what they love, don’t grandstand or demand they get their way, and everyone knows what they need to do to take care of business

Lastly, if you wait for the perfect time to take action, you might run out of time. I always wanted to get back into a band, but I felt I needed to brush up, take lessons and ensure I was ready.

Forty years went by until I was invited by CID to give it a shot. I’m glad they got to me before incontinence and dentures did.

Thanks to Chailey, Michael and Keaghan for inviting me into your band, and for Robert our new rhythm guitarist. I feel like a former rep hockey player who now plays pick-up hockey. I’m having way more fun because my pesky ego is largely out of the way.

The themes of behaviour change and accountabiity are pillars in my coaching, as well as my change management workshops called Walk Your Talk. Click here for more on my  workshops and here for a previous blog on accountability.

For info on the workshops or coaching, drop me a line at tim@oconnorgolf.ca or visit www.oconnorgolf.ca.

About Tim O'Connor

Tim O'Connor is a golf coach, an award-winning writer, and speaker. Tim takes a holistic approach, coaching golfers in the physical and mental aspects of golf. He co-hosts the Swing Thoughts podcast with Howard Glassman, and is the author of The Feeling of Greatness: The Moe Norman Story. He plays bass in CID—a Guelph punk band!