The Keyboard Stand

[Photo Credit: Puk Khantho]

[Photo Credit: Puk Khantho]

I’d been using the same keyboard stand for quite some time. It looked like a remote-control spider. Was it time for a change? I certainly thought so. And then it happened: the manufacturer of my keyboard created a stand which would I could actually attach to my keyboard to make it almost - almost mind you - look like an old electric keyboard from the 60’s and 70’s. I had to have it!

Soon after my discovery, I’d arranged for my local music store to get this very cool keyboard stand in. The day finally arrived and I ended up in my office with my keyboard and a box of parts that would soon transform my humble keyboard into a vintage-style über cool funky palace of groove.

Needless to say, after I’d attached all the pieces together, it dawned on me that my keyboard with it's attached stand bits might not now fit into my highly expensive keyboard case.

If weight equals protection, then my keyboard case is akin to a nuclear bomb shelter. It has recessed handles, reinforced corners, wheels on one end and is the envy of many a doomsday prepper. It also weighs as much as the keyboard itself.

In my youth, I’d quite happily lift the keyboard in its case without any medium to long-term ramifications to my health. I could lift the case with keyboard nestled inside it up in the air, then twist my back around, dangling this monument of engineering like a crane effortlessly lifts up a concrete slab.

As I started to age a little, I noticed that the “lifting” was still okay (albeit with a bead of sweat nonchalantly running down my nose), however the “twisting” while carrying the equivalent of a small hybrid car - that was where my spine would make strange crackling noises like a twig in a combine harvester.

I won’t go into my visits to Ben, my physiotherapist. In-between seeing elite sports-people with twinged hamstrings, Ben somehow found himself with the high honour of keeping my spine in keyboard-case-carrying readiness.

Now that I had added even more parts to my keyboard with this über-cool modern vintage-style stand, I’d somehow added to its weight. I also realised that while my keyboard case was still able to close with the keyboard and extra attached parts inside, it could only close if I jumped up and down on it a few times.

I finally had to reject the über-cool retro stand and go back to my original "spider" stand.

Soon came another tour booking and before I knew it, I was off driving to another concert. On this particular mini-tour, I’d convinced my brother-in-law Russell to accompany me to handle the incredibly large amount of concert CD and merch sales which often overwhelm me when I'm on my own.

We turned up at a church hall in Wollongong. On this occasion, I was there to share some of my original gospel songs, accompanied by a drummer/vocalist and another keyboard/vocalist.

As I set up my robotic-like "spider" stand, I realised that my keyboard was somehow still wearing an additional plate from the stand I’d been trying out. I didn’t think too much about it at the time, and continued to get ready for the meeting.

It was a great time. People really seemed to be enjoying the moments together. As I launched out into my next meaningful song, I felt like it was all just coming together. I closed my eyes and sung from my heart.

Occasionally as I sing, I sometimes get so much into a song, that I tend to lose spatial awareness. So I didn't immediately pay attention as I felt my keyboard leap into my arms. I opened my eyes.

Unknowingly to me, my old robotic-like "spider" stand and my keyboard with it’s extra attachments just weren’t getting along. As I passionately played my keyboard, it somehow had started bouncing up and down on my stand like an Olympic diver.

I’d first heard of sympathetic resonance when watching a documentary on bridge-building. One bridge in particular had started swaying up and down with the resonance of a passing breeze, finally bouncing itself to destruction.

A similar thing seem to be happening with my keyboard and stand, as right in the middle of my song, with closed eyes and open heart, I suddenly found myself catching my fully laden 88-note weighted keyboard (plus additional bits) out of sheer instinct.

Firstly I should mention, that going from playing a keyboard to catching a keyboard, there is just no way that it could ever sound melodic or intentional.

My friends on stage who were playing along with me looked at me with mouths agape.

The people in the audience looked at me with a sense of distressed wonder.

I realised that for a very brief moment, I must have looked like a kind of 80’s keyboard player with a “keytar” (think Robert Lamm from Chicago), however this keyboard weighed about five times what a keytar would have weighed, and somehow I just couldn’t pull off continuing to play.

Just when I thought that there might be a parallel universe where I could somehow envision this farce becoming rescue-able, my brother-in-law ran from the back of the hall down the aisle and onto the stage to help rescue me from my dilemma. A herd of buffalo would have been more subtle. I think some people half raised themselves out of their seats thinking that he was attacking me. Others almost started running out of shared enthusiasm.

Needless to say, I tried to laugh it off and continue, however it just wasn’t that kind of a crowd.

"Er... Perhaps now would be a good time to turn around and greet someone sitting near you," I stammered.

I recently played back at the same venue. As much as I thought I’d moved on with my life since “Keyboard-gate”, inevitably someone mumbled as I walked past, “Hope his keyboard stand works this time.”

David Willersdorf is a singer-songwriter, traveller and food and coffee enthusiast


The Drive


Photos: Youth Extreme Festival