After a few weeks on the road playing the same show every night you begin to incorporate certain licks, motifs and ideas into your solos that work. If they worked last night and got a good reaction from the crowd, they'll no doubt get a similar reaction tonight. As the tour goes on, you begin to develop a bit of shtick that works its way into your improvising. And occasionally I'll notice myself revisiting things from last year's tour!
But I try really hard to avoid doing that. I want to keep the music fresh for me and for the band, and the last thing I want to hear is the same stuff I did the night before. I'm currently touring Europe with what was to be a CVB tour, but our drummer Walfredo Reyes, Jr. became unavailable after the entire tour was booked. So I called in an old friend and very capable sub, Chad Wackerman.
Chad has been a close friend of mine for 34 years. We've played on each other's CDs and done many concerts together over the years under his name or mine. For five months of this year he's been touring with James Taylor, and his many years with Frank Zappa and Allan Holdsworth should tell you that he's no stranger to the road. I put together a new show that showcases his abilities and pulled out some material I haven't performed in ten years. It feels fresh.
Some of this music I've been playing for quite awhile, but with a different drummer the approach, groove, and at times overall concept of the song changes subtly. I find myself playing differently, reaching for different ideas and lines. A massive amount of “shtick buildup” has been washed away. In a nutshell, the drums as a source of inspiration cannot be underestimated!
—Carl Verheyen; http://www.carlverheyen.com/