To be fair, I can barely call it “in public”. It was a friend’s BBQ on a lazy Sunday with just a speckling of folks I didn’t know. It was just me and a couple of friends playing. Probably wouldn’t even qualify as a band, and dudes, my definition of “band” is pretty fuckin’ loose. We had drums and guitars and someone (me, sadly) sang, so I guess… well, sure, I guess we did qualify. But also, we had no setlist, only practiced once, and couldn’t manage a bass so… you know.
Quick stop here – boy, it’s been a while since I’ve updated, huh? Yeah, well, things have been busy. Although, I can happily say now that unlike the last few times I went missing, this time things have been mostly busy with my own personal productively backdropped with some very good and well needed social interactions. Though there are some other social interactions I would like to have, which is a subject for another time.
There is so much to say. I have about a billion thoughts on that very brief session, not the least being on some of my overeagerness that resulted in a fairly jacked-up thumb from wanting to bust out my recently refreshed bass skills (see previous lack of bass). Also how I was just barely able to keep my word to myself and remain silent enough not to accidentally invite anyone, but also couldn’t quite keep my trap shut to people not invited moments before. I wasn’t going to say anything about it even after it finished, as this, too, is just practice. But there it went, and now here we are, talking about what should have been an unmentioned semi-practice.
The specific group of friends of mine and myself aren’t likely to play together again anytime soon. Things really just sort of lined up because folks were in town for the summer from the various other corners of America and the globe they had shipped off to, which is not an annual thing for any of them. On top of that is my own threat to vacate this town and state, which I don’t see happening soon, but will almost certainly happen unless something more concrete manages to tether me here.
But having done so, having gotten together with these rarely seen but much beloved friends, I am much invigorated to do so again. There is a part of me that thinks this very stupid, but another part that thinks I should just fucking go for it – I should just play, and maybe even start a band. What if I put out the most open-ended of Craigslist ads of “looking for band”, or perhaps even more open-ended? What if we played together? What if we wrote together? What if I just really gave it a go?
The last time I really got into music, the time I actually wrote some songs, I was able to because I had a standing date with a group of friends. Including that rare few passing through town this summer, we were made up of just shy of a dozen. All of whom loved to play, and where all happy to chip-in on a playspace, and to give eachother what little we could offer as twenty-somethings. A part of that reminded me of being a teen here in town, where a few of us with jobs would pick up the check of the few of us that didn’t when we went off to eat late-night, before any of us were drinkers.
I’m older now, and have to figure that someone around my age is interested and perhaps has their own garage or farmhouse or something bigger and more isolated than my two-bedroom condo, and is also just as interested as I to have good folk come around and noodle their instruments with friends-to-be.
I think I should someday describe my ideal band. But not today. There is, as I said, much more to say. But then, this is getting long and I need to wrap it up. I dropped off posting again, earlier this year, because of that exact problem – having so very much to say that I can’t take the time to say the very little that is needed. So I’ll just wrap up with this now, with one last over-long paragraph and a few silly, unneeded sentences.
It went slightly better than expected, in spite (or perhaps because) of that jacked up thumb. We had to pass on a few songs because I couldn’t manage to finger-pick for longer than 15 seconds, but I could hold a thin pick tightly, so it was all good on some electric jams. And we had to entirely skip anything where I was to play bass, so that one Police song I’m kinda-sorta OK at was out. But I showed up near the time we wanted to start, even though I stayed a little longer than planned at my niece’s own show, perhaps because I find myself much more invested in her progress than my own. I played someone else’s guitar, one with a Floyd Rose bridge, which… also needs its own post. Its own series, really, and maybe my intro to my amateur Luthier work. Then, with a fairly thin and cheap pick pressed between forefinger and somewhat sore thumb, we eased our way into a bit of an odd version of Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt”, which I usually play acoustically in a version somewhere between the original Trent Reznor and much beloved Johny Cash arrangements, but this time played the same but electric and with some distortion to an effect that seemed most folks rather liked… though I would have like to have played differently, to be honest. Then some Beatles that I only sang in, some Misfits that I played and sang in, and a weird mix of Megadeth’s “Trust” that was a mix of my terrible high school power-cord understanding of the song, my most recent learnings from the arrangement in Rocksmith, and some knowledge I’ve been slowly compiling from various outlets’ interviews with the band’s head, Dave Mustaine. Megadeth’s arrangements are much more complex than any of us mid-to-late 90’s players were capable of understanding, much like how all of us played The Misfits as power-cords, not realizing how that cantankerous and oft complex weirdo that is Glenn Danzig had actually set some many of their songs up as strange perversions of 50’s Doo-Wop.
And then we had some very cheap beers and some very nice BBQ. Hard to complain about that, though I did have to listen to some guest who’s name I did not get describe, in length which I did not retain, the difference between “Baby-back” and “Saint Louise Style” ribs. Thanks for wasting my time, dude. Hopefully I will remember your tirade when I become a restaurant tycoon.
Side note time: Being a “cover band” is not at all my goal in life, and not even my goal in music. But in my earlier life, I completely neglected the knowledge and skills that one can accumulate from the study of those before you, which in music absolutely includes covers. It is a major failing of my musical upbringing, one which I am desperately trying to fix now, as rapidly as I can.
And now, some lessons learned:
Breaking through my natural introvert ways and taking a chance always seems to work out for me. It felt good to play like that again.
But also, be cautious of the slap-bass. My thumb still hurts, even to just click the space-bar.