22 March 2007

The Dustbin of History.

Back in the old days, I was in a band. Not a real band, the kind that actually went out and played gigs in bars and stuff. OK. We did do that a few times, but nothing major. We were a cover band and played mainly for our own amusement. And most of this was in high school (except the bars part), so once we went to college the band broke up. Only one of us ever went on to bigger and better things, band-wise, and he did that in Atlanta.

I played the bass, very poorly at first, but I got better. It didn't help that when I bought the bass (a used black Westone) I'd never before attempted to play a musical instrument of any kind. Thank god for tablature. The first time I played with the band (which was maybe the second or third time they'd played), at the high school talent show, my amp was either unplugged or turned down very very low so that I wouldn't f-up the performance. Our second "gig" involved just the guitarist and me; we were playing background music at a friend's graduation party, and my skills were so limited that we more or less played endless renditions of "Louie Louie" and "Wild Thing."

Our major problem throughout our career was finding a drummer. When we were seniors in high school, we had a good drummer -- a junior -- but he had crazy parents who didn't want him moving his kit from their basement unless he was getting paid to play somewhere, and that sort of prerequisite kind of limits your prospects when your gigs are mostly held at friends' houses.

Toward the end of high school, I traded in the Westone for a beautiful birdseye maple Ibanez bass that I still have to this day. Here's a photo of me with my bass circa 1990:

Yes it was hot as hell in that cramped apartment, and for better or for worse our PA blew out soon into the set and we were free to drink beer and sweat without having heavy chunks of wood and metal hanging around our necks.


Reya Mellicker said...

Fantastic! I LOVE the pic. Hey you know the Talking Heads didn't have a clue about music when they decided to leave the world of visual arts. Tina Weymouth is one of my great heroes, a great bass player.

The first time I saw Jody Foster's Army, they only played for a half hour, after which they announced to the audience they didn't know any other songs. I think they were drunk, too. Definitely all of us in the audience were drunk enough to think that was really funny.

Bass is soooo cool, even in a hot apartment. How great that you went out and bought the instrument, and improved, too! Do you ever play these days? I bet your kids would get such a kick out of it.

Momentary Academic said...

That's awesome. I wish that I had been in a band in high school.

Lonnie Bruner said...

I love stories about high school bands. I have similar tales to tell.

Did you and the guys ever build your own stage out of old plywood?

mysterygirl! said...

I love that picture. Sounds like the band created some pretty fun memories.

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