So you want to be in a band?
5:50 PM Friday. Wife calls and asks if we need anything other than milk. “Beer.” is the response.
Three-year-old is now upset because Netflix has frozen and won’t play her show; and we still have no milk. I’m trying to cobble together some sort of dinner from whatever I can find in the fridge and pantry. It seems one of us forgot to pull something out of the freezer this morning.
“Daddy? What’s Doggy doing?” I turn around and notice the dog making as if to puke on the floor and quickly usher her out of the house where she suddenly forgets to puke and goes barking mad after a squirrel instead.
I need another beer. Once, many years ago, beer flowed freely. Buckets of them just appeared on stage all the time, compliments of the house or of fans or whatever.
The perks of being in the band: Lots of free beer and almost no dog puke.
Part 4: Jimmy quit, Jody got married…
So there we were: five guys trying to be the partiest band in the universe. But the universe kept complaining about the noise.
As I said in the last episode, Grap was one of the finest and fastest guitar players I had ever seen, professional or otherwise. His skills were (and still are, we didn’t kill him or anything) simply astounding. By contrast, Animal was not a very good drummer. I mean, he was pretty good and he was fun to jam with, but when Grap joined he just couldn’t keep up. His work schedule got even tighter and the decision was made to maybe seek out a new drummer. Dez put out a rather clandestine ad for a drummer so that it wasn’t obvious we were shopping.
Guess who answered the ad?
Yep, that was awkward. For Dez and Animal, anyway; I wasn’t there when it happened.
So, the ads went back up and calls from venues started coming in and we learned songs.
So let’s talk about song selection, shall we?
Yeah. Let’s do this.
When you’re in a cover band, you have literally every song that’s ever been written as an option. That leaves a lot of room for disagreement about which songs to play.
Five guys, all from different backgrounds, all from different perspectives and experiences, all trying to suggest the perfect list of songs to fill the bill that will get the butts through the door, keep them there, and get them moving. Dez was a party rocker, an MC. He liked poppy stuff; the dancier, the better. I like the B-sides and the obscure hits. You know, the ones that everyone knows but nobody expects. T-Bag likes everything, but prefers progressive and classic stuff. Grap seemed to like anything he could add seventeen chords to and make more complicated than necessary. JBawlz hadn’t joined yet but he liked jazz and really heavy metal.
You can see where there might have been some conflicts.
(I’ll fast forward through the next bunch of auditions: We hired a guy on drums. He named himself JBawlz and we got back to work.)
So, someone suggests a song and it goes around and there are discussions about whether this song or another is the best use of our time. But we have a show two weeks from now and it’s a full three hours so we need at least ten songs to fill the slot. So we got a whiteboard for the practice room and always had a few “in-progress” songs working. Eventually it was just full of drawings of dicks, but we tried.
In the meantime, Dez went and got himself engaged. Shortly after that, so did I.
What would this mean for the future of the band? We told ourselves it wouldn’t mean anything. I mean, we’d been dating our ladies since before Thunderpants came together. Our chicks were cool and supportive. All would be well.
So, we played. We learned songs and booked shows and picked up the pace. Then one day I came in to practice and Dez said that Grap was leaving the band.
Son of a Bitch.