art of the jam 6
the fw symphony violinist and mainstay of the wreck room's lee allen-carl pack wednesday night jam went out and bought himself a marshall combo and line 6 pod. now, when he cranks it up, his bow sounds like jeff beck's fingers on strat strings. it's kinda spooky.
"just what i needed," quipped bandleader lee: "another gtr player."
"actually," says lee, "these guys all say i'm the leader, but these guys are all leaders. at any time, somebody can play a riff or a theme or an idea that will change the flow of what everyone else is doing."
every week's different, and no one knows what's going to happen, including lee (although this week, he wanted some of the regular jammers to run through the form of failure's "daylight," so they can play it next week when his wife's in the audience).
this week, the theme was "metal maelstrom."
for awhile, lee had been talking about having an all-metal jam, an idea that came one step closer to fruition when acoustic alchemist darrin kobetich dragged his half-stack and pedalboard out of the house and became a wednesday night regular a few weeks ago. then, the jam's regular drummer, damien stewart (ph7/goodwin), cut his thumb while making some home repairs and had to sit out the week. as luck would have it, darrin's regular percussionist mike padilla (ex-el salvador birthday bash) happened to be in the bar when the news of damien's misfortune hit, and he agreed to fill in behind the trap set. with that, all the pieces were in place.
"we never really played together electric before," said darrin, "except one time at my house, and that kinda sucked 'cos we were both in weird moods."
things started out quietly, with some drumless modal jams (sounding near eastern at some times -- "it's the persian rug jam!" lee said -- and celtic at others) while mike set up the somewhat-distressed house kit. it took padilla a couple of toons to find his groove, but things soon evolved into a dialogue between lee's bass and mike's drums, with steve and darrin conducting their own spirited discussion on top. as the pummeling intensity doubled and trebled, the stage volume rose and the wreck's wizard of sound andre edmonson (whose motto, emblazoned on a strip of tape over the soundboard, is "for those about to rock -- turn down!") put in his earplugs. (later he told me about the fill-in soundman who went home from a metal show at the wreck and woke up the next day with blood on his pillow. "his eardrums burst," dre said.)
there were even screaming chicks in front of the stage. screaming chicks? at a _jam_? what's _that_ all about? (if you haven't been there, you can only imagine.)
enigmatic singer-songwriter russ walton showed up (at damien's invitation) but didn't get a chance to play. hopefully, russ will make it back for next week's installment.
afterward, as the musos and the half-dozen listeners who stuck around to the finish listened to dre's recording of the previous week's jam (a fonky, fiery affair with brian sharpe sitting in on trumpet and fluegelhorn and bassist jeremy hull kicking off what allen called "the speed-metal 'chameleon'"), the bandleader (or, um, _head_ bandleader) paid padilla an ultimate compliment of sorts: "he played that kit like it wasn't a toy."
darrin's playing bluegrass at fred's this saturday night with his brother adam and matt skates (confusatron/ph7) as the electric mountain rotten apple gang ("this ain't no apple dumpling gang," says darrin). lee and the jammers are back at the wreck every wednesday. so should you be.