Sunday, November 24, 2013

My life on the stage

My buddy Phil from Missouri correctly discerns that I'm experiencing a degree of nostalgia about playing in bands, and so has requested "six key moments from [my] stage experience." Another damn Facebook status repurposed as blog post.

1) I was playing in a blues band with Nick Girgenti, and incorrectly assumed that all Italo-Americans from Long Island know the form to "Mustang Sally." (After all, the Young Rascals did it, right?) When Nick, whose favorite bands are the Beatles, Pink Floyd, and Pearl Jam, erroneously made the IV change (as if it were a 12-bar blues), it was reported that I could be heard yelling "One! ONE! ONE!!!" over the entire band.

2) While working at RadioShack corporate, I once made the mistake of allowing myself to get roped into playing with some other guys from work at some departmental function. I practiced with them once, and it seemed like it was going to be OK. Then the day of the event, it turned out that there were no stage monitors -- and the drummer was using electronic drums. It was a big, echoey room, too, which made it really interesting trying to stay in sync with what I imagined was the beat.

3) For a couple of months around the end of 2002, I had the privilege of playing second guitar in Lady Pearl Johnson's BTA (for Better Than Average) Band at the Swing Club at Evans and Allen in Fort Worth. Pearl's brother Ray Reed was the bandleader, and Ray didn't like to take breaks, so if you needed to take a pause for the cause, you had to find someone to take your axe. Both Pearl and her daughter Miss Kim could play guitar, bass, or drums, and I remember one occasion on which _everybody else_ was taking a pee break while Kim (on drums) and I (on bass) played something I recall as Marvin Gaye's "Got To Give It Up" (or something damn near like it).

4) On the same Nathan Brown tour where you and Nicole saw us busking on the street, we played the 8th Street Tap Room in Lawrence, where an entire roomful of sweaty college kids knew all the words to Nathan's songs. (They still liked the cheerleading routine better.) We were so well paid that I drove back a month later, after I had left the tour, to play there again. Fun.

5) I celebrated my 50th birthday by playing a show with Stoogeaphilia, my favorite band I have ever played in, at the Wreck Room, my favorite rawk dump of all ti-i-ime. My sweetie and my friends gifted me a Hughes & Kettner amp, which they put in place of my regular amp during the set change. At a crucial moment near the end of our debut performance of "Marquee Moon," they brought in a cake and bubbles and sang "Happy Birthday." Then we finished the song. (This is on Youtube, by the way.) As we exited the club, my sweetie and I released a handful of yellow balloons -- not an ecologically responsible move, but one whose symbolism I cherish.

6) The li'l Stoogeband once played a show in the outdoor plaza adjacent to the Rose Marine Theater on Fort Worth's North Side. Apparently the police were called several times, but the acoustical characteristics of the space are such that they were never able to determine where the noise was coming from. My favorite moment from that night (besides getting sweat in my eyes during "Dirt") was watching four little boys from the neighborhood standing alongside the fence, checking us out. I wonder what they thought.


Post a Comment

<< Home