So Gus and I have decided to reboot the rock band. After jamming together since June, the summer came and went and we didn’t have any more than a few songs really tight and weren’t ready to start playing out. Our bass player wasn’t really cutting it, and our guitarist was not willing to learn new material and was just kind of a dickhead in so many ways it made you wonder how he was able to function in the world of adults. The kicker for me came when we couldn’t even make Roadhouse Blues sound good last rehearsal. I was thinking “I’ve known high school kids better than these guys!” So we had to let them go. Later I found out the bass player was coming back from a long period of not playing due to a hand condition, and I felt bad about that, but I was glad to be rid of the guitarist.
That left me, and Gus the drummer and Jefferson the singer. So we’ve been looking for new musicians. I got lucky cuz there’s been a guitar player Gary who’s been sitting in with the jazz group the last few weeks. He’s an excellent player, you could tell from the first note, great sound and phrasing. And I was telling him about my learning Van Halen on the piano and he had a few things to say about Eddie (“He’s the real deal”), so I had a hunch he was also a rocker. At the end of the jazz jam I made my pitch for him to join the rock group. “Yeah I do all that stuff. I’m your man”, he said.
Then I got a referral from a friend for a bassist looking to join a group. He was pretty enthusiastic about both the cover band and the possibility of a group based on my originals so I invited him over to jam and see what happened. It turned out he’s a high school kid! Just a couple years older than my kids. My mind was truly blown.
But man, he sure could play. Particularly into Joco, James Brown, and all kinds of funk and jazz. His knowledge of classic rock is kind of limited but he’s a quick study. He was also able to grok my originals, which are too hard for a lot of people. Still, I’m not sure I want to take him on. Yeah there’s a chance he might flake, or his parents wouldn’t let him continue with the group down the line, or it might be hard to work at a bar with him in the group. No matter what he’s not that experienced. But you gotta figure a kid who’s that good has the capacity to focus and would pretty much have is act together. Also, I was playing in bands working in bars when I was just seventeen, and never had any problems if I didn’t try and order a drink. No, the reason is this:
When I lived in California I was in horn-section funk band called The Hip Pocket. It was one of the better bands I’ve even been. Played a lot of great gigs. There were 4 guys in the horn section and 10 in the whole group. It was also a 50-50 split of black guys and white guys. The bass player was this dude Dmitry, who was the second best player I’ve ever played with. (The best was Jim Wynne, master of two-handed tap who had a whole technique he developed after borrowing a Chapman Stick for a few months but had to give it back. We were in several bands together including Automatic Man and The Purple Connection. After he left my group Event Horizon he went on the play in Gamalon.) Anyway Dmitri was from Odessa, in the Ukraine, where he’d been classically trained on symphonic bass. But he loved funk. And in a year of playing with him I never heard a single clam. Such a solid groove. Then one day he told us he was leaving the group cuz he’d been accepted into Berklee School of Music. We all wished him the best, then we tried to find a replacement and when we couldn’t find anyone as solid the band had to break up.
I told this story to the kid I was auditioning and he said “that’s my plan!”. Oy!
The good news, however is Ken, the bassist from my jazz group and The Day Trippers, has changed his status from “maybe” to “very interested”. The reason being one of his other bands seems to have folded. He didn’t want to commit cuz he was already in two other groups. If we get both Gary and Ken I feel we’ll have a really solid group that could do some serious damage!
In other news, The Day Trippers next gig has been confirmed for the last weekend in October for some bar in New Jersey. I’ve requested we do an Abbey Road medley. I’ll let you know as details emerge.
In other news Lizzy is learning De-Lovely for her performance group, so I dusted off my Cole Porter songbook to try and learn it on piano.