Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Has the audience ever listened?

Part One: The beginning

When I was a teen, I didn't have the same experiences that most teens do. Instead of parties at friends houses or dances, I found myself at bars and clubs in Baltimore surrounded by live music.

The main destination I found myself was The Rage on South Calvert street. This was, one of the greatest places I'd ever been to. This was cooler than Hammerjacks or any other club I'd happen to get into in the city.

This was a rock club, to me it was THE rock club. I was regarded as the kid, not to be confused with "the kid" from Purple Rain, I was much taller than him. Everyone knew I was under age (Baltimore had a law, which may still be in effect, I don't know) that you could be in clubs that sold alcohol if you were eighteen. At this time I was only fifteen and running the streets. The great thing was, no one cared nor was it an issue. This was a community that embraced everyone. Looking back, it's hard to believe that was twenty five years ago now....jesus I feel old.

This had the biggest impact on what I wanted to do, just play music. Just being there, hanging out with bands and being a part of something (at the time it felt like something big, well, it didn't turn out that way).

There were many nights that after the bands were done, we would just roam the streets, seeing everything the city had to offer. One night we'd end up near skid row and the next weekend would just walk around Harbor Place.

Junkies, hookers and every part of society was always around the corner. The dregs, strung out or looking for a fix, the cops pestering the homeless, religious types trying to "save" those souls walking up and down the block,  you could see it all in one night.

This really left an impression on my mind. This led to my way of writing, basing this on what I observed for those years spent in the city. Just because one doesn't experience it first hand, doesn't mean they can't write about what was seen right in front of them.

I had one former band mate kind of get irritated because I wasn't true to what I wrote, because I didn't actually experience it myself, I just viewed others that did it.

Huh? That doesn't make sense to me, do writers of fiction (specifically sci-fi and horror) have to live through what happened in their books? To make something "real" does the creator have to experience first hand? Steven King and Pennywise? Kirkman and zombies? No, so what makes music any different? Well it really doesn't. So take the fuck off, and let me mention this guy is a crackhead, a major crackhead.I'll delve into that a little later.

What I'm saying is, my writing style is a darker, dirtier vision than most may have. One friend of mine, his former band had one of the greatest tag lines ever to describe the band, "If you scrape away all the dirt, there would be nothing left" (I really wish I could have come up with that).

To put it best, my writing is very nihilistic. Almost satirical in nature. This extended into my foray into fiction writing a few years ago.

There is always some truth in fiction, that goes for prose or music. Some of what I write lyrically is based upon what I have seen in my life and some is based upon those that I've known who went through it. Very little of what I write is based on myself at all, and the little that is, revolves around the insecurities I have or the utter lack of confidence. If you are lucky, maybe even the total frustration that goes along with life altogether.

Part Two: The only publicity is any publicity.

In the mid-nineties, I was in a band basked out of York PA. We directly or indirectly became the model on which negative publicity became a major positive, either by our actions or those that we brought along for the ride.

We were scheduled to play a cool dive bar on the main strip in York. The aforementioned crackhead above, had a few warrants out for him and as we were getting ready to hit the first chord on the first song, two undercovers slapped him in cuffs and proceeded to take him directly to YCP for an extended stay. This little event caused a buzz around town for us that improved turnout for the year or so after (I ended up quitting the band due to issues with the other guitar player and his endless need to control every aspect of just about everything with the band, megalomaniac wasn't a big enough description to match his ego/need for control). We also had bands open for us that, well did a lot of stuff that was never seen in the area. From fucking blow-up sheep on stage to a fascination with hanging dolls from every piece of equipment, it became a spectacle. It also became impossible to live up to the whole "what will they do next?"

By the time I left the band, the attendance was dwindling, partly because we were playing the same songs we had been playing for years (the entire lifespan while I was in, four years, 3 new songs were written, that isn't enough to keep interest with the casual listener, only the die-hards). The end was very abrupt, unfortunately I was having more creative input but it wasn't enough, looking back, the everything went to shit because we were out of ideas to get asses on the dance floor. I suppose that stress that the two original members were going through with that, plus him struggling with trying to keep it going led to the fight that resulted in my leaving the band and then quickly afterword, the end of the band.

Moral of the story, if you get a bit of infamy, you can live off of it for so long before you need to come up with something to keep the momentum.

Part Three: The quiet one.

Earlier I mentioned how I observe life. I absorb everything to try to understand why people do what they do and also to open my eyes to all walks of life.

This is why I really don't talk much. Especially when we (we=my wife and I) see bands. I want to experience what I am seeing and hearing. I may not look like I am in the best mood, but I am fine. The only time I was animated was seeing The Wildhearts back in 2004. Other than that, I just watch. There was this one night we were at a local bar seeing a band and this guy just walked up to me and said "You really want to be up there don't you. You really look passionate about what you are listening to." Yes, I was at that moment. I just wanted to be back playing again, now it became apparent at least in that one moment, the intensity I have for music and playing. I also get a lot of  "are you even having fun?"

Sure I am, just in my own way.

Part Four: The New Project.

Things are progressing quite well with the new project. The four of us are putting equal amounts of input and feeding off of one another (not like vampires, that would be odd). We have our first gig lined up, the set list is coming together and we are having fun. All of us are being very vague with this as of now. We have a strategy worked up to make our introduction as unique as possible. You may be surprised who is in the band, and I am lucky they have let me along for the ride because I have the least to show with what I've done in music.

We may also at some point have one of my heroes share the stage with us. We will be posting bits here and there to build up who we are. Our sound is extremely varied. My punk, classic rock and eighties background,   the metal background of another, nineties and modern rock for one and everything from the seventies to today for the founder of the band

This is going to be a bit different as the covers so far are not played by anyone in the area. The great thing is, it all fits together. We aren't taking drastic departures, all fall within the same genre, and really aren't that far away from each other in sound.

Our first show was by chance, a friend of mine needed a band to open a show and asked for us to open. This is just based on a description of what we do. The only people who know we exist as a band and know who is in it are the four of us and our significant others. It's weird, I really like this whole mysteriousness that we are playing on for this. It has a whole "gotcha" vibe we make our first appearance. Though we have been dropping hints.

I can't wait. I really can't wait until we really dive head first into writing.

And I hope this lasts a long time. It's difficult finding a bunch of laid back, easy going, cool guys to make music with.


Note: No proofreading or editing occurred during the writing of this post. Just read and enjoy ok?

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