So I played with the new "almost-band". Okay, it wasn't horrible.
In two hours, we locked down four songs. That may not sound like much (and it's not), but this is starting from nothing, and ending up with four songs we could play all the way through, everybody getting all their parts, vocals, instrumentals, breaks, everything. Live performance quality. And it sounded damned good. Really.
John, the "organizer" (he emphasizes that he is not the "leader" but merely the one who organizes and schedules everything), started off by explaining the "rules". We start the song, and any time someone gets lost or can't hear something or hears something bad, we stop and fix it. Okay, that's one way to do it, I guess, but I'm used to at least plowing through the song the first time, and only stopping if it becomes a complete train wreck and we literally can't continue. A lot of things work themselves out once you've played through the song once or twice. Instead, we literally would play 20 or thirty seconds, stop, figure out what the problem was, fix it, start again. Repeat. And the vast majority of the time, it was stopping so that the guitarists and/or bassist could get something figured out. They are the ones who've already rehearsed this stuff once! The drummer and I, both of us new but apparently much better prepared, just ended up looking at each other and grinning and shrugging a lot. We never said a word, but it was there. "What? Didn't these guy learns their parts first
?" Never once did we have to stop for me or the drummer.
But hopefully that will get better. I mean, I knew I was "trying out" so I've done nothing but listen to these songs on my iPod at home, in the car, and while working out. I've played along with them, played without them, played them in my head while going to sleep. I had my parts down. What the heck were the other guys doing the past month? I used to learn four songs a week. These guys have had two months.
So it was a slow start, but a start. By the end, we had four songs locked and we sat at the big table, had a beer/pop/water, and talked about the future of the band. We're all in (for now). We'll put together songs lists, start adding two songs per week, and in four months we should have 30 songs, enough to play a gig somewhere.
It's interesting. I've never played in a band with "strangers" before. It's always been the guys I grew up with, or at least one or two guys I knew, plus some friend of somebody's, something like that. Here, I knew Karen the singer, she's how I got hooked up with these guys, but everyone else was new to me. We all got on pretty well; we're all professionals, not kids with raging egos and delusions of becoming rock stars, so it was very well organized (almost too
organized, really). But once we get more comfortable with each other and our "real" personalities start to show, we'll see how well we still get along. For now, it's just fun playing again. The next couple of rehearsals will reveal much.