Orbert, no updates?
Oh okay, since you insist.
This new potential lead singer, Anne, has a gig coming up, so she tells John that if he'd like to come see her and her current (soon to be former) band, she can put his name on the guest list. It's a private event, but they told the band that they could each invite one or two friends. So John and Kay (John's wife) go to this party thing.
The event is the annual bash put on by the "Gender Society of Chicago" or something like that. Transvestites, transsexuals, and other trans. The joke John had made about expanding the search criteria to include transvestites came immediately to mind. She says in her email that they pay well, and as most artists say, "A gig's a gig." Hey, I'm not judging.
John gets hit on all evening. He's a good-looking guy, tall, in good shape, great smile. His wife Kay is a babe, and they totally ignore her. That's probably never happened to her before.
Oh yeah, the band. They sucked. They set up on a "stage" which was basically a platform raised a foot off the floor at one end of the room. It wasn't very big, so the monitors were down on the main floor, right against the front of the stage, which meant that most of the monitor sound went under the stage, not up to the band. Since the band couldn't hear themselves, the sound guy tried to compensate by cranking the mains, resulting in massive feedback screeches every couple of minutes. Whenever that happened, one of two things would happen: (1) he pulls the mains back down and throws his hands up in a "What am I supposed to do?" motion, or (2) nothing, because he's outside having a smoke. Option 2 happens a lot more than Option 1. The feedback screams for a while, then he comes running in the back door and pulls the mains down. Also, he's set up to one side of the band, slightly behind
the stage, because that's probably where they told him to set up, so he can't hear anything anyway, and has to do the thing where he adjusts a fader, runs out to the main floor to listen a little, runs back and adjusts some more, etc.
The bassist, guitarist, and drummer all suck. John says that Anne the singer and the other lead singer, who plays the flute and think's he's Ian Anderson, are the only ones with any actual talent, and Anne would definitely do better with a decent band behind her. The lead guy acts like he's taking medication to enhance his spastic actions. He runs around and dances and stuff, trying to be Ian Anderson, even though there's really no room for it, and looks pretty stupid, but obviously he thinks it looks really cool, and it's his band, so whatever. You can understand why Anne wants to leave this band.
We set an audition date. We set up a song list. Five songs; three from our current list, two new ones that she likes. One is "What's Up?" by 4 Non Blondes, which everyone in the world knows, and if they don't, they will two minutes later because it's literally the same three chords all the way through. Verses, chorus, breaks, same chords (A, Bm, D). The other song is new to us. "High Road Easy" by Sass Jordan. Never heard of her, but it's a kickass song. We're so eager to learn new songs and also hopefully impress this girl that we agree to learn two songs just for the audition. And she's impressed by that, so... cool.
Steve, our guitarist who has been looking for a job for like two like years, has scored one. Driving a truck, 11 days on the road, three days off. This means he's available every other weekend, but that's cool because we only practice every other weekend, and hey, a gig's a gig. But it makes it tricky to schedule the audition because the weekend he's in town is coming up, and that's not enough time to learn the new tunes. Two weeks later, Anne gets sick and can't sing. We were all ready to go. That was the weekend before Thanksgiving. We still haven't rescheduled her audition.
Meanwhile, we've got a few bass players who look promising. We auditioned one of them, Jerry, last week. He's mediocre at best. Personality-wise, he's a good fit. Same age as us, one teenager and one in college, lives nearby, been playing since high school, all that. The audition takes place one day short of three months since our last gig. He seemed impressed by how tight we were for not playing together for three months. Meanwhile, we're not particularly impressed by him, especially considering that this is an audition and he presumably had prepared and this was as good as he was gonna do.
We do "Long Train Runin'" by The Doobie Brothers in E, down from G, because Steve can't sing it in G. Too damned high. Our previous bassist, Mike, had no problem playing it in E, even said it was easier. Jerry said almost the same thing, "It's just frets." Except he got lost and confused a few times. On one of the other songs, "What You Need" by INXS, he played something... weird. Mostly just thumped on the tonic, instead of that awesome moving bass line on the record. We stopped the song and asked him what he was doing. He said that "that's what on the sheet music." Oh shit.
I've looked up chord charts and sheet music for songs before, and it's often a handy shortcut to what key it's in, and some of the chords that venture outside your standard 1-4-5, but after that, you still have to learn your part. Anyone with ears knows the guy isn't just thumping on the F# the whole verse.
So Jerry is not a strong prospect. Earlier this week, John sent an email saying he had two other guys lined up, and they've both backed out. One decided he didn't really have time after all, the other has gotten back with a former band. Shit.
JT, our drummer, sent an email last night saying he's got a guy who wants to audition, is Monday okay? Four days from now. Sure, what the hell. Since then, John and Steve have practically gotten into an argument about which songs to play before I've even responded (I didn't see the email until this morning). So I finally replied and told them I was in, and when they figure out which songs to do, to let me know.
I won't have much time to prepare anyway, and might not even bother setting up my gear. It's still packed from Jerry's audition. This Sunday, the choir is doing our Christmas Cantata, and we have a full rehearsal on Saturday. Yeah, baby!