John has been busy scheduling meetings and practices and stuff. With some help from Jerry (who is better at online resources such as shared calendars and Google groups), the band's shared calendar is set up, and before any practices are not one but two band meetings. These take place on Wednesday evenings at John's house. The first was last week, the next one is tomorrow.
The meetings were to go through the existing song list and decide which ones to keep and which ones to drop, talk about new songs that the new members might be bringing in with them, and lay out the future direction of the band in general.
As it turns out, Jess is not available for tomorrow's meeting, so in the interest of expediency, Jess and Angela conferred (apparently quite a bit) and put together a list of songs, including who will sing each one. We went through that first, then went through the existing list. The list from the girls had a healthy dose of Country songs, and nearly all were from the 80's, 90's, and later, since the girls are 20 years younger than us guys.
JT was thrilled that we were considering stuff written after 1978. His tagline is "merely the drummer" but that doesn't stop him from whining about Classic Rock. He really is quite sick of playing Classic Rock. He's the one person in the band who's been playing pretty consistently since the 70's, so he has a legitimate gripe -- except that he joined a Classic Rock band. John just wants his band to succeed, and a lot of that depends on keeping his singers happy. Jerry is more into Alt Rock, including many bands I've never heard of or given a shit about.
By the time we were done, no saxophone songs were left, and actually very few of the current song list was left. The band is now aiming for something between 80's and 90's stuff, some Country, and a little Rock and Roll. Most of the songs have either no keyboards or a shitload. In the past, the guys have raved at how well I play. Yeah, that's nice, but I've been listening to them on the radio for 40 years, and let's face it, they're just not that hard. Preparing any Classic Rock song for practice was usually just a matter of working out what key it's in (elapsed time: 2 seconds) and building a patch (elapsed time: 2 minutes). Then play the song because it's the same three chords over and over anyway.
I'll actually have to learn this new stuff. I'll need to cover layers and layers of 90's synths with a pre-programmed Yamaha P.O.S. and an ancient analog synthesizer. I like a good challenge, but come on.
The biggie is that the band has, quite suddenly, evolved into a band that I'm not so sure I want to be in any more.
John tends err on the side of "over communicating" and leaving us the option of skimming past it when necessary. After the meeting last Wednesday, I fully expected him to send an email recapping what was discussed, what remains to settle tomorrow (select songs for the first four practices, and make final decisions on a few "iffy" songs that people wanted more time to listen to), and in general raving about how excited he is. Because that's what he does. I shot him an email expressing my concerns, including a reminder that one thing that we used to stress was how to distinguish our band. The keyboards, the saxophone. Both of these have been scaled back because what now distinguishes us is that we're so damned good and we have two hot singers. Or this will be the case in a few months anyway. But originally the first meeting was supposed to be to decide which songs to keep and the second was to talk about songs to add. Somewhere in there, I'd hoped to remind people that we do have a saxophone/keyboard player, so I figured I'd let John know my concerns and he could work that into his meeting recap. You know, just a mention to keep the sax and keyboards in mind.
He didn't answer my email, and no recap came out. Today, he sent a reminder about tomorrow's meeting, and that we'll be making final decisions on some of the "iffy" songs. Apparently we will not be having any saxophone in the future, and we are quite clearly no longer a Classic Rock cover band. We will try to be all things to all people, with Rock, Pop, Country, and a whole lot of stuff that honestly I have very little interest in playing.
I like to play. Actually, I love to play, and I love to play with other talented musicians, and I love being part of something that sounds really good. But it will take work to get to that point, it generally helps if I at least like the music, and I just didn't envision this rebuilding period to be such a radical change from what we were previously. I'm going through the current list and I can honestly say that I don't actually like most of them. I was going to count, because numbers carry more weight, but I think the result will just depress me even more.