Author Topic: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)  (Read 9448 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Orbert

  • Recovering Musician
  • EZBoard Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 15430
  • Gender: Male
  • In and around the lake
Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #490 on: October 07, 2017, 12:22:04 AM »
Pretty good gig tonight.  The last time we were there (which was only a couple of posts ago), I could barely be heard.  Well, we solved that problem.  I ran both keyboards through my on-stage amp, and ran a line out to a single direct box and then into the snake.  My amp was basically functioning as a pre-amp to send more signal to the DI box, and I could still use it onstage as a monitor for just me.

During sound check, I was getting a bunch of noise whenever I'd played chords right around middle C.  Too thick and heavy, something was getting overdriven, so I backed it off a bit, but it didn't help.  They asked me what was going on, why did I keep turing down, and I said it was because of all the noise.  Literally everyone else said it sounded fine to them, in fact the keys sounded great in their ears, so apparently it was just mine.  I never did figure it out.

Eventually I just turned my in-ear box way down and listened through the mains.  I stand right next to the drum kit, right behind one of the guitarists' on-stage amp, and I could still hear myself coming through the mains, bouncing off the back wall.  So I was loud.  I could hear me and the vocals through the P.A., and everyone else on stage, so what the hell, I didn't need my IEMs anyway.  We only played about 75 minutes, then tore down quick and were off the stage in about ten minutes.  This only left five minutes for the next band to set up, sorry but that wasn't really our problem.  It was stupid -- there's no way to completely change out in 15 minutes, but that's what the owners wanted.  Morons.  Anyway, it was closer to 25 minutes between bands, but whatever.  Had like three or four people tell me we sounded great, and a few specifically said the keyboards sounded great, so that was cool.

By time the Bowie tribute band started, I was all packed up, sitting with Jerry and David (bass and guitar, respectively), and drinking a bottle of water.  They ordered food and a pitcher of beer, but I still had a 45-minute drive home ahead of me and was tired, so I just drank water and ate some of David's fries.  Checked out the first couple of songs by the Bowie tribute band.  They were good; the singer sounded very much like David Bowie, only a bit fuller and richer, so maybe even better than Bowie himself, although that's obviously sacrilege to say.  His voice was very similar and he had the inflections and quirks down, but while Bowie's voice is rather fragile sounding, has that delicate control, this guy's voice was stronger, but still with the quirky control that Bowie had.  If Bowie's comeback in the 90's had come with a stronger, fuller voice, it would have sounded like this guy.  They sounded great.

I hit the road after three or four songs, obviously well before the third band was anywhere near the stage.  But I was tired (and still am).  I'll try to remember to post pictures when we get them.

Offline Orbert

  • Recovering Musician
  • EZBoard Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 15430
  • Gender: Male
  • In and around the lake
Gig Pictures!
« Reply #491 on: December 14, 2017, 09:03:59 PM »
Hurricane Relief - October 2017

We were the first of three bands, big fund-raiser, but we got paid too, which was cool.

David (electric), Angela (vocals), Orbert (keyboards), Jessica (vocals), JT (drums), Jerry (bass), John (acoustic)




Halloween 2017

Silly little bar in a strip mall, but the money was alright and the crowd was good.







I set up my stuff in the corner as always.  Commandeered a table for my Droid and my Coke, and I'm ready to Rock.



« Last Edit: May 18, 2018, 01:38:45 PM by Orbert »

Offline Orbert

  • Recovering Musician
  • EZBoard Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 15430
  • Gender: Male
  • In and around the lake
Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #492 on: December 14, 2017, 10:15:51 PM »
2017 ended up not too badly.  We played six gigs this year, with the current lineup.  Started with the concert in the park, then the shopping center, then four actual gigs in bars for something like real money, counting the Hurricane Relief Event.  With seven people in the band, all busy with all kinds of other stuff, it's amazing that we can schedule anything at all, and we're nuts for even trying it, but players gotta play.  There are worse things you can do on a Saturday night.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2017, 10:20:54 PM by Orbert »

Offline TheLordOfTheStrings

  • I make music. I also do other stuff sometimes.
  • Posts: 1318
  • Gender: Male
  • RIP Edward Bozoian, my best friend. 1989 - 2009
    • Link to my solo album
Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #493 on: December 17, 2017, 11:42:33 PM »
 :metal :metal :metal

Offline Orbert

  • Recovering Musician
  • EZBoard Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 15430
  • Gender: Male
  • In and around the lake
Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #494 on: May 10, 2018, 12:33:12 PM »
Warning: this topic has not been posted in for at least 90 days.
Unless you're sure you want to reply, please consider starting a new topic.

Yeah, yeah.  So sue me.

Haven't posted an update in a while, because nothing has been happening, while at the same time, a lot has been happening.  That last post was on December 14, 2017.  I believe it was the very next practice, on December 16, that our band leader John told us that he'd been diagnosed with Stage 4 throat cancer.

Before we had a chance to all start freaking out, he plowed forward.  First of all, throat cancer almost never gets diagnosed until Stage 3 or 4 anyway, because it's one of those that just doesn't have obvious symptoms, and by the time it's diagnosed, it's pretty far along.  But the "good" news (it's all relative) is that cancer stages are all defined by the same criteria, and while Stage 4 sounds really bad, for this type of cancer it is still somehow not too bad.  90% of people with this specific type of throat cancer beat it, and the odds only go up if the person is in otherwise good health and good shape physically.  John is the oldest member of the band (I think he's 58) but easily in the best physical shape of all of us.  He runs every day, works out regularly, and is the band's main roadie.  Anyway, the odds are very, very good that he'll beat this, but it's still cancer and it's still scary.  Radiation and chemotherapy are scary, and even after the physical recovery, the emotional recovery can take up to a year or more.  He was preparing us by basically sharing everything he knew about it.

We didn't have any bookings for the holidays, so between that and John's condition, it was decided that the band take a break for a while, and will resume rehearsals when John feels up to it.

Treatment started within a few weeks.  John's a communicator, with detailed emails sent every couple of weeks, telling us how things were going.  Treatment lasted eight weeks, recovery has been ongoing.  We started band rehearsals again, I think it was in March sometime.  John looks incredible, not much different from how he looked before.  Honestly, if you didn't know, you would never guess that the guy had recently beaten cancer.  No hair loss, lost some weight but he's always been a lean guy, and his voice is kinda funny now but that too was expected.

So we've been learning new songs, and brushing up songs in the bag, with an eye towards getting out there and gigging again.  The temptation was to take an extended break, since it's kinda hard to keep morale up and keep practicing and working hard to learn new songs when there are no gigs on the books.  Actually, we booked a thing in September; John took it because he guessed that he'd be recovered by then, and even if not, the nature of the gig allowed us to back out of it if necessary without it really hurting us.  Other than that, however, John has insisted that we do not book anything until he feels ready to gig again, because booking stuff and then having to cancel is bad and ultimately hurts us more than not gigging at all.

We've learned ten more songs, some of them pretty challenging.  "Carry On Wayward Son" by Kansas, "Never Been Any Reason" by Head East, other stuff with keyboards, guitars, three-part vocals, killer songs.  We keep getting better and better.

As always, we practice a bit, then take a break, eat lunch/snacks, and chat.  Bonding time.  This last practice, JT brought up something that's been on everybody's minds that no one wanted to bring up.  When is John going to be ready to gig again?  He looks great.  But looks can be deceiving.  He still tires easily, and faces serious fatigue by the end of the day.  Emotionally, he's all messed up, because the chemo and radiation have fucked up his body pretty badly.  The cancer is gone.  Beaten, over with.  Clean bill of health.  That's great, we're all glad, and we've been keeping things positive throughout the past few months, while working on new songs, brushing up older ones, and trying to be ready for when we might gig again.  But finally, JT said that it's getting harder and harder to keep doing this with no real payoff in sight.

When we get together and play, it's amazing.  We really are very good.  And it's great playing these songs, some really hard songs, and kicking ass on them.  But obviously the goal is not to just play with ourselves in the basement, it's to get out there, and when is that going to happen?

John reiterates that he's not ready, and cannot say when he will be ready.  It's different for everyone, and obviously he's never been through this before, so he has no idea.  He will not even guess.  He won't say "probably __ months" or "hopefully __ months" or anything like that.  John is in clinical depression, a result of the enzymes and other chemicals that norally keep us happy and mentally balanced being all fucked up by the radiation and chemo.  He literally is not of sound mind right now, knows that, admits it, but still cannot do anything about it.  It's frustrating for him and everyone else, but it is what it is.  So the band is in perpetual limbo.

David has another band, and they're not as good as us (he admits) but they're gigging and we're not.  JT has been picking up gigs here and there when this other band needs a drummer.  They kinda suck (his words) but they're gigging and we're not.  Jerry has another band which isn't gigging.  Angela and I have plenty of other musical outlets.  Jess is pregnant with her first baby, so she's not looking to take on anything else.  But overall, we're all pretty anxious to get out there.  And John does not know when that will be, and cannot and will not even guess when that will be, so that leaves us... nowhere.


Yesterday I got a call from JT.  This other band he's in does kinda suck, but the singer is actually pretty awesome.  JT is looking to put something together because he's tired of not gigging.  The singer from his other band and Angela from our band have already talked a few times.  They will be our vocalists (one male, one female, ironically the same as the original plan for our band), he will play drums obviously, and he wants me for keyboards if I'm interested.  Guitarists and bassists aren't quite a dime a dozen anymore, not good ones anyway, but he figures they will probably be the easiest spots to fill.  And he needs my in because without it, he's not gonna bother.  Way too hard to find a good keyboard player, and he considers me a great keyboard player.  I thank him for the compliment.

He called it a "super group" with the best of the two bands he's in, plus whoever else he can find.  It may take a while to put anything together, and if FlashDrive starts back up, he'll just drop it.  But between the two bands, we know a lot of songs.  He doesn't think I'll have any trouble learning the songs his other band plays (and he's probably right).  It'll be at least a few months before we have anything, but he wanted to know if I was interested, and sure, I'll check it out.  Players gotta play.

So lots of things, and lots of nothings.  We shall see.

Offline Orbert

  • Recovering Musician
  • EZBoard Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 15430
  • Gender: Male
  • In and around the lake
Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #495 on: May 18, 2018, 07:28:06 PM »
Shit.

Band practice is tomorrow.  John sent out the list earlier this week; no new songs to learn, but 12 to review.  A nice mix of stuff we've learned more recently and stuff we've had "in the bank" for a while, older stuff and newer stuff, simpler stuff and more complex stuff, and I really should run through them all again before tomorrow, because I haven't played some of these songs in months.

But it's Friday night, I worked my ass off this week, I'm already tired right now, sitting here eating leftovers, and I just don't feel like practicing.  It's not like we have any gigs coming up or anything.  Plus, I could show up tomorrow at practice and still not be the least-prepared person there.  It's just my own fucking work ethic that is screaming at me to at least run through each song once or twice.  12 songs.  I honestly like maybe half of them.

Shit.

Offline Orbert

  • Recovering Musician
  • EZBoard Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 15430
  • Gender: Male
  • In and around the lake
Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #496 on: May 19, 2018, 06:03:50 PM »
I went to bed early.  Tired as hell, I figured I was better off sleeping, then get up and play through the songs once this morning.  I did those things.  Still had trouble getting fired up about packing all my stuff into the car and hauling it all to practice, but that's the life of a keyboard player.  The guitarists leave an amp there at John's and just have to take an axe or two, the drummer has a kit there (he was four altogether) but basically I have to haul everything every time because I don't have multiple sets of keyboards and can just leave one set there or anything.  Closest I can come is leaving an amp and stand there, which I've thought about.  That would be two fewer things to haul each time.  I'd have to get another stand and practice amp, but at least that wouldn't break the bank.

Practice itself went well.  As always, once I'm there, once I'm playing, it's a fucking rush.  It's amazing how we can get together and play songs we haven't touched since last October and still kick them out.  This band is just too damned good to be playing in a basement.  We should be out there blowing people's minds.

We have another possible gig, a benefit for Angela's friend who died a few years ago.  Every year, they have an event for her to raise money for her foundation.  They wanted us last year, but the calendar was actually kinda full last year for a while and it didn't work out.  This year, with us trying to nudge John back onto the stage, it seems like a good way to do it.  Low key, informal, we'll practically be background music.  Big thing, the band sets up at one end, people can dance or check us out, but we're not the main event or anything; we're just there playing.  Oh yeah, it's gratis as well, but whatever.  I just want to play.

And then Angela makes her big announcement, she too is pregnant.  Both of our singers are pregnant.  Did I mention that Jessica is?  Well, she is too.  We found that out a few practices ago.  So we've got a gig on the books for September, three weeks before Jess is due, and now this benefit thing in July which it looks like we'll do.  Jess is already showing, Angela is much smaller in stature and she'll be pretty far along by then as well (she and her husband chose to wait until the second trimester to say anything, so Angela will be 5-6 months in at that point).

A decision is made that considering these somewhat well-coordinated pregnancies (which was not planned, but fortunate in the big picture), that this will likely be it for us for 2018.  A benefit, and a $600 gig at a farmer's market two counties away, then we'll take a break so our singers can have their babies.  We will of course continue to rehearse every other Saturday until then.

After practice, I chat with JT a bit about this other project he's putting together.  Angela will not be one of the singers, due to her condition, so he's got someone else lined up, a girl he worked with in a band years ago who "may still have some psychological issues, but she's a lot better now".  So we agreed that FlashDrive should continue to practice, at least until these two gigs are done, but this means that if this other band gets going, practices will have to work around FlashDrive practices.  Or maybe we don't find a guitarist for a few months, and it's only a thing for a few months.  I want to play, but damn, it's bad enough hauling my shit half an hour away every time.  JT lives two counties away.  He's an hour from John's place, an hour farther away the other side from me.  I hadn't really thought about that when I told JT I was interested.  I still am, but man, not if it means every Saturday is taken, and the other band is even farther away.

Offline Orbert

  • Recovering Musician
  • EZBoard Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 15430
  • Gender: Male
  • In and around the lake
Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #497 on: May 30, 2018, 03:33:43 PM »
Angela had said that she'd go out to the venue where this fundraiser thing was going to take place, but she hadn't yet.  I didn't think it was a good idea to take the gig without any idea what the place looked like, but she'd held off on confirming the gig until we could discuss it as a group, and they really needed an answer.  For me, a big part of the discussion was what the venue was like.  But we all want to get out there and play, so we voted to take the gig.  How bad could it be, right?

Then this week she finally went and checked the place out, and it's really small.  There's an outside deck and a space indoors if the weather gets bad.  We'd be very cramped in the outside space and just plain would not fit into the indoor space.  If the weather didn't cooperate, we'd be screwed.  Even if we played outdoors, we be crammed into a tiny space, and since we're a seven-piece band, we'd be way too loud to be "background music" for a low-key get-together.  It just didn't make sense.  So she told them that we couldn't do it.

Best band I've ever played in, hands down.  Amazing three- and four-part vocals, two guitars, keyboards, everything from classic rock to country to 90's dance music... and we will play exactly one gig this year: at the fucking farmer's market in a tiny town two counties away, for $300.  And that's if we even play that gig.  Both girls will be huge by then and dropping that gig is still a possibility.