Author Topic: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)  (Read 13686 times)

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Offline Orbert

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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

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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

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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 »

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #493 on: December 17, 2017, 11:42:33 PM »
 :metal :metal :metal

Offline Orbert

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #498 on: July 11, 2018, 12:11:19 PM »
We have a gig!

This Saturday, actually.  Let me back up a little bit.  A month or so ago, John sent a very excited, very positive email to the group about how "it's happening!"  He thought about our last practice, and how good the band is, and it made him happy.  He practiced the guitar, and it felt good.  He realized that it had been a long time since he'd actually felt happy and felt good about playing music, and this was a sign that the clinical depression was finally going away and he's getting back to normal, psychologically.  I have no personal experience with clinical depression, other than observing a few people around me, so I probably shouldn't comment, but I just have to say that it must be weird to do something, know that it's good, know that at some point in the past that it would have made you very happy to do, and somehow not feel anything.  These last several practices have been weird.  John knows how good we are, also knows when we fuck things up and what to do about it, continues to schedule rehearsals, etc., yet through it all feels no excitement about any of it.  He's just going through the motions because he knows what needs to be done, but there's no feeling behind any of it.

Anyway, "it's happening!" prompted John to call the local bar where we played a few times last year (the place where all the pictures are either blue or red, because that's how their lights are set up) and book a gig.  That gig is this Saturday.

The gig is the "John Kicked Cancer's Ass" event.  Awesome.

So of course, last Thursday, I switch everything on, prepare to practice a bit, let the (analog) synth warm up a little, and no sound comes out.  Lights are on, they respond appropriately to the switches, but nothing comes out.  Change inputs, change outputs, change cords, nothing.  The same cord plugged into the back of the Yamaha produces sound.  I plug it into the back of the synth, nothing.  Fuck!

It is now in the shop.  I hope to hell that they know what they're doing.  They're the top-rated, top-recommended place in the area for repairing vintage electronics (several reviews specifically mentioned older, analog synthesizers), so they're my best shot.  I do not, however, entertain any delusions that they'll have it diagnosed, fixed, and back to me within a week.

Jerry has an old Roland Fantom for some reason.  He doesn't play keyboards, but it has enough electronics and effects built into it that he's been using it as his bass effects "pedal board" for a while, in his home studio.  He brought it to practice last Saturday, I set it up and played with it.  I've been working with it this week, figuring out how to work it well enough to get through this Saturday's gig.  I'm pretty well prepared.

Jess is no longer pregnant.  :(  At a regularly scheduled check-up, they were not able to detect a heartbeat.  This was a few weeks back.  Since then, they have done all the things necessary to remove a no-longer-living fetus from a womb.

This scares Angela.  They're the same age, and it would've been the first child for each of them.  Angela is still pregnant, but now she's spooked and wants to take it easy, not take any chances between now and when her baby is born.  That means no gigging (after this Saturday's gig).  John has been talking to this girl he knows about being our substitute lead singer.  I pointed out to John that we have to be very careful, because for all we know, the position could become permanent.  At this point, Angela expects the baby to be born, and after an appropriate amount of time off, she'll be ready to practice and gig again.  But we all know that having a baby changes everything.  It definitely changes priorities and lifestyles.

This Saturday's gig is on.  The gig in September is now in jeopardy.  John is back and ready to gig, but now Jess is depressed and Angela is scared, both of them quite justifiably, so everything's up in the air.

No word recently about this other thing JT was trying to put together.  I'm guessing it went on hold when John announced that he was back in the New York Groove, but now that everything's in limbo again, who knows?  Who the fuck knows about anything?

Offline Ben_Jamin

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #499 on: July 13, 2018, 07:14:05 PM »
Damn man, hope all goes well. Thats some interesting band bio there though.
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Offline Orbert

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #500 on: July 13, 2018, 10:53:08 PM »
I swear to God, you could not make this shit up.

Offline Orbert

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #501 on: July 23, 2018, 12:06:22 PM »
Gig report, although many details have already been revealed in my recent rant thread in this same subforum.

Two sets, 90 minutes apiece, because it has been observed that most people who leave the bar do so during a break.  John's logic is that fewer breaks means fewer opportunities for people to get bored and leave.

The sound man, Mark, is a moron.  But he is also one of the owners, it's all his sound equipment, and he actually owns a sound & light production company, which he somehow believes qualifies him to be a sound technician.  It does not.  I could go buy a pizza place and own a pizza place, but I still wouldn't know jack shit about making pizzas or running a pizza place, so having a 3-digit IQ, I would hire someone to run my pizza place for me.  Everyone knows that keyboards are optional in a rock and roll band.  Keyboard players stand up there thinking they make a difference and make things sound better, but most people who go to drink shitty beer in shithole bars wouldn't know the difference, therefore Mark clearly doesn't give a shit whether or not the keyboards can be heard.  John is very proud of his keyboard player and has stacked the set lists with tunes that feature keys interacting with guitars, and three-part vocals.  These are two things he considers our greatest strengths and, in all modesty, I agree with him.  We sound fucking fantastic.

Except that neither my playing nor my vocals were audible during the first set, because Mark is a moron.  Oh yeah, we've been over that.

This is where the fact that we played two 90-minute sets comes in.  If we played four sets with three breaks, someone could have talked to Mark during the first break and I only would have been inaudible for 1/4 of the show.  Instead, I was inaudible for 1/2 of the show.  By all accounts, the second set featured much better balance and I could actually be heard (both vocals and keyboards).  Why does it take half the show for him to figure out that there are seven people up there and you can only hear six of them?  Actually, why does it take more than half a song to figure that out?  The answer is: He doesn't figure it out; he doesn't adjust anything until the break when John, backed by several others, point out that there is indeed a seventh person up there that no one can hear.  So all those glorious three-part vocals, and the keyboards (including a number of solos), were only heard for half the show.  After half the people left, because regardless of the mix, it is really fucking loud in there, and people have told us that we sound great, but they just can't stay because it's so damned loud.

I'd post pictures, but because Mark's lights are all the same as before and he's still no better at running lights, they all look the same as the ones I've posted before from this same venue, so fuck it.  And fuck this fucking venue.

We played well.  We sounded great, at least in our in-ear monitors, because we can adjust our own mixes.  I walked out of there psyched up from playing a great gig, and with $100 in my pocket, and felt really good until I saw some of the videos people were sharing.  Well, until I heard them.  Oh well.

So sad.  We really do sound great, and we're only getting better, but this may well have been our last gig, because it's just too hard to keep a seven-piece band together.  Too many people, too many variables, too many things that can and do go wrong.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #502 on: August 03, 2018, 03:09:16 PM »
So sad.  We really do sound great, and we're only getting better, but this may well have been our last gig, because it's just too hard to keep a seven-piece band together.  Too many people, too many variables, too many things that can and do go wrong.

Sad to hear.
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Offline Orbert

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #503 on: August 05, 2018, 05:45:37 PM »
John posted an ad in one of the local online band/musician/vocalist hookup sites looking for a substitute singer.  He thinks we should keep moving forward, with a substitute singer for now, until Angela is ready to gig again.  I can't fault his logic, I suppose.  There is still the slim possibility that we can book some gigs later in the year.  It's the cost/benefit ratio I'm concerned with.  I'm guessing it will take a minimum of two months, possibly more like three, to get a new singer up to speed.  Even if she knows most or all of our songs, we still need to work out vocal harmonies, and we do need to at least run through the songs a few times each, and we have 40 or 50 songs.  But sure, why not keep moving forward?  Honestly, if it's a choice between this and taking six (or more) months off, I vote for getting a substitute up to speed.  But really, spending three months getting a new member up to speed, so that we're "available" for gigs, may not actually score any during that time, and then our regular singer comes back and we've really spent all that time rehearsing for nothing?  Ouch.  That's the rub.  If we knew for sure that we'd be playing gigs, we'd know it's worth it to go with a sub.  If we knew for sure that we won't get any gigs, then I'd vote for just taking some time off.  I do have a number of other musical outlets.  I love to rock and roll, but I do have other outlets.

Also: How many singers that are actually any good are not already in a working band and would be willing to take a temporary gig like this?  Spend two or three months, maybe play a couple of gigs, then our regular singer comes back and it's "Bye, thanks, see-ya!"  I don't think I would.  I might take a gig as a sub if the band had gigs booked and I'd actually be rehearsing with a known payoff on the books.  But all this for a maybe?  Again, if we can find someone willing and able, sure.  So we'll see.

Another thought: Having kids changes things.  It is possible that Angela takes time off, has her baby, loves being a mommy, and decides that being a middle-aged singer in a bar band is kind of dumb and decides not to come back.  Not only do we lose an incredible singer (and total babe), but it would then make sense to offer our substitute singer a permanent position.  So really, we should be looking for a singer who we'd be good with taking on full time.  Interesting, because either way, you want someone with talent, who you can work with in terms of personality and all that, but there's still a difference between lowering your standards to just find someone "good enough" with the idea that in six or eight months, you're back to the original lineup, and finding someone to be a permanent replacement.

Or maybe it's not that different.  Hell, I don't know.  I just want to rock and roll.

Offline Orbert

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #504 on: August 31, 2018, 06:34:33 PM »
So we heard back from a couple of singers who said they'd be interested in being our substitute singer.  The angle I hadn't considered is that even being a singer in a rock and roll band is just a gig, and if you can't get a regular gig, a temp gig will do for now.  Two girls responded.  One can sing but is (by her own admission) not much to look at.  She calls herself a "fat soccer mom" and her Facebook videos kinda bear that out.  But damn, she can sing.  As a sub, when we might not even get any gigs before Angela comes back anyway?  Sure, why not.  Except three days before her audition with us, she got called back to her old band.  Apparently they decided that having a singer with image issues is still better than not having a singer.

The other girl just plain can't sing.  Her last gig was a Fleetwood Mac tribute band, and she was the Stevie Nicks clone.  She's pretty.  Not quite as pretty as Stevie, but then Stevie isn't as pretty as she used to be anymore either.  Doesn't matter; she can't sing.  After seeing some of her videos, John didn't even bother setting up an audition with her and wasting everyone's time.  He had her come over and sing with some karaoke tracks, and his wife hung out upstairs and listened.  Later, they conferred and agreed, she can't sing.

Okay, so this is the funny part.  Well, funny to me anyway, in the "so absurd you just have to laugh" kinda way.  Get this.  Before Angela, our singer Anne was in another band up here in the northern suburbs.  When she left that band, she was replaced by Karen, who had quit our band some months earlier, necessitating the search that led to Anne.  So the two bands basically swapped singers.  But that was two years ago; we eventually had to let Anne go because she went psycho, and by then, as it happens, Karen had quit the other band.  Also, Pat, the guitarist we had before he got pissy and quit, had played in that band for a while, actually overlapping with Anne for one gig before he got pissy and quit that band, too.  Then after he got pissy and quit our band, he went back to them.  You with me so far?

So after Pat went back to that other band, their singer Patty got kinda sick of his pissy shit, and she quit.  She is auditioning with us tomorrow.  Her experience with Pissy Pat and the other band (which obviously I'm not going to name) annoyed her so much that she decided to just take a break from being a middle-aged singer in a rock and roll band.  But it's been a little while now, and she's thinking of getting back into it.  Even joining us temporarily, as a sub, is gonna be good for her.  It'll be good for her to get her chops back in shape, get back into the groove of working with a band, all that.  And it'll be good for us too, having a full lineup, even if it's just to practice in John's basement every two weeks.  At least we're rocking, and keeping our chops in shape, too.  So what the hell.  She's auditioning, and I hope it works out.

It's just funny.  There are only so many musicians around here, and only so many bands, and we seem to just swap members around.  Hee hee.  Ha ha.

Offline pcs90

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #505 on: September 01, 2018, 01:20:27 PM »
"Pissy Pat..." haha...great nickname

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #506 on: September 01, 2018, 01:51:01 PM »
Yeah, I kinda stumbled upon that one, and it fits so well.   :lol

Today at her audition with us, Patty confirmed that the reason she left the other band was because of Pat.  She didn't use the word "pissy" but used other words like "annoying" and "whiny" and basically the same thing.  She said we seem so much more chill than the other band, more fun to sing with.  We went through six songs that Patty and John had decided on together, then she said that there were other songs on our list that she knew, and she asked if we could try them.  Sure!  We're all there anyway, I was looking to rock for a few hours and so were the others, so we went through three or four more songs from our list.  I won't say she nailed them, but she sounded pretty good for not having prepped them (or maybe she did?)  Nothing a little rehearsal won't iron out, though.

By the end, we sat and chatted and snacked and got to all know each other better, and decided we're moving forward with her as our new temporary singer.  Afterwards, John, Jerry, JT and I (the "core" of the band) conferred, and we'd all been thinking the same thing: We know Angela plans to come back after the baby, but babies change things so nothing's certain.  I put the odds at 50-50, just because it sounded good; Jerry says 75-25 against her coming back.  He's seen way too many co-workers take maternity time off, then they just take off, especially first-time moms.

But if that happens, hey, it happens.  Patty is pretty good and we don't have many options.  We also don't have any gigs on the books anyway, so it's even less critical as far as I'm concerned.  If we do end up with her permanently, it will be because Angela decided not to come back, and if/when we get some gigs, we might as well be rehearsing with Patty for a few months and be ready to go.  Gotta keep on rocking.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #507 on: September 01, 2018, 01:59:38 PM »
Definitely, having a baby can change many things. I'd plan for either outcome.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #508 on: September 01, 2018, 02:09:55 PM »
My son came up with something I hadn't thought of.  I'd been thinking that after the baby, Angela might decide that working, being a mommy, and being in a band is too much, and if so, she'd quit the band.  My son pointed out that if so many working moms choose to not go back to work right away, maybe she'll decide to be a stay-at-home mom for a while, in which case she might have time to sing in the band.  It's just weekends, and even if we get a gig, they can get a babysitter, or he can stay at home and spend some quality time with the baby.  That would be an interesting twist.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #509 on: September 18, 2018, 09:29:44 PM »
So we formally offerred the position of "substitute co-lead singer" to Patty, and she accepted.  Cool.  The next practice, which was already scheduled for the following Saturday (9/8), was our regularly scheduled rehearsal with Angela, who is still with us once per month rather than every two weeks.  It was great having the seven of us together again, sounding awesome, for the first time since the gig in July.  The next practice, this Saturday, will be with Patty.  It'll basically be every other practice, alternating singers as we bring Patty up to speed (in case we score a gig) and Angela keeps one foot in the water.

At least that was the plan.  Yesterday, Patty texted John and told him that her other band, the one she's with full-time, has been working a lot lately (which I'd noticed, having friended her on Facebook) and she doesn't think she's up to being in two bands after all.  And of course since one of the two bands is gigging, and we're the one that isn't, she's staying with the other one.  She feels really bad, blah blah blah, and we're definitely the better band, blah blah blah, but hey, they're gigging and we're not.  I don't blame her one bit.

Then today, Yvette sent John an email asking if we were still looking for a sub singer.  Remember the two possible singers from before?  One had a great voice but "image issues" and the other was basically the opposite, pretty but couldn't sing.  Yvette is the one who can sing.  She'd gone back to her old band, which meant that she was no longer interested in auditioning with us, but apparently the old gig didn't work out.  Maybe whatever issues they had before have risen up again, maybe new issues; I don't know and don't care.  In fact, I'm having a bit of trouble caring about any of this, since we don't have any gigs anyway.  I just like to play, I'll haul my shit to John's house every other Saturday to jam, and at this point, I really don't care who sings.

Speaking of hauling shit, my load has just gotten a lot lighter.  The Prophet is still down, but Jerry needs his Fantom back because he's going into the studio for something next month, so I needed to pick up a synth of some kind.  Once again, a cheapo Yamaha to the rescue.  I picked up an MX61.  Not a band little synth, actually, but typical Yamaha architecture, which means it's chock full of nice sounds, but switching between them is a pain in the ass.  My strategy is to program everything up ahead of time, because changing things on the fly during live performance just isn't practical.  I picked it up last week at the local Guitar Center and have been sitting with the manuals and have spent maybe five hours total with it (I've been pretty busy lately) and have programmed five patches so far.  But they do sound pretty sweet.  The MX series actually has the Motif sound generator built into it.  The Motif series was Yamaha's top of the line (the ones you spend thousands on, not hundreds) until recently.  512 very nice sounds built in, and fully customizable.

But the thing I'm happiest about -- sad but true -- is that it only weighs 10 pounds.  It's just a plastic case with a keyboard and some boards inside.  The Prophet weighs 40 pounds.  By time you pack that into a case, you've got more than my 56-year-old body is comfortable hauling.  I can pick up the MX in one hand.  Yeah, baby!  Yay for new toys.


Offline pcs90

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #510 on: September 19, 2018, 02:29:57 PM »
The MX series is not bad at all, and honestly it's a great value. It's a scaled-down Motif sample set but it still has over 1000 sounds in it and you can actually edit a lot more parameters than what the synth shows you by connecting it to a computer and purchasing some software. I would think, for classic sounds, that you may not have to actually program that many patches (at least not from scratch) due to the huge number of tones in there by default.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #511 on: September 19, 2018, 04:24:43 PM »
I spent a few more hours with it this morning, and cooked up two more patches.  I don't actually have to pre-program that much.  I can hit the Piano button and get a nice piano sound, hit the Organ button and get a decent organ sound, etc.  Lead Synth, Brass.  And you press them multiple times to cycle through the different voices.  But in a live setting, I don't want to press Piano the specific number of times it takes to get to the Rhodes sound, or Brass 14 times to get to the one I want.  Sure, the sounds are all very nice, but I'm in a cover band; I have to be able to recreate specific sounds, not just pull up something that sounds nice.

It comes pre-programmed with 128 "Performances" and since there isn't a single one that I find useful, I'm basically overwriting them.  I mean, most of them are actual performances where you touch one key and the drum machine starts and some chords and arps start playing automatically and all you have to do is play a melody.  Lots of sound and music coming out, but what in the hell am I supposed to do with it?  So I'm wiping them out as I go.  001 is my Piano/Strings, 002 is my "Separate Ways" patch, 005 is my B-3, 006 is my MiniMoog, etc.  Plus, that's the only way to save filter, mod, portamento, or anything else.  You can't change that stuff on the fly because there's only four knobs.  You have to press multiple keys multiple times to get to the parameter you want to change, then either spin the wheel or press more buttons to actually change the value.  Total pain in the ass.

But I can tweak everything until I get the sound right, then save it.  Eventually I'll get to where it doesn't take me an hour per patch, because that's insane, but the interface was designed by monkeys on crack.  Everything is buried under five layers of sub-menus, and I'm still sitting with the manuals to get through to everything.  But once I grok the basics, I'll be in.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #512 on: October 18, 2018, 07:06:41 AM »
We have a gig this Saturday!

It came up with rather short notice, three weeks ago (sorry, no update) and we rehearsed last Thursday night, and we're rehearsing again tonight.  Weeknight band practices suck.  Everyone's already tired from working all day, you're looking at getting up for work the next day, yet here you are in the basement, we've got songs to run through, and let's see if we can get out of here at a decent hour.  Since we didn't have any gigs coming up, people had filled in their Saturday mornings (our regular practice time), even though you're not supposed to do that.  The band is in a strange place right now, not really on hiatus, but with Angela getting more and more pregnant and a substitute singer because John still wants to gig, we're plowing forward whether or not it makes any sense to do so.

Anyway... it's a weird gig.  All of our gigs have been weird in one way or another, and this one's no exception.  9:00 to 11:30 PM at a place in a shopping center that's trying really hard to be the area's newest, coolest night spot.  It's big, looks like it was originally three or four adjacent spaces that they emptied out and turned into this one big space.  Bar, eating area, and show area in the back with a nice stage, tables, dance floor, lights and sound.  Their website is very nice, with a virtual tour, and pictures from previous shows look pretty cool.  Well of course they do; you don't put the shitty pictures on your website.

It's 9:00 to 11:30 because someone cancelled.  When John contacted us all and proposed the gig, I went to their website and there was something scheduled for that night, a DJ or something.  It's hard to tell by the name of the act.  The place has live music some nights, DJs some nights, and other events.  They needed an answer right away, so within 24 hours everyone had gotten back to John and we accepted the gig.  The DJ/something is still on their calendar for this Saturday on the official website, but our event is on there on Facebook.  So kinda half-assed, it would seem.

But a gig's a gig.  $600 for 2.5 hours.  Two rehearsals, do the show, outta there by midnight.  They provide the lights and sound, so I'll walk out with about $80 in my pocket.  Not a bad way to spend a Saturday night.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #513 on: October 21, 2018, 07:03:57 AM »
Oh, man.  So that was pretty horrible.  Easily our worst gig yet.

Two weeknight rehearsals with a substitute singer, after not playing for three months, and we just weren't tight.  Fucked-up endings, singers coming in early or late, and plenty of bad harmonies.  Some of the songs, we'd only run through them once with the sub singer.  It didn't help that we couldn't hear ourselves.  We've got this IEM system that seems to work fine in the basement, but we take the same system out on the road, and I can't hear shit, the drummer can't hear shit, and other fun problems.  Our singers were trying to adjust their mixes (everyone does their own mix via mobile app) and it was mass fucking confusion; then they figured out they that had each other's packs.  Oops.

The place is trying so hard to be the new hotspot that they basically do everything at once.  TV screens everywhere, all showing different games.  LOUD dance music pumping the whole time, one of those mix tapes that's a BOOM-BOOM-BOOM-BOOM beat over a "medley" of otherwise normal songs, all run together into a continuous dance soundtrack.  Except that there's no dance floor.  There's a smallish area near the stage that they didn't put tables, and that's where people dance.  They're so hellbent on NONSTOP SOUND that they do not turn down the BOOM-BOOM-BOOM-BOOM dance mix medley during the sound check.  Yes, we did our sound check while the house music was playing.  That's how they do it there.  The sound guy did his best, but five musicians and six singers is tough enough to mix.  The sound check was basically the first several songs.  Actually that part wasn't unusual, I suppose.

Comments were the same as usual.  Mix wasn't bad, just too damned loud to really enjoy anything, and you can't hear the keyboards.  That, on top of all the issues with us actually fucking up the songs, and it's a two-hour shitshow.  Extra bad because we were the closest to my house that we've ever been; I had four friends come out to see/hear us, which is a new record for me, so it was painful, so embarassing.  I told them Thanks for coming out, I do appreciate it, and I'm sorry we completely sucked tonight.

Walked out of there with a fresh Benjamin in my pocket, though, so there was that.  Almost felt guilty about it, but as the expression goes, they'd have to pay me to put up with this shit, and they do, so I took it.  I'm not sure how the math worked out.  $600 gig, seven of us, I always figure it's split evenly, with John taking a little since he's the "manager" if the numbers are awkward.  I would have no problem with that; he works his ass off for this band.  But I think he just paid us all and didn't take a cut himself.  He always says he's not doing this for the money, he's literally doing this 100% for the fun of playing.  He puts his money (or apparently just his guitar) where his mouth is.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #514 on: October 21, 2018, 10:51:30 PM »
A picture from the gig:



First thing I notice is that that's a pretty nice stage in terms of size, but what the fuck is with the unfinished black walls, with visible holes for electrical fixtures (seven feet off the floor, too) and visible conduits and shit?  At least put some curtains up and cover the wall behind the stage, make it look like something, like you at least tried to make it look nice.

Second thing I notice is that our band logo/name is nowhere to be seen.  I've been talking to John on and off for years about this.  A banner to hang on the wall behind us.  A sign out front.  Our logo on the drummer's base drum.  Something, damn it!!  Last gig, he printed out our logo and some somewhat-large paper (24" x 36" I believe) and stuck a few on the walls behind us with masking tape.  Looked like shit (could've at least done it straight and not across the corners) but at least our name/logo were up there and appearing in pictures.  We look like total amateurs up there.  Yes, we're amateurs, but we're not total amateurs.

Orbert (keyboards, woodwinds, vocals), David (guitar, vocals), JT (drums), Yvette (vocals), Jessica (vocals), Jerry (bass, vocals), John (guitar, vocals).

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #515 on: October 22, 2018, 09:55:55 AM »
Was that at H.O.M.E.?   Their back room is awesome - I saw Soilwork there two years ago and they were amazing and sounded incredible. 

That looks like they converted a corner of the front room for smaller shows.  I can't place where in the facility it would be, since I was only there once, two years ago.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #516 on: October 22, 2018, 12:50:14 PM »
Yep, this was at H.O.M.E.  The "virtual walkthrough" on their website did not show this stage area, so naturally I assumed we'd be playing in the back room, now dubbed the "HOME Theater".  Nope.  We played on the stage in the front room; it's immediately to your right in the corner as you come in the front doors.  It seems to be rather new or something.  The walls were unfinished (you can see holes and open electrical fixtures in the picture, which I'm sure are violating some kind of safety code) and overall looked and felt kinda shitty, despite the stage itself being rather spacious and nice.

Meanwhile, there was a private event happening in the back room.  Between our songs, and during some of the quieter parts, you could hear the BOOM-BOOM-BOOM-BOOM of their DJ pounding through the walls.  It kinda sucked.


Epilogue on the gig itself  The band operates with a very businesslike mentality.  After each gig, we review every song, what went right, what went wrong, just as you'd review a project at work upon completion.  Comments are entered on the spreadsheet online which is also the setlist printed out and sent to everyone prior to the gig.  John's comments reminded me of the many songs we actually did right.  About half the songs really did come off pretty well.  Of the remaining half, about half had screwups that I'm sure got past most of the audience, some were a bit more serious, but there were only two actual trainwrecks.  That's two more than you should really have, ever, but I'd walked out of there feeling pretty bad about the job we'd done, when in fact we managed to get most of the songs mostly right, and some were pretty good.

John also recorded the entire show, I started listening to it today, and whoa... we actually do sound pretty good.  The mix is pretty good; you can hear the keyboards just fine IMO.  My friends who'd come out said they could barely hear me, either my voice of my keyboards, but their bias has misled them, and me by proxy.  I'm part of the mix.  If they can hear me sticking out, then that's worse than not hearing me at all.  I think they were thinking "wow, I can't hear Bob, I should tell him".  The mix is pretty good most of the time.

So once again, I seem to have misread the job we did, but this time the other way.  Usually I think we did pretty good but the recordings prove otherwise, though I'm admittedly a pretty harsh critic.  This time I thought we kind sucked, and overall we sounded pretty good.  Go figure.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #517 on: November 03, 2018, 01:21:36 PM »
I finished listening to the recordings, and overall it was a pretty good gig.  The people who said we were good weren't just drunk.

So today we our first band practice since the gig.  We have a possible gig at the end of the month, and John would like us to get up to a full evening's worth of tunes soon anyway, which makes sense.  The last gig only called for two sets, and we (barely) managed to pull two sets together.  We need another set, so a list went out a week ago.  It included one song that Yvette, our substitute co-lead singer, had chosen, at John's urging.  His rationale is that she's learned a lot of songs in a very short amount of time, and done us a great favor by doing so.  We can gig while one of our regular singers is out.  So as a gesture, he let her pick a song.

Wow.  Jessica's response was unexpected.  She sent a whole tirade about how we'd agreed that Yvette was just a sub, that she'd have to learn our songs but she didn't have any say in choosing new songs, and a lot of stuff I thought was a complete overreaction.  Half a day later, no one has replied.  We're all waiting for John to respond, as this falls squarely into his area.  Keep the singers happy, calm them down, etc.  He explains everything I just said above about how he felt that it wouldn't be a major thing, and would show some appreciation for what she'd done, etc.  Then no more emails.  That was last Monday, I believe.

At practice today, Jess is not in a good place.  As I mentioned earlier, she and Angela were both pregnant, and we figured the band would have no choice but to take a break, and the girls were even looking forward to having their babies around the same time, doing mommy stuff together, all that.  First child for each of them.  Then Jess miscarried, and it hit her hard.  It was months ago, and she's been an emotional wreck since then.  Every time Angela posts pictures of her own progression (which she's perfectly entitled to do of course), it sets her off.  Anything having to do with babies sets her off.  She posted a very emotional piece on Facebook the day which was her baby's expected due date.  She's been grieving this whole time, and it doesn't really show any signs of letting up.  Throughout the practices leading up to the gig, and the gig itself, it's been something of a burden on everyone else, having to be very careful around her and be sensitive about what we say and all that.  But whatever we have to deal with, she's dealing with worse, so we all just kinda keep quiet and soldier on.

Towards the end of practice (we were actually working on the last song on the list), Jess said something maybe a little more harshly than intended about background vocals, Jerry responded maybe a little more emphatically than necessary (it was the new song, and only our first time playing it), and Jess got upset because she hadn't meant to get anyone else upset, and then JT lost it.  Like totally started yelling at her about how sick and tired he is about everything being about her, there are seven people in this band and we all have shit to deal with, and man, he raged for a while.  It was a genuine five-year-old tantrum, basically, coming from a 53-year-old man.  Jess of course was in tears well before he was done.

The last thing said before this was John saying that that wasn't bad for a first run-through, should we try it again or are we done for the day?  We already have another practice on the calendar in a few weeks, plenty of time to polish things up for the maybe gig.  JT answers that question.  "We are done for the day."  And he grabs his stuff and storms out.  It's been a long time since I've seen an adult rage like that.  Like, way off base, and totally out of control.  I mean, as I said, it's been something of a burden on all of us, but we've all just dealt with it.  JT reached his limit today.

On his way out the door upstairs, he passed John's wife Kay and told her "I think I may have just ended this band."  She came downstairs to share that with us.


Oh yeah, the drama is back.

Offline pcs90

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #518 on: November 03, 2018, 03:26:07 PM »
Well, it couldn't stay drama-free forever! :lol
Should be very interesting to see how this gets handled...

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #519 on: November 03, 2018, 09:08:49 PM »
Interesting indeed.  The rest of us were stunned into silence by all this.  Yvette got this look on her face like "You guys really know how to bring the drama!" and didn't look so sure about working with us anymore, which makes perfect sense.  I don't actually remember her leaving, but she must've slipped out shortly after this.  Next thing I know, John is trying to console Jess, and since practice is obviously over now, the rest of us start tearing down our gear.  I always have the most, of course, with two keyboards, stand, amp, and cord bag, so by time I'm done packing my shit, I look and it's just me, Jerry, and David.  John always provides lunch, so I just said "Well, I don't know about you guys, but I'm hungry" and grabbed some spaghetti and meatballs.  Jerry says "Hey, can't go wrong with spaghetti and meatballs" and David joins us.  So we're all chowing, and John comes downstairs, apparently from walking Jessica out to her car.  Kay joined us shortly after (I know I'm jumping around a bit.  It was obviously after this point that Kay shared what JT had said to her on his way out).

So we chowed a bit, and talked about what just happened.  Jess is obviously going through some shit, but JT is, too.  We've all noticed it, it turns out, but no one has really said anything before now.  So whatever shit JT is going through has shortened his fuse and we've just seen the results.  Yay.  So what do we do?

John says he'll call JT and talk to him.  Not today, but tomorrow.  Give him today to cool off and maybe reflect a bit.  Kay says maybe don't call him this time.  John is always wanting to handle things, talk to whomever needs talking to, get things straightened out, keep things moving forward.  It's his nature, and in a very real sense, his job.  But maybe this time, Kay suggests, we let JT stew a bit, and realize that no one's gonna call him and ask him what's going on.  Make him actually call back and apologize for raging on a girl who's obviously grieving big time.  Jerry says "Well I'm gonna call him" and maybe that's not a bad idea, either.  Jerry and JT (the rhythm section) are pretty close, and if Jerry calls, it's just another bandmate and friend calling, not John the Band Leader and Manager.  During JT's tirade, Jerry said "Dude... Dude!" a couple of times, trying to stop him, while the rest of us were silent.

Next practice is already on the calendar, for three weeks hence.  In between now and then, there will be emails.  They will be interesting.

Offline Orbert

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #520 on: November 07, 2018, 09:50:45 PM »
Well that was both a relief and maybe a little disappointing.  Jess sent a long text apologizing and explaining all the stuff she's been going through, and there's more to it than any of us realized, and more than I'm going to go into.  JT sent a text apologizing for losing his mind and yelling at her, and proposing we all go out and see this one band that's playing nearby on Friday that's supposed to be one of the best in the area.  A team bonding, rebuilding experience.

Separately, he sends a text to just the guys.  He goes into more detail about some of the shit he's been going through, but also points out that Jess has been a complete bitch lately, we're all tired of dealing with it, and really, eventually someone had to say something.  Ideally, it would've been done in a much calmer fashion, but there it is.  All true.

Jerry and John both weigh in; I stay quiet.  No one expects Jess to just forgive and forget so quickly and join us all at the bar on Friday.  Surprisingly, Jess follows up in the main text conversation, saying that a night out sounds like a great idea and she'll see how she's feeling come Friday.  David chimed in somewhere, so I'm the only one who hasn't said anything.  This place they want to go is way out by John's house, actually well past it.  That puts it about an hour from my house, but only 20 or 30 minutes from everybody else.  Shit.  I don't drink, and I don't have anything to smoke, so I don't really want to drive a fucking hour out to a bar to see some cover band, even if it is a team-building event.  But I don't want to be the only one who doesn't go, either.  If Jess goes, then I'll go.  If Jess doesn't, then at least I won't be the only one sitting out.

But either way, the drama seems to be over already.  Or is it?  Jess is on meds now, and though they'll take a while to kick in, hopefully she'll be on a more even keel in the weeks to come.  Or maybe not.  We'll still have to see.

Offline hefdaddy42

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #521 on: November 15, 2018, 09:46:18 AM »
Holy shit, Orbert.
Hef is right on all things. Except for when I disagree with him. In which case he's probably still right.