Sunday, April 24, 2005
What? and give up showbiz?
Long ago and far away now, but at the time.. A guitarist friend of mine asked me to join his band after their bass player left with only two weeks before a 'battle of the bands' gig. The singer is a bit of a prima donna (but mostly a cab driver with delusions of adequacy). Comes the day we go to the Queanbeyan Leagues Club - think Shriners of Baltimore - and do the sound check at 3.00pm.
Then we head home to spruce up before the 9.30 slot. At least, most of us do. The singer, a Jimmy Barnes fan (think Joe Cocker crossed with Ian Dury) stays at the venue soaking up the rock'n'roll lifestyle and drinking his way through a bottle of scotch.
When we get there he's a little strange but we're too busy with gear and nerves to notice much. Our time comes, on we go. We start with Roxanne by the Police, and get through it OK. He's a little extraverted but he remembers the words. We start our next number and, flushed with success from the first song, he cuts loose, twirling the mike stand wildly and then tripping over it, yowling all the while.
Luckily his forward progress is arrested when he put his right foot squarely into a foldback wedge. He heaves his leg back, throwing the speaker across the stage and then steps straight into thin air dropping five feet off the stage. He bobs up in the crowd, blood streaming from a gash to the head and singing to several girls. He's feeling no pain, and doesn't notice the girls dancing away as fast as they can.
Meanwhile.. the guitarist and I wander forward, still playing, and have a quiet chat:
"Is he with you?"
"Never seen him before."
"They'll let anyone in these days.."
"Oughta be a law."
A soundtech runs from the desk to the stage:
"One more song then you can F**K OFF."
Great days. I can still see him crumpled in a stairwell, farting, snoring, and burbling quietly to himself "Mate, Maaaaaaate, Jeez maaate, we was robbed.. maaate..."
What, and give up showbiz?
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
Hallelujah and praise be Saint Cecilia. We have a band. Mostly.
Nessa the 20 year old angel-faced punk is singing. (She's a bit lazy about learning the words, but what the hey)
George is doing a fine, fine job on lead guitar.
Ben is 6 foot 4, handsome as all getout, plays OK and will probably come in as rhythm guitarist.
STILL no drummer, but there's a bunch (or is it a herd? A warrant?...oh, its a "pariah" apparently)of fellas who are happy to sit in for a rehearsal or two, AND pay their share of the studio costs. Amazing.
The new rehearsal studio is fabo. Viastudios in Bowen Hills is all bright and shiny and clean and new. It has new equipment and airconditioning and toilets you'll be amazed at (considering most musicians and their habits). Practice went swimmingly, fun was had and progress was made. WOOT! as the TGG is wont to say.
Apparently the best fun was when Nessa buzzed out to buy Hungry Jacks for breakfast (that Burger King to the rest of you) and the lads were able to turn the amps up LOUD and jam. Happiness was committed and everyone is now feeling a bit better about the world.
In other news, that scumsucking swine and EBay pirate djrocket2003 still has our $150 and has not sent us the mixer we bought off him. Little does he know we've managed to track down is real name, address, work address, phone numbers and bank account details and are preparing to make him a very, very unhappy man. Not only is he stiffing us, but apparently he's been selling concert tickets he hasn't actually bought yet. He's got until Friday then the fun begins.
Bass Boss made another round of the gear-stores today, putting up Drummer Wanted posters, and has decided that Planet Music Shop is a very strange place. One of his favourites - the Music Junction - has moved from its prime location on the Paddinton strip to an airconditioned cave in Kelvin Gorve which has no parking and can only be viewed through the rear view mirror of a vehicle speeding past.
After much fuss and bother he managed to get inside and found that, yes, it is lovely and cool in here, but also very empty of customers. They also have a 1978 Rickenbacker bass which has seen better days for $2,700. Who are they kidding? While he was there he took the opportunity to make a noise with a Rickenbacker 650D with its much-vaunted humbucker pickups. Its walnut with an oiled finish and is, well, bloody awful really. At least that killed today's attack of G.A.S. (Gear Aquisition Syndrome). Although he's also been eyeing a new brand of Gibson try-hards - electa - which are quite pretty. But there wasn't an original Gibson in the place. At a starting price of 3 grand they've priced themselves out of the market.
Two long weekends coming up. Two more lovely long rehearsals. Music will be committed. ain't life grand?
| posted by Lee Dalton Kear at 4/19/2005 01:52:00 AM |
Saturday, April 16, 2005
I'm sorry constable, you're not our kind of guitarist...
...and with it another attempt at a real rehearsal.
Another Saturday night and I ain't got nobody.....Bass Boss is currently watching his team get drubbed. TGG is at the movies with a few of her chick-flick mates, hoping to scream their tits off at the late night screening of "The Ring 2". I'm listening to the radio, thinking about aboriginal reconciliation (I do think about things other than the band ya' know) and eating rum and raisin chocolate.
So, where were we? The Yarpie guitarist seems to be on the team. He's talented, and has a background in sound engineering which might be useful. He's not the warmest human being, but he may improve with time. the wierd South African accent makes me squirm, but that's just a sign of my middle-class liberal values.
On a more idiotic note, we auditioned a cop this week.
Constable Andy said he thought he'd be just the think for our punk-chic style of rockn'roll. He turned up, smelling of cheap aftershave and suspicion - shorthaired and well-mannered in a creepy kind of way.We'd checked the house VERY carefully beforehand to make sure there was nothing which might remotely catch officer-Andy's eye and nodded sagely as we watched his eyes flick around the rooms in search of whatever it is coppers search for.
Then he began to play. Well, yes, OK, the 1950s senditions of The Shadows greatest hits probably go over well at the Police youth Club BBQ, but for us, not so much. Bass Boss knew from the first chords that it wasn't going to work, but he was temporarily struck dumb by the conundrum of how to sack a policeman without incurring his emnity. However, when the officer dissed his bass amp (tinny, he said) we knew it was just a matter of time before he FOUND the right words and the plod was sent on his way.
We've made a pact now not to audition anyone who cannot easily be bidden, "farewell and fuck off", no matter how desparate we are for musicians.
Meantime we've wangled a sit-in drummer for Sunday and found a decent studio which looks clean, has decent air conditioning, a P.A., mikes and no stairs...and is surprisingly inexpensive. I'm wondering what might be wrong with it. Watch this space.
| posted by Lee Dalton Kear at 4/16/2005 03:09:00 AM |
Saturday, April 09, 2005
Tonight we review the world's biggest-ever gig - the papal funeral!!!!!
Gigs we'll probably never be booked for include:
1. Papal funeral mass
2. Royal Wedding civil-ceremony
3. Royal Wedding post-civil-ceremony-ceremony
4. All-Presidents-All-the-Time post-funeral/post-wedding luncheon
Yes, its been a big weekend here at Casa Bass-Boss.
I was in the mood to torture the Teen Groove Goddess so I made her sit down and watch the first hour of the papal funeral. He he he! I said it would be historically important and something she'd remember for the rest of her life. (Yes. Yes I am a sadist). She made at LEAST a dozen phone calls, trying to get a date or any other distraction so she could avoid it, but this town is FULL of sadistic mothers so the funeral proved to be the only game in town. He he he he he he he!!!!
Actually I released everyone after the first hour because (lets face it) it was duller than your Aunt Ada's holiday slides, but I decided to relax, enjoy the show, and bring you a bit of a review.
The various priests, especially the cardinals wore some really 'bitchen' stage outfits. I especially liked the dude with the crown. Mind you, there were an awful lot of variations on the theme of red cape, skull cap and frock. (It sort of reminded me of those Miss America pageants where everyone has to wear the same coloured bathing suit.) Loved, loved, LOVED the folks from other branches and brands of the church. Some really groovy outfits there and the Greek Orthodox band surprised us all with some really emo-themed singing.
Which reminds me - talk about under-rehearsed...we noted with amazement that ALL the cardinals and archbishops and archmages and spooky-holy-people READ EVERY WORD of the ceremony AND the songs from the songsheet. If ever there was a cast of seasoned performers, deze are dey...surely they've done this kind of thing enough times to wing it?
Thought the stage-hand outfits (purple skirts with flouncy white smocks) were a little showy and not in keeping with church teachings on cross-dressing. Quite liked the pallbearers though - the frock-coats and tails were pretty spiffy.
The set dressing was a bit cheesy. The front-of-house curtains were pretty groovy, but they picked a really crap banner and a really, really crap crucifixion statue. Mind you, the altar was pretty spectacular and the P.A was superb. The band and their backing singers was good. They weren't playing any originals but the covers were pretty slick and the arrangements were tight. All in all they did the job and kept the whole performance moving along at a nice pace (for a funeral).
I was pretty disappointed in the crowd. No mosh, no crowd surfing, no uplifted candles or lighters, no fainting or being carried out over the crush barriers, no riots or fainting or hysteria at all. Yes, yes, there was a bit of rowdiness. There was some nice chanting work by the Polish portion of the audience, and some lovely rythmic hand-clapping which seemd to annoy the German cardinal/MC. But the 100,000 strong communion crowd only got waifers, not wine. What's a good party without the piss??
The special celebrity mosh was packed, as expected. Five kings, seven queens, two hundred presidents and heaven-knows who else. They all looked kinda cool and remote but that might be because they were seated in alphabetical order (squirm, titter) and most of the gig was in Latin and they had no clue what was happening.
I must say though that the late great superstar PJP2 looked brilliant. Everyone in the media agreed that he's held together quite nicely for the funeral, although he was supposed NOT to have been emblamed or made up beforehand. (It's something to do with looking naturally good after death - an important test for sanctity, apparently).
Mind you, one especially enterprising media outfit found a London embalmer willing to give away a few makeup secrets about the big day. He said PJP would have been laid on an icesheet to keep him crispy-fresh, with just a wee bit of embalming from the neck up - for the look of the thing. He also revealed that, in his professional opinion, PJP's face was not covered with a wax mask. Oooooh - don't ya love this kind of backstage gossip?
Personally we loved the rather simple, but sporty looking coffin with the hatchback. Very cool. Very now. We predict a craze for them for the next few years, causing considerable stress in the multi-thousand dollar-coffin business. That he opted by be interred in a pre-used grave (one careful papal owner, recently disinterred upon beatification) in a below-ground crypt without statue, stone or flashy extras suggests a kind of Indie sensibility which could well catch on.
So, having completely fucked my chances at ever getting us a gig with any Catholics, I'll bring you my review of the Royal Wedding gig tomorrow...
| posted by Lee Dalton Kear at 4/09/2005 03:20:00 AM |
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
...and even as we speak...another idiot approacheth...
....and as I hit the PUBLISH button on the last entry the phone rang, and lo a prospective guitarist spake unto me (well, unto the Bass Boss actually)....
Adam is 34 years old, has a Degree in Contemporary Music (whut?) from mumble mumble U, is a teacher with many small children and has dreams of being a successful gigging rock guitarist, EXCEPT:
This brings me to one of my famous RULES OF BAND MANAGEMENT:
- He doesn't want to come to practice. Ever (thinks he's paid his rehearsing dues, mayhaps?)
- He doesn't want to play more than a couple of times a month really (Yeah, KISS only plays every other week too)
- He doesn't want to intereact with the band at all really (We could send him a CD and the tabs to learn)
IF THEY WON'T PRACTICE, FUCK 'EM.
Actually it used to be "Every musician AND every band must rehearse regularly. Anyonse who says they won't rehearse doesn't get to be in the band." But its been a stressful few weeks, so I've abbreviated it a bit.
You CAN'T be a working musician without daily practice. You can't be in a gigging band without regular rehearsals. Just trust me on this one, will ya? If you don't put in the time you'll sound crap, and you'll look and sound crap on stage. People pay you to show them a good time, and that takes work.
Anyhoo - Bass Boss politely suggested that he might be a wee tad bit undercommitted, but that he should go talk to his wife, his guitar and his God, if neccessary, and call back if he thought he could find the time.
We'll never hear from him again. Which will be nice.
| posted by Lee Dalton Kear at 4/06/2005 02:59:00 AM |
We traded the psychopath for a Yarpie...did we do the right thing?
So, another interesting day....
In our next to last episode we discussed the band-implosion and the singer's hissy fit. Turns out I was being a little unkind to fair Nessa, who had a bit more to deal with than I realised.
Turns out the droogy, drug-fucked guitarist was stalking her. Oh, just a tiny, teeny bit, but enough to weird her out and make me want to wash the spittle off.
Apparently he rang her on Sunday night, declaring his heartfelt apologies for his behaviour at rehearsals. He said that she was sooooo beautiful that he just couldn't concentrate and that even being near her made him disintegrate into a bumbling boob. (Happily she'd worked out the bumbing-boob bit before the phone call. Actually, it was her first sight of him that did that - women sense this stuff earlier than men, apparently.) So anyway, she got herself out of the embarrassing and droolly phone call as smartly as possible, and took a day or so to recover.
She's fine and quite sanguine now, but the lesson we all learned is,"never, never, never give the rookie band-member anyone's phone number without checking his general sanity first." I would just personally like to add: never let a male band member hire anyone without checking it out with someone with 2X chromosones.
The Bass Boss is very cross, by the way. Female singers are extremely hard to find and hard to keep in these parts, and he's been expressedly checking on would-be love-interests in order to stomp on their gonads. We want to keep Nessa happy, but more to the point, we want to keep Nessa.
Which brings us to George. George is 35, a Yarpie (that's South African-Anglo to you), is married and celebrating his anniversary today, and promised he's really, really normal and won't stalk anyone without permission. His interests include walks in the park, world peace and Metallica.
Welcome to the band George. Now, let's just see whether he can actually play the instrument.
| posted by Lee Dalton Kear at 4/06/2005 02:27:00 AM |
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
...oh, that reminds me...
Teen Groove Goddess is currently engaged in a campaign to unseat a girlfriend and stage a hostile takeover of her man. She's using a subtle mix of sneering and derision, subterfuge and dirty pool as well as enlisting the lobbying power of this guy's best-mate who hates the current girlie for reasons more closely associated with homo-erotic jealousy than any of us wish to discuss.
Last evening TGG surpassed herself by throwing the boy a birthday party, inviting all his favourite people and giving him the best gift - the thing he wanted more dearly than anything else in the world. The girlfriend gave him shoes. (She's doomed.)
TGG also put a cheap badge on top of the giftwrap - and was filled with joy and malicious pleasure when he pinned it on his jacket and showed it off to everyone at the table. I understand she did a passable Monty Burns impression, rubbing her hands together and muttering "excellent...."
So, when it came to end of the night and the girlfriend went home by other means, TGG won the prized front-seat next to the love interest for the ride home...perfect....except the fool-boy had arranged to pick up girlfriend to go back to his place later and, instead of dropping off TGG and then picking up the encumbent, he decided to pick the girlfriend up BEFORE dropping off TGG. (You have to sigh at the knuckleheadedness of young men these days.)
Anyway....they pulled up at the girlie's door and she came to the car and asked TGG to please vacate the love seat and get in back. You should have SEEN my lovely girl when she arrived home, smoke rising from her ears and murder in her heart. She knows very well the importance of the front seat and was mortified and FURIOUS that she'd been asked to hand it over. You realise of course that this means WAR and that it'll be gloves-off now until the knucklehead is roped and branded.
But I ask myself, since when is it girls who have to woo skittish and shy laddies? I'm sure it used to be the other way round...but at least it'll to be an amusing diversion for a week or two.
| posted by Lee Dalton Kear at 4/05/2005 03:12:00 AM |
And now a brief pause for reflection...
Funny old world.
Various strange individuals have contacted the Bass Boss to ask if he'd like to join them to work on a few "creative projects", which is musician-speak for "I can't afford to pay you."
Bass Boss is a generous-hearted individual who likes lending his creative energies to helping others. I just wish the pay was better.
Meanwhile, many of the household guitars are getting the benefits of his down-time. Things have been buffed to a high shine, or restrung, or had their pots and pickups broken (shot while trying to escape). He's having a wonderful time.
It also means more time to just play music. Wait. Think of it! Just p.l.a.y.i.n.g. for the gosh-darned love of the thing. Wowee zowie batman, that sure feels good!
I'm also enjoying the sound of his original songs again - they're very good- just like bought ones - and its great to hear the original licks getting a practice and polish.
I, on the other hand, continue to attend Alcatraz-on-the-River (my office) where yet another of the senior staff threw in the towel today and resigned. He's going to the Northern Territory to rediscover his inner-caveman, or something. Anyway, he's given the whole management group a ripe raspberry and is planning to go down swinging and spitting and swearing and stomping...which might be rather entertaining.
| posted by Lee Dalton Kear at 4/05/2005 03:01:00 AM |
Saturday, April 02, 2005
BOOOOMMMM...tinkle tinkle tinkle.....
Sunday 3 April 2:39 pm: Reuters Newsagency
"Shortly after last night's bulletin the condition of the Band-with-No-Name suddenly worsened, and by this morning sources close to the band (me) described its condition as "severely compromised." In spite of heroic efforts at this morning's full band rehearsal, the Band suffered a severe guitarist-breakdown and a singer hissy-fit and was last reported to be breathing shallowly and conscious, but serene. THe life of the band is now drawing peacefully to a close."
Which, in Canadian is - it's fucked, eh?
In French its - Mort aux band
In Pythonese its - brung down the curtain and joined the bleeding choir-invisibule
In Vaticanese it's - Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, burnt out fuse to burnt out fuse - It is finished
In THISBlogese its - gone, stuffed, crashed and burned, over, kaput - stick a fork in it - its done.
I knew things were not well when I looked at Bass Boss's pile of gear - a gigantic travelling rig of guitars, basses, amps, gig bags, chords, extra cords, etc etc etc. For a ONE HOUR Rehearsal.
Then, 50 minutes into the hour, the singer rang and said she was lost and couldn't find the venue.
When she found the venue the band managed two (count'em) songs before the guitarist confessed that he didn't, couldn't wouldn't learn the songs after all and, err like, sorry, eh?
Its now a couple of hours later. Bass Boss and I are sitting in a nice, dark, cool library, eating biscuits, drinking tea and watching football. We have talked. We have commiserated. We have agreed that, stuff this for a game of soldiers, they can all get bent. for the next couple of weeks we shall observe a rather relaxed mourning period, then start AGAIN, but this time, using a much tougher and more rigorous set of processes.
There WILL be a new band. But not today.
Luckily I look good in black.
| posted by Lee Dalton Kear at 4/02/2005 08:36:00 PM |