9:48 - You Better Slow Down!

“You better slow down!  Baby, now you’re movin’ way too fast”?  No, that was not written by the Beatles or the Jam.  It is classic Larry Williams, who, as many may know, did not heed his own advice.  He lived fast and died of a gunshot to the head at age 44.

At our last band practice, we had our set for the Battle of the Surf Bands down to 12 minutes and 56 seconds.  Four songs plus a bit of rehearsed banter with a pretend crowd.  The problem was that we were 56 seconds over the allotted time.  We considered the “ostrich approach” -- that is, stick our heads in the sand. 

But the Nagging Little Voice would not have any of that, “The rules are 12 minutes or less.  You’ll look unprofessional if you go over.”  An impeccably logical response was, “Well, we’re not professionals.”  Of course, the Nagging Little Voice never was a big fan of logic and used the slippery slope come back.  “If you are 56 seconds over, what will other bands take?”

Knowing that the Nagging Little Voice was not going to stop meant that we either had to go with a different set or rearrange some of the songs.  The set felt just perfect -- a couple of our originals, a surf classic, and a retro-garage favorite.  Importantly, all of the Pups agreed to the set.  That left rearranging by carving out something.

On Sunday at the Doghouse, I rolled out the rearranged set for Becky.  No band mates.  Four songs.  Full-blown banter.  “One, two, three, start.”  Becky started the stop watch.  “Here’s one from our CD!”  I played and talked to the audience of one.  She kept time.  “We are the Lava Pups.  Thank you!”

“How long?”  “9:48”  Wow!  Made it with time to spare.

“So what did you think?”  Becky’s response made me realize that I must have been in hyperdrive -- too much caffeine, too much adrenalin, too much excitement, too much focus on playing fast, too much sounding like a pitchman issuing a disclaimer in television ad.

Even though she was a baby at the peak of his career, Becky repeated the words of Larry Williams verbatim, “You better slow down!”

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