"Band Practice": Meet and Greet and Try To Figure Out What We're Doing

Another step in regrouping would be figuring out what we are doing.  And what we have to do to perform as a band.  After all, we have a gig and started promoting it in earnest.  We printed up posters and fliers, listed the gig on various websites, and sent out emails to elicit interest.  Obviously, we were not doing this to fall on our faces.

Set list in hand, Robert, Glenn, and I gathered at the Doghouse.  I invited my sister, Sue, to join us and play rhythm “uke” (more about that in a later post).  She did. 

We were down to business quickly.  Minimum time for beer, coffee, and kibitzing.  We all were curious about how this was going to work out.  Apparently recognizing the enormity of the task at hand, Sue and Robert prepared for a longer haul.  They grabbed stools.

“Let’s just go down the set list.”  We started with Mr. Moto.  As Robert had not played the song before and the chord sheet was Spartan, we went through the arrangement and Glenn’s drum cues.  Robert jotted notes on the sheet.  “Play the B flat and A parts.”  I did.  “That’s four B flats and six A’s.”  I responded, “I don’t know.  I just play.”  We agreed that I would strive for some semblance of consistency.

After several tries, we had Mr. Moto down.  We were on to fine tuning.  “What about the transition back to the first verse?  Is it two bars of D minor?”  “Yes, but we could add this.”  “No additions yet.  We’ll play two bars of D minor.”

We followed a similar process with the first seven songs on the set list.  Some were easier than others.  We also came up with some new arrangements.  “What if we play that a bit faster?”  “What if we put this riff here?”

After arranging and annotating, we played the first seven songs through in order.  We had usable arrangements.  We were in agreement on how they would be played.  Robert even started experimenting.

We looked at the clock.  4:30.  We had been working for three and one-half hours.  The time had sped by -- a good sign.  “I have to get home and barbeque a tri-tip for a 6:00 concert in the park.  We better stop here.”

As everybody packed up, I remembered how hard we had worked in the beginning to get the Lava Pups recording-ready and then gig-ready.  That required focus and intensity.  It was fun.  And we now were working hard and having fun regrouping.

Robert was the last to leave.  He was enthusiastic -- a good sign from an experienced musician.  He summed our first band practice up, “We got a lot done.  And I can tell you now that the gig is really going to be fun!”

Fun.  Isn’t that what playing music is all about?

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