Last week, as I loaded my guitar into the car for the return to Sacramento, we continued our camaraderie outside Don's garage. Not only did we agree that playing together was fun and welcome, but we also agreed to practice again. Additionally, we had the arrangement for a song to expand our repertoire. And we started to think like a trio which appears to be our immediate fate.
Since email has replaced mouth-to-ear communication, we exchanged emails. “I’m available Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday.” “Sunday is out.” “Tuesday and Wednesday won’t work.” “Then, Thursday it is.” Don wrote that he would make the drive from Cool to the Doghouse.
Paul was privy to the exchange. His plate, however, was overflowing. Sierra Surf Music Camp. Saying good bye to student after student. Packing for the move to Ferndale. Planning for his new business there.
Despite being overwhelmed, he found time to email us. “How about you play a few of your originals at camp before the Pyronauts play to show what can be done?”
A few of our originals! Played to Dusty Watson, Paul Johnson, John Blair, and the gathered campers. The reply was quick and understated the excitement of the opportunity: “We can do that.”
In addition to being fun, getting together at the Doghouse meant we could work as trio on some of our originals. We would be ready for camp. Which songs? How many is a “few”? What would we play in the ideal world? Was Paul going to join us when we played at camp?
Mr. Inner Voice silented whatever debate was going on, "Forget the questions and play." We did. Our playing was energetic and, at times, almost instinctive. We jammed through an extended “Jack the Ripper.” Even though I have avoided the lead in “Wipe Out” like a disease in the past, we played it. Maybe that was in recognition of the reality of Paul’s imminent move. If we are going to play surf music, "Wipe Out" is a required staple.
“California Sun” moved closer to being ready for public airing. Sure, we forgot some parts of the arrangement. And I lost track of where we were at some point. Nonetheless, it was less ragged than the first time.
“Peter Gunn” made our Doghouse play list. Wait a minute, we have never played that tune together. Free form. Spontaneous. Experiment here and there.
The time flew by. The next thing we knew, the clock on the Doghouse wall read 9:45. We had been playing for more than two hours. Even flat wound strings could not prevent the return of pain in my finger tips. My callouses had peeled away completely over the weekend to expose a layer of tender skin.
Note to self: Think about taking Super Glue to camp to slather over the tender skin. Man-made instant callouses!
We played a couple of more songs. Don and Glenn left. The enthusiasm, energy, spontaneity, and fun of the evening kept pulsing through my mind. Despite the clock reading 10:15, I was not ready to go home or to bed. So I leaned back in a chair, enjoyed a beer, and savored the time that we just had spent.
This music stuff sure is great! What took so long to figure that out?