Our early afternoon of band practice was interrupted by Becky’s walking into the Doghouse and saying, “Have some soup.” We looked into the crock pot and said, “What’s the green stuff?” We are rock ‘n rollers. Beer (or, in my case, coffee), salami, crackers, and cheese are staples of our band practice cuisine.
Becky responded, “Swiss chard. The soup is Swiss chard, sausage, white beans, onions, and spices in chicken broth.” Somebody said, “Swiss chard?” I came to Becky’s defense, “Yeah, we get organically grown fruits and vegetables delivered every other week. In the Winter, that means bunches of green leafy things and broccoli.”
Some of the leafy vegetables, but not Swiss chard, have the texture of leather. But it is roughage and, according to Becky, healthy.
As readers of our blog know, Becky has many duties vis-a-vis the Lava Pups. She is a groupie, roadie, promoter, cheer leader, supporter, fan, critic, and the Original Lava Pup’s human mommy. On this afternoon, she was the band’s executive chef and health consultant.
She also was the band photographer. After our soup break, Becky used her Blackberry -- her ever-present and much-used Blackberry -- to take pictures. We played, and she moved in and out of our space snapping photos. She did so without interfering with our efforts. Or maybe we were so focused on playing together that we hardly noticed her. The shots were candid. Not the say "cheese”-pose-click kind of pictures. Instead, they captured our concentration and intensity.
Band practice was the full Lava Pups -- all four of us. We ran through the two sets from beginning to end (almost). Old songs. New songs. Songs that we have played for our first gig and since. Songs that we have added along the way. Songs that we have yet to play in public. We worked out rough spots. We agreed on arrangements.
Paul experimented with different fills and embellishments. Some elicited, “Wow, I really liked what that added.” Paul replied with humility, “I hope I remember what I did when we play next Sunday.” The good news is that I now realize that Paul will do something that strengthens our sound or improves a song. Inevitably, it is something that is totally new. But the shock factor is gone to a certain extent. That is a marked change from losing track of a song because I become so engrossed in listening and then marveling at his talent.
At the end of the band practice, the assessment varied from “we’ll do fine” on Sunday to that was “really good.” But we all agreed that we are nearly ready.
After everybody packed up and left, I nestled into a couple of pillows on one of the couches in the Doghouse to drink another cup of coffee. Excitement, anticipation, and satisfaction swept over me as I reflected on the afternoon. For some reason, that reflection wandered off to how far we had progressed and the fun of making music together. The digression was brief. I was jolted back to the present by nagging thoughts of what still needed to be done. That meant starting down a mental checklist of preparation.
Certain loose ends remain. But they do not detract one wit from the reality that we are indeed close to ready to play next Sunday! The music part is mostly done.