One Hundred Six - But It's a Dry Heat

The Sacramento Valley is smoldering.  Temperatures are rising to the century mark and above.  But, as seems to be a Central Valley mantra, “it’s a dry heat.”  So 106 feels like 106 as opposed to something higher.  Huh?  The temperature still is 106!

Fortunately, the Doghouse has air conditioning (a wall unit, not central).  Not bad for a warehouse.  Air conditioning.  Refrigerator stocked with beer, soft drinks, cheese, and salami.  Box fans to move the air throughout the space.  Couches.  Flat screen television.  All of that makes the Doghouse an escape from the stifling heat -- albeit, dry -- and ideal for practice.

Last practice session, we started at the beginning of a potential set.  With 2-1/2 hours of focused work, we refined three songs.  Arrangements.  Tempo.  Rhythms.  Endings.  We were moving beyond the “let’s get it so that we can play it” stage.  We were tired as we left the Doghouse but had a sense of accomplishment.

Following that model, we just might never get to the last songs in the set.  So we began a practice with, “Today we’ll take the set backwards from the end.” 

That was not readily embraced.  “How about we play what we practiced last time?” 

We needed to get further along in the songs.  “We’ll never get to the end of the set if we keep tweaking the first three songs.”  

And we came to an understanding.  “No.  Let’s just hear how they sound.”  “Okay.”  I began Mr. Moto, and our practice was underway.  Despite our understanding, we tweaked the ending.  Minor tweaks came with the next two songs.  We were better than last practice and substantially better than our gig two weeks ago.

We moved to what most likely will be the last song in the set.  We then were into arranging.  Agreeing on tempos.  Working through rhythms.  Coming up with endings.  Counting outros and intros out.  We played a song and worked on particular parts.  Some songs required that we focus on the end.  Some songs required that we focus on some other particular part.   Some songs were dismantled completely and reassembled.

The process was a group effort.  Becky joined us somewhere along the line and contributed her ideas.  “That song is just flat.  It needs some pizzazz.  How about . . . ?”

In 3-1/2 hours, we had consensus on six more songs.  We were tightening up our playing.  We worked at getting detail.  We also were becoming more familiar with the songs and each other.  Our playing was coming together as band.

We finished practice.  We really had made progress.  Dicey endings were on their way to being something in the past about which we can laugh later.  We were moving on to refining the songs -- making them our own.  Passable was no longer acceptable.

Even though Sue, Glenn, and Robert were gone, my “band day” was not done.  I packed up posters and fliers to brave the heat -- dry heat, mind you -- and meet with the person handling the show with Aloha Radio.   But I was enthused to do it.  We are really sounding like a band!

1 comment

  • Becky


    And who was the driving force behind the air conditioner? You guys sounded great.

    And who was the driving force behind the air conditioner? You guys sounded great.

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