Practice. Practice. Practice.

Colorado -- and Colorado Springs in particular -- was burning.  Wild fires were out of control.  Those were recent headlines.  And Glenn had a long-planned vacation scheduled for Colorado Springs -- a round trip from Sacramento on Amtrak to visit his family.  How cool does that sound . . . except for the wild fires part?

After daily inquiries by the Wiki Weekend Warriors about the fate of his vacation, Glenn announced that the weather had changed, the fires were contained, and he and Jean were leaving as scheduled.  That meant no full band practices for two weekends and the intervening week.

But we remaining Pups were not stymied.  Robert and Sue still were learning the songs for the set.  As of the time that Glenn left, we had not played through the entire set list.  Even though time was running, I had a sense of confidence about the upcoming gig but kept thinking, “That’s unusual.  Where is the little nagging voice?”

The only real troublesome part was that Robert and Sue were looking to me for guidance.  That was pretty scary!  Their musicianship is light years ahead of mine.  But I am the keeper of the corporate history.  They get to learn songs complete with my idiosyncrasies, short cuts, dumb downs, and what-have-yous.  But being the keeper of the corporate history is an opportunity to become a better musician -- or at least correct some of my many deficiencies.

All of this meant multiple practices were on the agenda.  Sue, Robert, and I spent a Sunday afternoon together getting through what was left on the set list.  Again, the process was play, talk, agree, and annotate charts. 

Robert and I also practiced together.  What could we expect from and of each other?  How could we help each other?  Realistically, every time he played, I understood that I could not help him very much musically.  His years of improvisation and songwriting combined with the simplicity of our songs to make Robert’s learning curve short.  As he became more familiar with the set, my job was to rein in some of his improvising bent.  His job was to encourage me to tighten up my playing.

Sue and I practiced together.  Even though our music is simple and often repetitive, she was playing chords and making moves on her uku-tar (AKA guit-ulele) that were unusual to her.  We hooked her up to a Danelectro pedal board.  After trying slap echo, reverb, and vibrato pedals, we settled on the Tuna Melt tremolo pedal.  Hearing herself play amplified also was unusual to her.  Importantly, we worked through the structure, rhythm patterns, and the “sound” of the songs.

Suddenly, I was practicing much more than usual.  Hours here and there with Robert.  And hours with Sue.  A few hours with both of them.  Plus I was running through the set alone and trying to focus on rough spots in songs.  None of the practice was as loose as in the past.  Wow, maybe this practice stuff will help in deficit reduction.

Of course, we really will not know until July 22. 

Oh, yeah, gotta pimp the show now.  Please join us and see if our hours of practice pay off.  Have you checked out our video poster?

Leave a comment

Add comment