Rerun: Our First Rehearsal as the Lava Pups

Editor's Note:  We are interspersing some of the previous 150 or so blog entries with current material.  Here is a "rerun" of our first rehearsal as the Lava Pups.  We got together for the CD.  The photo below is from our recording sessions and is one of the first of the four of us together.

Time for the rubber to hit the road.  The day for our first rehearsal came.  I was both excited and apprehensive. 

A litany questions popped in and out of my mind in staccato rapidity  Would I even remember my own songs?  Would I be able to play them?  Would I be the weak link?  After all, I had the least musical experience.  Had I been spending too much time on a project which was going to fall on its face?  Would the songs stand up when played by a band?

Possibly food would help.  Becky made a steak soup.  How about alcohol?  I bought a bottle of Italian sangiovese -- 90 points from Wine Advocate -- and 12-pack of Red Tail Ale -- amber ale brewed in Mendocino County.

The warehouse had been christened “the Doghouse” somewhere along the line.  It was ready for REHEARSAL.  Video camera and recorder set up.  3 guitar stands with cords.  3 amps ready to go. 

Darby, Becky, and I were ready.  Darby was ready for the human companionship and attention.  Becky was ready for this ordeal to be over so that she would not have to hear me talk about it. 

Glenn and Jean arrived first and then Paul, Don, and Lori.  Musicians and their fans/groupies/critics/wives/support group/captive audience.  Whatever.  The bottom line was food, drink, camaraderie, and music.  Paul set the bar at a realistic level:  "Let's have fun!"

We played all 8 songs.  Some were more ragged than others.  I completely blew the bridge in “Into the Flow.”  Wrong notes.  Wrong starting point.  I thought:  Is this what is in store for me today?

Becky and Jean needed ear plugs.  Did that mean that we were louder than usual?  Or that bad? 

By the second time through “Link Man,” I found my groove.  But not perfection.  A mistake here; a mistake there.  Losing grip of a pick.  Hitting the volume knob on my guitar with my pick and turning the volume down.  At times, finding total peace in the realization that I did not have to rush.

Each of us had a lapse at sometime during the session.  I found solace in that.

The rehearsal was collaborative and creative.  We went over intros.  We changed some.  We went over outros.  We changed some.  A bass intro to “Out of the Vortex” emerged.  We agreed to a drum intro to “The Cruncher.”  My original idea of a tremolo picked intro followed by drums to “Lava Tube” changed.  No intro -- just a count down to “Magma Runner.”  Hold for the ending of “Link Man.”

“Is that an E minor?  An A minor sounds better.  Oh, yeah, I wanted to get a James Bond type sound there.”

Every song was improved by the process.  Everybody participated.  The session ended with everybody saying how much fun we had.  We agreed to the next rehearsal, a menu, and discussed availability for recording in January.  Paul, Don, and Lori left.  Glenn and Jean followed.

Becky, Darby, and I collapsed on the couches.  We were exhausted.  I also was exhilarated by knowing that the “Into the Flow” project was a step closer to reality.  In fact, rehearsal showed me that the project was not a pipe dream.  Instead, it was a viable musical endeavor.

I said to Becky, “This was a good session but we are nowhere near being ready.”  She resisted saying “I told you so.”  Instead, she responded, “You’re right, and you have the time to put together a good CD.”  Always the optimist!

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