When I was in high school, I spent most of my Saturdays in the my basement with a bunch of guys learning the fine arts of how to be a rock band. We were all rank amatures, lacking all but the basic skills of our instruments. But dammit we played a ton of Beatles tunes and a few we wrote and they weren�t that bad….well actually the first year we sucked. The singer couldn’t sing, the guitarist couldn�t play and I sure couldn�t play drums. But as we went along we all got pretty good.
We played clubs, parties, and conventions. All total we played in front of about 2,000 people. Not all in one night mind you. We did have problems. Being head-strong teenage boys we stood firm on our own ideas and violently crushed other who opposed us. Actually more times than I would like to admit, I was the only one who was crushed. It was the only band I�ve been in where our band rehearsals became violent.
We grew apart one summer. Out lead guitarist went on a summer trip for about a month, and in that time we started forming a band with an amazing guitarist. We played a small 7 song set over and over. Songs that expanded my mind from the world of pop music that I was so accustomed to. How many garage bands in 1991 were playing “No Quarter” by Led Zeppelin? I felt like we were the only ones. We had a good set and played a nasty bar. Now remember we were 16-18 years old ( I was 16) and this was a nasty, grungy bar that had a house band consisted a drunk guy in leather, putting on his best Jim Morrison impression by gyrating on the table of some scarred yuppies. But I digress…
When our guitarist returned, we had a rehearsal in my basement. It was, unknown to us, our last one. A fight started and we parted ways. Thus the first rock band I was ever in, broke up. Now this wasn�t too traumatic, we got with the band we were rehearsing with during the summer, trimmed a few members and went back to that old routine. I did that routine for years. Many different bands, some of the same musicians, and some of the same cover tunes.
I do miss that life. It really was the statement of my adolescence. Here we were, a bunch of teenage boys who spent their Saturdays in a damp, cramped, and loud basement. Forgoing and fighting with our girlfriends about the Saturday we spent away from them. Talk about dedication. In our mindset, it was more important to learn, “Green River” than to do the typical teenage-Saturday-night-thing.
I don’t keep in touch with those guys anymore. Some have moved, some vanished from my world. These were my friends, musicians, accomplices in crimes that teenagers pull….oh the stories I could tell…
So where am I going with this? I’ve actually thought about why I was a musician. Thought about it all weekend, but then I started thinking about how long ago 10 years really was. Then I started thinking about people I was around and how now….in the long run I am better for knowing them. They might not be around me now, but I do occasionally think about or tell the stories of the various bands I�ve been in. From the Rock & Country club fiasco…”Peavey?” to that shitty bar with the Morrison-wanna-be, I played more dives than anyone 16-20 should. But you know what? I wouldn’t trade any of it in.
Thank you to those who encourage musicians.
Thank you to those I spent my Saturdays with.
Thank you to those who understood.