Monday, July 29, 2013

Being in a Band Can Be a Real Headache!

You'd go see a live band with that name, wouldn't you?

This caption is brand-stinky new! Made it about 2 hours ago .. 6 PM EST or so .. your time viewing this may vary depending on when I actually post .. but its still quite fresh.

I was doing a quest for some new source material, setting a few photos into caption settings for another time, when I saw this one and thought I could caption it right away. The thought of live music changing Chad into Chelsea hit me right away .. the music being played was Sonic Youth / Paper Chase in tone, a sludgy, slow winding riff with stuttering drum beats. I knew that it had to be a sound check for an opening act, as I've been stuck in that situation many times.

One gig, sound check was at 4 PM for a 10 PM start, and the headline band got to sound check, we didn't, and the people running sound had no idea how to mic up anything. 2 hours of THUMP THUMP of the kick drum ringing in our ears before they actually got that one drum right. I actually drove home and took a shower .. knowing this was going to be a horrible night, especially once we heard what the headlining band sounded like! We weren't anything like them at all, and knew it'd be a rough night, so we made plans to be as loud, obnoxious and fast as we could play. We were sort of disappointed it took the owner of the bar 7 full songs to end our set. We thought we could be out of there in four! You don't tell a band "this is your last song, the owner thinks you suck!" because then you just mash 3 songs together into a 10 minute song with the last 2 minutes being feedback from the guitar, the drummer banging the kick drum, and your singer/bassist (me, by the way) screaming "testes, testes, one two .. three?!?" mocking the sound guys adventures in sonic stupidity. No riots were started, unfortunately, and we got out of there with our equipment in one piece. I wish someone would've asked us to play Rawhide!

So, anyway, memories of things like that colored this caption. Opening acts are considered fresh meat for the crowds, and a way to either make the headlining band look better, or draw enough people to make it look like the last band is actually more popular than they really are. You can guess what type of band WE were, at least in the beginning. I mean, our drummer couldn't count. I am being serious .. he had no idea exactly when half of our songs would change from the verse to the chorus (and didn't even really know the names of the songs .. the guitarist would play the riff once or twice to start the song and then he'd start drumming along!) so I would have to count "1 .. 2 .. 3 .. 4" to give him a head's up that we were coming the chorus. Somehow, we got enough gigs that we had some local radio airplay because the songs we wrote were catchy. We'd actually had a few people now and again approach us at a burger joint or some such place and say, "you are musicians, right?" because we looked like we did, but then they'd say, "you play that song 'blah blah blah blah ... SONG TITLE OF CATCHIEST DITTY WE WROTE."

The caption is my way of remembering all those fun times driving 200 miles for a gig that paid 50 bucks for a 45 minute set that 15 people would hear. It has a happy ending though .. unless Chelsea takes Dementia and the Skull-Fuckers on tour with them as an opening act!

This is one of the covers we did in that 10 minute piece, right before the feedback testicles bit!

Perhaps I will regale people with more stories about bands and how things like these make most musicians batshit insane. Trust me ... playing in shitty clubs with cheap owners for beer money does NOT put your little girl in diapers. I still write music now, but use computers and drum machines. Those things never get drunk and sell their drum kit to start a door to door business or sleep with your girlfriend, or your girlfriend's sister.


  1. yes like your tales of old.

  2. Outstanding caption. To me this one comes close to perfect.
    Your love for music shows, and not only because of the theme, it's obvious you had a lot of fun making it.

    I've seen a lot of opening bands, and it's always a surprise. Some would have been lucky if their only problem was that their drummer couldn't count. But I've also seen a few who were actually better than the main act. It's weird when the public only talks about the opening act after a concert, even if the main act played good.

    I only once witnessed the plug being pulled on a band. Due to some troubles the main act couldn't arrive in time, so they let the opening act play FOR TWO HOURS. I had enough after two minutes. When the main act finally arrived they had to pull the plug on the opening act, to make them stop. And even then, their singer went on. No sound, no lights no band and almost no public anymore.
    The main act made up for the torment. (they had a female bass player)

    Somehow missed Paper Chase over the years. Sounds good, gonna find me some more of them.
    Blues Brothers, what better to say than to quote Elwood: "We're so glad to see so many of you lovely people here tonight. [...] We certainly hope you all enjoy the show. And remember, people, that no matter who you are and what you do to live, thrive and survive, there're still some things that makes us all the same. You. Me. Them. Everybody. Everybody."

    YES, Misfits. Would there be a reason why I love this song?

    1. "The main act made up for the torment. (they had a female bass player)"
      Somehow that didnt came out the way I wanted.
      The band played great, and I mentioned the female bass player because you play bass, and have a female persona.

    2. Do you like the song "Helena" by My Chemical Romance as well?

      We actually got a headlining set one night because the original group no-showed. We were supposed to be the 1st act, but we had more original songs than the middle slot band (they only HAD 8 songs!) So we went on last and did all 14 songs we'd practiced up until that time plus 3 cover songs as an encore .. though that still only filled up about 70 minutes!

      Paper Chase is no longer around. Most of the guys formed a new band called The Nighty Nite. Supposedly coming out with an album at some point. The main songwriter/singer John Congleton is also a producer, so that definitely cuts into the time for the band. He actually produced Amanda Palmer's latest CD.

    3. Yes, I do. It was because I was looking for "Helena" by My Chemical Romance a few years ago that I found "Helena" by thew Misfits. Before that I had not heard of the Misfits. I also found "Helena" by Will Haven at that time.

      Well the guy I mentioned previously didn't have much more than 45 minutes of material, but he sung all his songs three or four times. Something I shouldn't have done today, I looked him up on YouTube. I found him. I'm going to have nightmares tonight;)

      A better use of my time was listening to Paper Chase, pity they're no longer around, but I guess I can always find me some nighty Nite.
      Amanda Palmer? As in Dresden Dolls? Cool! (yeah, looked that up right away)