Wow, that was a fast two weeks. I really can’t believe that it’s been nearly fourteen days since I last posted anything here, but the clocks don’t lie. It’s been a bitchin’ two weeks though, no doubt.
First things first: I officially played music in front of an expecting audience, for the first time ever, on the 25th of October. A brother from another mother, Gio, has played guitar almost as long as I can remember, save for perhaps the days when we were knee high and all I paid attention to was his larger-than-mine Transformers collection. (To be honest, I only had one Transformer that I was lucky enough to find at a garage sale across the street from my house, so it wasn’t particularly hard to show me up.)
So he and I have jammed a few times before, a few impromptu jams at a random party or two and maybe a few more at my house, and we were preparing for another brother from another mother’s house party — where we will, along with another guitarist, provide entertainment — when he casually asked if I’d like to play with him at the local pub the following Sunday. (I suppose it would be prudent for me to mention at this point that I’ve played the drums for going on eight years. Jesus, eight years already.) Since I have a near complete inability to say no to things people ask me, I immediately said yes. And initially it was great. We jammed that day and I kind of forgot about the whole thing and a few hours later, after we had parted ways, it began to sink in that these people would be watching us — me — play. A few of them, anyways, and that was more eyes than I was ready for. I know what you’re thinking, “But Colin, you’re behind a drum kit and there’s going to be a guy singing and playing guitar in front of you. Who ever really pays attention to the drummer, anyways?” And you’d be partly right, but being a drummer I pay attention, and being a perfectionist I really pay attention.
We got together again on Tuesday, began working on a set list, and that’s when the queazies returned. I was going to have to remember not just the progression of each song, but the order of the set as well. Sharing my fear, he assured me that if I played as I had been, we should be just fine. An unmissable sigh of relief left my mouth, his comment adding a little confidence. After a few more run-throughs of the set, we were starting to sound pretty tight — we had the benefit of a small recorder Gio owned so we could hear ourselves well enough to find any errors.
I awoke the Sunday of the gig rather calm, but quickly realized what day it was and the stomach once again tightened. Gio called to let me know he would be over fairly shortly to go over the set one last time. We recorded the jam, listened over, and then replayed a few to get them just a little tighter. After that, we shook hands and planned to meet at the pub an hour ahead of the gig to help set up since we wouldn’t be using our own equipment. (I must say not using my drum kit was a relief. I would be ashamed for another drummer to see it at the moment — the cymbals are literally in pieces.) The aforementioned other brother from another mother, Warren, showed up at my place about 5:00pm with a few pre-game beers, for which I was grateful; anything to calm the nerves was a good thing. I washed up, got presentable and dressed appropriately in my Spinal Tap shirt, and we headed out.
I beat Gio there by about five minutes, which gave Warren and I enough time to order a pitcher. The other act piled in and Gio and I assisted where able and multitasked our glasses of beer. After everything was set up, we sat and prepared mentally (drank) as guests and friends arrived. Another glass of beer and a generously provided shot of tequila (thanks Claire!) and we were on. Our set lasted just over an hour, and I must say it went off without any mistakes. The only issue we had was that there were a couple microphones placed for the drums and, frankly, were completely unnecessary — after the first track we played, I was quickly told to try and tone it down a bit. So I was tapping them, too softly most likely, but we never missed a beat. Gio was totally right when he said that we’d finish the show rockin’ and that I’d feel amazing, and I did. There really isn’t much more rewarding, in my mind, than providing pleasure or entertainment for others, in whatever form you find, whether it be music, art, theatre; you name it.
Well, I had initially planned on writing about the rest of the stuff I did, but as I’m quickly approaching a thousand words, I think I’ll give you — whoever you are, patiently reading this for some crescendo I’m sure didn’t occur — a break. Good for you. You made it.