Got Me A Rock And Roll Band, It’s A Free For All
Oh, that Nuge… always good for a quote.
It’s been an interesting couple of years to say the least. 2009 and 2010 found me writing two albums worth of material, plus what I call “pre-composing” two concept pieces of about 10 songs each. I call it pre-composing because those pieces exist only in my head except for the lyrics which are all written and complete.
Why did I do all this, you ask? To what end? Well, you didn’t ask but I’ll ask for you. I’ll even answer.
The goal for me is to play live. I enjoy it. Since I was a teen, I’ve always found it far more interesting to play original music than to be in a cover band. In fact, I hadn’t really tried being in a cover band until a few years ago. Here in New Jersey, there’s more money in doing that than with original songs. So after trying to maintain a cover band with me singing and playing guitar, which was fun but unfulfilling, I decided that I had to get back to original music. I still play drums with some other cover bands which is cool because I like the guys and the songs and it pays well. However, I’m very focused on original music. It’s just more interesting to me.
What I like about playing original music live is that there are no expectations. Even if people have heard your music, they’re not expecting it to sound a certain way. They are my songs and I can play them as I see fit. I’m not reproducing someone else’s sound or expected to hit Steve Perry’s high notes. I don’t sound like other people or sing like other people. I sound like me, like it or not. Playing covers is fun and it pays well, so at the end of the night you have some money which makes up for the unfulfillment. I need the money, but I also need to feel some musical/artistic integrity and satisfaction. It’s the same reason artists display their painted canvases on walls. Art should be shared. Keeping it to yourself is a little bit selfish, I say. A good piece of art or a good song can really make someone’s day, especially if they can identify with it on some level.
That’s not to say you can’t make money at all playing originals. If you can successfully draw a big crowd, you’ll do quite well. At the same time, there are places in the big cities you can play where you won’t even come close to getting paid until you bring over XX amount of people. They’ll keep 100% of the cover charges until there’s a big enough crowd. Some places will tell you up front that they just don’t pay at all. It’s really hard to draw a big crowd of people when you’re starting out or rebooting yourself so you suck it up. The only way to get bigger and better is to play out more and gain a following. To do that, you must have gigs. You must also have good songs. That’s all up to interpretation, I know, but they must at least be well-written and performed if you want anyone to pay attention to them. For me, it’s more important to get out there, play live, and share the music. If I can make a few bucks then I’m even happier.
What I guess I’m trying to say is that it’s a long haul from the garage to the stage and I’ve taken the time I’ve needed to write, record and prepare to take the songs out to clubs, bars, festivals, and whatever else. I am one guy, though. You can’t do this without a good band.
I had secured a lead guitarist and bassist a long while back. Finding a drummer was more challenging. There are a lot of people who like to call themselves drummers and many of them can even hack their way through cover bands just fine, but throw them into an original situation and you’ll instantly see the difference between drummers and what my lead guitar player calls “drum owners”. That said, I’m glad to say there’s finally a drummer in the mix and he’s both enthusiastic and can play well.
The drummer, in fact, was really the only thing holding up the process of booking gigs. I still want/need a keyboard player because some of the tracks are piano/organ driven and others have things like horns and synths in them. However, I do believe we can gig without the keys for now as long as the drums are there.
I won’t stop looking for keys though. It’s very important to me. Things like keys, horns, synths, and organs can really make a song stand out. I have a few songs that will sound quite different without keyboards and I’d rather play the songs with them than without them.
So now that there’s a core band, the songs are starting to sound better in a live scenario and I couldn’t be more thrilled. I always said that these songs would “pop” live. Just the fact that there are good musicians playing with me makes the songs better. Chris is an infinitely better guitarist than I am. The solos and lead work will be wild. Steve plays much better bass than I ever will. His fills blew me away at rehearsal. As for the drums, it’s pretty amazing to hear Rob be himself yet at the same time stay true to the drum parts that I played and the structure of the song. These guys are working hard not just for me, certainly not for money, definitely not for the chicks (well, maybe Rob is), but for the love of music and the love of playing original music live.
That’s where it’s at.
Now that our first official rehearsal is over and went quite well, I have some feelers out for gigs. I’m hoping that by Spring, we’ll be out there in full force, having some fun. If you’d like to book us, let me know.
You can (virtually) meet the band before the gigs if you like by looking them up on Google or The Facebook or whatever your flavor. The drummer is Rob Silverman. Steve Savona is on the bass. Chris Preston is on lead guitar. This is a multi-talented band with loads of experience behind them. Steve and Chris are also solo artists and everyone has a few projects going on. I’ve known Chris and Steve for years. We all worked together at a local mom-and-pop music store selling instruments. Chris and I were in a band back in the 90’s. Steve and I played the occasional acoustic gig. Rob is the new guy. We don’t know much about him yet but my extensive net of spies is currently investigating his past.
The band is solid.
The fun factor is dominant.
The gigs are coming.
Will you join us?