How To Start a Rock Band
Through a cavernous maze of labyrinthine proportions, the night of my biggest show yet was already an hour behind. Frantically I move from high school gym connected to more high school gyms until I find the location of the gig. I am met with a hollow, empty feeling as I come out on stage only to find a group of 6 men sitting on the floor to the left, and a gaggle of people to the right of me. One of them, surprisingly, is my best friend Brett all the way from Edmonton. It's empty though. The rest of the hall has maybe 10 people walking around. My memorable night was a bust. No beautiful women swooning at the mere sight of me, or cool guys losing their cool as I grace them with my presence. Damn, I should have prepared more..... how are people supposed to find us without any signage on the doors? Then I woke up.
I started up a rock band just over 2 years ago. The inaugural performance was a nerve-wracking experience replete with 8 rehearsals, and 6 months of personal preparation. This time, 3 rehearsals and a couple of weeks of listening to songs on my ipod. Things have gotten easier, but August 20th is to be the biggest, and best show of the 2 previous incarnations. Each show had boasted a doubling in attendance, but as the free Michael Buble concert looms on the same evening, that trend could fall into decline. Regardless, I say, defiantly, as this time it will be about the music. But I get ahead of myself.
It had already been a dream of mine for most of my life. Singing in a band, in front of all my friends and family; anything less than a packed house would have been unimaginable. Perhaps the fear of that happening stopped me all those years from actually doing it. The stage fright was so palpable, it seemed an impossibility despite the intensity of my dreams. My desire to fight my fear forced me to start somewhere. Karaoke seemed to be a logical starting point, and with a pseudonym I would march down to the local bar and put my name on the list to sing. Noone knew me, and I preferred it that way. I would get up, sing one song, and sit down for a congratulatory beer. Fast forward 7 years, and the Japanese cultural phenomenon had lost it's lustre.
A person's subconscious is a powerful thing, to the point that it can actually cause it's master to say and do things it may regret later. A pre-Christmas party I held in early December of 2007 started innocently enough. It's host, casually conversing with a bevy of cherished guests, and a couple of drinks under his belt, was having fun and feeling like the king of the free world. Up comes a friend I had known only a couple months, and she asks me when I'm going to sing in a band. Her tone was not unlike an agent booking it's talent for the upcoming season. Whether it was the drinks that softened the fear, and allowed that subconscious to speak, or a temporary loss of reality, but I piped up "June of next year!" My initial burst of enthusiasm jetted me into another friend. "Hey, I heard you can play the guitar. Can you play in my band?" I asked courageously. "Sure, sounds good!" He replied.
By now my confidence was soaring. Another friend is found to be able to play the drums, and is on board as well. The party continued well into the night, and was met the next morning with an impending sense of doom. The first phone call was a quiet one, ambivalently re-stating my night's declaration to that friend, who said the first step is to book a night down at her local pub the Cottage Bistro. The next 6 months were dedicated solely to improving my guitar skills, and nailing the songs into my head. By the time June 14th came around, I was finally on stage. My choice was to sing 2 songs solo, just me and my guitar. Parents and sister in the audience, and a room full of friends. It was a night to remember, and my performance wasn't too bad.
Two years later, the pangs of performance have all but ceased. The singing has become more confident and strong, and has morphed into the anchor for a wildly self-expressed performance complete with brash, snappy and classy suits and styled hair. Michael Buble - eat your heart out and do your best. You've now got some competition!