Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sharing the Spotlight

I am one step closer to being in a band.

Now, if you have been a regular reader of the ramblings to be found here, you may, at this point, be thinking, "Um... Sassy, haven't you been in bands before?"

Well, yes, I have. There was Fake Band, which formed in the fall of 2006. In fact, it was Fake Band that gave me the confidence (some may say delusion?) to engage in my subsequent musical endeavors. After I left Fake Band in the spring of last year, I spent a few months as the second vocalist for Daydrinker. That was super fun, but Higgins' wife Jayn recently had a baby. Why does that matter? Higgins was the driving force of Daydrinker; so the birth of little Peaches meant the end of that band. At least for next 18 years or so.

Then there was the Sub Rosas, but we really were only a band for a few open mics, one party and one official gig. For the last few months, I have been pursuing my solo career via open mics with Jackie accompanying me on guitar and karaoke. There's nothing wrong with being a solo artist, but I've had band fantasies since junior high school, and I seem to insist on chasing those fantasies.

And that leads us to the present. Somehow, probably over too many cocktails and too many evenings at karaoke bars, I managed to convince my friend Andrey to sing with me. He has a great voice and excellent pitch. That puts him one up on me, as I have great voice but just pretty good pitch. I figure he can harmonize with me and provide the extra dimension of a set of male pipes.

So Andrey and I decided to take on the Blondie's Open Jam last night. We got together with Jackie on Tuesday and worked out renditions of U2's "The Sweetest Thing" and The Kinks' "Better Things." U2 is one of Andrey's favorite bands, and I chose "The Sweetest Thing" because the lyrics break down easily for two singers. I've wanted to sing "Better Things" for while because that is one of the happiest songs ever written, after maybe "Downtown" by Petula Clark and Pat Johnson's "The Very Last Time." I also planned to pull out "Perfect" by Fairground Attraction without Andrey, and Nick Lowe's (or Elvis Costello's, if you must) "What's So Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding."

Unfortunately, the open mic was a bit of a train wreck. The reasons why don't matter, but neither Andrey nor I were particularly happy with our performance. A whole mess of our friends had come to see us, and they all liked it, but that might have had more to do with Blondies' 16-ounce martinis than our musical prowess. I do think some people were genuinely impressed, though. My friend Carolyn is a huge Elvis Costello fan, and when I dedicated "Peace, Love and Understanding" to her, she said it was the best moment of her life. Obviously that was an exaggeration, but I don't think she lied about enjoying our version of the song. And Chris got three hot Frenchmen from the crowd to pose for a photo with me. Good performance or bad, that was a winning moment.

Despite this less than stellar outing, Andrey wants to keep singing with me. Our friend Eric wants us to join his band, which would just be the three of us harmonizing while he also plays guitar. Andrey and I think that idea may be a bit out of our reach, but we're willing to try. So I could find myself in another band before I know it.

In other news, today at work I was on You Tube scouring the collection of Schoolhouse Rock vignettes to be found there. No, I wasn't slacking. I actually have the kind of job that occasionally warrants hopping onto You Tube to find a Schoolhouse Rock song or two. Anyway, talk about happy. Those little ditties about multiplication put such a serious smile on my face that I may never feel sad again.

(But don't count on that.)

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