Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Oh, you were interested in the results

I did manage to make it out to the audition yesterday, although work did everything in it's power to make sure I showed up as late as possible. The guys had said anytime between 5 and 5:30 would work, so I planned to get out of the home office at 4:15 if possible. I was driving out to Medina, I'm in Garfield Heights. It's about a 50 minute drive with no traffic and if I hit any snags of rush hour, who knows how long it could be. So I told the guys I'd be there about 5:15.

Cut to Tuesday, I get an invite for a required conference call at about 3pm, of course the call is at 4pm, it drags on for 20 minutes. Then a sales rep. calls in reference to a pending contract that's stalled in the process, there's another 15 minutes. So out the door at 4:35. Needless to say I did hit some rush hour traffic and pulled into the house at about 5:30 on the nose. At least I was within the time they had given me.

I didn't really know what to expect when I got there, getting back to how my crazy mind thinks, there were multiple possibilities on what was going to happen when I got to the house. Here's what was going through my head on the hour drive over.

1. I'd get there and when they realized I'd never sung with a band beyond a few songs here and there, they'd dismiss me based on just not having enough experience, maybe a courtesy song or two, but pretty much have their minds made up that I wasn't going to be able to cut it.

2. I'd get there and the band was 'sort of a band' meaning a collection of guys who knew no more about the scene then I did, but perhaps with a little more skill with their respective instruments.

3. I'd get there and be a colossal flop. For all of the talent that I think I might have, actually being able to carry a song with a band for multiple takes would prove to be way outside of my skill level.

4. I'd audition and while not bad, they would decide that I wasn't a fit and either stick with their current singer or look for a different one that was more in tune with what they wanted to do.

I'm sure there were more thoughts then this, but that's a quick summary. So I arrive at the house and pull in the second driveway as directed, which lead to a barn. I walk in and I was blown away, this barn, wasn't like any barn I've ever seen. For a quick reference the drummer identified it as 'his man cave". Bar up front, refrigerator, walls lined with guitars, action figures, pictures from performances, a slot machine in the corner, a pool table with plenty of room to play and in addition to all of this in the back, a full performance stage, soundboard, lighting and full equipment. Immediately I realized that I could scratch #2 off my list. However, that just meant that 1,3, and 4 were much more probable.

I met the guys from the band and they were very great. First impressions go very far and they were friendly, open, and laid back as they indicated they were. I introduced myself and thanked them for the chance to come out and sing. They asked how long I had been singing and with what bands. Uh oh, here it comes I thought. "Well I've been singing live for about 15 years, but it's been mostly karaoke (shudder), and a couple of performances with some live bands. I've had offers to try out before with a band or two, but at the time I was travelling for work and it just wasn't possible." They nodded and seemed perfectly fine with it. (Scratch #1 off)

As we talked some more they advised me that they really were just looking for someone that really wanted to sing, entertain a crowd and front the band singing so they could get back out and play, it seems their previous singer would get put off by certain songs which resulted in him either refusing to sing certain ones they had performed previously or he would have everyone learn a new song and then decide that he didn't really want to sing it. So it was no longer, maybe we get rid of our lead singer, it was now, we have an open spot and want to give you a try. Your emails seem to indicate we may have a match. (Scratch most of #4)

So we took the stage and I let it rip. I stressed my voice a bit early, had a whole lot of nervers I was supressing and had trouble finding the printed lyrics for some of the songs, but even with that it went pretty good. No mid song stops where they look at me and kick me off the stage, no comments about me hitting notes that may or may not have been in key, no catcalls where I missed my timing or for parts where I strained to try and perform. They seemed to be comfortable with what range I had and were perfectly aware that as essentially a first timer there was a lot that I was going to 'get' as time went on with some performance legs.

So we finished up the first hour or so of playing and talked some more, they asked some questions on my interests, what made me decide to want to give a band a try, etc. I gave them the rundown. I'm a music fanatic, I love to sing, I finally decided to give it a try after the last live band I saw when I realized that I could do as well or better then their lead singer (and for those thinking it's arrogance, it's only taken me 10-15 years to make that leap). I told them that they weren't likely to experience any issues with me in the same vein as their previous singer, as I really just want to get up there and sing, if we have a crowd great, if not practicing with full set is beyond anything I'd ever thought I'd do. If it's in my range, I'll sing it, I pretty much like any song that I can actually sing (I tend to think I have a fairly limited range) so what I like to hear vs what I like to sing are completely different things in most cases. I'm a perfectionist in the sense in that I just don't want to suck at it.

Again, they seemed pretty happy about that, we talked some more and I mentioned that it's going to take a bit for my voice to carry a full set, and as we practice more I expect it to get stronger, they nodded in agreement, also giving me some pointers on some of the other things I'd become more aware of, timing, some reverberation effects they have on the equipment, and whether we need to bring the octave level down a notch for a song that might fit my range better.

I was definitely more comfortable in just the second set we did. We did a couple more songs and even some repeats from the first time, that I thought sounded goo. I also realized that on a good majority of songs I expected to do well on, I need more work then I realized. And for ones that I thought I needed more work on, I'm better then I expected.

Since this is getting a bit long I'll cut to the chase, they said we sounded good and want to give me a shot as their regular singer, so I'm in. We spent the rest of the time lining up 12 songs for the 1st set list, which we'll start working on, once a week, and we'll build from there. 2nd set needs to be more 80's based for the type of crowds they usually play and for dancing, which is kind of a relief, as I'm anticipating some of those choices will be a little easier on the voice. After that we'll figure out the 3rd set, which is likely to be leftovers from 1 and 2 that didn't make it in there.

I'm still in a bit of shock to tell you the truth. I just never considered the concept of actually playing in a band, I haven't ever really ever thought of myself as that type of person. God knows I've spent enough time at bars in my life though. My wife has characterized it as my 'mid life crisis' and I'm sure in some respects she's right. I know part of her is happy for me and part of her is a little anxious about what this actually will entail. It's a bit too early to fully understand that though, for now once a week practice really doesn't seem like much, as we get things down and play shows regularly I'm told that once every other week works for practice time anyway.

At the very least, I think I have something to write about going forward. Just received an email today, it looks like we'll be doing the 1st set for a party at the drummer's house 9/12. I think I better go and check out my lyric sheets.

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