« Audition, Redux »

Tonight was different. More than me just trying out for some other gig on my own, tonight it was Glenn and I pitching ourselves as a rhythm section to two guys of probably about 23-25 or so, both on guitar. Me and one of these guys had been in touch for a few weeks and it took a while to get organized, but it was just as well that Glenn was there. I was a little less self conscious than usual. Since they both played guitar, that made us a quartet for about an hour while all this lasted. They had worked out three tunes that they pitched to us, and we did what we could to hang on. For once, I think someone brought in a more mathematical and dissonant bunch of music than I usually do. I was humbled. They had some pretty specific stuff that alternated between one number and another, but was subtle in its changes. The good news was that some of it had a certain floatiness to its tonality, one case being a phrase that was really centered on stacked fourths, which I was trying to play in and out of but never quite got what I was going for. It was a little harder because of the metrical math, shifting from 4 to 7 and to a waltzy 9/8.

Then we played some bits of a tune of mine called No Place For Shadows To Hide. This tune was done by the Brandon/Todd/Ryan quartet of late 2000, the first instance of me playing bass in a band. The group lasted three weeks. But we got this one tune that just is loaded with power and happened to be played pretty well on one occasion. It set this standard that has never really been met, particularly on drums. There are lots of problems with the track as a composition, but its got some promise, and this one recording has lots of energy to it. There is head section with an oddly harmonized phrase that just explodes for me when its played with two guitars and a bass, and tonight these guitarists picked it up fast and I really got a good kick from hearing it come alive for the first time in four years or so. We didn't try to tackle the entire track because we were pressed for time toward the end, but just hearing the opening part in its three guitar glory was a nice lift for me.

However, it wasn't meant to be—so we parted amicably enough. I was hoping for a second shot. One hour is a short time to learn and articulate stuff like what they had, and my stuff takes a little rehearsal too. But oh well. It went better than the one thing we had last week when the guy I had been in email contact with as far back as mid 2003 came down and played some songs very confidently and competently, but the songs were just totally not my thing. Glenn caught on right away. I did too, but I wanted to be a trooper, in the interest of at least knowing I tried, but there is something about straight pop songwriter tunes that I just can't really latch on to. If I was playing drums, I could have laid that shit down like I wrote it, but on bass, trying to follow a chorus that uses the same notes as the verse but in a different order, and melodically, I am almost totally lost. I could eventually find something, but really, it was doomed as soon as it started. Power pop and new wave just were never my thing, musically speaking.

These two auditions were done with Glenn in the mix because we'd been looking for someone else to make us a trio, but also that I had gotten so many responses to my ads and had replied to other people's ads. In at least these two instances, it made sense to do things this way, but I think the core of my musical effort is filled out by Glenn now, and anything else we do in auditions will be to find people who want to join us, and not the other way around.

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