Thursday, 7 July 2011

Being in a Band: In Specific

As I mentioned in my last but one post, wanting to be in a band is about a lot more than actually being interested in playing music - sure that's some of it, but it's over-represented in the bands that actually become successful, because it predicts the success, rather than the formation of any given band.

And yes, I was once in a band, although unlike Bryan Adams's band, we didn't try real hard. We rehearsed a grand total of once, in my friend's loft. Later, after it was apparent that we had no musical future and having left my amp there in vain hope after the first time, I carried it from Dulwich to Brockley to take it home, meeting on the way (and talking with, properly, for pretty much the last time) the guy who was my best friend in primary school, and who was one of the main reasons for me choosing to go to the secondary school I did. It was a bittersweet sort of a chat, as we both knew that we weren't really friends anymore, and that our lives were going different ways, so actually we had quite a nice conversation, with no weird arguments or strangely bitter recriminations.

The problem with the band that I was in, is that none of us really wanted to be in a band, we just wanted to hang out together, and we were better at doing so when we were playing role-playing games, or hiding in the basement of our school attaching a fish knife to a broom handle in order to go vampire hunting. Another problem with the band that I was in is that I went out with the bass player's sister. She was supposed to be teaching me how to play bass, although I think we all know that that isn't why he really hooked me up with her - not in any way that I am complaining, mind.

While we were going out, it was great - but we were teenagers, and neither one of us was, shall we say, emotionally stable. When we stopped going out, which is - I am now well enough aware - a natural and important part of teenage relationships, things weren't so great. We (me and the bass player and me and my ex) tried to remain friends, and on good terms, and I think that, overall, I did okay on that front, but it's hard to be in a super-secret, us-against-the-world, take-them-all-on, crime-fighting musical gang after something like that. The fact that I couldn't play my instrument was secondary to the fact that I wasn't really an easy person to be around for certain members of the group.

We did write one song though - it was called Snow in Islington and it was based on a riff I wrote - or rather a bit of bullshit I managed to do on the guitar which was enough to fool people into thinking for a very brief period that I might actually be able to play. There are lyrics, written by the singer and all about how rubbish North London is (we were very much South Londoners, and proud of it) but I don't have those available. What I do have is this midi version of the arrangement, as created by the keyboardist. Enjoy it, for it is a glimpse into an adolescence I never actually had.

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