Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Learning Curve

This current run is winding down, and the Stonz and I have been taking the opportunity to add some new material to our shows. Actually, let me rephrase that - they already know the material, it's getting my pale fat ass to learn it that's the fun part. It's actually not that difficult, just time-consuming. They'd already been passing me material to work with from the moment I first played with them in Oroville at the Gold Country Casino last July, so whenever I get a CD handed to me, I know that there's some more material to learn. Last time through here I was passed a disc with a Temptations medley and a weird (to me) dance-mix version of the Ben E. King chestnut "Stand By Me". Back in Port Angeles, I rigged up my kit with my triggers and practiced quietly for about an hour or so a day, until I had things more-or-less down. Then they told me that I'd have to learn their harmonies. Normally, that's not a problem for me, so we just set up time during the day to work it all out.

The Carson Station has its own little green-room for the bands, with a storage area, a dressing room and a small bathroom. Mike and Arthur and I adjoin to the dressing room and go over the CD they gave me again and again, going through ten Temps songs in twelve minutes. It's difficult at first, but then I realized something that I'm not entirely sure that I'd ever done before in a band - actually learning a harmony, rather than merely listening to the other people sing and finding a hole in the chord structure in which to settle. In Powerlight, that's what I'd always done, even if turned out that the harmony I sang was some wild-ass extrapolation of the melodic line that nobody had ever heard of before, as if I'd just dropped in from another planet and decided to learn to sing rather than being taken to any particular leader. At first I struggled with what they wanted me to sing, and then commit that particular line to memory - I still really need to take a recorder of some kind to practice so later on, I can focus on what I did right. But Mike reassured me that I was actually picking up the parts with rather quickly, and that I shouldn't be so frustrated with my perceived inability to instantaneously absorb and process the information being given to me. The rehearsals rarely go longer than an hour, and I think I'm doing well, or maybe that's my more pessimistic side trying to be optimistic while wondering aloud if they really think that I suck at this.

I'm such a smartass.

Oh well, at least the material is being put to use and the crowds like what we play for them. And I appreciate that very much. And we'll return to Carson City in about six weeks, where I'm sure that I'll get another CD handed to me. I wonder what'll be on it? Probably something that was written and recorded before I was born. We'll just have to wait and see, won't we?

No comments:

Post a Comment