Sunday, August 12, 2007

Long Day

I'm exhausted. I rehearsed from noon to 3pm, then drove to Lancaster (getting quite lost on the way) to jam with the guys I used to play with back in the 1970's. I played bass and focused on "staying in the pocket," as bass players put it. I just wanted to hit right notes and stay on beat, and I did pretty well, nothing fancy (certainly nothing like Jaco Pastorius). My old mates were as sharp as ever.

We played:

"Cortez the Killer" (Neil Young and Crazy Horse)

"Like A Hurricane" (Neil Young and Crazy Horse)

"Old Man" (Neil Young)

"Ticket to Ride" (Beatles)

"Suzy Q" (Creedence Clearwater Revival)

"Sweet Melissa" (Allman Brothers)

"Your Time Is Gonna Come" (Led Zeppelin)

"Going to California" (Led Zeppelin)

"Sweet Home Alabama" (Lynyrd Skynyrd, the hardest three-chord song there is for guitarists)

"Walk Away" (James Gang)

"La Grange" (ZZ Top)

"Purple Haze" (Jimi Hendrix)

"Wind Cries Mary" (Jimi Hendrix)

"Wish You Were Here" (Pink Floyd)

"Eyes of the World" (Grateful Dead)

The only song that defeated us was "Suffragette City" (David Bowie); no one could remember the chord changes and there was not much enthusiasm for figuring it out.

Back in the '70s it was the young people who made Rock'n'Roll noise while the old people suffered in other rooms in the house (or went to the movies). Now it's the old people making noise while the young people suffer in other rooms trying to watch DVD's. But the young people can't complain too much because, you know, the old people are the ones with all the money. (From My Life As A Baby Boomer, chapter one)

Now I have to get back to the day job. Also, Cyrano opens this week. Blogging will probably be light.

UPDATE: We also played:

"Smoke On the Water" (Deep Purple, and we played the whole thing, not just the first four chords)

"You Can't Do That" (Beatles)

"In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" (Allman Brothers)

"Stray Cat Strut" (Stray Cats)


EdMcGon said...

I would have loved to have been there. Next time, you need to record it and post it for us.

Myrhaf said...

Thanks, Ed. Setting up equipment to get a good recording might be difficult. If you just turn on a cassette recorder, it sounds like crap.

Billy Beck said...

Go Googling around for the Zoom H2 recorder, Bill. Two hundred bucks.

This thing is supposed to drop on the market late this month, and I'm thinking that I'm going to try it.

Re "Smoke": most people have no idea in the world how difficult it is to cut that groove. In my band, we decided to play it live, after long consideration of the cliche status of the thing against the fact that it's still a great, great rock song. We pride ourselves on "Deep-Dish Classic Rock" -- I don't think I've ever seen another bar-band cover Frank Zappa at all, and lots of people have told me the same thing -- and we have deliberately included it in our live set for exactly that reason. We're bringing it full-circle back: something that most people deride is cool to us, and it always has been. The thing is, though, that very few to almost none who laugh at that song could actually sit down with an ensemble and play it all the way through, properly.

Good for you guys.

BTW: I can transcribe "Suffragette" for you if you want.

Myrhaf said...

No need to transcribe "Suffragette," Billy, but thanks for the offer. We could figure it out pretty quick, especially with the internet as a resource, if we were motivated.

Yes, it's great to still be alive and making music with the same passion we had when we were teenagers. And the great thing is that we are much better than we were 35 years ago. The love of the music is still there, but now we have more technique, better judgment and more discipline.

Billy Beck said...

Yeah, I thought about it later: it's not that hard a song, and you could figure it out in no time.

"Better": I'm playing with three of the oldest and best friends in my whole life. In our fifties, now, there is none of the horseshit that can go on with bands at much earlier ages. Nobody has illusions about knocking the world over with a record deal, there are no psychotic women hanging around, no crazy drug nonsense or anything else. It's just four guys bringing mature lifetime skills and attitudes to the project of playing our favorite rock music.

I dreamed about it ten years ago when I still lived in Atlanta, and now it's working out.

I don't know how it gets better than this.

Myrhaf said...

No drugs -- I forgot about that. It was nice to hear what these songs sound like sober. When we were young there was a great deal of beer consumed during our jam sessions; this time we stuck to coffee.