So there I was… powering up my guitar amp and doing one last tune before my first gig. I don’t know if I should use the word gig, more like a talent show. Whatever it was, it was my first time playing in front of people I didn’t know. Anticipation and anxiety ran through my body as I gripped the neck of my guitar harder and harder waiting for that four count drum beat to start. Everything was running through my head. What could go wrong? What if they don’t like us? How the hell did I get here?
Several months ago some friends and I decided we wanted to start writing some hard rock music together. Kevin constantly bragged about his drumming and John and I always had a lot of mutual favorite bands to discuss. We talked about everything from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers to Rage against the Machine to Jimi Hendrix to Queen, if it had meaning and feeling behind it, we loved it. Eventually I posted on craigslist looking for a singer with a PA system. Kalub responded and we thought we were set to go.
Thought was right. We all had the equipment but nowhere to practice. I remembered my work supervisor telling me about some storage unit north of town that was known to have bands practice in them back in the day, so I suggested to the band that we check them out. Shortly after, we had our own 10’x20’ unit. And we only had to pay $20 a month per band mate. Not a bad price to way for a semi-permanent place to play.
Kalub, a graduate medical student, told us about some talent show/banquette for the medical school in a few weeks and said he could land us a gig no problem. We quickly started writing and a week later, we had our first song pretty much completed, Mosquito Farm. However, no band wants to only set up and play one song, so we figured a cover song would work. After all, it wasn’t a show at a bar, it was a talent show.
Two noise complaints, cop visits, and a few weeks later, the day before the show came and then we started getting more details about this show from Kalub. It was to be held at a country club, in the reception hall and formal attire was to be worn. This was going to be an odd first show.
The show came and after we set up and went through a run through, the nonmedical students (the band) was told to wait upstairs in an empty room and wait for the time for us to go on. Twenty minutes turned into three hours. At least we had each other to keep us company. Finally, Kalub came up to get us. We were about to play.
So there I was… powering up my guitar amp and doing one last tune before I do what I’ve been waiting to do since the first day I picked up a guitar, play in front of a crowd. We rocked through Mosquito Farm with minimal errors and the crowd really seemed to dig it. After a retune and an introduction, we kicked off our next song, ‘In Bloom’ made famous by Nirvana. Mid song, I don’t know what I was thinking, but I completely forgot to play a part. I can blame it on the anxiety, the lack of practice we truly had, or my own incompetence. Whatever it was, the crowd didn’t seem to notice. Soon after came the solo, a tricky one because it mostly contains feedback and some pretty far string bends. Next came the transition back into the ending of the song. That’s when I heard something was wrong. I had bent my strings out of tune and the sounds coming out of my guitar resembled much what you would think it would sound like to take a bag full of 100 of the worlds cutest kittens and dropped them in a trash compactor. Not a pretty sound at all. Thinking on my feet, I turned my guitar volume down just enough to have the bass guitar over power it and finished up the rest of the song. Surprisingly, they still applauded pretty heavily. Wow, they actually dug us. Even with a few errors, it had finally felt a huge weight had been lifted off of my shoulders.