Tonight Jake came over to play bass.
This is kind of a big deal. Jake had become a sort of essential, twice-a-week presence in my life in 2012 when he was the bass player for Arcati Crisis and – more than that – a rare male friend. Then he was off to Rochester for some life changes, and a year into that Arcati Crisis ceased to be an ongoing concern.
There were some good things and some bad things about both of those happenings, but the worst by far was not playing music with Jake at least once a week. Tonight remedied that situation by a measure, as we began to get him up to speed on some of our many dozens of Smash Fantastic cover songs with an eye to him joining the band.
That’s a lot of songs, for which I have a lot of finely detailed lead sheets. They each have a little “At a Glance” box at the top that details their key, BPM, and a quick summary of chords and special performance notes. No song enters our repertoire without a sheet. The practice of making one all-but-assures that I not only know a song before we attempt it, but that I understand how it works.
I insisted on printing our entire binder of leads for Jake at the end of our rehearsal. That took a little while, and resulted in a large chunk of a ream of paper which I methodically alphabetized and hole-punched as it emerged from the printer while Jake noodled on a series of Dave Matthews songs that I half-sung under my breath. I grew frustrated with the jumble of sheets and muttered, “fine, we’ll do it as a merge sort,” as I spread them on the floor.
Finally, I was satisfied. I carefully tapped the sheets against the floor to get their edges flush, and then handed the packet to Jake.
“Wow,” he replied as he received them.
“Just… you,” he left that hang there for a moment before gesturing to the stack of nearly a hundred songs I had handed to him. Some of the pages were no longer perfectly flush. “This Type A thing you do. Your Type A-ness.”
“It’s a thing,” I said, honestly. It’s not quite OCD in a unpreventable, diagnosable fashion, but it’s close. “Plus,” I continued, “who wants to constantly ask to have things reprinted or figure out the chords again or have the sheets out of order or argue over lyrics, right?”
“Wow,” he said again.
This is why Jake is joining a second band with me. Not that he covets the sheets – the guy plays a by-ear circle around me. Because he understands that I need to do it that way, and he just says “wow” and then does things his way too, and when we’re both doing our things our two ways at once it makes some lovely sounds – lovelier than the sounds that would be made by two people doing things the exact same way as each other.