The experience was at once reassuring and horrific. Horrific because of the sheer terror of some of the choices we made on dynamics and harmony. Reassuring because the core of what we were doing four years ago – the good part – is identical to what we’ve been doing for the past thirteen months.
Bands, unfortunately, don’t come with an instruction book. Luckily, Gina and I are unshakeable friends with the same ridiculous sense of humor, so the interpersonal part hasn’t been difficult, and any stumbling blocks have been handled with aplomb. But, it’s taken a lot of trying to figure out how to run an effective rehearsal, or how to approach learning a new song, or how to salvage a floundering set, amongst a myriad of other difficulties.
(For the record, the former includes eating dinner first, and the second involves having multiple copies of printed lyrics on which we make constant, extensive notation in pencil. We haven’t completely figured out the third, but so far it would seem to involve playing “Pocahontas,” multiple times if necessary.)
I feel as though now that we’re in our second year of formal existence the training wheels on our band are slowly starting to disengage. Clearly we know how to write lead sheets and arrange harmony, or else we wouldn’t have made it this far with a pretty solid 16-song set. However, 2008 is already bringing more advanced trials – like booking our own gigs, and adding additional members to the ensemble.
We’re two unusual people, and we make an unusual pair of singer-songwriters. We sing an unusual collection of tunes ranging from unrequited longing to ruminations on the apocalypse, from vitriolic blasts to paeans to a semi-fictional communist outpost in Idaho. Neither of us knows a damn thing about what we’re doing, and we’re having a hell of a lot of fun doing it.
If there was an instruction book I’m not sure I’d read any of it.