Hard to figure that we are half way through this month and no snow on the ground. 2 inches of rain over the weekend gave us the most rain in the month of December, the downside of El Nino, but on the flipside, if we had 2 and a quarter of the wet stuff it would have been 20 inches of snow. In 2009 we would have been buried.
It's been a busy month of compiling the best of 2015, finishing up listening to the new music of the year and trying to figure out where the hell the year went by so fast. And trying to hit the local music scene after so many requests from local bands to check them out. I'm not sure if my world of mouth will help any exposure but I do stand by the albums of 2015 that bands like Wooden Nickel Lottery and Tommy Bruner's latest album are better than most of the best of lists I have seen. The Ultimate Classic Rock site's top 20 best of 2015 is quite laughable. Somebody forgot Killing Joke on their list and even that big chart showing by UFO doesn't change the fact that their record is not found around this area.
But I also kept busy on the jamming circuit. Wrigleyville has announced that the Tuesday Night Acoustic Jam sessions are be only held on the first Tuesday of the month. So far Parlor City will have their jam nights on Tuesday Night. I did venture into the Sunday jam with Dan Johnson, Tim Duffy, Brook Hoover and Jon Wilson and although it was another small turnout, the usual faithful was there with their trademark songs, and Tanner from In The Attic doing a half hour's work of drumming. But I felt like the forgotten man there and as the day progressed on I was promised that I'd be up there, I could have gone on first but Mike got on first, Tanner second and while Jon return to the drumset, I begin to wonder if I got passed over once again. Perhaps it was the rain and my attitude beginning to sour, after all the songs I wanted to do, were done earlier in the evening, Dan doing a speed version of Let's Work Together, and I could have sang House Of The Rising Sun, my butt was glued to the chair and didn't move. By the final song which they were going to do Rocky Mountain Way, I finally took two shots of courage and yelled YOU FORGOT ABOUT ME!!!!!!!
...musicians get into a groove and when they're locked in a groove they tend to be in their own world and you have to barge in there and have to bang on tables. Passive people get passed over and I had to subject myself of hearing Tanner trip over his drumsticks on certain songs that employ a 4/4 beat. Still, there was a couple that danced on this clumsy remake of One After 909. Perhaps maybe I should have went first instead of pointing to Mike and saying he can go first and then Tanner. And then I'd save the best for last by playing last. Or if I was going to play.
For many years I am the loner that walks into the bar and hangs from afar. Exchanging pleasantries and talking music and than doing my best to support the struggling artist and bands out there. After all I am one too. And coming out of retirement this July I managed to somewhat captured the sound and fury of playing drums, but I'm not the same destructive dude I was 30 years ago, a heart attack waiting to happen. I made a few friends along the way too but I still remain very shy and aloof when I do show up at Rumors, a bar that I have finally considered to be a second home outside of Half Priced Books. And one of the main things of my bucket list was to finally get up stage and do some songs with Dan Johnson, who has been one of mainstays of the music scene in Cedar Rapids, his duets with Dennis McMurrin at Parlor City are worth seeing on a Thursday Night. He does keep busy, and is blues based. Now I have been jammed with Tim Duffy, who's part of the Lab Rats and sometimes takes over for Bart Carfizzi in the Past Masters, and he's an excellent singer in the R and B tradition. However, the one person I really wanted to trade tunes on is Brook Hoover, one of the more eccentric players out there. Brook was part of the Meekrats, a band that made a couple independent releases in the 1990s and that band featured the late Kyle Oyloe, to which his untimely passing earlier this year was talked about and lamented. Brook is part of the Surf Zombies, which are part Ventures, part Pulp Fiction and part Raybeats and lots of punk attitude. There are times I threw a couple suggestions for songs that we could probably do, Jack The Ripper via The Raybeats. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOwC6XAHIlQ
Jon Wilson, the drummer might have had the most basic drumset up there. A snare, bass drum, hi hat and one cymbal, which was a 20 or 22 inch ride, somewhat akin to a Paiste Signature flat ride, not much crash but had a nice muffled ping, perfect for a small setting. Jon might be the tightest time keeper in the music scene. He plays a very locked down beat, almost like Charlie Watts. Very business like too. (note: it wasn't Paiste, but perhaps an Instanbal or UFIP jazz ride?)
I was content at the start to let the kids have their fun on drums and then take over the last half hour and close things down. But as songs were being played, the ones that I knew, I begin to wonder if there would be anything for me to do that I did know. Oh I could improvise if need be, after all having heard over a million songs and many versions of the songs I could add my own beat if need be. By the time, Tanner took over guitar and did the waltz song, I was getting frustrated. Do I say something, do I make a scene, in the end I decided to be nice about it and hopefully get the invite up. But then again being nice doesn't get you very far, especially hanging all throughout the 2 hour 45 minute jam session (it ended at 6:45). And I didn't come out in a pouring record rainfall just to drink two glasses of tea and make 4 bathroom breaks. Out of all the jammers up there, there was one person that had the number 1 single for two weeks in July on Lucky Star Radio and he wasn't on stage. I was putting my jacket on, getting ready to go, I knew there wasn't much time left, they had to pack up and go and maybe catch another gig.
Sometimes there's a person deep down inside of me that if annoyed enough I'd take things into my own accord and go with that. So I lost out on House Of Rising Sun and a couple others, and Dan and company were ready to take on Rocky Mountain Way and I jumped out of my seat and said HEY GUYS YOU FORGOT ABOUT ME. Russ got up to sing his song of Sitting On Dock Of The Bay and they were ready to pack it up with the Tyrus Paraphernalia song of long ago, and I'm not going to waste another minute. I did that for the first three hours of being there. I heard the other guitar player (I think he was called Rod too) trying to remember words to songs, I sat through 35 minutes of Tanner playing drums and a couple of his own numbers, and Mike got to sing his song and played for an half hour too. So I wasn't happy about being passed over but then again that's not their fault, nor the hosts, they can't read my mind. I had to do something, I played nice too long and wanted at least to do a song to at least make this trip not a wasted effort. I support the starving musician but I too am a starving musician. Give the old coot a moment in the light.
To which Dan did let me finally join for the last song. Told them to play anything they want, you want to do Rocky Mountain Way we can. I'm a professional too, I just have a day job that pays the bills better than being a musician. So Dan thinks up of All Night Long it's a shuffle beat, not one of my favorite type of beats, and I didn't work much up a sweat playing it. Very simple, ride the cymbal and do a roll or two but it was worth the wait to finally get to play alongside these guys. Another thing to cross off the bucket list. And we managed to chat a bit before going home and grabbing a copy of Brook's Surf Zombies LP. I still hope that the next time I can jam a bit more than one song with these guys, but Dan is right by saying I should have spoken up sooner than later. This passiveness tends to bite you in the ass if you get too passive.
Even for one song, I loved every moment of it.