Band Thoughts

The Awful Lot has four songs under our belts:

  • Ain’t Never Been to New Orleans
  • Hateful
  • Nobody Again, and
  • Riot in the Miskatonic Morgue

We have a fifth song that needs final arrangement and lyrics, tentitively entitled “Victimless Crime.” We’re working on that this weekend. We’ll also be working on a cover of the Blue Oyster Cult tune Astronomy. crapdaddy and I have been building an arrangement that is true to the original but still has our own voice firmly set in the center. Out of all the songs, right now, I’m most excited about that. Right now, I feel like a voyager, embarking on a new terrain. I know the way, but I don’t know the road. As we go, we have to make sure not to move too fast, in case we miss something we should have seen.

mementomori asked what we sound like. I told him, “Like Black Sabbath’s punky kid brother.” He added, “the one with the sling shot and skateboard.” I think that sums it up pretty well.

The songs have a kind of gallows humor that appeals to me. I’m tempted to suggest doing a cover of Shel Silverstein’s 25 Minutes to Go. Cash did that one justice and we’d have to find a way to make our own voice fit… but like crapdaddy said, “Whenever I hear a song now, I think of a way to cover it.” Our songs have that kind of humor. A few of them are tongue in cheek and at least one of them is just plain silly. (I’ll let you figure out which one from the track list above.)

I’ve been in a lot of bands over the years, but I’ve never felt like this before. Progress is steady but strong. In August, we’re recording a demo. That means I need a drum kit of my own or I have to rent one. I was approved for a loan from Wells Fargo, and now I’m just waiting for the check so I can go down to West LA Music and peruse the drum section. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what my drum kit will look like. As in all things, the kit itself is an extension of the drummer, a statement all its own. Having a stock kit is not good enough for me. I’ll need a kit that says something about myself. When I pick it up, I’ll post pictures.

As I said, in August, the band is recording a demo. Later, we’ll be playing a private show for friends and family: a fundraiser for the band. T-shirts and demo cds will be made available. In all likelihood, it’ll take place at my Lodge. Many of the brothers are a bit older than myself and their idea of “heavy music” is probably closer to my father’s than my own. I told my folks I want them to come out and see us play. They’ve never seen me play in a band before and it’s always fun to make your folks proud. Or deaf. One of the two.

Someone asked me if “making it big” was part of my plan for the band. It really isn’t. crapdaddy told me, “I’m gonna milk your one dot of Fame for all its worth, Mr. Wick.” I’ve tasted fame and I like it–perhaps more than I should–but the band is too much fun to be big. I don’t know what will happen, and to be honest, I don’t want to know. Right now, just the thought of playing with my friends is enough for me. Selling CDs and t-shirts off the band website will be fun and I won’t complain about the money, but making music has all but consumed my heart. Writing is now so very difficult because all I think about is our next practice. Going over rhythm patterns in my head, ghost playing along with the tunes, listening to other drummers and stealing their concepts… and feeling like a hack when I realize I can’t play 1/10th of what they’re playing.

But we aren’t a collection of virtuosos. We aren’t Rush or ELP or Yes or even Van Halen. We’re The Awful Lot. A kind of punk band that plays really heavy riff tunes. Hopefully, after this Saturday, we’ll have something for you to listen to. An official bootleg. Until then, I thank you for your patience, your questions.

I’ve always been a monogomist when it comes to creative efforts. When I embark on a project, everything else fades into the background. I haven’t written very much since starting this particular project, but I’m keeping busy. My side of the Brewery will have something very special for Christmas. I will say no more until the appropriate time.

So, that’s where I stand with the band right now. Stuck without my own kit, all I can do is air drum between practice sessions. We get better each time. Stronger. More confident. Soon, we’ll be ready, but right now, we’re just high powered mutants, never even considered for mass production. Perhaps we always will be.

More Awful Lot

and I were going through an arrangement for our first cover tune. We both have the same attitude regarding covers: if you can’t add something new, if you can’t say something new, if you can’t do anything new with it, you should leave it alone.

Yes, I’m looking directly at you, Michael Bolton.

Trent Reznor’s covers are amazing. I draw inspiration from Mr. Nails’ covers of Adam Ant and Queen as examples of how to do a cover song right.

Hopefully, this weekend, we’ll have the proper technology to record a rough demo that will include drums, bass, keyboards, guitar and voice. Hopefully.

Keep your ears open and your fingers crossed.