html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: And we need a lead singer.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

And we need a lead singer.

The show I went to on Monday night was David Grisman, playing the mandolin with his jazz quintet. I should keep quiet and let you assume that I am a terribly cultured person who goes to jazz quintets all the time. But it was Roxie who told me David Grisman was playing, and I mostly went because I mistakenly thought it would be bluegrass.

I was raised on bluegrass and old-timey gospel music. My Dad was a college radio DJ during the folk revolution and loved bluegrass ever after. It was what my parents played around the house, both on the stereo and my Dad’s mandolin. By the time I got to high school I had found KROQ, but growing up I thought it was normal for nominally Jewish kids living in Los Angeles to know hundreds of Baptist hymns.

No one was more surprised than I was when O Brother became popular. I had gone way into the closet with my tastes in bluegrass music. In college, if I was homesick I might listen quietly behind closed doors, but before that movie came out my friends had zero patience for bluegrass. I still don’t expect other people to be fans, so I was thrilled to find out that lots of the crowd from Ultimate were going to Hardly Strictly Bluegrass last year.

It was during Dolly Parton’s great, great show that we decided to form a bluegrass band. My Dad gave me a mandolin, which I keep meaning to learn to play. Rox and Barb would learn to play dueling banjos. I forget all the other instruments and people, but everyone loved the idea. By the time we stopped mentioning it to people, the band had at least fourteen or fifteen people, some playing instruments that aren’t really part of a strict bluegrass tradition.

I’ve been worried about our band for months now. When we first thought of it, we all figured that we would each learn to play our instruments, practice a few songs together, and then perform in Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2006. That seemed like an awfully high first step to me; I thought we should do some gigs first. Nothing could be more natural than for us to perform at the spring league party in June.

I realized we should perform at the spring league party back in December, and even then I thought the timing was awfully tight. There is just so much for a band to do before their first gig. At the very least we should learn to play instruments and practice in a garage. I thought we would just cover the usual four or five bluegrass songs, but Roxie tells me that we have too much integrity for that and we will perform our original pieces. I just want to know who is supposed to be writing those songs when no one is even working on the basics. By now I think we should be fighting amongst ourselves, sleeping amongst ourselves, talking about how to spend all the money we’re gonna have when the record company comes through and developing drug problems. We are desperately behind.

I refuse to call the first band meeting because I am already in charge of too much stuff. Someone else will have to take the initiative. I am sorry that the date for our first performance keeps slipping, because I am pretty sure that groupies don’t throw panties at you until after you have done a show. I am also sorry that the world is being denied a chance to hear our music. But I am not sorry enough to take on the job of managing all these irresponsible musicians.

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Roxie said...

"And we need a band MANAGER" because we need a good middle man to take half of our earnings and hook us up with the drug dealers.

You're right though we have all the pieces, the instruments the latent musicians, and most importantly a GARAGE!

We should have jammed with Dave after the show, I'm sure he would have given us some sage advice indeed.

Keep the dream alive Meggie! Bluegrass Fest 2006 here we come :)

10:52 PM  

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