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It was a little unfair for me to spring a rehearsal on Bart and Chris like that. I think I expected them to laugh off my suggestion and tell me to go jump in a lake. But either they really wanted to, or they felt that now that I was back… I was back in charge.
I’ll say this: I felt like I was in charge.
Rehearsal consisted of us playing our way through a song and me saying something like “wow, it’s been a year,” repeat with next song. Despite that, we sounded pretty tight for not having played together in that long. I reminded myself that Chris was a much much better drummer than he gave himself credit for. He really had a great touch, whether he was playing hard or soft. It’s hard to explain.
I think we all felt better afterward. I sat down on a milk crate. “Tell me honestly. Do either of you imagine the three of us, five years from now, with some other lead singer?”
They both shook their heads. There were bands who tried. But it was like TV shows that changed lead actors. It just didn’t work.
“Unless we cut down to just a trio,” Bart said.
“No,” I said automatically.
I didn’t expect him to push back. “Why not, Daron? You sing perfectly well.”
“But I’m not a singer.”
“Neither are half the people in this industry…”
“And that means I should do it?”
“It means you should seriously think about it. I’ve never understood your whole not-a-singer shtick. You’ve got a good voice, good pitch, and good expressiveness.”
“Which as far as I’m concerned are the bare minimum requirements.” I laid the Fender into its case.
“I’m just saying let’s not be too rigid in our thinking. Whatever’s going to come along next, we need to be open to it.”
Chris had been silent through all this, so I asked, “What do you think?”
“I agree with Bart,” he said.
Bart went one step further, though. “Maybe we should look at this like an opportunity. No one needs or wants anything from us musically right now. This is the best time to step outside our comfort zone and see what we can do, don’t you think?”
“Do you have something in mind?” I asked.
“I inherited a cello while you were gone and I’ve been teaching myself to play it. Chris and Colin have been doing stuff with keyboards and MIDI. What happens if we put all that together with whatever you want to bring to the table?”
I looked at Chris to get his opinion again.
“I’ve been hearing about this fucking cello for months. About time you brought it over.”
Well, that settled it. “All right. And you’re right. It’s not like I have something else to do right now.” Laundry? Redecorating? Yeah, right. I had nine months of the electronic music mailing list to catch up on reading and not much else on the to do list. “Tomorrow?”
Chris stood up. “I’ll be home by late afternoon.”
“I’ll bring dinner,” Bart said.
We went upstairs. Chris went to bed because he had to get up early. I should have been dead from jet lag around then, too, but I wasn’t, so Bart and I sat around on the back porch talking for another hour or two. We didn’t talk about the music industry and we didn’t talk about Ziggy, but we talked about everything else. Spanish food, granite, the fall of the Soviet Union, recumbent bicycles (he had bought one), shoe repair, broccoli. Like I’d never been away.
“You and Michelle getting along all right?” I asked at one point.
“Man, it’s weird being the one at home when she’s the one on a business trip,” he said. “I thought we had the whole nonmonogamy thing down pat, but I discovered I was too creeped out to bring a girl home. Like, that just felt wrong.”
I felt like that was maybe too much information but what the hell, he’s my best friend. “Why?”
“I guess because I feel like the house is this place that we’ve built for the two of us? Maybe?”
“But then how will you feel if she brings guys back there the next time we hit the road?”
“Shit, I don’t know. I never used to mind one way or the other, but that was before we bought this place…” His hair had grown out again and his shaggy curls partly covered his eyes. “I guess, yeah, it would bother me.”
“Is that a sign that deep down it bothers you overall?” Listen to me, all talking about relationships and stuff.
“No, I don’t think so. Part of me says I’m being stupid. I mean, if it doesn’t bother me if she wants to get some when I’m not around, why should I care where they do it?”
“Maybe you just have to live there for a while. You’re still in the honeymoon phase with the house itself.”
“That’s possible. I guess part of it, really, is that it’s not about sex. It’s about how much of your life you’re going to share with somebody else.” He sighed.
“Have you told her you feel this way?”
“Yeah. She thinks it’s cute. Let me tell you, it feels like such a blessing to be this in love with her after all these years.”
“How many is it, now?”
“Four. Going on five.” Bart shrugged. Once upon a time a girl lasting five months with him was considered long. “Over and over I feel like she’s the absolute right one.”
Which was cool. But got me thinking about Ziggy.
Was the only reason I fell so hard for him–both the first time, and each time since–because we had been spending so much time together, playing music and traveling together? Would it even work, would there even be an “it” to speak of, if we weren’t in a band together?
Well, I’d just spent a year separated from him. Was I any less interested in him? No. Was I less obsessed? No. Was I less in love?
But that only made contemplating breaking up the band even harder.
And it made contemplating seeing him again even worse.