I don’t know why I was nervous for the first day of auditions. I was not the one trying to get a gig. I was the one doing the auditioning–I mean, the auditing? What’s the right verb for that? I guess it’s called auditioning both when you’re the one going in for the gig and when you’re the one doing the hiring.
That’s weird, isn’t it? Or maybe it isn’t, because all performance is collaborative on some level.
That doesn’t mean you’re equal. I did not have fond memories of my auditions as a child or from music school. Even when you do well they’re not fun and I swear some people go out of their way to make them as stressful and unpleasant as possible. Maybe I was having flashbacks to that. I don’t know.
I do know that I woke up extra early that morning. I kissed Ziggy goodbye, told him where I was going, and he went back to sleep. I was painfully tired from the previous night’s partying and exertions. Not sorry, you understand. Not sorry at all that I had gone out and enjoyed the fruits of being a young twenty-something in New York City with glamorous music industry friends and a gorgeous lover whose body (and attention) I could not get enough of.
I medicated with a very large pot of coffee, a chocolate croissant, and a copy of the Wall Street Journal someone had left folded on the seat in the cafe. It was a time of day so early it was one I normally only saw if I had been up all night, though it was not considered obscenely early for normal people. (7:30ish.)
I caught a cab to the rehearsal space. At first the guy refused to take me. Then I convinced him no one was going to mug him that early in the morning, not even in a slightly burnt out area of Queens. Besides, I told him, it’s not that far to LaGuardia, surely he could pick up a return fare there.
It was about nine a.m. when I got to the warehouse. I spent maybe an hour checking out every nook and cranny of the place. I found a coffee maker in the break room and started it dripping. I found the cabinet with an industrial size box of toilet paper rolls in it. Good to know. Way off to one side I also found a bunch of movable walls. Imagine one of those old freestanding chalkboards, but imagine it went all the way to the floor and was covered in acoustic baffle.
Someone came to the door around ten. They came to the loading dock, actually, where there was a buzzer. I heard the buzzing but it took me a while to figure out where it was coming from.
I pushed open the back door at the loading dock stairs and there was a small person standing there looking vaguely familiar, with close-buzzed black hair except for a blond tuft, large almond-shaped eyes, and aggressively large chrome rings climbing up both ears.
“Hey.” The voice was female and it suddenly clicked that I knew this person, except I didn’t because I had forgotten their name.
“Hey,” I said back. “Um, you were in Sugargum, right?”
“Bradley.” We shook hands. “I was playing guitar, yeah, but I’m here to audition on drums.”
That was when I noticed the van backed into the loading dock.
“Thought I’d bring my gear in a little early, if that’s okay?”
“Um, sure. Here. Let me figure out how to open the door.” I went and found the big panel of buttons that raised and lowered the dock door. Always makes me feel like it’s a scene from Star Wars when a big giant metal door is opening or closing.
I helped Bradley bring in a relatively large kit for such a small person, and by small I mean smaller than me, which is a little on the rare side for men, not so rare for women. Thankfully I remembered something Carynne had said a while back, about Sugargum breaking up, and about one of the members transitioning from girl to boy. Or at least adopting a male name and persona. I wasn’t about to ask any nosy questions about it.
It occurred to me that because we were auditioning for a drummer we were probably going to be bringing a lot of equipment in, potentially, and that we didn’t probably want to lug it all the way to the second floor rehearsal room for every drummer and then lug it all out again. It was much more efficient to bring a couple of amps downstairs. Brad and I moved a few of the acoustic-baffle dividers to enclose a space to one side of the break room and he set up his drum kit while I arranged the amps and a few chairs to my liking.
And a couple more chairs for “the judges,” Ziggy, Carynne, Barrett, and whoever else might show up, in a row, facing the playing area. While I was setting those up, Brad tested out the kit with some rolls and fills, then a couple of cadences.
She’s good, I thought, then scolded myself because she was a he and I should be able to remember that. And actually he was rushing, but you know, who was I to judge tempo when it was just him warming up, right?
I wondered if a lot of other drummers were going to need to set stuff up and how much time that was going to take and what to do if they started showing up early, too.
And then Bradley and I were kind of staring at each other awkwardly.
“Um,” I finally said, “Auditions don’t start until noon. Officially.”
“Okay.” He looked at me sort of expectantly.
“Uh, and I don’t know exactly who’s showing up when or how we’re doing this…exactly,” I said. “But I just, whatever.” I guess I had been going to ask him to leave and come back later except I didn’t know how much later and by then it was almost eleven anyway. I guess I had been imagining I was going to spend a couple of hours alone and I had been trying to somehow get back to that, but then I realized–why? What are you doing here so early, anyway, Daron? So I changed my mind. “You want a tour of the place? Not that there’s much to see here.”
So then I walked Brad around the edges of the space, pointing out stuff I’d found, the restroom, the coffee maker, et cetera.
He poured a cup of coffee and asked, “Do you think I have a shot?”
I shrugged. “I think everyone has a shot.”
“Isn’t that something you have to say?” he pressed, though why, I couldn’t fathom.
“No, actually, I think everyone has a shot.”
“I know I don’t look like your sterotypical drummer.”
“And Ziggy doesn’t look like your stereotypical human,” I pointed out. “I don’t care what you look like. All I care about is what you sound like.”
I believed at the time it was true.
(In case you missed it, the 10,000th comment came in! In it, Amber said “Daron’s angst is making me nervous.” LOL! Upon being informed of winning the $25 Amazon gift card, Amber refused and donated the amount to the Tip Jar instead! So now we only need $10 to trigger yet another Saturday post this week! -ctan)