(Join me this Thursday April 21st 9-10p EDT for a video chat to talk about Daron’s Guitar Chronicles and the Kickstarter effort! RSVP on Facebook or bookmark the Youtube streaming page directly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bSJWPwxEjGA. If we get to $3,000 in donations before the chat, we’ll follow it with a donors-only chat with Daron! -ctan)
If I just describe what we did over the next two weeks it sounds like we worked like maniacs, but really we didn’t. We weren’t going round-the-clock, and it didn’t feel like “work”–like a slog–because it was exciting and satisfying even when it was sometimes nerve-wracking.
Five days a week we spent eight hours a day rehearsing. Sometimes in the mornings I’d go work out with Christian and then I’d get to the rehearsal space (I’d dubbed it The Hangar) around eleven and maybe work on some stuff before everyone else came in. The rest of the band would arrive at noon and we’d work on arrangements and run-throughs until Ziggy arrived around four, usually bringing “lunch” with him for all of us. Then there’d be three or four hours of rehearsal with him and then we’d knock off for the night by eight.
Then we’d have dinner, maybe all together, maybe separate, and then maybe go to catch a show or even to see what was going on at the Cat Club. Or Limelight (or Danceteria or one of the other clubs) but I really didn’t have the stamina to go out clubbing more than twice a week. I loved losing myself in dancing in a crowd where everyone was beautiful and on display but no one was really looking at me, if that makes sense? Dancing all night is great, but it’s like running a marathon in the middle of the night. Even without booze or drugs. In fact I think we danced more since we weren’t nursing drinks or sitting around buzzed or stoned, chilling out.
I considered it a way of keeping in shape.
Meanwhile the band was starting to take shape. I was not surprised that both drummers locked in on Bart, and Chris sort of instinctually interlocked with them, too, so they basically made a four-man rhythm section. There were times they ran through something without me or Ziggy and you could hear it starting to click, like a big steam engine getting into tune.
Jordan Travers came by one of those early rehearsals, like he’d said he would. Ziggy didn’t say anything to him about the changes we were making.
But I did. When we took a break, I pinned Jordan into a folding chair with my vehemence. “Sounds good, doesn’t it?”
“Yeah, I knew it would liven up once you got your hands on it. Love the double drums.”
“Trav. It’s not me or the drums that’s making the biggest difference. It’s that we cranked everything higher in pitch.”
“Everything.” I was probably being a little too vehement than was warranted.
He felt it. “You got a problem?”
“It never occurred to you that the songs would sound better up a couple of notches?” It hadn’t occurred to me that he wouldn’t have already figured this out.
He shrugged. “We were trying to distance him from the heavy metal wailers and give him a more laid-back urban vibe. Plus a lot of radio stations speed up the recordings which raises the pitch so if you start too high, you end up sounding like a chipmunk.”
That stopped me in my tracks. “Why the hell would they do that?”
“To shorten airplay, get more songs in per hour, and to sound more energetic and happier than the next radio station on the dial.” He shrugged again.
I tried to get my mind back on track. “It’s not the absolute pitch that matters, though, it’s that Ziggy’s voice sounds better, quality-wise, up more. He didn’t tell you about this vocal coach he’s been seeing?”
“He never mentioned it, but I know he’s working with Priscilla Oates uptown, right?”
Ziggy was nowhere in sight at that point, and I assumed he had walked to the convenience store, which was one of our standard things to do during a break.
“She’s really great but scary as hell,” I said. I’d been doing my vocal exercises and wondering if she’d hear the difference next time I saw her. I sounded the same as ever to myself.
“Heh. Some of my Julliard friends said her nickname was ‘Voice Nazi,’ and not because she’s German.”
It wasn’t Priss’s brusque, non-nonsense manner that was scary to me, though. Or even that she reminded me of my childhood piano teacher. Actually I don’t know what was so scary–it was another one of those things that if I thought about it didn’t seem that bad. Which undoubtedly meant it wasn’t. “I guess I’m seeing her, too, now.”
I was starting to be able to tell the difference between Trav’s polite-but-disinterested “yeah” and his pretending-nonchalance-but-keenly-interested one. “Yeah,” I said, feeling suddenly tired. I stretched and yawned. “She says I neglected my upper range and that I can get it back if work with her. And I’ll make a better connection between my lower and upper register. That kind of stuff.”
He gave me one of his laconic little smiles. “Sure. So, are you starting to hate the songs less?”
“I did not hate the songs.”
“You cornered me in the men’s room at Limelight not too long ago to say ‘how could you do this to him.’”
“Uh–” Yeah, I guess I had done something like that, though my memory of it was fuzzy. “Did I mention Ziggy and I are laying off drinking for a while?”
“You didn’t answer my question.”
“I didn’t hate them. I just thought they were lifeless.” I was lying but it was an important lie, I think. Because I would be happier–we would all be happier–if I believed it. Well, and maybe it was even true, and it just depended on my perspective. Maybe when I was drinking too much I was actually more negative about certain things than warranted.
Or maybe Ziggy’s way of defining “truth” was starting to rub off on me.
Remember: If we get to $3,000 in donations by Thursday night (we’re at $2,649 now) there’ll be not only a video chat with Cecilia on YouTube, there’ll be a backers-only text chat with Daron! Instructions on how to get that chat will be sent to the backers via Kickstarter. You can back for as little as $1: *Click here*. The video chat is Thursday April 21st 9-10p EDT – RSVP on Facebook or check out the stream below: