It's been a long time - way too long, I realize now - since I could write about band practice. But this past Sunday all the current members of SUCIDIE got together for the first time in a tastefully appointed (well, you should see some of the places I'm used to practicing in!) rehearsal studio in Astoria to prepare for our appearance at Baltimore's Insubordination Fest next month.
I'm actually pretty serious about the studio being a nice place. It was clean, for starters, which right away sets it apart from nearly every rehearsal studio I've set foot in. Most of my practice days were spent in this dive on 19th or 20th Street in downtown Oakland. It's not that the place didn't have some ambiance and history - practically all the East Bay bands practiced there at one time or another. Actually, I'm not sure if Green Day ever did, but Operation Ivy, Crimpshrine... I don't even want to start naming bands because I'll leave somebody out or claim someone who wasn't really there. But man, that place was filthy. Or maybe that was just our individual practice space? We shared with about four other bands, so I'm sure it was all their fault, but I can remember when you almost needed a shovel to clear a path through the beer cans and other assorted garbage just to get to your amps.
But I digress, as usual. The place in Astoria was nothing like that; we just walked in, plugged in, and started rocking! To be honest, I was pretty nervous, not having played with a band in quite a few years, and having only just learned the songs in the past couple weeks. All the songs except one, or did I tell you about this? It seems I've been prevailed upon to sing an old Lookouts song, which hasn't been played performed since, well, July 10, 1990, to be exact, which was the date of the last Lookouts recording session and show (we went straight to the show, which was in Jake Filth's basement, from recording at Andy Ernst's Art of Ears, which was then located in Frisco, near the Haight.
And again I'm in danger of digressing, but here's the deal: although I wasn't worried about remembering how to play my own song, I was concerned about how well it would fit in with the SUCIDIE songs (they're, um, kind of different) and also about how the band would handle playing a song that I'd never heard played by anyone but the Lookouts.
Well, I needn't have worried. It went great, right from the start, maybe because we have such an outstanding lineup of seasoned musicians (Matt Lame, Atom Lame, Carla Monoxide, Ace (from Houseboat! and the Steinways!) and yours truly). I didn't even make that many mistakes, even though I could barely sing (what's new about that, you ask?) thanks to having come down with the swine flu over the weekend.
So, I'm pretty excited about playing a show again, and especially in the slot where we're scheduled: right in between Pansy Division and the Steinways! (This may very well be the Steinways' last show ever, I'm very sad to say.) And while we're only playing a very short set (hey, our songs are fast, and at least you're virtually guaranteed not to get bored), I hope you'll all come out and see us and about 729 other bands. If you want to buy tickets to the Fest and haven't done so already, you can do it here, and while you're at it, don't forget the Thursday night pre-show, which is usually kind of an afterthought (okay, a pre-thought) to the Fest itself, but this year features one of the best lineups of all three nights, including appearances by both the Max Levine Ensemble and Delay, two of my very favorite (and therefore two of the very best) bands in the country today. Pre-show tickets are available here, and I look forward to seeing all of you, yes, all ten million or however many people are reading this, on all three nights. Oh, and make sure to check out the snazzy new guitar I'll be playing! It's not mine, sadly; it's sort of like I'm being sponsored except I don't get to keep the guitar. But it sure looks and sounds cool. Pics to follow (maybe)!