Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Bands I've Known - Part 1

I've been playing guitar since I was thirteen -- just about the time that Def Leppard's Hysteria rocked the charts. I been in a number of bands since then. A couple of those bands got to the point were they played a few live gigs. Some lasted for several years and developed decent catalogs of original material, while at least one was more of a poster band than an actual musical ensemble.

Anyway, here's a list of the seven greatest bands I've played in over the years (why seven? Because I refuse to be bound to a base ten narrative):

1. Ground Zero - a bunch of Catholic school kids playing eighties hair metal and hard rock in my parents' basement. As with many high school bands, we lacked both a drummer and bass player.

2. Mutel - Alternative weirdness with the townies, from back when "alternative" was just called "college rock." Our musical inspiration was Jean Paul Sartre. Yes, this was our band in 10th grade (sophomore lit, existentisalism, get it?). My friend Pete wrote a great original called "Screaming Purple Hellhounds." To this day, I can't remember the words, can't remember the melody and can't remember the chords.

3. Genetalia* - My first real experience with a live gig. We played the Alumni BBQ at Homecoming. Drunk alumni rocking out to our covers of "Dazed and Confused," "Love Me Two Times" and "Sweet Child O' Mine." A gaggle of black robed monks at the back of the gymnasium yelling at us to turn it down. The thrill ... the stench of grilled meats, cheap beer and the boys' lockerroom. I went home that night and told my parents I wanted to play music for a living. I'm an attorney now, so you know how that conversation went. An audio tape of this one exists, somewhere...

* We actually never had a name for this band. Genetalia was the name of a rival band of underclassmen at my school. They were actually much better than we were, plus they had fans. So we used the name on the flyers.

4. Moab and the Cannonites - My sophomore summer in Hanover, New Hampshire. We played an ice cream study break in the Hitchcock dorm. Pretty good turnout and a decent performance on our part, except the lead singer, Matt McGill, couldn't remember the melody to Runaway Train by Soul Asylum. He had to run upstairs and listen to the tape while we covered with Jazz Odyssey. I still have video of this gig.

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