Sunday, February 04, 2007

Johnny Tightlips vs. Slayer

Slayer won. The club owner in Ogden said that there probably would have been another 15-20 kids at our show, had Slayer not been playing that night at the Great Saltair. With those 15-20 kids, there would have been close to 25 paying kids in the crowd.

From the moment that we got to the club, I knew it was going to be a good night. We walked in the front door and the guy running the show said, “Can I help you?”

“Uh, yeah, we’re with Johnny Tightlips.”

Awkward silence.

“We’re playing tonight.”

“Oh, you are? Huh. Well, we’ll rearrange the lineup and fit you in.”

Rock and roll is not exactly organized or efficient.

Though the crowd was sparse, we had a pretty good night at our first showing in Weber County. (We’re basically almost an international supergroup now that we’ve played in Summit, Weber and Salt Lake counties. Watch out Dagget County, you’re next!) Not that we necessarily played well.

I continue to be amazed by stage fright in all of its many forms. Though I have mostly gotten over playing in front of a crowd, I am still deathly embarrassed by having to tune my guitar in front of people. I absolutely hate it. Anyway, what surprised me the other night was that even though we have played all of these songs hundreds of times, the second we get in front of people we start forgetting things.

If you have never performed music in front of an audience, you might think that the musician is thinking about the music while he is playing. Not me. The second we start playing, my mind is everywhere – thinking about the people I’m looking at, wondering if House is going to be able to solve his next medical mystery, thinking about how I shouldn't have eaten so many peanutes before the show, etc. And then, POW! I remember I’m playing a song, and frantically start trying to figure out if it’s time to switch to the chorus or back to the verse.

We were playing “Record Store” on Tuesday night, the first song we ever worked on as a band. I’ve been playing for close to five years now. But when Danny’s drum intro finished up, I looked at my hands and said to them, “I have no idea what you’re supposed to be doing right now.” No idea. I knew there was a lead guitar part, but heck if I knew what it was. I muddled my way through it, then I skipped a chorus and played a guitar solo, and when we got to the part where the guitar solo was really supposed to happen, I just played the same thing again.

So it wasn’t really our best technical performance, but I still felt like it was a good show. It seemed like the handful of kids that were there were into it, which made it easy for us to be into it. Oh, and we’re getting better at covering up our many mistakes.

I talked to the club owner after our set. He said that they draw their biggest crowds with 8 Mile-style rap battles. He said on some nights they are getting upwards of 400 kids out for those shows. Because of my addiction to The White Rapper Show on VH1, I have now made it my number one goal to get my skillz together and enter a rap battle in Ogden. To practice, I will spend now until then insulting every person I see…and your mom, too.

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