02 September 2009
Fifteen years ago I played in a band. Actually, I played in a lot of bands. I have played many different styles of music ranging from Hip-Hop to Classical. But this band that I played in so many years ago really made an impact on me. So let's go back in time a bit, shall we?
I was working at a burger joint, G.M. Steakhouse, that happened to be very popular at the time. I had actually worked there on and off a couple of times and I happened to be back on. I showed up for a Saturday shift and started getting my grill ready for the lunch rush. I turn around and the day manager comes walking up. He is this big athletic dude wearing Terminator sunglasses, Doc Marten boots, ratty-ass cut-offs, and a Red Hot Chili Peppers tee shirt. His head is shaved and he has a goatee and looks mean as shit (not that I looked any better, I'm just sayin'). "Great," I think to myself, expecting this guy to be a total shithead.
Lunch is served and the burgers begin to fly. I find out that the shithead's name is Eric. I also find out that he is pretty cool. We start talking music and he mentions that he is a rapper. I then have to mention that I am a bass player and that the old guy in the dish room is a drummer named Dave who I have been playing with in a jazz/funk band that just fell apart. Naturally we decide to jam that day after work.
We get to my apartment and I set up my bass. Dave doesn't have any drums with him, just some sticks. So we get out a couple of 5-gallon pickle buckets and he plays on those (Dave can keep a good beat on anything). I play a couple of grooves that I have been working on and Eric starts to rap over it. All the while Dave is totally funkin' out on the pickle buckets. We just know that we have a band. A couple of other friends of ours who worked at the burger joint ended up joining and playing trumpet and sax (to varying degrees of success). Between Eric, Dave, and me, though, we were really feeling the core of something.
Naturally we needed a guitar player and I called my friend Jamie. He was working at G.M. Steakhouse when I first was hired there (actually more than fifteen years ago). I have known Jamie for a long time and he was one of my first friends I made when I moved here to Austin, Texas. When we had the first jam session with Jamie, Eric said afterward that he wasn't sure about Jamie's playing style and that we should keep our minds open to other players. Jamie said that he wanted to chew on our material for a week and give it another go. We set up another rehearsal. Jamie came back and, in the words of the great George Clinton, "tore the roof off the sucker". The core was complete.
As I said, this band made a huge impact on me. We tried anything and everything. Sometimes we just got really weird but always, always, always kept a groove going. This band has always been about the groove. The band (called D'Zyne at the time) really allowed me to write a lot. It allowed us all to write and be truly collaborative. Musically we really grew during the five years or so that we were together.
All things must pass. I eventually went to school to study music more seriously, earning my degree in music composition (classical, you can find a c.d. of my chamber music here or on iTunes). Eric and Dave moved up to New York. Jamie began pursuing his college degrees. We grew up, got married (Dave for the third time), had kids (excluding Jamie and Dave), and became more professional.
While in New York City Dave and Eric kept some of the old tunes alive with a band they had started up there. Calling themselves The Big Fat Reds they did some really good stuff but for whatever reason it didn't hold together. Still, they got some good tunes out of it and kept some of the old material alive.
About 2 months ago Dave, Jamie, and myself all received and email from Eric saying that it was time to get the band back together. He was moving back to town (Dave had already moved back from New York). Well, duh! After fifteen years of gestation this was going to be pretty cool.
We now have about 4 new tunes since our reunion and have really worked up some of our older material. A lot of the old stuff has been polished with new ideas and slightly new arrangements. We are having so much fun playing and writing again. It's not as serious as it was years ago. We only rehearse when we can, once a week at the most. But what impresses me most is the new direction we are taking. Eric is singing more than rapping, the grooves are much tighter, and the ability to communicate both musically and verbally has really matured. Less has become so much more. I'm both glad and proud to be a member of The Big Fat Reds.
We'll be playing at Momo's on Friday, September 18, 2009. See this flyer? Come check it out.
Posted by Punkchef at 9:19 AM