Topic: My very first gig!
So I've been playing guitar since I was about 12. Thats about 25 years now. I played at church once when I was about 16. I used to jam with some guys back in high school. I was in a band for about three weeks till the bass player and the singer/lead guitarist got into a fight with the neighbors up the street and got sent back to jail.(third offense) Thats a whole different story. Other than that, I have never played a show for anyone outside my immediate family or best friend. When I was about 21 my brother was about 12. I had a friend that was trying to learn bass. He was over at my house and I was showing him "look, when I play a barre chord here, you play the same note on your guitar". He just couldn't get it. So my brother is there looking really interested and I said do you mind if Brian tries? He says sure! My brother started playing like he had played as long as I had. That Christmas I bought him a Fender jazz bass and Mom and Dad bought him an Ampeg amp. I was thinking "well if he doesn't take to it I'll have a really cool bass outfit." Around new years I come home and he's already got a band in the basement and about a month later he's playing his first gig, complete with original songs that He wrote himself! Nowdays Brian is a professional musician. He lives a long way from little St. Louis in New York. He plays bass, dobro and has been called the best harmonica player in New York by a couple of well known studio owners. This guy is a natural. I yell to Mom, " Mom, Brians hogging all the talent again!"
So now to the "my first gig" part. He came in town a couple of weeks ago on a Wednesday. I had something going with my boys so I didn't get to see him till thursday night after work. Brought my Taylor over to my parents and we jammed for about 20 minutes. Then he says to me, "So tomorrow night were playing this gig...." and I jump in with "oh my god, where? I'm dying to see your band play. Thinking that his bands in town. He laughs and says "No, Me and you!". I said "What, Me and you?!" I said Brian wait just a minute, I'm no professional like you, jamming in the living room is a loong way from entertaining people at a club or bar. He says look you've been playing all these years, you're definitly good enough. You know a lot of songs, you can do this. We'll just play all the blues standards I'll take all the solos and sing and play dobro and harmonica. Its gonna be great." This is when the queasy pit in my stomach started!
So I say "well where's it gonna be at" and he says "at the Firefighters hall". Great, just great my friend Alan runs the firefighters hall so he's gonna be there. "Well, what do we need do they have mics and a PA and stuff like that?" He says "I dont know." I said well you better find out because I only have one mic and what are we gonna do if theres no PA? He says dont worry I got it all covered. "Well how many people are gonna be at this thing?" he says like 200. Just got a bigger queasy pit.
Whole next day at work sick to my stomach. I swing by Mom and Dads to pick him up and he has come up with a set list. Filled with songs I don't know! Don't you know this song by Mississippi blind alabama jackson somebody? Never heard it. Well its just a 12 bar blues in E. Ok. So we run through the list, and it sounds pretty good. So were just kinda goofing around and he starts playing something and I say whats that? That sounds pretty cool. He says its "heading for the Texas boarder" by the Flamin' Groovies. Never heard of it. Even though our pratice sounded good, I still got the queasy pit.
So we go to the gig. Three people in the bar! YES! Three people I don't know. We can blast through this little set list and get outta here and I can be home in time to tuck the boys in. If we play now, no one will know if it sucks, but if we play later everyone will be drunk and no one will know if we suck. Hey this might be OK. Wrong! We set up and in comes a couple more people and a few more and a big group of about eight and then all hell breaks loose as Brian's high school class comes in. Yep about 200 people. Queasier.
So we start with "Hey gyp" by Eric Burden and the Animals. My Taylor has a pickup that I have never used and I am absolutly blown away by how awesome this guitar sounds amplified. The bass response was like John Entwisle without loosing any of the highs. Perfect to accompany Brian's slide playing and harmonica. So I'm strummin' loud and proud and I notice that I have an absolute death grip on the pick. I have visions of it just disinegrating into dust and the tip is slipping, twisting towards the neck and the rythem of the song is such that I can't reposition it. it just keeps turning But Brian is just blowing the house down with the harp so I just keep chugging and I feel like I'm back in my Track and Field days running out of breath and there is a girl in the front row talking on the cell phone about how her day was at work and about her boyfriend... and how the hell can you even hear on a cell phone in here and you know what, I can hear everyone talking and oh my god that is so distracting don't you people know that I'm trying to play here. Oh no whats the next chord will this girl just shut up....and finally the song ends and the place just goes flippin crazy. I can't beleive its over what is up with the whole grip on the pick thing thats never happened before. We do some Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Slim Harpo, stuff like that. I guess the pick thing was just first song jitters because it went away right after that. Then we kinda change to a little more rockin blues oldies type stuff, bluesbreakers and Eddie Cochran. We end with twenty flight rock and it sounds great and I'm on cloud nine, so proud of myself and then Brian turns to me and says Ok, I want to close with "Heading for the Texas boarder" WHAT! That was the end! What are you talking about twenty flight rock went over great that would be a perfect end to this and now at the last second you spring on me that you want to close on a song that I've never even heard before! "Yep. Go!" We just blew them away with this song theres two spots to solo and Brian just was on fire! The place just comes unhinged everyone is up and clapping, screaming and yelling, going crazy. Just unbeleivable.
So I head straight to the bar Tequila and a beer! That cured the queasy pit! So everyone's coming up to me saying how great it was and how we must have been praticing for weeks and when are we gonna play again. I say thanks and Brians only in town for a couple of days so there won't be another show and he's at the opposite end of the bar telling everybody that were gonna play again in about a half hour! So we went back and played a whole set just saying do you know this song, Go!
Yes! I would love to do it again. It was so much fun. Like some kind of payout for all the hard work of learning guitar. Just, next time you come in town Brian, give me the set list a couple weeks in advance please.