Site Meter

September 1, 2008

Sunday, Metal Sunday

So here's the thing... I've actually got a lot to say about the jam on Sunday and I want to get it out before... well, before I forget half of it... but due to a mountain of work I've to get through I'm just going to have to post snippets. Any comments, suggestions and so on more than welcome.

After a late start to the morning and a late breakfast I just managed to get to the rehearsal rooms on time at 1pm. Riding the ol' bike with Red strapped to my back wasn't a major issue. It may even have been good for my posture! On the gig-bag side of things, the Ritter one I bought (a 700, if that means anything to anyone) is supposedly shaped for a Les Paul, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that Blackie the Ovation just squeezes in there... but only just.

So, I got there. I was nervous as hell... much more so than when I went for a jam with Col of Axe Victim, for some reason. I think it was a mixture of not really knowing where this might lead, not knowing the people I was going to meet and, frankly, not knowing much about metal guitar techniques.

Turned out that me and another guy were there to jam with a drummer/guitar/vocal combo. Bass to be added. They're a metal band who are initially looking at doing covers (mainly Metallica) but who have some original material.

From the start it became obvious that the drummer was a real powerhouse and highly skilled. It turned out that she's also a good guitarist. After the session she told us that she'd only been playing a year! I was gobsmacked as she was really, really good.

The guitarist was also top notch in the metal vein. I didn't really get to focus much on the vocalist as she was kind of side-lined by the screaming axes and I wasn't close to her monitor.

The other new guy there had recently relocated to London. He was really good, too, and more than capable of handling metal, blues, rock... anything. I got the feeling that his influences may have been closer to mine than anyone else's.

So, turned up and ran through some Metallica stuff. Luckily, they were tunes I'd at least heard, so I was able to jump in and play along after watching the other boys' fingerings.

After that we jammed for a bit, nominally on blues stuff (not!) then someone kicked off on "Freebird", "Sweet Child Of Mine" and a few other songs I could bash out some pentatonics on. I'm not entirely sure what scales/modes metal uses... Phyrgian? Lydian? Dunno...

Pulling some backbone out of my behind I started into some of the stuff I've written and was elated when the drummer kicked in behind me and the band joined in. You really can't argue with power chords from a Les Paul into a big amp. Sounded good.

After that I vamped on the intro from "Outside Woman Blues". Again, the drummer then the rest of the band fell in. I think that's what impressed me the most about the drummer. No matter what we played she was able to just bring it all together. Magic.

Next up was a session trying to play one of the band's original compositions. The riffs themselves sounded really good. I didn't have a clue what was going on so I wallflowered for a bit. I tried to join in being a faux bass, but in truth I was fading a bit. We'd been playing for over 3 and a half hours continuously and I was stiff suffering from a major workout at the gym the previous day.

Afterwards, we agreed to meet up again and later that evening the drummer texted me to let me know that they were looking forward to next time.

So, to the chase...

I've enjoyed playing some metal, but I don't know whether that's where I want my focus to be. I really liked the other guys in the band and felt I could learn from them. I am, however, way behind everyone else when it comes to knowing the tunes. Nevertheless, they've asked me back...

Obviously I don't have anything else major on right now. I've got at least one more definite possibility, though, and I don't want to put all my eggs in one musical basket. So, I'm thinking I should basically let these guys know that I enjoyed playing with them and would like to try out a few more sessions to see how it goes before committing to anything, but at the same time keep looking. They know I'm not a metal-head and seem to be okay with that... They seem pretty serious about trying to get out there and start gigging, but they're still a way's off.

Ah, what to do..?

On the positive side, it's another notch on The Project's belt. To those more experienced than I am it may seem like nothing, but for me, getting out there and playing with other people (amped to the max!) is a major achievement.

6 comments:

Axe Victim said...

Sounds like you had a blast. And that's the secret. If you aren't enjoying it - do something else. But while you do, have fun and chill. I'd wager that while you were playing with everybody and swept up in the band that you didn't care too much about the genre at the time? This could be a great starting point for 'the project' so my advice would be to just roll with it and not think about it too much. You never know, you and the drummer could one day end up shacked up together and pounding out a different kind of boogie yuk yuk yuk. Ooh err, I'm coming on a bit too Sid James gyak gyak gyak gyak...

Kenski said...

Oh, I very much doubt I'll find myself shacked up with the drummer... aren't they always the ones to die prematurely in a freak gardening accident, anyway?

I did have a blast and I probably shouldn't think too hard about it.

I need to email them and get some tabs, but this week is going to be crazy, then we're off for a week, so I'll only have a few days to learn new stuff before practice. Nothing like stretch targets to get the blood pumping, eh?

Sid James... I miss Sid. Must break out "Carry On Cleo"...

Puer, oh puer, oh puer...

Further on up the road said...

Good for you...

I should have called you Friday - on the Red button on BBC they had Metallica from Reading.... A lot of Les Paul evidence that would have put your concerns to bed about that guitar in that setting but looks like you didn't need it...

I generally have found drummers don't so much self distruct as just self confuse :-) My experience is mostly that they simply start to forget they are in a band, their name etc. Or start trying to tune their tom toms to some odd Indian scale... Strange species... :-)

Axe Victim said...

Right lads - I've spoken with Steve and we need to call a virtual Dead Dictators meeting. We want to drop the banna loving epoch concept adn conentrate on music - any music. He's a fan of what Ken wrote and posted, so we can start weith that plus I've got a few bin ends that want a bit of polish. Furtheron - you need to sart working on contributing some songs. Chop chop!

Dave Jacoby said...

Only in Spinal Tap. Bonzo and Moonie pushed themselves to the point that nobody was really shocked when they passed. Saddened, but not shocked.

It doesn't have to be metal to be big rock. And big rock is good.

It certainly sounds like it could be the start of something. Good luck with it.

Kenski said...

Axe/FurtherOn,

I like the sound of concentrating on the music. Especially something with a little crunch to it.

Actually, the chord progression we jammed on a bit on Sunday was (accidentally) the one that I posted on the DD site (just listened back to it), only I made it a bit more rhythmic and fun. Feel-good grunge. It definitely works as a vehicle for jam-a-lam-a-ding-dong. There *must* be a song in there somewhere!?

How does a virtual meeting work, exactly?

I'm off on hols (yay!) for 9 days from Saturday, in case I drop off the face of the planet... I doubt they have internet in the desert...