We had such a wonderful night at the Lodi Moose Lodge. I was so happy to see so many familiar faces. And nervous too.
It's been a while since our last gig and a lot has changed in the meantime. It's been hard, actually. There have been many times when I thought about just letting it all go. But, then I think about how much fun performing music is, and how much I love the people that we get to play for. That's when I realize that I just have to find a way to keep it going.
After we went our separate ways from our last band, Crystal Image, I had to decide what to do next. The only option open to me was to start something new. Believe me, that was a scary thought. Way Way Way out of my comfort zone.
We started out with some great guys....the original Wild Katz. And, then, it just seemed like one thing after another happened. At one point, Scott Berian, one of the original Wild Katz and an excellent guitar player and performer, suggested to me that I hire a trio, Unkl Bean to be my band. After a lot of thought, I took his advice. He and Dave Dommes (another original Wild Katz) went on to form a brand new band, "Backslide", you can hear them on Facebook.
We met with Unkl Bean and just loved their energy. Each one of the guys are so nice! Unkl Bean is Will Barnes on guitar, Tom Staniford on bass and Chuck Procopio on drums. (we played with Chuck a few times back in our days with Crystal Image). They worked hard to learn our music and get it just right. Their band plays mostly original music, you can listen on their website www.unklbean.com.
As we left for the St. Patrick's Day show at the Lodi Moose, it was snowing at our house (it's kinda rare for us). We knew that we would be coming home to MORE snow later that night, so we brought our snow boots and coats with us.
Down in the valley, it was raining. The Lodi Moose party was a full house. A little rain didn't bother these folks.
Joining us this night was Kendra, Tom's girlfriend. She was so sweet! She pitched right in and was a "roadie" with us, lugging equipment!
When I saw so many people I knew from my time with the Crystal Image band, I got really nervous. I wondered what they were expecting. I knew that I was in good hands with my guys, but this band is very different from my last band. No keyboard....we have a bass player instead.
Another huge difference for us is that THIS is my band, and I am totally responsible. If it goes great...well that's good. But, if it doesn't, it's all on ME. Steve is our "soundman" by default (he he), and he does a great job. We have an enormous sound board with about a million knobs on it, and he is in charge of making sure that it's all set just right. Kendra was so helpful that she went out during our sound check to listen and report back.
Being the leader of the band, I had lots of responsibilities. In the past, I was always pretty happy to be a supporting member in a band. I followed what the leader told me. Bliss. Now, I had to keep thinking the whole time. I had to set the beat to my songs. Have you ever wondered why each song starts with "one, two, three"? However fast those numbers are spoken is the cue to the rest of the band as to the beat of the song. So, now it was up to me to count in my songs. I also had the task of giving cues to Steve and Will for taking solos. And, I had to cue everyone when the ending was coming up. I'm getting the hang of it and it's actually very fun.
Sometimes I have to tell myself to stop thinking so much in the moment and have fun. The whole reason that I'm there is to have fun. And, it's the reason the folks come out too. I just want to sing, dance and watch the people having a good time. It's why I continue to do this.
When it was time to start, I was pretty nervous. Have you ever had that feeling when your mouth goes dry and feels like it's full of cotton? Yep. Like that. But, that's okay, the show must go on! After the first couple of songs, I was fine. It's music after all. What's better than that?
We all made mistakes and goofs. But, we all supported each other as a team. I love that about Unkl Bean. They never get upset or mad. Never. It's pretty comforting. At one point, I kept trying to sing the wrong song. I turned to Will and asked him if he was playing the right key. Lol. Finally Steve nudged me and I realized that I had the wrong song in mind. Problem solved. Ugh.
I still have a lot of homework to do. One couple asked for a certain dance beat. None of us really knew what song would be good for that. I need to learn the dance beats and equate them to our song list. I learned a lot of that from John. He was a master at it. But, I don't know enough yet by a long shot.
The night went by so fast. We had so much fun. It was a blast. I can't wait for the next show. I wish it was tomorrow! Thank you to each and every person who gave us encouraging words and compliments. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!
One of our band friends commented that we have a lot of new songs that we didn't do in our last band. I told him that we have a lot more coming!!
I so appreciate the folks for coming out and supporting us and dancing. It means the world to me personally. At the end of the night, the room was still mostly full. And,when we stopped at the appointed time, Bud, the fellow who booked us asked us to keep playing! Wow. Are you kidding? We could have played ALL night. That was the best thing we could have heard.
Stay tuned. Much more is coming! Thanks again.
And, yes. I will start sending out emails again very soon.