Thursday, January 12, 2012

Chapter 16 - HELP WANTED: Tales of a Free- Spirit Professional

A warm welcome to visitors - old and new! Please click on the right side of the page in the archives to follow this post from the beginning. It ALL starts in June 2011, so take a look and follow along. As always, thanks for reading and enjoy.

Finding musicians was easier than I thought.  Six months before I left the Madsen Group, in a fit of I-hate-my-day-job frustration, I started answering every ad I could find looking for a singer.  I needed to do something and I was too chicken to plan my own show, so being a part of someone else’s band seemed like a great idea. 
With no demo to offer up, the majority of my ad responses went unanswered.  I got one call back from a guy – the drummer in the band – asking me to come in for an audition at on a Thursday night.

?” I asked, trying to sound like a cool, nonchalant singer who wasn’t really thinking it was a little odd to hold auditions so late at night.

“Yeah,” the guy side, his thick Long Island accent elongated the “eah.”  “I have a day job and it’s the only time we can rehearse.”

The fact that he had a day job put me at ease instantly.  Real musicians intimidated me; especially the ones who ate, slept and breathed music. Me, I dreamed music, mostly.

But on Thursday, I showed up promptly at to the music building - a dingy eleven-story building on

Eighth Avenue
, filled with small rehearsal spaces for rent.  Just a few blocks from Port Authority, the neighborhood, normally a little sketchy, was even more so late at night.  But I didn’t care.  I was excited about my audition.

Kevin, the drummer, greeted me at the door.  He was a little shorter than me, around 5’6” with an athletic body that showed he was no stranger to the gym. 

“Hi, hi,” he said pumping my hand with excitement.  “I’m so psyched you came.”

I liked him immediately.  He had a warm, no-nonsense energy that matched his non-threatening and fair-skinned, Irish looks.

Kevin led me inside and introduced me to the guitar player, a tall, lanky guy with thin, shoulder-length hair in need of a good washing.  The lead singer was female and a cross between Avril Lavigne (waif) and Katy Perry (big, brown eyes).  She seemed nice, albeit a little introverted for a lead singer, but she played the bass which immediately earned her cool points in my book.

“Did you bring your congas?” the guitarist asked.

I looked at Kevin, who immediately jumped in and said, “Nah, man.  The other girl plays the congas.  Liz just sings.”

He didn’t mean to make me feel less-than, but I’m a competitive person and I didn’t like being up against someone who sang and played an instrument.

Uncomfortable, I went for the humor.

“Ohhhh…congas!!  Yeah, I brought my congas.

With that, I gave my large breasts a provocative shake for effect as the joke hit the ground like a bag of wet sand.
The audition didn’t get much better.  The music was heavy-metal and a complete mismatch for my sweet, almost ethereal voice.  The lead singer seemed lost in the music and offered me no musical direction while Kevin and the guitar player – who was also the lead singer’s boyfriend - bickered throughout.  It was awkward, at best – me standing there, trying to follow along and not blow my vocal chords trying to be heard above the angry music.

When it was done, Kevin followed me out, apologizing profusely for wasting my time.

“It’s cool,” I said.  “It was nice to do a little singing.”

“I think you should do a LOT of singing,” he said, pulling out a business card from his pocket.  “Call me at work tomorrow.  Maybe we can do our own thing.  I know a great piano player / producer.”

Walking down the street, I hardly noticed the drunk guy peeing in the garbage can on the corner or the old, homeless lady whining about needing some “CAW-fee.”  I was floating and excited to have made a musical connection.

In the months that followed, Kevin pushed me to make a demo with his friend, Jerry – a legally blind, piano-playing-producer who lived in Astoria.  We’d talked about doing a show, but fear side-tracked me, as usual.

But now, it was time – especially with Albert on my ass.  Things were set:  Me, Kevin, Jerry at The Cove in just three short weeks.

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