PARRRRTAYYYYNow get back to work (now with pikchurs)

In our last adventure, I was showing pics of drums and stuff and talking about a big, company blowout after a big software release. It happened, and it was on a Thursday night rather than Friday. My guess is that the venue (golf/country club) wasn’t available then because of the short notice.

The second reason for the big blowout was a sendoff for a top, well-liked exec who was leaving the company. Who ALSO happens to be a rocker who’s been in and out of garage bands most of his life, and now wails away with his kids as well as friends. And yet another exec in the band has been a semi-pro musician for nearly three decades. Add my local coworker whose degree is in Music, not Computer Science, our bass player with at least a few years of professional Scottish highlands music under his belt, and me, the meek and worried gal playing drums for a church band. A CHURCH band. They’re not really keen on me breaking sticks and heads from playing too hard.

During the big blowout rehearsal, I was chided for not going “medieval” on the drums. You know, like Alex Van Halen before me. Three years of playing “just right” for a church band needed to be reversed in but a few hours. We ran through a few songs, and I mean a FEW. Concerns were raised about me not going medieval on the songs I’d be singing, too. Then the execs refused to decide on the order of our songs.

This was the final lineup:
Exec1, aka the short-timer: Lead guitar, backup vocals, backup drums
Exec2 (the semi-pro): Lead guitar, lead vocals, backup vocals
Local Coworker: Rhythm guitar, keyboard, backup vocals, backup drums. Yes, he plays everything. And was NOT afraid to go medieval on my set.
The Highlander: All About the Bass
Me: Drums, Lead Vocals, Backup Vocals
Sudden, last-minute, semi-pro drummer who’s completely left-handed and had to switch around my whole set whenever he played: Drums, and played my drums as though they’d killed his family, and he had finally caught up with them after years of dogged pursuit and could exact medieval revenge upon them.

ihm band2

You might notice that a lot of people were on drums. Apparently it’s something that anyone can do. :-\

6 p.m., and coworkers are showing up. Mingling, drinks, no food yet (there never is), some random fiddling with instruments. Lyrics to all the songs had been printed up and strewn about the tables. The folks running the event announce that everyone was encouraged to come up and sing if they felt like it. Once food was served, I ate only mashed potatoes and a cup of chocolate mousse. The rest of their food was meat, so I passed. The exec bandmembers pour down some beers. Local coworker and I abstain.

For almost every song I was going to sing lead on, I’d practiced drumming, as well, because it’s rather difficult to do both. At least one requires simplification, and I chose to make it the drum part. No point in skimping on the singing.

The Reality: Once we finished rehearsing, I never saw the boom mike again that I’d been using to sing and play. That meant that, for the actual performance, I had to hand over my sticks for every song where I was lead. This worked out OK, because the “backup” drummers are better than I am. They also collectively beat the shit out of my sticks and heads.

We opened with “Sweet Home Alabama.” Our semi-pro is from there, so you know: anthem! It was well-received. We had never played together as a band until that day, so… Yay, us! From there it was chaos running the show as people called out what they wanted from the list, and either rushed up to sing, or were content to listen. I can be… territorial, so for the songs where I’d picked lead, I only accepted backups for the chorus. This wasn’t an issue, because most people only know the chorus of songs, anyway.

ihm band  ihm band3

Here’s the final playlist, in no order after “Sweet Home.” An (L) means I sang Lead, (B) for Backup, and if no letter, I was just on drums. And remember, for most of the songs, we had never played together before.

Twist and Shout, Back in Black (L), Highway to Hell (L), All the Small Things (L), Should I Stay or Should I Go, I Love Rock and Roll, Don’t Stop Believing, Rock and Roll All Night (L), We Will Rock You (L), I Wanna Be Sedated, Honky Tonk Woman (B, plus COWBELL), We’re Not Gonna Take It (L plus Cowbell), You Really Got Me (Van Halen version), Won’t Back Down, Friends in Low Places

See the people rocking out? They’re all Executives. I’m not sure which song this is. Maybe “I Love Rock and Roll?”

ihm band7

Planned for but never got to: Don’t Bring Me Down, Louie Louie / Wild Thing, Ain’t Talkin’ Bout Love, Celebration, Bad Reputation, Pipeline

We Will Rock You: I really, really, really wanted to sing and drum for this one, but that crazy boom mike had disappeared. Exec1 grabbed my sticks from me and started thumping. Backup singers were gathered around a microphone. I pulled off a wireless mike and demanded THUMP-THUMP-CLAP from the crowd. Soon enough they complied, so I rapped out the lyrics and handed the mike to other people during the chorus. People were pleased and did not expect me to be… rocking out so. I think the bandmembers learned then that I tend to hold back during rehearsals, because the energy just isn’t there for me until I’ve got an audience.

Back in Black / Highway to Hell: I would not perform those songs without wearing a cap like Brian Johnson’s, so I’d actually bought one especially for the night. I think I did a passable version of musical screeching. Both songs were big crowd-pleasers. I regret that I needed cheat sheets of the lyrics.

ihm band5 ihm band6

Rock and Roll All Night: THE KISS song. I think that everyone in the room was on stage with us to sing the chorus. No cheat sheet of the lyrics. Come on!

I Love Rock and Roll: Funny; we’d rehearsed that one with me singing lead, but The Case of the Disappeared Boom Mike meant that our male, lead guitarist ended up warbling about a chick going home with a teenager.

Friends in Low Places: never mind not rehearsing together; I had never heard the song before, period. But there’s nothing exotic about it, so I figured out pretty quickly where to add fills and such. People thought that we’d practiced it, heh heh.

I Wanna Be Sedated / Won’t Back Down: both were sung entirely by people from the crowd. And I never had a clue where they were in the song. You’d think that they didn’t have the lyrics printed right out there for them.

ihm band8

All the Small Things: from never having heard it before, to learning the words and now really liking the song. Another one that I expected to drum and sing on, but it worked out just to sing it. This also meant that I knew where all the breaks and solos are. It has a really cool, 16-measure break in the middle, so I bopped about like an idiot while it was winding up, then BAM back to the chorus.

ihm band4

We’re Not Gonna Take It: THE song I was waiting for all night. Is it stupid and simplistic, like all those 80’s Hair Band Angry Anthems are? OF COURSE IT IS. But the video for it has Niedermeyer screaming at his kid until Twisted Sister defeats him with loud rock. It is a beautiful thing to see. I had to pay homage to this by screaming at the band before the music begins. “WHO ARE YOU? WHERE DO YOU COME FROM? ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME? WHATTA YOU WANNA DO WITH YOUR LIIIIFE?”

The only correct answer: “I WANNA ROCK!” {{a mighty guitar chord blows Niedermeyer threw the wall!}}

Now, I didn’t get a chance to be lead, per se, because a lot of people were trying the verses, too, but sometimes it was just me when they got lost. In the final chorus, aka the moment I was waiting for, we hear Niedermeyer again, screaming “YOU’RE ALL WORTHLESS AND WEAK! NOW DROP AND GIVE ME TWENTY! A PLEDGE PIN?!? ON YOUR UNIFORM?!?”

So while everyone else continued with the chorus, I did the Niedermeyer part. I mean really did it. I MAY NOW CROSS THIS OFF MY BUCKET LIST.

ihm band9

And the party included… THIS:

Sorry, you won’t find me in it. I was still behind the drum kit. I’d been experiencing hypertension for two weeks over worrying about the music. I wasn’t about to add dancing to the mix.

All right, maggots! The band finished its set, people repeated their flash mob dance and then some, hugs, farewells, oh, and packing up our equipment. I got home around 11:30pm and didn’t make bed until around 1 a.m.

Oh, I mentioned this was on Thursday, yes? Unless we’d made prior arrangements, well… Back to work on Friday! YAYYYYY!

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About herdthinner

Writer and artist who pays the bills with another job
This entry was posted in True-Life Adventure and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to PARRRRTAYYYYNow get back to work (now with pikchurs)

  1. NotAPunkRocker says:

    ROCK ON!

    “Go medieval” –that’s just code for awesome on top of awesome! 🙂

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