Fake it till you make it

March 7, 2014

This show was pivotal. This was the first time in my music ‘career’ that I actually felt like a rock star. In my previous shows with Geppetto I had made an effort to look and act like a star (not being a snob, but engaging the crowd more), but I still didn’t know how to move and hold myself on stage. Despite hearing “you look comfortable up there” I still felt awkward.

The night began with The Mailbox Order, a young rockin’ punk band who looked like they were still in high school. The audience was made up of teen friends and parents. Everyone was standing still while the energetic rockers played their hearts out. Being a performer myself I know what it feels like to have what looks like an uninterested yet obligated crowd attend. It feels really awkward to be honest getting no response from people.

B-ROD, KCEXX and I went up to the stage and got all excited. We jumped, reached for the band and then began to mosh. Then, one by one some of the younger folks joined in and the band suddenly had a real audience.

This energy went on for the rest of the night as The Feros Project, Sektau, and Save the World get the girl took the stage. All the bands were very talented and I suggest you find them on Facebook, the whole night was a blast. The time came for us to take the stage. This time I wasn’t at all nervous. I felt like I knew this crowd, they liked moshing, jumping and rocking.

We began to play and I focused on looking how a rock star looks on stage, instead of just standing there and being boring. It wasn’t long before they started to mosh. I don’t know if they were moshing out of courtesy because we moshed for them, or if they did it because they just wanted to. As we went from the outright punk songs to the harder slower rock they kept up their energy.

   

As B-ROD began to solo they gravitated to him. When I told them to clap, they clapped. When I told them to do a circle pit, they did it.

When our set was over a few people wanted to take pictures with me, and then a handful more came up to compliment us on our show. It was awesome.

Winter Wasteland

Silent sorcerer began their set and for the first intro sounded really great. The guitars were perfectly balanced with the drums and keyboard, the distortion was just right for the style of music and they had a tightly blended sound… and then the guy started screaming or something. This wasn’t your average scream, it was weird. In my opinion they would make it much farther if the guy sang instead of this scream.

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After one or two songs Kevin and I went outside. I was trying to hide the panic that was building up inside of me as Kevin called Brandon. “You guys on your way?” asked Kevin “Woah, I didn’t mean to offend you princess” he continued. I found out about a phone call/screaming match between Brandon and GD that I’ll post later.

Kevin and I sat and chatted in his car as we waited for SS to finish playing and for the rest of the band to get there. I rolled down the window to hear if SS was still playing. They were done.

I went inside to see that they had cleared the stage, it was only like 6:20. We didn’t have 3 of our guys here, and only had a fraction of the gear. “They’re not here yet” I told GG “that’s not good, you guys are up!” she replied “I know” I walked off. I paced around for the next 10 minutes.

(Insert phone call/screaming match here)

6:30 – As I went to see if anyone had showed up I saw Brandon and Andrew bringing stuff in. We helped bring everything in to the stage and they started setting up. By the time his car was unloaded Waylen showed up with a posse who unloaded his drums.

6:40 – We had all the gear on stage, everyone scrambled to set up except for me. I didn’t know how to help, everyone has a unique setup. The sound guy was back with Waylen setting up mics as each piece of the drum set was put into place

6:43 – We began our sound check, Waylen was still setting up. First the guitars, then bass, lead vocals and back up. “Ok drummer, if you’re ready let’s hear the kick” said the sound guy.

6:45 – We began to play. Hell Mary was first. I don’t know what happened, but I messed up the lyrics on the second verse. It was bad enough that the guitars had to jump to where I skipped to. Transition was next, knowing me I probably messed this one up too. During the solo I realized we didn’t turn the fog machine on so I did that quickly. Basically the whole show felt off. I was sick all week, I was even hacking up my lungs the morning of the show. In a conversation with Waylen he let me know he didn’t even have his drums all the way set up until half way through the second song, and at one point he was down to one stick because the rest had broken.

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7:15 – We were done with our set. After the show our number one fan said “I don’t know what you guys did differently this time, but you sounded better than you’ve ever sounded before.” Somehow despite everything that went wrong we did a few things right.

Winter Wasteland: Out of Anger

My second show with Gorilla music. For some reason I wasn’t as excited to play with this group as I was the first time. I don’t know if it was the fact that we had some opportunities coming up that felt bigger or what. I’ll fill in details later. 

1:30 pm

I met Waylen up at the venue. We turned in our tickets. Last time we had 23 and were the highest selling. We had 18, and there were 4 bands left to check in. One of us had to stay until we knew what time we were going on, so I volunteered.

While I waited I heard a conversation between the lead singer of Out of Anger and the girl taking the tix and organizing the show, we’ll call her GG (Gorilla girl). I don’t know if she works for gorilla, but we will assume so.

The singer had asked how much it costs to run something like this. GG and GD (gorilla dude) were telling him there was a lot going into these shows; renting the venue, tax per person there, security, tickets, paying the bands, advertisement (ok, but for a small show like this they really don’t advertise)

I kept asking if the other bands had checked in so we would know a time. We wanted later, it’s always better. They finally gave me a ball park guess of around 6:00 or 6:45, and then said “These shows are always unpredictable. Some bands only have a 10 minute set so that will bring everyone else’s time earlier. If you’re down for 7 you should have your people show up at 5 so they don’t miss it.” I got my time, 6:45 so I let everyone know and left.

5:00 ish pm

I got back to the venue and when the next band got on stage I looked at who they were and where they were on the lineup. We were 10 minutes ahead of schedule.  Brandon had a soccer game at 5, in Layton.
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Out of Anger sounded good. It reminded me of Bon Jovi mixed with Metallica. The lead guitarist had talent, and they had good harmonies. On the downside though, I thought the drummer needed to do a lot more. It felt like a pop drum beat. I know I have no room to talk, I suck at drums. They also had some balance issues; the vocals were drowned out by the guitars and the rhythm guitar had too high of distortion for the type of music they were doing. All in all, I liked their music and I hope they make it far.

5:30

Silent Sorcerer was setting up. This the band just before us. I was getting more nervous. So far the only ones there were me and Kevin, he texted the other three to find out where they were. I was worried that Silent Sorcerer would finish and we wouldn’t have a band here to play. Brandon, Andrew and Waylen were all on their way. Brandon was saying “tell them we will be there on time according to the schedule. We are pros and won’t be late”

What’s gonna happen? 

Welcome to Mojo’s

                “It sounds like we’re gonna headline at Mojo’s on the 27th!” I told Ry’lee excitedly. “Wait, the 27th as in a few days from now?” “No no, not till January 27th” I clarified. “Isn’t Mojo’s like a high school hang out for the Ogden kids?” She asked. “Uh… I don’t know, I’ve never been there.” I said.

                A few days later, on December 27th I got a text from Kevin “Yeah there was some confusion. Ron meant tonight. Never mind” “So… no show?” I asked. “Unless everyone can” he added. It wasn’t much longer before everyone was last minute planning for the show. We were headlining, which means we were the most popular band playing at the show. It only really means something if you’re a huge band anyways.

                Honestly I was more nervous for this show than the first one we did. We hadn’t even gotten the whole band together since the last show. December is a tough month for small bands, and I would guess all bands. I ran through lyrics in my head to make sure I was still solid. We had almost no time to invite our own people so I was preparing to sing for people I didn’t know. Luckily we were the last band to play that night so we had a little extra time after work to prepare.

                When we got there we went straight to the back of the building. I felt legit. There were people moving equipment in and others moving equipment out. The building was small, and had writing and stickers all over the walls from many bands who had come through there. The bathroom was dirty and looked like your stereotypical 7-11 or concert venue bathroom. There was a younger woman sitting by the hall that connected ‘backstage’ to the main area. I could get used to this sorta thing. I was pumped.

                I walked into the area where the stage was and finally saw how small the hang out actually was. The band before us sounded like every other screaming band that’s been playing these local shows lately. Despite my thinking we sounded like a lot of other rock bands out there, I feel like we’re the only local band that doesn’t scream. Watch, now at our next show we’re gonna be just like everyone else.

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                The time came; we set up the gear and did our sound check. By now there were about twenty, maybe thirty, people. A few high schoolers who show up all the time and some people my girlfriend invited. We began to play and most everyone was standing or sitting, no moshing. There was one kid though who kept pacing back and forth like he had some weird disorder. We did a few of our slower songs, which I didn’t exactly expect much moshing, but when we played Don’t Give Up I actually thought there would be moshing. Instead the one kid paced a little quicker as if agitated with a phone conversation.

                After the 25-30 minute set we had pre prepared both us and the crowd felt like we should play more, but there wasn’t much more that we as a full group had prepared. The high school kids requested a few songs, a few members from the band knew some but not quite all of us did. This was the part that made me feel the need to write more songs and probably prepare a few more covers.

                The night came to an end and most the people had left. I loved it.

                

The Audition

                I wanted to perform. I want to perform. I wanted play shows in front of people, rock shows that people could mosh to, and vent out all their frustrations to. It almost didn’t matter what ‘type’ of rock, I just wanted chaotic music. I had heard over the radio one day that the group Capitol Cities met through the classifieds so I figured I might try it out. I found a bunch of groups, some were still in high school, some were cover bands, and some were looking for someone or something very specific. Among all those groups I saw one called Geppetto. The ad was very vague, but I figured I’d try it out anyways.

“Hey I saw your ad on KSL. Are you looking for a vocalist? –Mike”

“Mike, it’s good to hear from you. Give me a call sometime today and we can talk”

                Why not? I didn’t realize this was gonna be an over the phone interview. I felt like I was interviewing for a job. He told me to check out their youtube channel. I started learning their song “Transition.”

                I knocked on the bright red door and introduced myself to Brandon. We went to the band room downstairs and he continued getting everything ready. I’d never really auditioned for a band before. I’d auditioned for musicals, and choirs. I only had a slight idea of what to expect. He set up a few speakers and a microphone. I sang Transition once or twice, and then sat down with an acoustic guitar and sang a few songs I’d written: Don’t give up, and Ry’lee’s song.

                We chatted a minute, got to know each other, talked about music goals, he told me the way I sang reminded him of Incubus (which has got to be one of the best compliments I’ve gotten so far) and then as we walked out the door he said “Well let me know by the end of the week what you decide.”

                Who was I kidding? This felt right

My Turn

I walked up the 3 steps onto the tiny stage, looking down at my feet and slowly looking up to where the audience would be later that night. Euphoria surged as the memories began to shoot through my mind of all the bands I had seen perform right where I was standing: Hoobastank, Zebrahead, Ludo, Project 86… Just to name a few. The excitement rushed through as I anticipated my first rock show in a real venue (Also my first show with Geppetto).
“Do you guys wanna headline?” The guy in charge asked. “Hell yes!” I jumped. “Well… All of the people I sold tickets to have kids and need to be home early” added B-Rod. “Oh yeah… me too” I remembered.
The thought that we could headline, after selling a mere 23 tickets, gave me a huge adrenaline rush. I could’ve headlined my first rock show!
The lights went down and the music began. Reset My Soul took the stage first, 15 and 16 years old these kids were rockin’. We chatted with these guys for a few minutes, they’re pretty cool, you should check them out here Reset My Soul. They played well and were fun to watch. As the night pressed on my nerves got worse, how was I going to perform? Would I be flawless and amazing? Would I forget all the words? What if we had a technical issue? How would I react? So many things ran through my mind, yet the one thing that I never seemed to forget was that I was here to have fun.
This is a little piece of my big dream coming true a little bit at a time. I was on the path, working for my dream.