I am the lead singer in a rock and roll band called Low Rise. We do primarily deep cut covers of classic rock songs peppered with a few glam and cock rockers as well. Ive been a member for about a year and a half now since they parted ways with their previous singer and I joined, after being out of any kind of rock and roll scene since my cross country tour with Bang Camaro in 2009. A triple shot of the "D"s will do that to you.. I'm, of course, referencing my other tour..that three and a half year traverse through death,divorce and depression that I've blathered on about ad nauseum on this here blog.
The five of us meet in a miniscule basement room in South Philly that smells a bit like a litter box once a week to practice, working through our repertoire like any good bar band should. We are all in our mid 30s to mid 40s with busy lives and different musical backgrounds, and the goal is to play out once a month or so. We struggle and stumble like any other band on this level of dedication, with that wanna be rock star dream firmly in our rear view mirrors. On some weeks, life gets in the way of perfecting that drum fill, hot lick, or vocal inflection. And on just as many occasions, we feel the click..we're in the groove and the songs sound superb.In all honesty, we never know what can transpire, but the focus is to rock hard and carry a big stick to the best of our abilities, basically pressure free.
I'm the only member who is a parent, and who is single. Getting to practice ain't easy, and when my son is with me, he tags along, mostly on school nights. I work downtown, and he goes to school in our neighborhood. On practice days I have to drive 40 minutes from work to pick him up at an aftercare program at school, stop home to change and scramble to make a sandwich or stop for a slice of pizza en route back down to the city in time for practice at seven. There he has to gobble his dinner, do his homework and entertain himself while Dad mans the mic down in the basement. Bless his sweet little head.
When I first joined this band, I had my doubts. It wasn't a perfect scenario, it wasn't a "good enough" scenario for a weathered old pro like myself. I bit my tongue, I kept my ego and my comments in check. I had always been a team player in all of the bands I was in, even those I started and led. But my two cents were the ONLY two cents that ever mattered in my mind, so the emotion was rote at that point. There were a handful of times I was ready to exit stage left, and go back to my lifestyle of staring at the glass half empty and torturing myself by complaining about it. That cop- out has caused so many missed opportunities that I've lost count, and when I finally picked up that tally where I'd left off, I was at a dead end every single time.Boo fucking Hoo.....
Something has changed from that point to the one where I am at this very moment. Much to my surprise, I started to have fun.Fun! That anomaly, that sham, that foreign body trying recklessly to permeate my soul all these years..... After a few months, I was able to warmly(and with affection) introduce my sarcasm to certain situations, snafus and false starts within the confines of practice, and slowly, my true character came to light and was well received. No way! Way! I realized that I had a buddy or two to go to rock shows with, to socialize with outside of practice after years of going it alone. I realized that I had not only bandmates, but friends. In short, I got over myself, I saw that glass half empty, chugged it and filled it up again. I was able to forget my troubles and just rock steady for a few hours a week, but gain some friends for a much longer period of time. Invaluable lesson.
When you have a connection you didn't have before, you start to tend to it, nurture it..watch it grow. I started to want to go to practice, NEED to go to practice...to see my friends! And maybe play a few rock songs while we're at it. That really meant the world to a surly bitch like myself. To be amongst peers, who accepted me for who I am and actually valued my company. When you have that connection, you put more effort forth, effortlessly.
We've had a pretty good run as of late, and are just coming off a sort of triumphant gig to a packed house, where I battled a horrible sore throat that arrived two days before the show. I was able to make it through, with my band at my side, just up there rocking socks and taking names. I am sure that the rock solid connection I now have with my bandmates had a shit ton to do with it.
So thank you,fellow members of Low Rise. Thank you my friends Derek, Robert, Christian and Jen for everything you do for me, inside and out of that basement. Here's to more gigs, more laughs and more love...