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Practice With The Band...


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OFirst practice with the band Saturday. Spent most of the day at it—bass player and drummer and Sharma on electric guitar in the morning, lead guitarist in the evening; we’re planning on having everybody together in one place next Saturday.

It’s still pretty rough. That’s partly from Doug and Donny (drums and bass) not being familiar with the material, and part because they’re coming from a punk-rock background, where the instruments are just played differently. I’ve suggested to Sharma maybe we should substitute a couple of bluegrass songs that Screamin’ Gulch (which was a punk-rock band) was comfortable with, for a couple of the slower tunes. We’ll see. Dave (lead guitar) can play anything, I think, and do it well, and maybe with him there, it’ll all sound better.

We will be videotaped on Gig Night, and that’s good. But I want us to be perfect.

And of course I have Next Steps in mind. I’d like the band to get more gigs; there are a lot of venues in the Portland area that are looking (or say they’re looking) for entertainment, and it would be nice if we could be some of that entertainment. None of it appears to be country music, either, and it would be interesting to see if it’s possible to popularize country music in Portland, a place that has historically shied away from country music as not sophisticated enough. (There’s that endemic pretentiousness again.)

I have that next album to do, too—the one that’d be in a studio, not the Five Dollar Album—and I need a band for that; it’d be nice if these folks could be it. I tentatively raised those questions at practice, and—again, tentatively—they’re interested. Got to be perfect, though, in order to pull it off. (I am going to worry about the perfect part until we’re there.)

Ended up getting my amps fixed while I was at it (I have two, and they’d each developed a pretty annoying buzz); Sharma’s husband Sam took ‘em apart, and cleaned the volume potentiometers, and the old Austin amp ($10 at a yard sale, 10 years ago) sounds brand-new now. The little thing is about the size of my camera case (though quite a bit heavier), and I can put a shoulder strap on it (at last—a use for that old guitar strap) and it’ll be easy to take anywhere.

Pieces of the “Broken Record” project are all done; I have the individual tracks, and they do sound fine—Albert did a great mastering job. I’m waiting on the physical master disk to make copies from, because it supposedly has author and performer information “embedded” (so it’ll display on-screen when the song is playing), and that would be neat. Liner notes are done, label done, and cover done—they just need to get printed. (And I will go through at least one more set of printer cartridges in the process. I can tell.) First Joe-the-Music-Producer job took a while, but is going to turn out okay, I think.

St. Leif’s Day (March 29) is a Sunday this year, and since he’s the patron saint of bagpipes, it’s been suggested there should be jam sessions in his honor. That ought to be possible. I wonder where one could do it? I almost had a St. Leif’s Day concert last year in southern Oregon, but it ended up getting postponed a whole month, to April 29. It would be nice if St. Leif’s Day got celebrated more widely outside Sweden. Imagine—a holiday you celebrate by playing music…

Joe

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