With so much unsettled and in-flux, sometimes the Music guy gets lost, hmm set aside not really lost. Goes dormant, like the ceramic potter dude, the creative entity. Yeah that’s it, the Creative Zen Face is hidden behind the mast of surviving. I had not given up hope of playing again just embracing the stillness and trying to be hopeful, In the face of the void. I put out a few feelers for contacts but nothing, zip, nada, zenzen..
A couple of weeks ago a guy contacts me from a local ad. He is looking for some people to start a group. He is also a foreigner, he was relatively nearby. However at the time he wanted to meet I was busy. Also I did not get answers to some questions I had, so I did not put a lot of energy or trust into the plan. I let the day go pass he wanted to met, however let him know that I perhaps was interested for another day, rather than just let him hang. Because that is not how I roll, just leaving people to hang.
So he contacts me a few days later, wants to setup another meet this time with other players. He sends me a list of songs he wants to do. Ok, I look it over and shoot him back a few more questions. It takes him a few days to reply. Hmmm ok. He sends me an updated list one evening, the next day I am told the band is breaking up, not going to happen, internal issues. jheeze ok, my ZenSense was right something was off about this. He writes again wants to know if I will work with him on another project we can collaborate. For me since it is a playing outlet and mostly will be on-line connection, I say ok. A few days later he contacts me again, can I be on standby for another band rehearsal, he is working on gathering some new people? Hmmmm , ok I say. I am free that evening. He gives me a main song he wants to work on for his brother, and I should if I have a chance look over the other songs so we can have something to go through at the two hour session.
So I wait until the night before the gathering to practice a few of the songs. Just enough to get the structure and feel. Not enough time into it just in case it falls apart I feel like I wasted my time. A couple of songs I am familiar with, a couple I have heard, others no clue. He is into metal, and rock. I have not done rock in years and am not a fan of metal. However as a professional I put my personal taste on hold if I am going to be doing something with a plan for money. So i put more time into the songs I like. I do like some rock, just not metal. The next day I grab some charts, make a few notes, and head off to rehearsal. The gaps I figure can be filled in at rehearsal with the guitar player. So I am on the road.
It is bloody cold heading out. Crimaney! It is over an hour of commute to the rehearsal hall. I have to change train lines a couple of times. Not great fun but, it worked out. I had directions from LZ , still I know to confirm things as I go if in doubt. Good I did, I almost got on the wrong train. However feeling very uneasy I asked. Good thing. I would have went the wrong way. Unlike the guy joke about not asking direction, I have no problem asking. It all worked out and I ended up where I needed to be when I was suppose to be there.
I waited at the meeting spot for my contact. A short while later his friend shows up. We go to the coffee shop to wait for the leader. The shop has a one drink minimum. 450 yin for a glass of tea. Ouch, itaii! After 800 yin to get there! Ok so the band Kaicho and drummer shows up. He is from Chile his friend the guitarist is from Spain. It was kind of nice to hear and speak Spanish again here in Japan. I am surprised both are married to Japanese, so they say they are stuck here 🙂 . Both have been here for over 8 years. They say it is Very very hard to find, start, keep a band here. Many people do not respond, or show up or whatever.
Side thought: it could be, keeping , forming a band because I do not think this is a heavy metal/hard rock town. I see a lot of interest in the Blue jams. Also J-pop, seems big, but what do i know, I am a newby and old.
Anyway we go around the corner to the rehearsal studio. oh, snap a nice place! Several practice/ recording rooms, musicians hangout (young), one can rent anything needed to play or record. Nice setup. We go to our room and get ready. It takes me a bit as I find my batteries are dead! No problem they have some for sale there, or I can rent a Bass to use. I opt to buy batteries. I am using my Bass. One of those I inherited from my late brother.
So there are two issues I see with the band, right away!
1. They play loud!
2. I did not bring my ear plugs.
To me that is one of the draw-backs with Metal it is too loud. The rehearsal seemed loud just to be loud, there was no reason for it. Three musicians in a closed room do not need to play at that volume. I had my bass amp up 1/2 and still had issues really hearing what I was playing or singing. They had ear plugs! It is easy to play loud, just like it is easy to go fast doing Tai Chi or Kung Fu. It takes more skill to go slow, you can not cover your mistakes with speed, you can not cover your mistakes with volume. Ok, that is one of the things I need to bring up at the next gathering. Turn down the volume until it is needed. No need to be loud just because you can. Good music and quality is about controlling dynamics. Not just volume. How can you go louder for effect if you are already loud? If one is deaf from the loudness, going louder has no effect. I did not say anything that night, since I was still adjusting to things and filling a roll for night I figured, I would just roll with it and play.
We play on it goes fairly well, other than the loudness. Did I mention that is was too loud? Way loud, ridiculously loud. I ended up singing a bit which I had not planned on, but still ok, even though my voice is not used to it. I could feel it fight back soon, so I am glad it was only limited. Anyway we got things done it went over all ok. We spoke of getting together again, perhaps with a female singer that they knew.
There was also some talk of another location which would be closer for me. I was all for that any transportation saving is a good thing. More so when I found I had to pay to use the rehearsal. It is space. It is logical of course. I used the studio amp, however had not planned on that from the beginning.Also not having disposable income surprise payouts is not cool. I had not thought about that since I did not set things up nor was it mentioned, other than there was equipment there I could use. I thought I was sharing someones amp. The last “jam” I went to was someone’s private space we used what was there and it was no cost. Oh well,it was a bit of a shock to come up with more money, but now I know what to expect. I can see rehearsals with this guys will be limited to a couple of times a month max under these conditions. Most of the study work, gathering the ingredients, prepping will be at home to then coming together to do the “baking” so to speak. It does need to at some point develop some cash inflow, it can not be another total cash output. This would not sit well with the “Home Kaicho”!
Now some of the good parts about this is that I do enjoy some good Rock and Roll, I can pick some songs I like of any gentry and do not have to do just metal, hard rock and the like. I would go bonkers with that. Another thing is with just a three piece rhythm section and the guitarist more of a rhythm player than a lead I can use my harmonicas to fill-in. This could turn into fun most times. Now the thing is , can this band get some work, Even the odd job to start then maybe once a month or two months would be great. That will be another issue to deal with down the line. For now, just playing and rebuilding my “chops” will be the task at hand. My fingers hurt, I need to put in some practice time to develop callouses again.
The ride home was long. It started snowing when we came of out the studio. Every time I looked out of the train window I would see snow. It did not bother me that much at first. I was on a musically high, feeling like a musician again! On my last train switch I ended up on the wrong train and ended up going to Kansai Airport! Yuk i missed a change I should have taken. Then when I was riding back from that mistake, I made another and got off a station too soon, so had to wait in the cold for the next train. All the while the time is getting closer to train cut off.
I finally made it to home station maybe on the last or next to last train. It was a long ride. There was snow everywhere. It had stuck and changed my world into real winter. It was rather pretty I had to admit, bloody cold , but pretty…pretty bloody cold!
The next it rained all day and for the most part got rid of the snow. It did leave some patched beauty around to be enjoyed for a while when one dressed warm enough.
Dressing warm enough was the key issue for that evening as I find out it is Zen night. However that is another story…