The Band


At the local Hospital:

Photo Sep 29, 10 58 48 AM

The hospital is a weird place to be starting a blog from…thankfully I am just here for my check-up. I just had blood drawn and now waiting for my Doc. I hate needles, these people are pretty good, I hardly felt anything other than a slight prick. They give you this weird band to wear for a while to hold on the tiny band-aide.

Photo Sep 29, 11 06 05 AM
After I leave here, it is off to teach my Chan meditation class. I have been given the official blessings to teach from not only the leader in Taiwan but the board in Ca. Not really a big deal to any one but me and considering I am the only Child of Africa blood line to be so entrusted. It is a big deal on a small level.
Anyway afterward it will be lunch then off to do yard work for Aoki Sensei. it maybe the last of his yard for the season. The little extra money has been nice, however it is a bit tiring to go.
None of which this post is about.
The band, we had our first official gig this past Sat. Yup a real “gig” with pay. We played at a Small club/bar called “Chicago Rock Blues and Soul bar” this was my third time playing there, the other two times were just sitting in with the band. This time I am part of the band.
We worn our newly designed, by me Band-wear T-shirts. I was surprised they were ready in time as it was just pulled together at the last moment.
The gig went pretty well, it was a loose feel to the evening. There was not a big crowd, but enough people that we got paid. Here the group get a part of the door fee. We did a warmup-semi jam then went into the planned songs. It was fun to play some extended pieces free style. Surprisingly it went better than I thought even with no real practice and three songs with no practice at all. Prime example”Watermelon Man” we did a version with the guitar player playing a verse and me singing a verse, we switch back and forth, vocal and guitar. Then at the end, whilst trying to figure out an ending the drummer changed rhythms along with me and we did a jazzy swing. It sounded pretty cool! At least live it did, the tape audio is funky!
The drummer and I switched up beats on several songs to give some variety to the standard blues. I was really our first time seriously playing together.
The only bummer for me on the evening was I wanted to record some audio. I had two recorders with me. One, the good one, did not function well. I think the power draw was too much for the rechargeable cheap battery. It turn on and started to record but, cut off shortly after I stop paying attention to it. I changed to my iTouch/iPod. It worked well however the sound sucked as it was too close to my Bass. Well now I know for next time how to set things up better. I did manage to piece together a couple of video/audio tunes so I could judge how we sounded.

I was told by the band leader, he wanted me to sing most of the songs. I gave more appeal/advantage to the band. Of course. Doing Blues/soul music with a real Black American playing and singing, gives the band a better distinction than an all Japanese band, trying to sound soulful. I do have to say a couple of the singers I have heard do a good job of copying the old Blues singers. Some other not so much and the words do not make sense. As LZ and I expected for once my color gives me some advantage. In the States I am just another singing Bass player, here being the “token” equals work. There are a lot of good blues bands in the area, some even have “Gaijin” but none with a Player of Color.
We have another club date there in Oct, at the Chicago Rock. Along with another planned spot back in Kobe for another benefit show. This time for some kids in Katmandu. It is a pretty big club, with generally a fairly large turn out of musicians there for the Jam. This is were I first met the current guys I am with, plus some others. I am looking forward to going back there, more so now that I am with the band and we have a style and material. Another plus to that is we understand the use of sound dynamics and not just playing loud, as what generally happen with a “jam” of just people gathering to play. It should be interesting as we will have another friend sit in on the Bass, whilst I do Keyboards and maybe a Sax player also set in. Tenor Sax is not my favorite sound, but it does give a different depth to a song.
There is some talk on an invitation we received to be in a large Blues Show in Kyoto in Dec to promote “black” music. No money, but it could be fun and exposure, as well as interesting for me meeting new people in a different venue.
The hospital is crowded today. I hope I will not be made late or miss doing my class. I guess I am waiting for my lab work.
Ahh, there was an emergency down at the ER, so everything is backed up. However I am done now, saw my Doc and am waiting for my regular prescription.
Then lunch after my Chan class
Photo Sep 29, 2 49 17 PM
Photo Sep 29, 2 57 04 PM
Celebration lunch for my first music gig. it was good. Corn soup, calamari salad.
Eaten and enjoyed with gratitude _/|\_

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