One of The Things I Left Out

It turns out that I was so busy living and working and whatnot that I didn’t bother to write for… months? Years? I’m not going to apologize, as I assume I’m writing mostly for myself at this point, and I have the supremely un-searchable Instagram and Bandcamp and other records of what I’ve been up to over the past four or five years that I can reference if I'm curious. For context, tho, it might be helpful to elaborate on how I came to form a band with my friends Brad and Sam. Here’s how I explained it to a friend in 2014:

When we signed The Beaner up for drum lessons and Rock 101 at the School of Rock back in September 2012, I said to Craig (the manager), "oh, this Rock 101 thing sounds like it would be no pressure—the kids are unlikely to laugh at me—so maybe I should sign up, too!" He replied that it was only for kids, but that occasionally they had enough interest to form an Adult Program. At that point they didn't, and I didn't think about it too much. The following summer, around the time I got back from Berlin, Craig said, "oh hey, we're getting an Adult Program together and have a couple guitarists and a drummer; if you're interested, let me know." I waffled for a bit and then signed up in August. I have bass lessons on Wednesday evenings, and then there's a two-hour "band" practice on Thursday nights. We played our first (and so far only) gig at the little club next door to the School of Rock (which is in the same building as the Electric Factory, a well-known rock venue; the little club is called Voltage). Yanni (Papadopoulos, of local band Stinking Lizaveta fame) is both the Musical Director of the Philly SOR and also the show director for the Adult Program; when I joined the group, he had been playing bass and singing all the songs because no one else could sing and play at the same time. I don't play bass as well as Yanni, but I learned my songs, and I also learned to sing a few while playing, so we were able to add songs like Glory Box and Ball and Chain to our repertoire. There are a couple videos of those up on Facebook. About five weeks before our first show our drummer quit, so Yanni played drums for the next few practices. I put out a call for a drummer on Twitter and on my blog… and to my surprise, one of the guys on my team at work, Brad, said he wanted to do it. Since Brad and I work together and we live only 1.5 blocks from each other, we either carpool or walk there and then get an Uber home. (Through December it was all walk/Uber because Al was teaching a class on Thursday nights and needed the car.) By the time of our first show Brad had only had 3 lessons, so he played 4 songs, I think, and his instructor (also Austen's instructor) played the rest for us.

The adrenaline rush was so high from playing that show that I couldn't start working on new stuff soon enough. :-) Things are a little weirder/more complicated now, though, as Adult Program isn't *quite* a band—it's a *program*. We ended up getting three new members in the two months after the first show (actually more than that, but only three stayed), and we lost one of the original guitarists to a move even before that first show happened (he came back for a rehearsal and the show itself). Brad and C (a 20-year old college student who kind of drives me crazy) switch off songs on drums now, A (also a 20 year-old college student, but with a really nice, calm vibe) plays backup guitar to O’s constant soloing, and N sings. I still sing too, but I'm conscious of the fact that if N's not singing, she doesn't have anything else to do... whereas I have a bass to play on EVERY SONG. Anyway, even tho it's a little weird now, Thursday is still my favorite night of the week. We have our second show (N’s, A’s, and C’s first) on May 1, and given that I'm in San Diego for Spring Break this week, I will only have one rehearsal before then. Ack! This incarnation of the group isn't nearly as tight as the first one, but I'm still looking forward to giving it a whirl on stage. Also, I have blisters and callouses on my fingers now. :-)

Our little Adult Band ended up playing a couple(?) shows after that, including one with the best incarnation of the group yet—me, Brad, an amazing singer who unfortunately left after our one show together to attend med school in Virginia, and a young guitarist named Sam. It was our first show where we didn’t need Yanni to play on any of the songs. After that show Brad and I lasted about two or three rehearsals before we decided we didn’t want to start all over again with a new bunch of folks who were just learning to play their instruments. As Yanni had been hinting for some time, we were ready to graduate and go our own way.

We ended up finding a practice space in South Philly, and the two of us jammed together for weeks, occasionally inviting a friend to come and play guitar or keyboards. Nothing really stuck until Sam finally agreed to come and play with us, at Yanni’s urging. At that point, we had a band. Sam wrote some great guitar parts over our drum and bass lines, and he and I traded writing lyrics for the songs the three of us composed together. (We discovered a pattern: I only wrote true stories, and Sam only wrote fiction.) Thursday night rehearsals became our thing, and we eventually played a couple shows (including one at my house in West Philly for the neighbors who’d expressed interest in what we were up to) before I moved to California. On the weekend before I left for good, we recorded our latest set of songs for posterity. As Brad notes, we never officially broke up; we just don’t practice regularly anymore. On my list of things to do this Christmas break is to write something—a fragment of lyric, a bit of bass line—and upload it to the band Slack that we still maintain for Brad and Sam to noodle on. I miss the musicianship, and I want to return to writing and recording and playing with my friends, even if we can’t be together in the same shitty practice space in South Philly.

Posted by Lori in music at 11:14 PM on December 26, 2020