So for those of our readers who actually pay attention to such things, you may have noticed I upgraded my little profile that appears at the bottom of this article. The new picture was taken this weekend at my band's very first gig — a Halloween party.
That's right, the Rockologist now has his own band. And for the record no, we are not a goth-metal band. The black cape and long hair are because I came dressed as V from the movie V For Vendetta (it's a Halloween party, right?). But I had to ditch the mask because I couldn't breathe wearing it. Eventually I also ditched the wig when the hair kept getting in my eyes, and I remembered just why I cut my own long hair all those years ago.
Anyway, the secret is out. Like most music writers, your Rockologist is essentially a frustrated rock star who moonlights in his own band. I first got bit by the rock star bug when I was about thirteen, and I formed a band with some of my buddies from the neighborhood. I played the drums back then. But when my bandmates found a better drummer than me (because in truth, I did basically suck at the drums), I was soon promoted to lead singer.
I always was kind of the loudmouth of the group, and they probably figured I was the only guy with the cajones to go out there and make an ass out of myself by pretending to be Mick Jagger and fronting the band. Of course, they were absolutely right.
We called ourselves Furnace and were together for about two years. We played things like the community summer street festival, talent shows, and dances at the local YMCA. Basically, we played for just about anyone who would put up with the racket we made. The most I think we were ever paid was about $25. split five ways. Hell, the truth is we loved playing so much we probably would have paid them.
So remember that drummer who was so much better than me? Huey was also my best friend back then, and in truth probably one of the best friends I've ever had. But after the band broke up, we eventually drifted apart for about 35 years for the reasons childhood friends often do. With me it was to pursue a career in the music business, and with Huey it was the usual marriage and kids deal.
Anyway, imagine my surprise when this past summer, Huey calls me out of the blue. The circumstances weren't the best — he was calling to invite me to attend a memorial service for his Mom (who always liked me a lot). But it was still great to hear from him. It was the first time we had talked in something like fifteen years.
So after the service we did some catching up, and he asked me if I still sang. I said no, because other than the occasional bad drunken karaoke, I haven't picked up a mike since my twenties. I did let him know that I still wrote songs though.
So since you probably already know where this is going, I'll just cut to the chase. I was invited to jam with his brothers who never stopped playing together, and it went so well we ended up forming a new band. Our first gig was at the Halloween party Saturday night, and to my utter amazement we were a smash hit.
The thing about playing in a band, though, is I had forgotten about all of the little things that are involved in the decision making. Bands are basically run like small democracies. Somebody has to bring the motions to the table — which according to Huey is why they needed me (I was always the guy who instigated things back in the old days). But once the motions are brought, everything is done by majority vote.
Take song selection for example. The guys had no problem taking on my originals, and as it turns out, they had a few decent tunes as well. But what about the cover songs we would be doing?
Since Huey and his brothers have tastes that run more to things like AC/DC and southern rock, and mine tend more towards rock-criticy stuff like the Dylans and Springsteens of the world, there was potential for conflict here. Which is where that magic word "consensus" comes into play. Basically I agreed to "Rocky Mountain Way," as long as we didn't do any Skynyrd, and they said okay to Bruce and Dylan as long as they could pick the songs. We came up with "Fire" (which being the Bruce nut I am we just kill) and "Knockin On Heavens Door" (which we rock up quite a bit).
Then there was the potentially touchy matter of coming up with a band name everyone could live with. I brought two suggestions to the table. One was BitTorrent because I thought it sounded edgy, and the other was Big Geez (with all due respect to my fellow scribe here at Blogcritics) because — well, if the shoe fits right? Both were shot down in flames.
So we finally decided on Aruigius G.
What is an Aruigius G you may ask? Well, the three brothers in the band are named Suigiura, which is spelled Aruigius backwards. And the G? That would be your favorite Rockologist here.
So we played our two sets at the party (actually we played the same set twice) on Saturday, and everybody loved us. There was even this one girl there who was an exchange student from China. She just stood in front of us all night with her mouth wide open like she was awestruck and had never seen anything like us. I had honestly forgotten just how cool it is seeing people react to your music like that. Later in the evening, while we were taking a break, I caught her trying to sing into my mike. You've really gotta love stuff like that.
So does this mean I'll be quitting my day job anytime soon? Slim to none would be the chances of that happening. I doubt we'll even play any real gigs outside of the occasional party — in fact, were already booked for a wedding reception after this weekend's wildly received performance. We also might record some of our originals. But I doubt we'd ever consider shopping them. It's just too late in the game for forty and fifty something year old guys to start thinking about trying to become rock stars.
But the way I look at it, reuniting with a really good friend, and basically having a blast every weekend jamming with these guys is absolutely worth carrying on with this whole Aruigius G business. I mean, if a bunch of aging old farts can get together to indulge some rock star fantasies on the weekends, there's no harm in that right? So for the time being, your frustrated rock star music writer is frustrated no more.
I'd really forgot how much of a rush playing in a rock and roll band can be.
Here's our setlist from the gig (which as I mentioned, we ran through twice because these are the only songs we've learned so far):
1. Shift (Original)
2. Knockin On Heavens Door
3. Gone (Original)
4. Honky Tonk Women
5. Hey Joe
7. Spellbound (Original)
8. Bittersweet Expression (Original)
9. Johnny B. Goode
10. Rocky Mountain Way
11. Movin' On (Original)
12. Rockin In The Free World