Sunday, January 22, 2006

Band Practice

It's time to pay the piper (or, in my case, learn how to use my pipes again). The Swinging Orangutangs, our five-piece rock band, has a gig Feb. 4 in downtown Marietta. Uh-oh, we're soo rusty. So we came together in our specially soundproofed music room downstairs to practice for about three hours this afternoon. Liam had cousin Gus over, and Phoebe had neighbor McKenzie over, and they all ran around outside playing Zongies (a variant of Zombies, a Scooby-Doo inspired roar-and-pursuit game.) Chet was odd man out, so he joined us for practice, although he couldn't understand why it had to be so loud. He plastered his ears against his skull and took refuge in my chair, but he seemed to enjoy being part of the scene. He certainly enjoyed schmoozing with charming Vincenzo Mele, our bass player,
I will control you with irresistible beams from my eyes

and lovable Uncle Steve McCarthy, our drummer.
hello Uncle Steve I love you so much and by the way are you planning to finish all that pork?

Both Bill and his brother Andy were in rare form tonight, and both had written new songs for the occasion, something that impresses me no end. It looks like both songs will be added to the repertoire, too (which doesn't always pan out). I was really proud of the boys.
It was a little unsettling to realize just how out-of-shape we are, musically. At one point Bill, our lead guitarist, held up his left hand and yelled at it, "WORK WITH ME, HERE!" which cracked us all up. We were attempting to revive "Reelin' in the Years" and Bill's hand was balking. The Swinging Orangutangs played hard for more than six years--we did at least a gig a month and often two or three. (That's playing hard for people with full-time jobs and kids!) We were probably busiest when Phoebe was an infant, and that was murder. When Liam came along I told everyone I was going to bow out for awhile. We took about six months' break and then started playing hard again. When our fab-fave-never-will-be-topped bar, The Crow Bar, closed down, we lost heart and folded for two years. We had a wonderful group of people who turned out to see us every time, and that kept us learning new songs so we wouldn't bore anyone. One of the proudest achievements of my life was alphabetizing our gnarly dog-eared lyrics in a folding accordion file, so that when somebody wants to play "Don't Fear the Reaper" or "Well Alright" or "Time After Time" or "Smoky Joe's Cafe," well, I just turn to Sections D, W, T, or S and magically produce the lyrics and sometimes even the chords. At this point we've got pretty much everything memorized, but when you've been away from it for awhile, it helps to have that lyric sheet taped to the mic stand. Now we're hoping our gang will still turn out to support us. They're the dancin'est people in town.

After practice we demolished a nice pork shoulder slow-cooked with sweet potatoes and apples, with a sauce of apple juice, orange juice, honey, and brown sugar. Yummy! Chet of course went into cruise mode, wheedling his way onto laps in hopes of finding scraps on plates. He makes you think he wants you to hold him. We all know what he's really after, no matter how demure he acts.Hi darlin' pork pork pork pork pork can I climb on your lap pork pork pork pork pork aren't I sweet? pork pork pork

So there will be a couple more practices before we're ready for an outing.
Every time I think we are getting too old for this stuff I get a mental image of The Rolling Stones and I don't feel so bad.