Let's flash it up.
Our first jam session was a nightmare. At school, we always planned to play together as a passing joke. That moment, though, was the first time the two of us actually met to share ideas. We sat and plotted out tunes, but as time wore on we could feel the pressure. Tension had been running high for some time. Working out a band’s style is always hard, but it was then that our relationship became strained.
“You come up with any ideas band names?” he asked while he wrote an idea down.
I looked up from my own notepad and blinked, “We can’t be a band with two people,” I noted.
“Bill Steacy and Rod S. want in,” my friend said, tapping the guitar on his side, “Bill’s pretty good on bass, I’ve seen him, and Rod said he can play drums.”
“That’s fine, but Rod plays the drumming games at the arcade,” I said, “so unless he’s got his own set, then no.”
Nonchalantly, he waved me off, “Whatever, whatever. Can we have a name or not?”
I spun an idea around in my head. “How about The Retreads?”
He blew a raspberry, “Sucks. What if we bomb? Then everyone’s gonna call us The Retards.”
“We’ll be The Retards, then,” I quipped, “Anyway, you got a song or what?”
“Okay, how about this?” he said, picking up his six-string. Strumming the chords and humming out something droll-sounding, the following fell from his lips:
The party’s been goin’ for ‘bout an hour
And I’m stuck in fuckin’ Toronto
The radio’s playin’ a zombie sex scandal
And a weather report for tomorrow
“It’s awful,” I said, bluntly, “And the melody’s been lifted from Rob Zombie’s ‘Ballad of Resurrection Joe and Rosa Whore.’”
“Oh it is not.”
“You played me that C.D. last week! Did you think I would forget?”
“Alright, smart-ass, let’s see what you got,” he snapped, resting the guitar on his lap.
Stretching my hands, I brought up my dad’s Gibson and set it across my knees. I had been working on this one for a good hour. I had it all ready, and I would wow him there and then. Fingers danced along the strings, and I sung:
I want to hold you close
I’ve got to have another dose
Of your love
I want to hold you tight
And tell you it’s alright
Oh, my love
There was silence for a minute as I let that word and the last thrum of the guitar strings hang in the air. My friend stared at the wall for a moment and then shook himself out of a trance. “Wow man,” he said, rubbing one of his eyes, “That’s really deep.”
I had succeeded. I took pride and nodded. “Thanks, guy.”
“What’s the next verse?” he asked, eagerly.
“Well,” I took my hands off the Gibson and put them in the air, ready to wow him again, “I’m thinking I’d do a bridge first, then I jump into a rap break –”
“No, seriously, I just jump in and be all Ladies shake your taint/ I’ll give a new coat of paint –”
“That’s awful. And women don’t have taints.”
“I don’t think so. You might be thinking of those things called Vaginas.”
Clearly, he didn’t understand my genius. I stayed the course. “Look, it’ll sound better once we perform it.”
“Perform it?!” he raged, “Are you mental?! That song’s awful! It should be tried as a goddamn war criminal! I wouldn’t play that crap if it was your dying wish!”
That left me stunned. I was wounded, and badly. I wanted to say to him, “Man, you know, that hurts. Y’know what? Let’s sit and talk it out and find a nice middle ground.”
But it came out as “You back-stabbing water buffalo!” and me storming from the room with a shattered ego.
We met again the very next week.
See you next time,
EDIT: May 20, 2012. Minor fixes.