don't remember exactly when it was that I first decided
to be in a band. It was just one of those high-school
things during my sophomore year that seemed like a
good idea. Seattle was all of a sudden the cool hip
place to be for musicians, Kurt Cobain still had the
top of his skull; it was a whole new world. So I decided
that the bass guitar was probably the best choice
for somebody with my poor motor coordination. If I
could have found an instrument that you played with
a Nintendo controller, I would have gone for that,
but sadly that technology was still a few years away.
for my birthday I got a shiny black Hohner bass and
a practice amp and right away got to fucking up. For
some reason, the fingers on my left hand are fairly
sensitive so to save them wear and tear I started
doing all of the fretting with my left thumb. They
say that the first two weeks of learning how to do
something are the most important, as this is now a
practice that I still haven't been able to shake.
the next step was to start a band. The first few attempts
at this led to failure, as we had band names, instruments
and cool haircuts but never the wherewithal to actually
write or practice songs. But eventually, my best friend
nate and I formed the rythym section of a band that
eventually ended up being called Smack, a name that,
in retrospect, seems about as hideous as anything.
to the fact that none of us had mastered the delicate
art of playing and singing at the same time, there
was a good amount of instrument-switching going on.
However, since I couldn't play anything else, for
some reason I ended up catching the lion's share of
the lyric writing and singing jobs. This was no good
other reason I picked the bass guitar is I like to
stay in the background. For all of my shiny dreams
of stardom, the actual act of being in the spotlight
is both horrifying and repellent to me. So I slowly
started moving myself out; considering that we only
had five songs, the fact that I worked my way down
to one was pretty good, although every time I sang
it was total torture.
the end of the year, we had our first "gig,"
playing at a party for Nathan Alidina, our "manager."
And we sucked, high, hard and in front of all of our
friends. My turn at the microphone had to be coaxed
out of me, and after we were finished, some shitasses
from the school jazz band picked up our instruments
and proceeded to smoke us out of the water. It was
a total disaster.
that, we strung it along for a little while, recorded
a five-song tape that we all too seriously referred
to as a "demo," but I wasn't feeling it
anymore. What was the point? We were yet another sucky-ass
garage punk-metal band, vainly toiling away. I started
to get pretty depressed and decided to form a new
band that would play the kind of music I wanted to
play. We practiced once, sucked, and hung it up.
went by. The band soldiered on, still with only about
five songs to our credit; we'd get embarrassed by
the old ones and refuse to play them anymore. My role
in the band began to fade away. It was always like
the idea of being in a band was way mor eimportant
than the actual band itself, and since it didn't matter
what we sounded like as long as we could make cool
fake record covers and try to snag chicks.
I threatened to quit the band because nobody was practicing,
and it turned out that it was pretty much fine with
them. My goth-fag incompetence was at odds with their
pink-haired rock star glamor, so we went our separate
ways. I was quickly kicked out and sent packing while
the other three guys replaced me with a honest-to-goodness
celebrity: Scotty Doohan, son of the fat engineer
from "Star Trek." Yes, James Doohan named
his own son Scotty. Nice move, you fat fuck. Scotty
was much more along the line of funked-up Red Hot
Chili Peppers bass playing so he fit in pretty well.
saw them play at an Amnesty International benefit
show that the school did every year. They were a lot
better without me - Doohan had funked up the songs
a liitle bit, and he made the traditional bass player
poochy face. They were doing all right.
that, I bought a four-track recorder and retired to
my room. I didn't really want to be in a band with
anybody but myself. At least I couldn't get kicked
out of that one. Or at least not so far.