Monday, January 19, 2015

The Antidepressants

Every so often, I feel the need to rock.

I've been in a number of hard rock bands. The first one up here broke up when the drummer moved out of the state. The next one broke up when the singer decided to focus on his other band. The last rock band broke up when the singer decided "to quit music forever" (his words). I miss all these.

Sure, I play plenty of music now. Yet however awesome my alt-country/alt-rock band might be, there's nary distortion to be found. And yes, I get plenty of opportunities to play singer-songwriter, but emotively whining while strumming an acoustic ain't matter how much kazoo I might insert into the mix.

There's just something about hitting a chord on a distorted guitar, something powerful, something cathartic, something satisfying, something essential, something primal. It's the act of striking metal, which leads to the resulting vibrations being turned into electrons, then bent and twisted through effects, then amplified and distorted inside glowing vacuum tubes, then thrust through magnets and paper back into the realm of vibrations, so they can smack you clear in your chest. Add a band, and magic can happen.

A friend was talking with a local musician who was familiar with my stuff from open mic nights, and said musician said I would be even better with a band. This was not exactly breaking news for me, but assembling a band can be a vexing and confounding process. Issue one is that everyone in the world seems to be a guitarist, but the other instruments are more scarce. Then one has to try and combine differing schedules, differing tastes, differing attitudes towards music in general. And music is such that it tends to be deeply emotional...and thus tends to amplify any possible conflicts. Friendships can be severely damaged in the process...and I know this intently, as I lost one of my best friends after playing in a band together.

I have actually succeeded once in assembling a backing band...making the act TheMikeDuBose and the Antidepressants. Then the bassist backed out, so I had to move the drummer to bass and recruit another drummer. Then we played a festival, and even though we had a good set, no one was there to see us. And did I mention that the other guitarist was the singer in my other band, the one who broke up the band by quitting music forever? And this kind of caused my backing band to disintegrate as well.

In December, I managed to get booked to play a festival, and I decided it would be fun to assemble a backing band for the occasion. After a few false starts, I managed to get a power trio together. After the second practice went well, my rhythm section said they would be open to doing shows every other month. Then my sometimes trombonist was able to join us for the set...and it was magnificent. We were much tighter than we had any right to be, and we sounded good. I think the rest of the band agreed, because we started to make actual plans. So The Antidepressants 2.0 are officially on the scene. And I think we went over well; not only did we get plenty of complements, but I sold some CDs, and we did get asked to play the bar regular's birthday bash.

I have rock and roll back in my life. Everything is awesome.

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