December 12 Jesse Gets A New Job
At the end of a not so productive (boo-koo rock-n-roll tunes to due to some spectators) practice, Jesse announces that he has a new job at Western Auto. This is good as his second child should be born in a few months. He will be making more money. Unfortunately, he will also be working nights. He addressed this very lightly, but the band seemed to become very anxious about this latest turn of events. How can you play out at night, and work at the auto store? The other thing bothering some of the band was Jesse’s attitude about the songs. It appears that he hates playing anything that is slower than a heart attack. Dave and Kevin elect John to find out the scoop and make sure Jesse is in for the long haul. Some announcements were made: Kevin announces that he has decided to take a break from his current girlfriend (Kim), and Jesse announces the Kickin’ Country is booking for July. We need to work on a demo tape as soon as this gig is behind us.
December 15 Kevin books a PAYING Gig
Kevin gets our first paying job by singing “Anymore” completely by himself in a bar to a bar owner. It’s at the Louisville VFW It’s in a week (Friday 12/22/95). We are not ready, but decide to do it anyway (it’s only the Louisville VFW). We should get paid around 200-250. The band must squeeze in a Saturday practice. We also decide to throw in a few Christmas tunes to fill in the time.
After talking with Jesse, John concludes that Jesse is fine. Everything will work out fine. This practice marks the first successful attempt of John singing backup on the song “Good-Bye Says It All.” The band actually produces three-part harmony for the first time (successfully).
December 19 – The Blizzard
In Ohio parts of the state receive 14 inches of snow. It snows and rains ice all day. This also happens to be the only day all band members could get together to practice before the VFW gig. Bummer. Practice is canceled due to the weather. John, Dave, and Kevin will try to hook up later in the month. Many of the roadways are averaging around 15-20 mph. It’s very bad. By the mid-evening, it is illegal to drive in Medina unless it is an emergency.
December 22 -The Louisville V.F.W.
Well, John, Kevin, and Dave tried to practice the day before the gig, but it wasn’t very productive. The band is kind of pushed for time to be ready to play by 8:00. Bernie the owner lets us know we can start at 8:30. It’s still snowing, but the roads are clear. The band is greeted by a Christmas decoration on the door that plays (and sings) “We wish you a Merry Christmas”. It’s cute. Also on the door is a sign that reads:
Our first gig, and already the band’s name has been hacked.
The band sets a record-setting up their stuff. The bar is small, but not to the point of being uncomfortable. Many trips are made to unload two pick-up trucks and a car full of equipment. The patrons get nervous as the group drags in two eight foot tall stacks of P.A. speakers. Each time hearing the door decoration sing “We wish you a Merry Christmas.” It’s getting a little annoying. The group is warned to keep the volume low.
After setting things up, the band opens the set without an official sound check. Dave starts the set with “The star spangled banner” that leads into God Bless Texas. Due to the size and layout of the bar, it takes the majority of the first set to get the sound right. The set included Dave going into the audience to play an extended solo. This seemed to thrill the crowd as they probably had not seen a wireless system before. The set ended with some not very planned improvisation of “Born to Boogie” where Dave explained how all of us were born (Kevin began singing, Jesse was pounding in his mother to get out, John’s fingers were going, and Dave was born with a guitar in his hand -a very painful labor). This is the bands first use of dynamics in a song. It turns out to be pretty good. The band followed Kevin back into the last verse and ended the song.
The band starts the second set with Christmas Carols (an idea that was put in place the night before). Dave and Kevin do this “unplugged” with two acoustic guitars. In between five Christmas songs, Dave and Kevin ask trivia questions such as “What is the name of the horse in the song Jingle Bells (bobtail). The person with the correct answer got to reach in a bag of “gifts” that the band brought. The gifts included a 10 pack of pens, an ice scraper, a box of crunch and munch, and a box of candy canes. While the Christmas song idea sounded great, it took an immediate nosedive when Dave opened the set with an instrumental version of “What Child is This.” It seemed Jingle bells was the only song the group was familiar with. Even Kevin and Dave imitating characters from the holiday classic “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer” dropped like a lead balloon. The band had their first “guest appearance” by Opel the drunken wench. She insisted that we sing Blue Christmas again (We had just finished singing it). We let her take on the lead vocals. Opel heard her own music as she basically ignored Kevin and Dave’s strumming. Kevin passed her a lyric sheet, but apparently, Opel couldn’t read. We cut her off after the first verse (NEXT!). The duo decided to cut Silent Night from the set and move on to brighter pastures.. In the process of moving the microphones around to do the unplugged set, the band had slightly damaged the sound they perfected during the first set. It was about this time a drunk shouted out “QUIT STALLING!!” (now there’s the Christmas spirit!)
The second set had the band slowing things down as they went into “Anymore, What Might’ve Been, And If Tomorrow Never Comes.” We did find out the vocals were a little muddy, and Dave’s guitar needed to be louder. Jesse had not been feeling well before we even started, at this point, he’s starting to cough, and not looking too well. The band takes a quick 10-minute break and gets ready for the third set.
The third set had Jesse ready to pass out at any minute. By this time many of the people we thought were into us had left. Just losers trying to pump enough booze into women to get some Christmas nooky. The third set had Jim Ries (a buddy from work, and part of the reason we got the gig) and his ex-girlfriend’s Aunt (Fay) high steppin’ on the dance floor. It also had John drawing blanks in the middle of “Good-Bye Says It All.” This was added to nights previous mistakes like Dave cutting “Mercury Blues” in half by going to the ending two solos too soon, and Kevin flubbing a lyric here and there, as well as Jesse, providing some interesting drum parts to “Lifestyles Of The Not So Rich And Famous.” Luckily, all flubs are covered pretty smoothly (technical difficulties left Dave singing back-up alone on Bubba Hyde was pretty noticeable). Kevin goes mobile as he takes the mic on the dance floor and sings “So help me girl.” The band does the mosh version of “Sticks and Stones.” The band closes the night by repeating Watermelon Crawl, and Fast as You. The last song had all members on the dance floor along with the crowd. Another extended solo from Dave helps the band fill the time to 12:00. The band loads up the equipment and takes it back to Kevin’s basement, it was all done at 1:00. We made $200. (of which we all got $50). We decided to let Jesse keep his $50 instead of putting it towards the drum set since it was Christmas and all.
All in all a much better gig than expected. The band learns that we need to get rid of all the songs that weren’t quite ready (Nothing Wrong With The Radio)by LEARNING THEM. This would eliminate last second set changes. It was much better than the biker benefit, but we now a good idea of what needs ffine-tuning