April

2001

Band(s)

I 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.

So 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.

Now, 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.

Due 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 at all.

The 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.

At 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.

After 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.

Time 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.

So 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.

I 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.

After 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.