There is a beautiful moment in the process of starting a band; it emerges immediately in your heart and mind, as you realise that the people you have collected into one creative space – be they friends of old or just strangers with familiar interests – are right for the band you are trying to form. I felt that feeling around five weeks ago, and it hasn’t faded since…
After leaving my last band, Apparently We Fly, due to the endless nightmare of misdirected tastes that it had become, I decided that, at 26, I was finally going to form a band for me. I am a big fan of The Gaslight Anthem; they are a band I can listen to endlessly, and will only switch off if there is something new I need to cram into my car’s CD player. The Gaslight Anthem play guitar the way I love to play guitar and sing out soulful stories that I wish I’d written myself. Therefore I made it clear as I set out to form a new band that they were going to be the loose template for the immediate writing process.
I asked Apparently We Fly’s drummer, Josh, who had also recently departed the band, to join me in this venture. We posted adverts on forums for musicians and, rather quickly, a guitarist called Mike and a Bassist called Joe answered. By the end of the first practice, we had ourselves a good two-thirds of a song. Punctuating this meeting were the awkward moments of silence that arise amongst new acquaintances, as well as the sly side-glances that exist to check whether new people are up to the task for which they are there. It became quickly apparent in our second practice that we had something special; music and conversation flowed in equally exciting measure, and we found ourselves able to accentuate and compliment each other’s skills, and, surely, we were creating music that we all wanted to play. It was exciting. We had a beautiful little ethos, unspoken and not forced, that we all couldn’t wait to visit the next week.
We still have no name, but five weeks on we find ourselves enlightened; we are writing good songs that are fun every time we play through them. We tweak; we re-arrange; we inject flair and subtle intelligence into our own parts, all the time making way for each other’s skills. I have a huge ego, as anyone who knows me can tell you, however there are no egos in the rooms. It is just a beast of a drummer, two psychotic guitarists, and a predatory bassist crafting and shaping sound ex nihilo. Nobody is told what to do – we just play and we are blessed that it is working as its own beast. This is one of the joys of starting a new band and its what young musicians live for; we create, and meddle, and we are the gods of our own sonic ecosystem.
Having spoken of the joys, I will tell you of our only woes. The first is that we don’t have enough time to spend writing together. We would do it more, however the practice space and funding to rent said space are not endless. Therefore, we are confined to two hours on a Thursday evening, in a small sweaty room (see above) where we do our thing.
The other, and bigger, woe is that there are just no singers around. We are looking for a singer that can croon, and bark, and harmonise, and craft stories through melody and soul, all whilst looking like a king and bleeding like only a poet can. But, again, this person is not out there. Not as far as we can tell.
Joe, Josh, Mike and I are patient, however. The four of us will carry on in our own world; we can thrive together, making music together, but we are missing a mouthpiece. We are not the only band in this position – there are a million bands searching for a drummer as ready as Josh, for guitarist as unpredictable and nuts as Mike and I, and for bassists as essential as Joe. However, for the moment, no matter how frustrating the search for a singer is becoming, I am counting my blessings that the four of us have each other and the world we are creating is blooming.
And that is what a band should be – a blessing that belongs to everybody, but that that nobody owns. That is what we have. We just want to find a singer that can share that.
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