When I was 13, I was a member of one of the greatest air bands of all time. We didn’t have a name or any sort of national title and recognition. But in our own minds we were the greatest.
The band formed one summer hanging out at a friend’s pool, listening to the radio, day dreaming of how awesome we were going to be in our second year of Junior High School. One of the guys in the group, while listening to some music, mentioned that we needed to form a band to throw some really great pool parties that summer. The only problem was that none of us played any instrument, or had the funds to finance such a brilliant idea. The highs and lows of daydreaming of how great being in a band would be - would eventually be destroyed by the harsh reality that we were kids. Poor kids, with no sense of what sort of expense building a band would really entail.
So that’s when Wayne, started air guitaring to some Glass Tiger song (shit Canadian, one-hit wonder band). And that’s when it hit us… We could be an Air Band!
Naturally, we started out with six guitarists and our only female friend, who was voluntold to be the lead singer because she had the longest hair in the group. But it quickly became apparent that nobody would take us seriously at our parties if we had six guitarists and no other instruments being played.
So everyone started arguing on who was going to play what. Drums were fairly easy to fill. There was a chubby kid named, Bill, who lived down the road from Wayne who had a bunch of 5 gallon buckets. His dad was a painter. So Bill started setting up his drum kit.
Wayne called lead guitar, because he started the band and seemed to know some pretty sweet moves.
We then settled on the others playing keyboards, sax, and that left me with bass. I didn’t mind really, because I thought holding my left arm out fully extended looked pretty cool actually. Way better than holding my hands at my bellybutton and making strange faces and arching my back over.
So there we were. The greatest air band to be created.
Musical differences eventually broke up the band later that week, but for those few days I felt like a bass player. I was looking forward to our first pool party gig, and the anticipated adulation all the soon-to-be eighth grade girls would bestow upon us.
But it never materialized for us.
Long story short: a few years later, I saved up enough birthday checks from Nana and PopPop to buy my first bass from a local music store. It was a White Fender Squire P-Bass with a maple neck. It was beautiful. I wish I still had it. I think I bought it for $99. When I sold it for my G&L, I got $200 bucks for it. I should never have sold it.
I had a neighbor who was in college and played the drums. He found out I played the bass (at this time I had owned the bass for about two months and had just had my third lesson, so you know… I was pretty proficient.). He invited me to a college party in Orlando and told me I could sit in with his band.
I was excited and nervous, because I think, at that time, I knew Row Row Row Your Boat and the intro to Led Zeppelin’s The Immigrant Song.
Regardless, I rented an amp and 2x15 speaker cabinet and went to the party. As soon as I arrived, the rest of the musicians started messing around with my bass like a bunch of 8 year old boys being introduced to a new toy or something. Then the heart-sinking question was asked, “so what songs do you know?” I don’t remember who asked it. All I know is I heard it, and my body went numb. I’ve never been a good liar, so honesty quickly became a dose of embarrassment for me.
But one of the guys who played guitar took me to the side, and said not to worry. He showed me a few notes that were in the keys of the songs they anticipated to play and told me to just stick to the rhythm and play with the drums. Then he showed me how to play Led Zeppelin’s “Dazed and Confused.” It was a cool song, and very easy for me to learn. So we played that about six times for everyone. This gave the three guitarists that were playing enough opportunity to show off, and gave me enough time to soak in all the college chick’s adulation for the kid playing bass next to the papasan chair.
I was hooked.