Monday, February 23, 2009

This Stinking Ship.

When was my last post? Thursday? Man, it's been a long weekend. So okay, my last post was critically acclaimed, so I'm gonna have to write a really bad one today just to balance it out.

So okay, last Thursday and Friday, I attended...Region IX Honor Band. I guess we're the 9th region, whatever that means. So this is how it works. Band directors (in our case Mr. Leonard) pick out the best and/or most dedicated players in the school band to participate in a regional honor band. Our school band is obviously pathetic since I seemed to have stuck out over most in being one of the best and/or most dedicated students in band. I wasn't real thrilled about it at first because I thought there were tryouts and shit, which I wanted not to be a part of because that'd require me to exert effort. However, I found out that we were just going to go up to Musselman High School for two days--the first day we'd spend learning the music and the second day we'd perform in front of lots of people. So I thought "Ehh, why not?" but even if I had found a reason "not," I had no choice because Mr. Leonard signed me up! So I went with Belle, Lindsey Feaster, and Kristen Mackert. Bless MY heart this time.

Day one!
My mother picks me up from my house. "Hi mom." She drives me to school where I arrive at 7:22 a.m. None of the other kids have arrived yet. I also seem to be the only one that's remembered to bring my permission form signed to give to Mr. Leonard. How bad is it when I'm the most prepared? We're talking armeggedon sing-along. After waiting on Mr. Leonard to get things in order with the substitute teacher, we hit the fuckin' road! I took all of my homework and books thinking foolishly that I'd have the time and effort to do it while I was there. Ha. Read a book in the car? Ha. We listened to Alkaline Trio, Bracket, Against Me!, Vampire Weekend, and some other good shit. We drove past Williamsport.

We arrive at uhh....I'm gonna say 9:30? 10? Something, it doesn't matter. It would appear that every other band has already arrived. The stage is full of a bunch of kids armed with instruments. The bassoons were particularly lethal-looking. They sound like Winnie the Pooh when played, which I found to be very amusing. So little ol' Kyle me sneaks through the curtains to get to the back of the stage where the percussionists reside during concert band. Needless to say, I know one person other than the people in our group at the whole thing. That would be Laura from Hampshire (the county I technically live in). "Hi, Laura." So I'm back there in the "pit" or whatever you want to call it and there are all of these drummers and I don't know what to think of them and they don't know what to think of me. I'm wearing my jacket with the big Minor Threat backpatch on it and the Propagandhi, F.Y.P, and Bad Brains patches on the front along with many buttons including my pink triangle (representin' the queers because someone needs to). None of the other drummers (besides Mary) has long hair. I instantly feel like I haven't gotten the memo that all drummers cut their hair recently. Oh well, I'm still a sexy beast.

First song! "Gavorkna Fanfare." The conductor is a madman, but he's hilarious and an assload of fun. He said something like, "I'm not going to be all evil about taking your cell phones. Like 'GIVE ME YOUR CELL PHONE.....SO I CAN CRUSH IT!'" He conducted as if, in his own words, he was "casting spells like Gandalf." "Fighting off ninjas" would also have been accurate. Anyway, the song itself. It starts with a pick-up note with the timpanis doing a 16th-note run and ending with a "tam-tam" (which is like an extra trashy-sounding gong) crash. Then it sounds like fight music from a Zelda game for the rest of the song. Fucking epic. I played bass drum and "suspended cymbal" which was an A Custom Zildjian Medium Ride. There was an Avedis Zildjian Medium Ride there, too. Fun song. Great opener.

Then we played something called "Three Tapestries," but we only played parts two and three, which were epic in themselves. I'm actually stealing a rhythm from part three and putting in an I Forget song. I played timpani.

Mr. Leonard then conducted a New Orleans-style march called "March Creole." I hate marches, but this one was okay. I had to play bells, though. I got to learn how to read music. (It's about damn time, I guess.)

Uhh...a song called "John Willliams In Concert" which was a medley of songs written by John Williams. It included ET, Star Wars, Jaws, the NBC theme song (or CNN, whatever), the Olympic theme song, and...some dancey-Latin sounding song. Very fun song. I played the chimes and the xylophone on that one. I BS'd a lot of parts in those songs. You'd know probably 70 or 80% of the parts to that song if you heard it, regardless of if you realize it or not.

We played America the Beautiful. I played snare on that one. I hate buzz rolls. I hate patriotic songs.

We had a song called "Nimrod" where I played one cymbal crash. Very boring.

And that was it. Some good songs and some less exciting ones, but it was awesome how we learned 6 songs in two days. I got to talking to some of the other drummers and to some of the tuba players (since they sit right in front of the timpanis). At least two of the other drummers were in bands. One, AJ Buchannon, plays in a band called Halo III, which he said is like a ska band with screaming vocals that does a No Doubt cover. The other guy, Corey McNees I guess his name is, said his band was a cross between Godsmack and Avenged Sevenfold. Sounds like something I want to avoid at all costs.

We went out to eat pizza at lunch time and at 4:00 p.m., we left and went home. We listened to Mitch Hedberg in the car on the way home.

Day two!
I ride the bus to school. "Hi, Rick." Though my bus is like the last one to get there, I'm still not the last person to arrive in Mr. Leonard's office. I don't even think I was next to last. I may have been second, actually. Anyway, we eventually got on the road. Dane Cook on the way up.

We arrive again. Time unknown again. I didn't watch the clock. I was more comfortable around everyone this day because I'd met them all, or at least seen them all, the day before. The songs all sound a ton better. We went out and had Waffle House for lunch. I ordered a waffle, an egg and cheese omelet, and hashbrowns. It was delicious. I translated my music into a language that my eyes could read. When we left Waffle House, a guy had parked next to us in an extremely obnoxious truck with a roof over the bed of it and it was painted what looked like office desk grey with red spray paint all over it. I wish we'd taken a picture. It had probably 4 or 5 license plates total. One had a rebel flag, one said "4EVER COOL" or something, the other ones all had redneck bullshit. "White supremacy" one might have said, or might as well have said. The grill had teeth. It had horse shoes painted red on it. I think there were horns and/or spikes, too. "Hi, asshole." Proud to be white.

We went back, rehearsed some more, I got to know some people a little better, we went out for "dinner," which was a "fun" trip to Dairy Queen on a very, very windy day with wind chill at probably 7 degrees Farenheit. Logical, I know, but we weren't really hungry. We went BACK to the school where we got dressed for the our marching band uniforms (because band kids don't look dorky enough on their own). There were actually some good-looking girls there, so I can't say that completely. I'd liked to have gotten the chance to know some. But I digress! Concert - epic. Saying bye to everyone - epic. We gave out our last I Forget DIY business card. So we're gonna see if these hoes don't come down to our show this Saturday in Martinsburg at the Tuscora Ruritan that starts at 5 p.m.

We also have a show on Friday in Frostburg, Maryland starting at 6 where we'll be playing with The Undercover Saints, Anarcoustic, and ScReW-b@lZ. Come. I demand you to. This is local, you can make it.

So I love music, basically.


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