Third Time’s The Charm

Several posts ago, I hinted at the fact that John and I have auditioned a third singer since the whole lyme disease fiasco. A quick recap: the first one was a noob – way too green for us. We couldn’t hear the second guy sing during his first audition due to a terrible room, but when he finally did sing we scared him off.

Matt, the third singer to respond to our ads, sent me four songs (samples of past work are now a necessity after the Eric mishap). The first two were of his high school rock band and, while they were very good (especially the guitar player) I had no idea how much of this was apparent in his singing now. He is younger than both John and I but high school was still over 4 years ago for him. I decided to take it as a positive and move on.

Matt’s second batch of mp3s were of his … college acapella group. Now, I had a college roommate who was in one of those singing groups for many years and while he had a great, strong voice it was super clean – a quality he wasn’t able to always shake successfully in rock bands he played with. So, now I was a bit wary about what type of audition this one was going to turn out to be. The two songs John and I have been working on (forever, it seems) definitely need an edge to the vocals for them to fit in.

I met Matt at our usual pre-practice hangout, Mustang Harry’s, just around the corner from UltraSound. He had longish, curly blond hair and was at least a half-foot taller than I was. He was also dressed like a former frat brother but was super nice, and we started to talk about our musical pasts and goals. We were there for maybe all of ten minutes when I felt a tap on my shoulder and a recognizable weed-slowed drawl: “Staaan.”

It was Christian – the singer we had auditioned twice! Yes, the very same one whom we had last seen bolting out of the rehearsal room so fast that he forgot to 1) take his microphone and 2) pay. Now, I knew Christian was showing up to get back his microphone (which I had in my bag) but then he did something so unexpected that my jaw literally dropped! He sat down next to me and ordered a beer!

Luckily, I was sitting in a singer sandwich with Matt on my left and Christian on my right, so much of the talk was easily handled between the two of them. Let’s face it, singers good or bad usually carry a gift of the gab, so as I composed myself to figuring out what the fuck was going to happen next, the two of them discussed their time in Italy, of all things. When Christian finished his bud light, he picked up his stuff and headed out the door talking about some book he was going to write. It was surreal. Matt looked at me confused and asked if that was the drummer. I told him it was, in fact, the previous singer we auditioned to which he asked “what was that all about?”

Never getting to the bottom of it all, we decided to press forward. John showed up a little late due to the wonderful New Jersey Transit Authority, but we made our studio tee time and started a-jammin’. The very first thing I noticed was that we … finished a song together and that the song comprised vocals the entire way through! It was a tremendous achievement for us (sad, I know) so we pressed our luck and tried another. Again, the song started and ended with all members together! Now we were full of ourselves so I decided to try to test Matt.

The next song we played was “Good Times Bad Times” by Led Zeppelin. He had selected it, but little did he realize I know most Zep songs inside and out so I started to extend and jam it. John and I are really good about reading each other so I knew he’d be with me all the way through this crazy trip we were about to take, but I wondered how a very-classically trained singer such as Matt (at least that’s what I figured he was) would survive. He gave me a somewhat confused look at first wondering what was supposed to happen since there were no more lyrics (and very little song left) but he soon just started to make howls and other Plant-like noises. He even started to make up a few blues lines. It all worked out great (though I’m sure it was much more fun to play than to listen to) and I felt he had passed the test.

We all left very excited and immediately set up another rehearsal. That one has come and gone and I’m getting ready for our third tonight. I already told the guys I want to use this one as an assessment of where we are as a group and to base our decision as to what next step we should take. There are a lot of options – we could look for a bassist, we could focus on writing a few more songs, we could prepare for an open mic, etc – and I want to know we’re all dedicated to the next direction we go in together. Regardless of what that decision is, I’m stoked to finally be out of that constant spin of auditioning singer after singer. Now we can actually move forward with the band.

Blast from the past: L8r!

Current Mood: Brainstorming emoticon Brainstorming

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