Rock Me Baby
When I was in my early twenties, I was through school and working as a federal government compliance records keeper for a winery. My life seemed a little boring, so I got some used keyboards and joined a rock band.
We covered stuff like David Bowie (Fame, Ziggy Stardust) and Rolling Stones tunes, (I loved Wild Horses) and all kinds of rock 'n' roll. We made a shot at White Room (the Creem version) but never got off the ground with that--it was too complicated for us to pick up by ear.
We had soooo much fun with this band. We loved this music. I had a Hammond C-3, the little guy, only five octaves, and a big honkin' Rhodes 88-key electric piano.
Drummers came and went but the core band, consisting of the bass player and lead singer, Mike M., the guitar player, Greg B., and myself seemed to stay.
We rehearsed in Mike's garage every Friday and Tuesday night for about a year before we got a gig. It was fun, so we didn't care. We had started up the band in the fall, and practiced all through the winter. By the time summer rolled around, we opened up the garage door. It was too hot in there with it closed. Our Friday night rehearsal sessions turned into a big block party. We cranked the music down just a little--we didn't want the po-lice, and then let it rip. People came by, bringing lawn chairs, bringing beer, bringing more people...It was great. We jammed our little hearts out.
After practicing for so long, when we actually got a gig, we were flying!!! It was the biggest rush and the very scariest thing, to get up on a stage and do our music in public for the first time.
We called ourselves "Galaxy". We had black T-shirts printed up with stars in the background and a glittery "GALAXY" in bold letters across the front, in honor of our first gig. We had our best blue jeans on.
The venue was a corner bar in our town. The penny-saver had run an ad, paid for by the bar people. So after we set up, when I looked around me, I was thrilled, surprised and scared to see how many people showed up already. Live music draws a crowd.
I kept wiping my sweaty hands on my jeans. My knees were trembling. Greg gave me a hug and a nervous smile. Mike did the thumbs up.
Our drummer, Randy, who was fourteen years old, Mike's brother, and just filling in for the night, was NOT NERVOUS AT ALL!!! He just thought the whole thing was a hoot, I guess. He was laughing because we had to sneak him in past the bouncer because he was underage to be in a bar. Mike was supposed to be looking after him, and had already warned the kid not to try and snag a beer, on PAIN OF DEATH!
Mike whispered, "I think I'm gonna throw up," then Randy gave the little "ready" riff on the drums, Greg started the count, one, two,three...
And we slammed into "Satisfaction", the Rolling Stones tune.
It was great. After we got over being shell-shocked from stage fright, that is.
The night wore on. We did four one-hour sets with a few breaks in between. When we got off the stage for the last time at about 1 am, we were still flying high. We waited to break the set until after we got paid, which was after the bar closed. Then we went out to breakfast. We just couldn't climb down from our natural high.
I was still flying when I got home. It was six in the morning before I got to bed.
We kept the band up for a couple of years. Eventually we went our separate ways. Mike got a better-paying job in another state. I got married.
I missed it, though. I miss it still. Being single again, I've thought about getting back into it. Maybe finding some used equipment, finding a retro band with old-timers like me...
I don't know. I'm still thinking.
And while I'm thinking, all you good people out there,