"Can you grab me a water?" Nick asks me as he stares at the highway ahead. We are driving across Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona to Los Angeles where we will begin our rushed three-day practice to prepare for Jay Leno. I hoist a booted left foot up over my passenger side arm-rest. After that, I shove my knee into an open crevice on the first bench in between a guitar, a lap top, and a box of wine, while holding on to the "Oh shit!" bars. The next maneuver takes draping my upper body over the first bench, so I'm hinged at the waist with my legs flailing behind me. All the while I'm thinking to myself, "I'm 27 years old! Why does this stuff still happen to me?! I ought to be quietly doing the dishes and listening to Christmas carols on the stereo in my kitchen with three little puppies around my ankles!" I yank a water bottle out from underneath the second bench while the inertia of our moving vehicle is in my favor, repeat the process over in reverse, and I plop back in the passenger seat. Piece of cake. Here Nick. Here's your damn water bottle!
(Disclaimer: Nick just read this and he said "It's a little dramatic, and you are making me out to be the bad guy." So, I should mention that Nick drove the entire trip, so me handing him a water bottle is tiny compared to what he went through without any help from me!)
We've played "The Broken Ones" 278 times. I was trying out this new technique I was reading about in a book called, "Effortless Mastery" by Kenny Werner. It has a "spiritual" outlook on playing music, more of a "don't think, just feel approach". The excercise mentioned in the book said to "feel" the song and try to come out of your body and watch yourself playing from above. I tried this method the first half of our first practice and was feeling very "transcendental" and "groovy". I hardly had to focus at all! Then I listened to the playback of a recording we made of the rehearsal.
It doesn't work.
I always feel a little anxiety when we practice for events that spring up on us such late notice. My manager's face was more than a little concerned after we performed for him at the end of the first day of practice. He said we sounded like "We haven't played together for a year" which makes sense because: we haven't played together for a year. We had an intense band meeting which consisted of Dia suggesting that we need "back up singers and violinists".
We can do that?
O.K. then I'd like three trombone players, a cellist, and some medieval clowns juggling fire just off to the right of the grand piano please.
My request didn't work out. The back up singers are pretty cool though.
I hope you guys can tune into Jay Leno this Friday night because…well...
there we will be, Smilin' and waving'!