“Someday, I hope to feel as happy as I did as a kid when the teacher wheeled in the big TV during class,” was something I always used to say.
What’s been happening this weekend has surpassed that feeling a hundredfold.
Yesterday, our band, “Foreo-Speed Ranger” (Get it? Foreigner–Reo Speedwagon–Nigh… ah, never mind). The name’s not really important. What is important is the music. It always has and it always will.
Let’s try this again.
Yesterday, our band spent much of the morning going over songs for our performance with Foreigner’s Jeff Pilson and Bruce Watson, and in preparation for our first live show at The Lucky Strike in Hollywood, CA.
“No pressure,” a voice inside of me says. “You may have taken a break, but you’ve been performing in bands for years. Including a 30-minute set in front of 6,500 people at one of America’s biggest music festivals.”
As the five of us were polishing each one of our Foreigner and Night Ranger songs, we suddenly realized we needed to have a third song in our back pocket. That was when the familiar question all new bandmates ask each other when they first get together:
“What song do you want to do?”
There were watery suggestions to do something from AC/DC, The Black Eyed Peas, The Doors and Bob Seger, but none of them seemed to fit.
Then our guitarist, Tom, started noodling around on something that parted the sea. It was this amazing riff I knew I’d heard before. But there was something else about it that seemed oddly familiar. It was the way that he was playing it.
“What is THAT?” someone asked.
“It’s a Bob Seger song. One that Thin Lizzy covered.”
Be still my heart.
The song fit the band like a glove.
Next up, was our performance of “Dirty White Boy” with Foreigner. Another surreal moment for me as a musician, because Jeff Pilson (who’s also been with Dokken and Dio) is one of the all-time greats. Not only is he a killer bassist, but the guy can play guitar, keyboards and a bunch of other instruments. He’s also an incredible vocalist.
I thought if I could just stand next to him, maybe some of that mojo would rub off on me.
As if all that wasn’t surreal enough, this day was still not over. Before we knew it, we were loading up the van to take us back to the hotel. Only a short time to get something to eat before our ride over to Lucky Strike.
As I entered the venue and strolled down the ramp toward the stage, the childhood memory reappeared. And in my mind, a teacher is rolling into class the most beautiful, state of the art television you’ve ever seen. This would be the first chance to stand on a stage in front of strangers and perform with four guys I met only a few days ago.
Butterflies began to build when I considered what was going to happen, but I brushed them all away. I’ve been down this road before.
But then I thought about something else.
Still on deck – Night Ranger and The Whisky.