Monday, 25 August 2008

Best-Ever Blog Post Title

I still simply cannot believe how difficult and frustrating it has been for us as a band to find somewhere larger that a garage to rehearse in around here!!! Places I inquired about were either inappropriate (too close to homes / neighbours etc), or they simply said no because we didn't have our own 'Public Liability Insurance' cover! Bad craziness! I mean, in any big city, performance rehearsal spaces are simply everywhere to be found for lease. Not out here in rural Australia, it seems. There are none to be had. We're only 3 hours west of Sydney... it's not as though we're in the 'Outback' or anything...

However - success at last! We are no longer a "garage band"!

After a week of frustratingly frigging about with a local Real estate office, we've finally managed to secure on-going paid keyed-access to a local performance space of the local theatrical society. It's the original hall of the old South Bathurst Public School. (The original school burnt-down like 30 years ago).

It's simply two large rooms, along with a small kitchen as well. Basically, one room is the large, high-arched ceiling hall, which is set-up for ballet! Complete with mirrors and some railings along one wall! The acoustic sound in there is simply awesome - HUGE!!! Recording drums, vocals and guitar is there will be an absolute waking dream.

But wait! There's MORE!

The second room is PERFECT! It is acoustically and sonically perfect. It has special sound-absorbing material on the walls and ceiling, and it's even got a long mirror along one wall, so we can watch ourselves play, and practice our 'performance'! These quick photos do not do it any justice.

I mean... this 'brown room' is perfect! I haven't played in a room that sounds as good as this in at least 20 years - and I'm not exaggerating.

Needless to say, we could actually hear each other so clearly, without having to play at volume, that we were just laughing with pure delight. I mean, I could stand next to Julian and plainly talk to him mid-song, and we could hear each other quite plainly! So, as a musical rehearsal space, it's simply brilliant.

It's only costing us the tiny amount of $175 a month ($44/week, which we'll all happily contribute to, until the band starts making money and pays for itself. That's the plan)! It's a real investment. We have they key, and have total access either Saturday or Sunday, or with a simple email confirmation to arrange any other time. No one else uses the place, except for ballet on Tuesdays and Thursdays. So yeah, we practically have this awesome venue all to ourselves!!!

Recording in this room will be more than a dream... it'll be... oh, words fail me!!!

Space! Space to spread-out and move and not feel as though we're standing on top of each other! Room to be able to hear each other, without standing face-to-face, musically and sonically!

Julian and Matt - all smiles.

But wait! There's even MORE!!! (Sorry - no steak knives included...)

Kinda out-of-the blue, we auditioned a vocalist yesterday as well. An old friend and bandmate of Julian's from Cowra, Shane is simply one of the best vocalists I have ever worked with. And, (not trying to boast), I've played alongside some damn good singers in my time. This guy will be a delight to work with - no ego at all, totally down-to-earth. Plus he plays a fantastic rhythm guitar (and a few other stray instruments), and has been playing in bands and music for the same length of time I have (mid-1980's). Oh, and he has all this a-maze-ing recording experience and gear that... that... excuse me while I stop drooling for a bit... hahahaa.

Oh yes, he's a 'leftie' (ie. strums with his left hand, rather than the right).

He does solo work around the regions' pubs and clubs as well (which actually pays his rent!), so as far as arranging gigs, we'll have to work around him a little bit. Tho he is very keen to work with us, and work us into his schedule and visa-versa. He really likes the stuff we play, and we like the material he suggested off the cuff as well for us to spontaneously jam on. So now, we can have shared vocals, taking turns to sing during sets/brackets - no-one wants to sing for four hours - too exhausting on the voice for either of us! For me, Shane's so easy for me to sing harmonies and backup vocals with as well. Yay - at last!!!

In other words, we've met a 'like-minded' bloke, who'll fit into the scheme and chemistry of things easily.

The beauty of it on Sunday was that... Shane's appearance came out of nowhere from left-field. Julian and he hadn't seen each other in a long time, and just on the pure off-chance they caught up in the last week-or-two. Julian told him about Box of Sox in passing (not even dreaming that he would be interested), and next thing you know he's asking for a list of songs, and sending a "Where and When?" message! Julian literally got the confirmation on Sunday morning 10am that Shane would be coming. He sent me a text message asking me if that was OK? Of course, yes yes!

But - we didn't tell Matt! Shane just walked-in mid-rehearsal - and Matt didn't know anything about it! It was brilliant... otherwise Matt would've been stressing about 'this new guy' all day, instead of just being able to relax and enjoy playing - which he indeed did, even when Shane was there. So yeah... Matt was happy to be playing with a guy that is so easy to get along with both musically and socially, which is a relief. Matt can get kinda anxious and ultra self-conscious sometimes about things, and it unsettles his playing as a result. Not at all this time. Yay!

PLUS... now we own our own small vocal PA as well (just a 300-watt Peavy 6-channel thing with four speakers)! I dusted-off an ancient piece of classic rock'n'roll analogue technology (which I literally had not plugged in for 15 years!), to use in conjunction with the PA - my Roland Space Echo, a tape-driven slap echo effect! Worked well. It's a start. We're off and running.

PLUS... I've been developing a Powerpoint-style digital light show for gigs, which will compliment doing the same sort-of thing I've been doing using an overhead projector (OHP). We can (for now) hire or borrow a data projector (until the band can afford to buy one of its own), and utilize colourful 'slides' (that run of a simple laptop, like this one I'm using as we speak) as part of the lighting effects during gigs. It's so ridiculously easy to do!!! Along with the OHP and a few simple lights we already have (plus Shane has his own professional stage lighting gear already), we'll be looking really good, the data projections on a stage-back-wall white sheet adding a surreal twist of flavour.

Things keep looking better all the time.

Yes, I'm very excited!

This coming Wednesday evening, we're getting together at my place to have a informal "band meeting". We need to discuss things and ensure each of us knows exactly what the other is thinking, and make plans, goals and things like that. Julian's very-understanding and supporting wifey is getting some wizz-bang SLR digital camera for her birthday on Friday. So yeah... one of the things we need to discuss and finalize is putting together a 'press kit' for ourselves. A few glossy photos, a blurb, and a short demo music CD etc. These are the things you give to promoters, pub/club/venue managers, to enable us to land more gigs.

"It's getting better all the time." ("It's can't get no worse!") - Lennon-McCartney.

OK OK, you win! The bonus steak knives are in the mail...

Peas be with ewe

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  1. It's great you have found such a good venue for rehearsals and it seems you have also found a good vocalist so hope it all works out well for you.

  2. It's all good fun, and while it remains so, everything will be well. Doesn't really matter how everything pans out [for me], just so long as we can all enjoy doing what we're doing.

    And we sure have been :)

  3. Wow, all that good news is really exciting. You guys must be stoked. Just be careful to not allow the "theatrical society" heritage of the place to take the edge off your music!

    Oh,and looking forward to the arrival of the knives. Will I have to pay extra postage to the US?

  4. How exciting mal!!! Just tell me where i will be able to purchase my first Box of Sox cd when it gets to the states.

    Love your number 1 fan :) *grin*

  5. Wow what a great run for the band! Hope the new singer goes well!

  6. Wonderful :) Congrats on moving up in the world of music :)

  7. Sounds like fun... you guys will knock em dead

  8. Over the moon for you. Thats just wonderful...seems like there's an angel hovering over you and the plan is falling into place... enjoy, and when do those steak knives arrive. No, hang on , there are some pretty cows in the next paddock and I've gone right off steak.