A Genuine Rock Emergency

The equipment:
  • Guitar of the electric variety
  • Amp of suitably small nature
  • Pedals (preferrably not the kind that short out when you plug them in)
  • Tab/sheet music, optional
  • MP3s, again, optional
  • Pros trained in the event of a Rock Emergency

That's really all you need for just about any rock emergency that might come your way. Thankfully I knew two such people trained in how to handle a bona fide rock emergency.

And brothers and sisters, let me tell you, that is just what I had on my hands.

In case you missed me mentioning it (200 times already), I was the grand prize winner in the Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp Sweepstakes that was put on by LiveNation (and maybe in part by GuitarCenter)*. Well, part of the camp(s) is that you are put together in a band with your rockstar du jour and other campers and you have to nail 2 or 3 songs (after only learning of the songs you're playing after breakfast) as one of the opening bands for Extreme and KingsX (who are headlining three of the four camps I'll be attending 'on tour'). The songs, chosen (presumably) from a predetermined list just (exactly) like the list below are staples of Classic Rock (Radioactive and Superstition notwithstanding). And I knew how to play...well, lessee....ONE of them. Shut up...it does so count to know Smoke on the Water.

The List:

  • The Beatles - Get Back
  • Cheap Trick - Surrender
  • Rolling Stones - It's Only Rock and Roll
  • David Bowie - Suffragette City
  • David Bowie - Rebel Rebel
  • Blur - Song 2
  • David Bowie - The Jean Genie
  • The Rolling Stones - The Last Time
  • The Rolling Stones - Jumpin Jack Flash
  • T Rex - Bang a Gong
  • Aerosmith - Walk This Way
  • Black Sabbath - Paranoid
  • Judas Priest - Breaking the Law
  • Megadeth - Symphony of Destruction
  • Megadeth Cover - Anarchy in the UK
  • Stevie Wonder - Superstition
  • Deep Purple - Smoke on the Water
  • Lenny Kravitz - Are You Going to Go My Way
  • AC/DC - Back in Black
  • AC/DC - Thunderstruck
  • The Firm - Radioactive
  • Slaughter - Up All Night
  • Rolling Stones - Brown Sugar
  • Led Zeppelin - Whole Lotta Love
  • Beatles - Hard Days Night
  • Steppenwolf - Born to be Wild
  • The Rolling Stones - It's All Over Now
  • ZZ Top - Tush
  • Free - All Right Now
  • Mountain - Mississippi Queen
  • The Guess Who - American Woman
  • Cream - White Room
  • The Beatles - Get Back
  • The Who - Summertime Blues

Alright. So, anyway. Knowing Smoke on the Water (as brilliant as it is) wasn't going to get me very far, I knew I had a Rock Emergency and needed the GuitarGuru (or the dude I knew that played guitar better than any dude I actually knew).

I dialed #667 (the neighbor of the beast)** and got Ian on the line and ready to help me get my RAWK on. Darrin jumped in to provide the much needed chords to Surrender and Symphony of Destruction (along with the brilliant plan of Pizza Pan pizza to munch on during said Rock Emergency).

The night started with Back in Black. Clearly a tune loved by fratboys everywhere (ok..and some thirtysomethings living in a suburb of Columbus...shuddup already). And about 20 minutes later we had it. I feel pretty good about that one.

As we went down the list, I realized how much time I'd been wasting on RockBand. THAT wasn't going to help me at all except perhaps with the hammer-ons and those were really only applicable in any substative way on Thunderstruck (which I plan on avoiding if at all possible...ok that's a lie. They could tell me that we're playing Mary had a Little effin' Lamb and I'd be up there rocking the solo on 'Fleece was White as SNOOOOOOOOW).

So, we continued rocking. Bowie was out. Just a little (lot) too funky (although I did manage to slip a few bars of 'Little China Girl' in later in the evening). The Beatles were out simply because the speaker that the guitar parts would have come out on was a little (lot) not working right and Darrin had left his soldering kit back at the BatCave.

Rock resumed. A fresh infusion of Black Sabbath kicked things up a notch and after trying to learn it the way Ian was teaching me (which seemed flow so easily for him, fartknocker***), he pulls out this 'oh..and you can also play it up here on the 12th fret like this...that might be easier'. Yes. Yes it might. Turns out it was easier. A LOT easier. OK. Back in Black Sabbath...check. And the hits keep on coming.

Starting at around 7, I was a little surprised to look up (well, actually down) and see that it was after 10PM. THREE hours of rocking. And I was feeling damn good about what I was learning. MUCH better than I felt flipping through the pages of my trapper keeper back at the house trying to figure out the songs on my own. I have found that playing with those better than I am really helps me tremendously. I don't think I'm gonna have any anxiety going in to the camps and being expected to pick up on the songs.

The Rock Emergency had passed. And I could go back to my regularly scheduled life (which for the rest of the evening meant munching on what pizza was left, downing green tea, and watching the IT Crowd and Devilcake Videos (a few of which I had not seen and actually wanted to get copies of...ahem..hint hint).

I have to say that it was a fantastic evening and I couldn't think of a better way to get through the Rock Emergency than jamming with two of my bestest buds.

I still think it's probably about bad idea(Darrin) to ask Kip Winger if that song was really about Tiffany...at least until I actually go and listen to the song (or at least waiting until the LA camp when it's too late for him to be truly pissed at me....maybe I'll get that kid from Two and a Half Men to ask him).

As I was driving home, I heard the following playing (in my imagination) on the (powerless) car radio....

The following is a test of the Rock Emergency Broadcast System. In the event of an actual Rock Emergency, the feedback you heard would be followed by instructions, set lists, sound checks and shifty venue managers. This was only a test.

Crisis averted.

* I don't know if I need to link to them or not. I mean, I don't think they're my sponsors, but since I'll be 'officially' on the tour starting next Thursday, I figure that it can't hurt to practice my shameless product placement chops now.

**Found on a T-Shirt that Darrin got Gourley for Christmas about forever ago when I was in a band called Devilcake.

***No. There's no jealousy. I admire his ability and he blows my mind at least 3 times whenever we play...which, counting last night makes 1 times in the past 4...or 5...or 6 years...something like that.


Ian Stewart said...

It sounds like Darrin might have the Devilcake 'greatest hits' DVD, which I do not. We'll have to watch that one next time, if we remember. Assuming there is a next time! I'll burn copies of all the pertinent stuff I have for ya.

You forgot to mention that we began the evening by rocking out on two of my favorite of my own songs, "Hotel Pool" and "01.28.92," which is the first time either has been played by anyone anywhere in over a year. THAT was an early highlight for me, I don't think it's a secret that I still want to have a band where I can play my own songs, so thanks for getting me all worked up on that one, ya hoes. :)


Thank you for saying nice things about me playing music. I think it's still probably easiest for me to interact with people when we're all behind guitars and/or other musical instruments. The 3 guitar thing was definitely working for me, though, I have to say.

The sound of all 3 of us playing "back in black" at the same time, slightly out of tune, slightly out of sync, through those crackly little amps, will stick with me for a long time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Todd S. said...

If I can help it, there'll be a next time...(only probably not in prep for the camp, which I'm definitely filing in the 'once in a lifetime' drawer).

What surprised me was that i remember the lyrics. That had to be what...15+ years for me?

I have to say that I do enjoy rocking out on the guitar...and Back in Black was definitely cool for me. And You and Darrin are easily the two people that I'm most comfortable around musically (or period, for that matter).

Very cool.

Failing NaNo - 4 Years and Counting

I looked, Dear Readers, and noted that the last time I saw fit to let the words fall from my brain bucket and onto these virtual pages was o...