Thursday, March 29, 2012

Rock and Roll Band, Part 2

Don't Shoot Me, I'm Only The Piano Player

Back in September of last year I wrote about a project I have with some old friends. We're playing rock and roll together for the first time since 1980. The crazy thing is, it's starting to work out. We're all having a great time with the idea, and talking about the music. The one time so far that a few of us got together to play, we sounded pretty good. If we can get some more practice time together, we'll sound respectable.

When I wrote about this project last time, I mentioned that playing keyboards (my instrument) in a rock and roll band isn't much like playing piano in your living room, or playing organ in your church. It's very different. Sure, there are a few songs where the keyboards are playing the recognizable chords and melodies. Some of the Billy Joel music we are playing can be like that. But more often I'm playing a few backing chords, and lots of little "fill parts," like monophonic synthesizer parts that help to make the song sound the way it sounds when you hear it on the radio. The sheet music doesn't have these parts, so I learn them by ear and often practice them with the music playing behind me. When I actually get to play these parts with my band mates it's a lot more satisfying!

The other thing I'll mention today is the funny way that 30+ years doesn't really seem to change people. My friends, my bandmates, seem to me today very much the way they seemed in 1980. Their personalities are the same, whether loud or quiet, forceful or accommodating, jokesters or more serious. Best of all, they are all nice guys.

One of the funny dynamics right now is how several of us keep suggesting difficult music to try and the one and only pro musician among us keeps reminding us to start slow and build from there.

So far, it's a blast and I hope we get to keep it going for a while. If I can record some of our music later this year, I will, and then I'll share it with a few friends. If that sounds like a good idea, please let me know.


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