Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Ten Years of Rocking/Folking/Who knows what...

Mr. Freitas recently posted about his 10th blogging anniversary, and asked who/where we were 10 years ago. Upon reflection I've realized that 10 years ago (or thereabouts) was actually my first appearance on the Tacoma music scene.

I was in 8th grade, 14 years old. I'd played piano for about six or seven years, guitar for three or four. I'd played saxophone in the school band for four years, so I'd performed music, but not as a spotlight player.

So my dad, my brother and I started getting together and playing music. My dad on guitar, bro on bass, me on keys. Our first gig was at Shakabra Java (I would link, but it appears they've been link-farmed), in their now defunct performance space, opening for whatever real band my dad was playing for at that point. If memory serves, we played three songs: Riders on the Storm (The Doors), (All I Have To Do Is) Dream (Everly Brothers) and Walk of Life (Dire Straits).

It wasn't until the following year that I first sang in front of a crowd. Same deal at Shakabra, singing Romeo & Juliet (Dire Straits again). I would call it a great performance, but it was what got me liking it, largely because I actually had a number of friends come to that show.

Since then I've made the rounds of styles, groups, venues and qualities. In 9th grade I played CougFest, a Curtis Junior High battle of the bands, in a classic rock cover band called Prefect (very, very bad). In 10th I joined some of my friends in a punk/metal/wait-what-the-hell-did-he-just-say? outfit called Blarg!. Blarg!, too, played only one show: a battle of the bands at the U.P. Festival. We remain somewhat legendary for it, though... the only people on stage at that festival in KISS-esque makeup, singing about Muppets on killing sprees, Walt Disney curing cancer, and other lovely conversation pieces. Blarg! was also the first band I played with to produce an original studio recording, Blarg! Theme Song (yes, the lyrics are "B! L! Arg! Blarg!", in case you wondered).

That year I also started playing music with my friend Erich in what would become Mr. Fusion. He ran off to Alaska for a bit, but when he returned we started hitting up the Victory Music open mic at the Antique Sandwich Company, and thus began the era of me performing my own songs (well, technically I wrote Muppet Attack, but I didn't sing it, so it doesn't really count). Over the years, Mr. Fusion has played at Kokopelli's (victim of the U.P. Clown Center fiasco), Shakabra, the Pierce County AIDS Walk, and a student-produced benefit concert at Curtis High School called Symphonic Band Aid, and recorded an 11 track CD in my video productions teacher's backyard.

Stuck in the middle there were a couple performances (in my Frenzy Blarg persona) with cover band ∏ Eating Contest, at the old (pre-Brick City) Club Impact and the aforementioned Symphonic Band Aid.

After graduating from PLU, it really started to pick up with the formation of This Shirt Is Pants. The first "real" band I've been in (and when I say that I mean we were, for while, practicing regularly and performing nearly once a month), TSIP allowed me to play at Studio 7 in Seattle, The 4th Ave in Olympia, and numerous shows at Hell's Kitchen in Tacoma. And lest we forget, our fine debut at the Gonyea Boys and Girls Club.

TSIP has taken a bit of a dive (naturally, right after shelling out a bunch of money for a professionally produced EP - we've got lots if you want one! :D), but oddly enough everything seems to be coming full circle. Mr. Fusion has started writing and recording again. I'm back playing at the Antique on occasion. And, rounding off 10 years, last summer the Izenmen played at the Proctor Farmer's Market, and on Sunday I played with my dad and his friend Goodwin (Out of Sight, Out of Mind) at the Wright Park Conservatory (photos by Freitaka)

So... 10 years, 7 bands, 12 tacoma venues and countless tunes later, here I am. Better than I was before, though no better known. Heck, I have friends and co-workers who don't know that I sing. But that's alright. I've never played for recognition. I'm just as happy to walk off the stage and have no one recognize me once I'm back in the audience. I just love to play. And I'll still love to play in 10, 20, 30 years. Will it be in Tacoma? Who the hell knows. But it's been good to me so far: a great place to play a show for your friends and then fade away, on to something else, with just a vague memory in a few people's minds... "Were they really singing about vengeful Muppets? Nah, couldn't be..."


freelance said...

i really need to hear the vengeful muppets song.

Anonymous said...

I think the world needs to hear that!