So on Tuesday I lugged my violin (plus pickup, leads, DI box) over to Watford to try out with a newly-forming, and I quote the original ad though possibly not in the right order, goth steampunk dark cabaret gypsy pirate band. It was an interesting illustration of what can happen if you form a band partly by advert!
The personnel: songwriter / lead vocals / rhythm guitar, Mr Gary Emmins, the real goth-steampunk deal. Think black, silver, pinstripes, skull icons on the white Gretsch F-hole guitar. And that’s just for rehearsals. Commutes from Hemel Hempstead back to Aberystwyth at weekends. Drums and doing most of the organisation: H. Jeff Emsley, with a classic American accent, a wealth of band experience and a pair of greying muttonchops that would make a pretty decent meal if they were actually mutton chops. Bass: Ian, with hair down to his waist; a chief brewer by profession. Lead guitar: Martin, known as Victim because it’s his internet username and two people called Martin is far too confusing. More long hair and a braided beard, a painted Ibanez guitar that’s fuzzy as hell even without a pedal. And me.
So I’m playing up the contrast partly. But it did seem a fairly assorted collection of people. The location was also an approximate average, and I was not impressed with the public transport system’s method of getting me there. (Look on a map: it does not make sense to go from Oxford to Watford via central London. No sense at all)
So where does one’s comfort zone end? Musically, things went surprisingly well, locking in and getting a fairly good handle on four songs in only a couple of hours. High notes, harmonic minors and lots of cheap-Romantic violin tricks (with the odd turn knocked off from Irish folk dances in, for instance, the song sung in the persona of a vampire pirate … ) were well received and probably gave an otherwise fairly straightforward rock lineup that sort of twisted costume-drama feel (think a sort of gigging Sweeney Todd, possibly crossed with Dracula) that is distinctive to the dark cabaret / steampunk generic area.
The actual distance (in terms of time and cost) did cause a significant reaction in me the following day (yesterday) though, as I struggled to stay awake or do anything productive, which is kind of unfortunate on a day with a house viewing up a hill (Headington, if you know Oxford), a rehearsal and a couple of other musical adventures to prepare for.
I’m slightly uncertain if the still-unnamed band will lead to profit-making gigs, but it does lead to making fairly convincing music. Perhaps I need to start setting boundaries as much by where I can be comfortable going (apparently not Watford) as by what I think I can be comfortable playing.
Oh, and we are moving the next practice to somewhere more accessible.