There are two types of teenage boys that start playing in rock bands….the guys who do it to impress girls, and the guys who try to act like they didn’t do it to impress girls.
I TOTALLY started playing in a band for this reason, and I offer no apologies. In high school we tried to impress our peers and be popular, and this was a great way to do it….in college, it was pretty much the same, except the girls had sorority sweaters, and there was always the smell of beer in the bars in which we played. In my 20’s through my early 30’s, it became about impressing older musicians and trying to get my foot in the door for a great gig.
I was lucky – when I was 31, I ended up getting a regular gig with Pat Cerello and the All-Night Band up in North Jersey. It was in this band, working with top-notch musicians that I realized just how much it could be about (and should be about) the music. I was truly lucky to work with sidemen from Hall & Oates and The Rolling Stones while working with the ANB, and being the young pup in the band made me grow up a LOT faster! There wasn’t a song I could name that these guys didn’t know or didn’t know how to play…..for each and every gig, I had to bring my A+ game! And that’s when it became about the music – I learned how to listen to a song in five or six different ways, so I could better appreciate the harmonies, the melodic structures, and the instrumentation. I’ll be damned if I know the lyrics to a Steely Dan song, because there’s so much happening besides the lead vocals on their albums!
This was a blessing….sadly, Pat is no longer with us, but I can say without a doubt that this experience changed my life – I have a tremendous passion for music now, because I love to listen to and truly appreciate songs that I ignored when I was younger. And yes, 50-year-old me would probably smack the crap out of 16-year-old me for being so clueless about what I was listening to, and what I thought that I knew everything about!
PC – thank you for “saving my life”, by teaching me that it’s all about the music. Love you and miss you, my friend. ❤️