Rick's Rap - March 2005
Well boys and girls, dudes and dudettes, there is apparently life in the old warhorse yet. Eric has booked us for two gigs at the Star Diner this summer.
Jeeze, after 8 months on hiatus ... where to begin? Well, when last we left off, we had played the wedding gig last July, and we got together a couple of times to figure out what to do next. Lukas was getting to be increasingly difficult to establish contact with, and at some point Eric and Bob suggested that I check with Fido to see if he would be interested in joining us full time, in case Lukas just totally lost interest. I did, he was, and I emailed everyone to tell them that he was. Of course when I emailed everyone, I just pulled up my usual tell everybody mailing list and sent it. I actually didn't realize what an extraordinary faux pas I'd made, until Eric called and asked me why I sent a copy to Lukas ... doh! Oddly enough, after that he was no longer available.
We decided that the solution to our woes was for everyone in the band to go forth and book. Myself, Eric, Steve, and Fido checked with a number venues throughout Mongomery county, northern Virginia, and southern Maryland. What we ran up against was a resonding lack of interest in anybody hiring an "all Dead, all the time" band.
Then there was a family tragedy involving one of the members that kind of put our silly little band bitching in perspective. After that was dealt with preliminarily (I suspect that such things are never actually resolved), we decided that we would quick like a bunny throw together some material (counting heavily on Fido) that would get us some work, somehow, somewhere. We had one rehearsal to test the concept, and it seemed hold some promise. We left it that we would work from there, but we never actually did anything. Eric and I made a few more attempts to find bookings, without sucess.
Meanwhile Eric continued on with Crossfire, I found myself getting more steady pickup work than I have for years, Steve got a few gigs with Liquid Lobster, changed jobs, went back to school, and Fido got an offer from a band that guaranteed him at least 3 gigs a month. He took them up on it, and once again we had no bass player and no gigs. It was starting to look like this incarnation of RCB was in the process of just fading away.
One thing that was evident to me from my pickup gigs, was that classic rock bands were still managing to find work. One of the groups occasionally performs Truckin' (as a favor to me, I suspect), and another one does Uncle John's Band. Both tunes usually get good audience reactions (hell, last Saturday night when we did Truckin', the whole damn bar was twirl dancing ... of course I think they were pretty drunk).
Then out of the blue, Eric sends us all an email about the Star Diner gigs. Steve checked with the bass player from Liquid Lobster (also named Steve), and he agreed to cover both gigs. I made up set lists and we had a rehearsal this past Sunday. We sounded almost like we'd never taken any time off. Gee, I miss playin' the Dead.
Prior to the rehearsal, I suggested that if we want to regularly play any Dead at all, in my opinion our best shot right now would be to revamp our material, demo, and website to book gigs as a classic rock/classic country band, and work in whatever Dead material we could get away with. Before Bob showed up I mentioned to Eric that the process would go faster if we added another guitarist/vocalist who already had a bunch of the material that we're going for, and who didn't mind playing Dead. I suggested that he check with Scott to see if he was interested. Eric said he had no problem with the direction shift, but he didn't want a band with 3 guitar players.
After Bob and Steve showed up we talked about it with them. Steve said he had no fundamental objections to the concept, but he was absolutely swamped until at least the end of the year. I said that given the usual rapidity with which we do things, that didn't seem like a show stopper.
Bob's reaction was that he wanted to think about it. Eric had mentioned in an email that he'd had contact with a chick vocalist, and Bob said that how things worked out with respect to her would influence his decision.
After the rehearsal we left it that I would make up a list of tunes that are working well for the bands I'm sitting in with, and email a copy to Eric and Bob. Then they would look it over, and we would either do something with the information, or not. I have, and I suspect we're all waiting to see what happens next.