Last December, I was casting about trying to figure out an appropriate Christmas gift for my guitar teacher. Traditionally in my family, teachers received a batch of our famous (to anyone who knows our family, anyway) peanut butter balls, and I planned to continue that tradition, but it didn’t seem like quite enough and what if he was allergic to peanut butter? I thought about a gift certificate for guitar strings or some such, and then, the heavens opened up and shone a light on my inbox in the form of an e-mail from Ryanhood (my teacher’s band), announcing that there were starting a Kickstarter drive to fund the DIY recording of their next album. Brilliant! I’d contribute to that, since that’s what he needed, and I knew it would fit. Merry Christmas!
The cool thing about Kickstarter fundraising is that the people doing them often give prizes for various levels of contribution, and one of the prizes for this one was that you could sing back-up vocals on the new album. This, of course, is what I wanted to do more than just about anything as soon as I read it, and so it came to pass one Monday night in March that I and two other “producers” converged in a home studio near campus to oh-oh and hand-clap our way through a couple songs, meet the other half of the band, Cameron, and generally have a lovely evening while living the dream. I’ve heard one of the songs we sang on; they sent out early tracks to all the Kickstarters. I’d share it here, but a) it’s not been officially released yet, so I don’t think that’s probably cool, and b) I’m giving the album with my name in the liner notes to everyone for Christmas, so you’ll just have to wait and be surprised.
Unexpectedly, however, when I arrived at the house I realized I already knew one of the other two singers. Her name was Dar, and we’d met via Bandmix.com back in 2008, and had gotten together to play a little in the hopes of doing some kind of acoustic thing, but her shift work and the fact that in 2008 I was still putting myself back together after Antiguo died and didn’t really have the energy to commit, meant that ultimately the project never went past one practice and a few e-mails. Which was too bad, because we got along well, and that’s hard to find when you’re putting a band together.
So to run into her again three years later was a pleasant surprise, and we talked again about playing together as we walked out to our cars after our recording session. She was no longer doing shift work, and I was about as together as I get, and, long story short, it’s worked out for us this time, and we are now officially a duo, me on lead vocals and guitar, her on backing vocals and bass.
We still get along, and have been having a lot of fun learning new songs. We spend as much time laughing as we do rehearsing, and I have to think that’s a good thing. I guess there are no coincidences, after all; we were the right people, wrong time, in 2008, but we’re right on both counts this time around. And now it’s getting serious, and we’re looking to play our first open mic as a band (can two people be a band?) in a couple weeks. So I was rather insistent that we had to decide on a name.
I’ve kept a list of possible band names for years, as they’ve occurred to me, just in case I ever had the chance to start a band, and I ran them past Dar. While I’ve always been rather fond of The Fiberglass Lutherans, and the name made Dar chuckle, it’s more than a bit odd and requires rather more explanation than most people have time for. We’ve settled, for now at least, on The Very Idea, and we have been nerdily busy trying to decide what font our name should appear in on our calling cards. The Very Idea was also the name of a long defunct blog of mine; I named it that because I didn’t have a band, and didn’t know if I ever would, but it was too good a name to not use it.
I’m in a band now, though. I think that may actually be the last thing I needed to cross off the bucket list I wrote some years ago (and have since lost). I’m coasting from here on out.