How I became a rock star (wannabe )
How far back to take it? hmmm. As long as I can remember I wanted to play music and be in a band, so why did I wait so long in life to do it? I dunno lol. The desire was there. the opportunity was there. I spent most of my time at my Aunts house and my cousin Rod had multiple guitars and amps. For some strange reason he let me, even as a 10 year old, play the guitars. Maybe it was because I was the only one who would sit and listen to all he had to tell me about them. I don't know. I taught myself a few chords but I just didn't have the patience. No focus. To much into “ squirrel “. A wasted opportunity. Other than the 3 chords I remember. Guitar wasn't my favorite instrument anyways. Drums. That's where it was at. You could beat the crap out of those things and they were LOUD. perfect for the ADHD in you. I had a paper route and one of my stops was a tire shop. One of the mechanics there befriended me. He was a drummer named Lou Sparks. He had played in a band in England called the Hollywood Brats. Look them up. several albums. Anyways we used to talk drums and music all the time. So I saved up and bought a small kit. Perfect for a 12 year old living in an apartment right? Had a blast making noise when the building was empty. When my mothers health deteriorated and she was out of work I sold my drums to help pay rent. That seemed like the end of my musical journey. Air drums and air guitar seemed to be where I was destined to be.
Fast forward to my last year of High school. I began to hang around with some strange dudes who really loved music. They turned me on to many bands Id never even heard of. We drove around for hours with the car stereo at 11. One of these strange dudes was Tim Hewitt. Tim was an amazing bass player. He went on to play with Trooper, Prism and a few other popular bands. Did session work and some other projects. I didn't even know what the bass was. Thought it was just a 4 string guitar. He took the time to explain why the bass is so important. Told me how he hated “ boring “ bass players. I farted around with his bass a bit but didn't really get it. I did borrow a bass for a few months from my cousin to play around with but all I knew how to do was pluck the open E. He needed the bass back so that was the end of that.
Moving along to when Tracy and I bought our first house. I said we have a house now I'm buying a set of drums!! She looked at me and said “ this is a very small house and we plan to have kids, I don't think drums are a good idea”. Being the man and the boss of the house I put my tail between my legs and said yes dear. I needed something. So back to cousin Rod again and I bought a bass from him and picked up a small amp. Never really learned what to do with it. Taught myself a few songs using tabs from magazines. Didn't understand structure. Literally brain dead musically. Eventually I took a few lessons from a guy but just didn't enjoy his teaching. I continued to just try and learn the fret board on my own.
Fast forward again. We move to a bigger house. DRUMS. I bought a set right away. I was so excited because you know I fancied myself a drummer. Couple things wrong. I only knew how to bang them loud and it was hard to play along with music. They were so loud they skipped CDs. They were fun though. Some friends from work and I decided we were going to start a band. We had a few guitar players and one guy had been a drummer but didnt own any. I offered up my drums and said Id play bass. We had no idea what we were doing so all we accomplished was getting drunk. We tried it on another occasion with the same results. One of the guitar players, Dale Clinton ( who was extremely talented ) and I still wanted to try and get something done. Just him and I tried playing a bit but alas I still had no clue. He said to me “ I see what the problem is. You know how to play you just have no clue what to play.” I decided to try another instructor. Mark Hill. He was amazing right away. I began to actually understand a bit of music theory and structure finally. dale and I kept talking about “ the band “ But i was very busy with my kids sports and he was tied up with union matters all the time, but eventually we said we would do this. Typical of how we all live life. “ Ill get to it “.
I received a phone call one morning. Nov 12 2012. dale had passed away in an accident while away on union business. It was awful. Shock doesn't even come close. That's when I realized tomorrow isn't promised. If you want something or to do something you cant keep waiting.
I began to take lessons regularly and to spend much more time practicing. At one point Mark said I could definitely play in a band. He knew some guys who did some garage jamming and they needed a bass player. So out to Grand bay I went. I felt like a fish out of water. I had never really played with anyone. Only played along with music. ( other than the drunken attempts ). It went ok. Was a great learning experience. they were very patient with this newbie. I spent several months jamming with them in prep for a big backyard party. My first live gig. I was petrified. There was actually people there to watch. I survived and didn't make too many glaring mistakes. I played one more backyard party with them but I still wanted to be in a gigging band. Just something I needed to do. I answered Kijiji adds for a band seeking a bass player. Again terrifying but it went ok. I had the spot but the band lasted 2 weeks. I started up with another band and things were going pretty good. I had a bit of confidence finally but then that crashed and burnt. Joined another band. Great learning experience again but they really weren't playing music I loved. I stuck with them because they did plan to gig. I was still going out to Grand bay to jam and learn. I answered another Kijiji add for a bass player and it turned out to be the first band I tried out with again. this is when I met the Queen, Stephanie. We seemed to be getting somewhere but as soon as gigs were mentioned the guy whose band it was quit. Imagine. He quit his own band. You know what they say. If you want something done right do it yourself. I stayed in contact with the Queen and we agreed we needed to start our own. So we did. We managed to put together a 6 piece band in a short amount of time. We even got our first real gig playing a fundraiser. Terrifying but a blast. I was still playing in 2 other bands just in case. Didn't want to quit the other 2 yet incase it crashed. The boss didn't seem to impressed that I was rehearsing 3 or 4 nights a week so I had to make a choice. It was easy. SSP was the band. We have had a few changes over our 5 years but this is the band I imagined. Lots of work but even more fun. The learning curve is immense, but every time I accomplish something its a huge high five to me.
Moral of the story. Don't wait. Do it. I bought my first bass in my early 30s. Didn't really learn how to play until my late 40s. Started my first band at age 49. Maybe my first Juno at age 60? ( not my dog Juno ). the only downfall is I'm still not a drummer. But I'm still young.