Many years ago, when I was 16 or 17, I was in a band. It meant the world to me. It put me on stage. It gave me a voice and a microphone. It helped define me. I could barely play an instrument or carry a tune. Even so, it was my sole plan for the future when I graduated from high school in 1989. It’s all I wanted to do.
Things didn’t work out the way I’d hoped, though. The band broke up in October of that year. I broke up, too. It took me a long time to figure out what was next. But, I eventually found my way to the reasonably well-adjusted 41-year-old person I am at this moment. I still play music. I write songs, I play instruments slightly better than I used to and I think I sing a lot better than I did when I was 17.
That doesn’t mean I never think about the old days. Not much has ever lived up to the intense rush I had playing rock-in-roll at the The Roost when I was a kid, coming in second at the Battle of the Bands, screaming, sweating. I can still hear the crowd go wild when I sang, “Don’t you give me any shit,” in Riot in Cell Black Number Nine. I was the shit. I swore onstage, through a microphone. Rock-n-roll was all I wanted to do.
The crazy thing is, I was never in another rock band after that. I jammed with some guys here and there. I auditioned for some bands. But it never worked out. I found other kinds of music. Music with banjos, fiddles, tin whistles. It’s been fun. I’ve played my own songs all over: from Maine to Ireland to Austria to Nebraska to Maryland and back. But none of those gigs gave me the high I got at The Roost. Nope.
Out of the blue the guitar player from that old high school band called me late last year. He said something like, “You wanna come play with me and Dean (the drummer) and maybe get a gig?”
It was the call I’d been waiting for, all these years.
I said sure. I went. It was fun. It was a lot of fun. We’ve only met a couple of more times since then. But I managed to get a recording of a brand new song at the last meeting. It’s our first new material in 25 years. I like the way it sounds.
Are we rocking like we did back then? No. Do I expect to get a Roost-rush now? No. But it sure is a good feeling to reconnect with those guys. They’re the only ones who really know what it was like to play those shows, all those summers ago. They know, because they felt it, too. They know what it meant.
I hope we get together and jam some more and maybe play that fabled gig. Above all, I’d like to stay connected and create some sounds that weren’t in the world before. The kind of sounds we can only make together. I want to live up to our old band name: Unfinished Business.