I'm 100% sure that every band has its squabbles. Add to the "Band Dynamics" the fact that The Fremonts happen to be married and not only know how to call each other's bull, but also have an expert ability to push each other's buttons. Pile on top of that my propensity to have negative reactions to newborn ideas & notes, and you get to where Steph and I find ourselves tonight: quietly stewing over our laptops while our fingers type with just a little bit more force than usual.
We are both trying to push ourselves in new directions with this collection of songs for the new record. Some of these songs we've been playing for over a decade individually, so there is a history in the fingers and ears that takes a bit of time to outgrow. Others we've only been playing for about a year and while the history isn't there, the idea of where we (or I) want a song to go is standing firmly planted with its heels dug in, its arms tightly crossed and a look on its face that resembles an 8-year-old holding his breath in order to get his way. When faced with that kind of energy, the backlash is bound to cause some rough spots.
Make no mistake that the stubborn 8-year-old usually comes from my camp. Steph eagerly offering up a new idea, something still relatively young; and me hearing it with ears that expect things to be perfect at inception or they aren't worth trying.
So as we continue to expand the boundaries of what these songs could be, it's imperative that I don't stick my nose up at change. 'Cause that caustic shit only leads to hurt feelings, bad energy and loud typing.
Fortunately, Steph is an amazing creative force and I am stubborn as the day is long (and lucky as all get out that she has a forgiving heart). So we're in it for the long haul and we're both steady on the same goal. That in and of itself is enough reason to push through these rehearsals that you (I) kind of wish you (I) could rewind and try again.
To add a bit of positivity, last week we had a string of some of the strongest rehearsals to date. The three songs we drilled are starting to get some serious legs and I'm excited to hear how they continue to evolve. We even slogged our way through some stuff that hadn't been played for some time in preparation for our trip to the East Coast. Outside of some missed chords and bumbled tunings, they felt like home.
Meantime, I'd say I sympathize with Moose (our canine pal), but he sleeps at the foot of our comfy bed. The dog house only fits a party of one tonight.
On Tuesday night at 9:12pm, I could have strangled Justin Badger. It was a long, busy day at the office followed by two hours of rehearsal together. We were both tired, but I was really excited to show him a new part I wrote for his song, Tillman's Wall (which might end up as the second track on the new album). We knew the song needed a piano solo, so I wrote a creepy little swampy tune that floated over the whole thing. The song was about corruption in the American military (more or less), but the arrangement was mostly strong chords over a deep rhythmic bass line. I thought a melody that sounded like corruption and rust and guilt might just be perfect.
So, I played it for him. I thought it sounded like magic and had TONS of possibilities. It was so creepy and layered over his guitar part in this really unexpected way. He was not impressed.
I think his actual response was, "Meh."
I said, "Listen to it again." And he did. Still didn't like it. So, I explained why it was cool; how it was juxtoposing the overall sound of the song. Not good enough. I begged him to listen to it one more time. He did. Now suddenly he liked it. He thought he could work with it.
He said, "What if we broke it up and put it in between this line and oh, we could use part of it under the chorus and oh yeah, I'll buy that."
Not, "Awesome job, Steph."
Nor, "Wow. That was so creative."
Nope. Just, "I'll buy that."
I said, "I am so annoyed with you tonight."
He said, "Why don't you go blog about it?"
My family is going to read this, so I'm not going to blog my response.
The following Monday, we find ourselves moved into a new home with no working shower and half a couch. In the middle of this construction site, we are behind our instruments, playing through the music for our upcoming show at the No Name Bar. There are spiders in the corners, there's dust on the floor and we haven't showered in three days, but we're singing almost in tune and remembering almost all of the chords and new parts to our songs. We get to Tillman's Wall and play it with the new counter melody. It's going to be in the set for the next show. It may even make it onto the album.