Before the year closes out I wanted to share something that I’d been working on since I haven’t published anything new this year. As I said earlier today (and in the past), I wrote a new scene for He’s With the Band earlier this year but I haven’t been able to get it all typed up. As a thank you to everyone who’s been waiting patiently for it I wanted to share what I have of the new scene available. It’s a very early draft so not only do I have more to add to it I may also make some pretty big changes to it when I finally get the new version published.
One of the big changes for the rewrite is the fact that I’m writing it from Al’s point of view. One of the most often heard requests was to hear more about Linda but when I wrote it I decided it would be written from Al’s point of view and since Al didn’t know more about her the reader couldn’t either. The change of point of view will make that more clear, but fear not, we’ll get more information on Linda in some of the writing I have yet to do.
I hope you all enjoy this, and have a great start to 2015, everyone!
The guys were at my place Tuesday night as usual for rehearsal, but instead of working on songs or talking about the next gig, which was Friday night at the coffeehouse at Tammy McBride’s church, we listened to some rough mixes I had done of the tracks we’d recorded at the Paradise. Except calling them “rough mixes” was a bit of a lie. I had spent the last two days working on them. First I had listened to them with a quick setting of the faders on each channel like I’d start a gig with, tweaking things here and there as I went. As I went through the recording I also placed markings at the start of each song so when I need to I can jump between songs more easily.
Gary was right Friday when he told Linda I’m a perfectionist, and I often laugh at how much effort I put into not only recording but even into my “rough mixes.” I never know when I give someone a copy of a rough mix who will end up hearing it, and when I heard my demos on the PA at Tammy’s church I was glad I had put the extra effort into getting mixes I was happy with for now.
As I went through making the rough mixes of the band’s performance Friday night I could have just made mixes to play for the guys tonight, and I did so I could give the guys the songs on USB thumb drives, but I know they prefer hearing rough mixes live on the mixer so we can make adjustments as we listen. One of the expensive things I bought when I was building my little studio was a programmable mixer so as I play tracks I can have automation make changes as it goes. That may not sound like a big deal but when I was learning recording engineering I helped an engineer do complex changes during a mix that required at least a couple of pairs of hands to tweak everything at the right time. It was old school and it made me appreciate how things used to be done. I never want to rely on automation so much that if it breaks during a session I don’t know how to do complex mixes the old-fashioned way, but the automation has come in handy on a few sessions when I had a similar number of changes to make in the middle of a song but not the extra hands to make them with.
A rehearsal for Omega Glory isn’t just a band thing and the guys’ wives and girlfriends often come. This night was a night everyone was there and we even had Ken Hurley and his wife Barbara there so they could hear the recoding of the concert as well.
Drew initially wanted our lighting guy to be used as needed but I had talked to him and Gary after the service Sunday night and convinced them that the band should have their lighting person there all the time like they have me, if only to make sure whoever is doing the lights knows the songs as well as the rest of us do. Drew brought it up at the rehearsal before we started listening to the recordings.
“Gary, Al and I were talking about whether we need a regular lighting guy like Al’s our regular sound guy.”
”No offense Ken,” Steve said, “but will we be using the lights that often? Most of our gigs either don’t have lights or have someone there who will run them.”
To his credit Ken was ready for the question even though he didn’t even know it was coming. “You may not need someone to run the lights every gig, but you guys threw me with the changes in Somewhere Friday night. I’m not sure how I would have done if Al didn’t call out the changes for me. If you have a lighting guy who could be at rehearsals they’d be able to go with the flow more easily.”
“But we didn’t know we were doing the bridge that way until we were doing the solos,” Tony said. “Drew had to let Al know over the intercom as it was.”
“True, but if I had been around when you had put it together before I could have had a better idea how the lights would be for the bridge.” Ken looked around and made sure he wasn’t making anyone mad. “I’m just saying that whether you guys want me on lights or someone else they really need to be as much of the band as Al is so they know the songs and how you play them well enough that if you throw something new into a song during a gig they can go with the flow more easily.”
“You’re right, Ken,” Tony said before turning to the others. “I don’t know about anyone else but if Ken’s wiling to be our full time light guy we’d be stupid to consider anyone else. And I agree we need to have this conversation sooner rather than later.”
Gary spoke up and showed he’d been giving it a lot of thought before I brought it up Sunday night. “Drew and I were talking about it between the two of us and it may be time to buy some lighting equipment, or at least rent it. I’m getting calls where we can really use it, and Friday’s show proved we’re ready to move up to the next level as a band. If we do we need a lighting system.”
“I move that we vote on adding lights and making Ken our lighting tech,” Steve said.
“Seconded,” said Drew.
I saw Drew was about to say something and spoke first. “There’s one detail I need to bring up. Once you guys add lights on a regular basis you’re going to need somewhere to to used to them.” My place us too small for it and my wiring sure can’t handle the load.”
I got the laughs I expected, not to mention the “why not.”
“I hadn’t thought about that,” Drew said. “Thanks for bringing that up. But we’re forgetting someone before we take the vote.” He turned to Barbara and asked, “How would you feel about Ken being our full time lighting guy?”
“I thought you’d never ask”, she said with a smile. “I was hoping you would ask him to. I know how much he loves working with you.
“I can’t imagine working with anyone who’s as easy to work with then Ken,” Gary said. “I’m sorry we didn’t talk about his becoming a part of the band like Al is sooner. But I have to tell you two that we’re looking at doing more than a couple of rehearsals a week and some gigs on the weekends. And I’m afraid we won’t be able to pay you what you’re worth. We can’t pay Al a fraction of what he’s worth between letting us rehearse here and doing all our sound. And that’s not even talking about the expense he’s incurring for recording Friday’s show.”
“Gary, you know I’d never charge you what I could for either my time or the rehearsal space. And I was wanting to get gear for live recording anyway so you helped me spec out the equipment and get some gear to see how it works.
“How did it work?” asked Gary.
“It was a little rough getting the gear to do the recording but once I told Paul what we were doing he was really glad to help us.” Paul Marchand is the manager at the Paradise Rock Club. “I think he’s hoping a live album recorded at his club will help business. I don’t see it hurting.”
“That’s good to hear,” said Drew. “We definitely want him happy that we played there. And that we did an album there. An unhappy venue manager can make things difficult for a band at other venues.”
We’d heard some horror stories of gigs at one club going so badly that other clubs wouldn’t even consider booking the band.
“As for the money,” Ken said, “I know it takes time for a band to roll in the dough, and a lot of times it doesn’t happen at all. Besides, I believe in you guys enough to know it shouldn’t be a problem. Barbara’s been good at getting me to salt away some money for rainy days, and I know as long as we do God’s will He’ll take care of things when it gets really tough.”
“If there’s nothing else we should vote,” Gary said. Heads shook no around the room.
“Do you want Barbara and I to step out of the room for this?”
Drew smiled at him. “I don’t think that’s necessary.”
I’d learn later that he’d already talked to everyone about it and knew how the vote would go. He held the vote anyway because Omega Glory has always made decisions this way, with a vote after considering both sides of the question after an open and honest discussion. Their making decisions like this is part of why I love working with them. There’s no prima donnas in the band and no egos to be massaged. No matter how much applause they get at a gig they make sure their feet stay rooted on the ground.
“All in favor?” Gary asked.
Everyone, including the wives and girlfriends said, “Yes!” We all laughed as though there was never any doubt. That’s also the usual for Omega Glory votes, although we don’t always have the laughter.
“Opposed?” asked Drew.
After a few second Natalie Dixon, Drew’s fiancé, said, “Just the crickets, honey. And I think they voted twice.
Drew and Natalie met a couple of years back and it was love at first sight. Within a few months they knew they would end up getting married and when he finally popped the question seven months ago she immediately said yes. When they rest of the band heard the good news Tony’s wife Susan asked what took Drew so long. Tony chided her gently, explaining that Drew doesn’t rush into anything. Even when he got a new guitar a couple of years back Drew spent several weeks looking at the options and spent another several days before he ended up getting the PRS Custom 24 he plays now.
“I know honey,” Susan told him that day. “But am I the only one who knew they were perfect for each other?”
The only one who didn’t agree with her was me, and she knew me for long enough to know I stay out of conversations like that since I’d had such bad luck with relationships.
“Welcome to the band, Ken.” Gary said with a smile. You’re no longer a temp. Can you put together info on what we’ll need and how much it will cost?”
“Sure. You already have some of that from before but I’ll put together a couple of options with pricing for both rental and buying.”
A year ago the band played at a church that wanted to do a night of Christian music with several bands. They wanted Omega Glory to be the headlining band, which wasn’t a problem, but they asked if we could get a lighting system so it would be more like a concert and not just some bands playing at a church. The night didn’t go as well as we’d hoped but it brought Ken and the band together.