Kelly In Catty

This blog is Kell's attempt to keep in touch with friends far away who complain that I don't e-mail nearly enough.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Making the Band

While the following was happening, I was much too embarassed to actually write about it - but now - in the era of television documentaries, E! Network, and reality "Making the Band" shows, I think I can talk about it...

My band emerged from a group of musicians where my husband works. They'd get together once/week during lunch breaks and play music for an hour... It began with Dave and Fran, then grew to include two other employees, "Beau" and "Joe." Beau was a member of a local folk music society, which played a lot of nursing home-type gigs. Despite the fact that Joe "swore off" playing live music in public, he found he enjoyed the camaraderie of the lunch jams. Soon, the band was asked by co-workers to play parties - and the word got out. The quartet played at local venues... and in time, I joined up.

Eventually, Joe left for health reasons (He was preposterously high-maintenance anyway), which left us with Dave, Fran, Beau, me and our new bass player, Scott.

Due to the following list of painintheassitude, we asked Beau to leave:

1) Beau's short temper: If we somehow displeased, he'd purposefully turn up the high frequency on the sound board, causing deafening feedback and discomfort to our audiences and us.

2) His cosmic "Legend in his Own Mind" ego: Once he told Dave "You know, you and I are the only professional-quality musicians in this band.

3) His penchant for reverb: Beau had a lot of recording equipment - and liked to use it... which is fine... BUT. I've said it before. The fact that I've driven a tractor doesn't make me a wheat farmer any more than having recording equipment made Bob a sound engineer... He once made a recording of a song of ours that I now jokingly refer to as "Kelly: Live from the Holland Tunnel." As a side note, he played dobro on the song - and turned it up so loudly that basically it was me and the DOBRO-DOBro-DoBrO-d-o-b-r-o - note echo effect.

4) His constant gunning for his other band: At one of our gigs, a listener approached Beau, asking for our band's contact info. Beau said, "I have a better band for you." and proceeded to try and get the guy to book his folk music society band.... nervy, eh?

5) I'll only mention one of the nasty little comments he made to mutual friends that got back to us. The rest - well, use your imagination: Suffice it to say, that after I angered him one too many times, he began referring to the band as "Pussy and the Perks".

He just had to go! Scott volunteered for the unpleasant task of asking Beau to leave the band. He sent an e-mail... I know this sounds like a wimp's approach, but honestly - if you knew him, you'd understand that it simply wasn't worth doing any other way.

Scott wrote: "There is a huge discrepancy in your musical and personal interaction philosophies and ours. Both at gigs and off-stage your speech and actions are directly contrary to the way that we perceive the group... Your combative attitude makes these 2 simple goals very hard to achieve. We have to walk on eggshells every time we are with you, hoping that something doesn’t set you off -- so you don’t walk off stage in the middle of a set, or argue with other members on stage or send off nasty emails the next day."

Well - this set off a litany of angry e-mails from Beau to each of us individually. I just didn't have the energy to go to the mats with him (again) - so asked politely in an e-mail that we simply agree to disagree and move on... What I got was a tome of an e-mail - telling me what a coward (among other things) that I was... Here's just a taste:

"Yes, I have complained confidentially to several of my friends over the recent weeks and the way I have been treated... I was looking more for advice from them, what to do, absolutely not to disrespect anyone. So whatever you are saying you are conjecturing and showing your guilty feelings. On the contrary, I have had nothing but good things to say to all of my friends at work and home about promoting the Perks – your voice, Fran’s excellent lead guitar and Dave’s exceptional banjo picking, and the neat twist of music that we have been doing."

Oh! Silly me! "Pussy" was a COMpliment!

ANYWAY - We really need to thank Beau - because he gave us residual unity... It's been a few years - and there's nothing the four of us can't work out. We've had a lot of fun throwing ideas around - and when there's a conflict, we work it out. Not to get all "Katie Holmes" on you, but the band has been an amazing, creative part of my life...

Ok - This all happened years ago... I kept the e-mails because:

1) VH1, after reading this, is sure to revive "Behind the Music" - and will want to profile us. As band archivist, I'd like to provide an accurate account of the early days, and

2) I'm a writer... Someday, someone will need this primary research material when Michael Scott gets passe.

Lately, after two or three years, both Scott and Dave have had occasion to speak with Beau... Scott recently published a bluegrass songbook (e-mail me if you're interested). Beau got the press release. He wrote an e-mail to Scott: "Hello Scott. We used to be friends, but you hurt my feelings... But I'm over it..." (tee hee). Dave e-mailed to ask about a festival his folk band used to play at... Beau sent back a note saying "Both the band and I have released CD's of original songs. Most people say they like mine better..."

It's nice to see his current band is getting the same support we used to!

Just to wrap this up (with a big pink BEAU) - Thank goodness for the jerks in our lives - they just make us more appreciative of the people we like.


Post a Comment

<< Home