In January, my former band The Yars released their first full album (they were all shorts or live while I was there). I’ve had a copy of it since then, but haven’t imported it. I had heard the songs tons of times as Dwight was working on them, so was certainly burned out on them. I also don’t entirely like the sound direction the songs have taken, and it’s a little weird listening to another drummer play them. And it wasn’t in the iTunes store, so they had no CDDB data. I wanted to wait for that. So I never got around to importing it.
Today I decided to. It’s been in the iTunes store and other venues for months now. But still, there was no CDDB in the Gracenote database that iTunes uses. I could go to the store and see all the track info, but there was no way to get it to the album. But I found this article describing how you can copy store songs to a playlist, then use one of Doug’s scripts to copy them to another set of songs. So I went to the iTunes store to copy them to a playlist. Unfortunately, the new fancy iTunes song playlist doesn’t allow this to happen. The songs are like HTML elements on a page. And I had planned to boycott getting new versions of iTunes because they had cut off support for third party access. But just recently I think the very features that were now causing me trouble, plus the full new version number, had enticed me. I found the “Column Browser”, which does have a Cocoa style list of the songs, but I searched every possible genre with no luck at finding the Yars.
John had stated concern after the Khameleon show about having enough time for the band with school coming up. This came to bear when he told Dwight he was quitting the band. Luckily, he then decided to only take a break. So the Yars are not playing for now, perhaps all the way through the school year. The November 30th show is still on with both John and Jesse, but Yars Presents at the ECC is cancelled for now.
I saw the Yars play at Club Khameleon last Friday. The show also included Kill the Hippies, Aviatik, and Drop to Zero, all bands with a sizable local following. Dwights dad and dad’s girlfriend came in early on in the Yars set, and his mom came in halfway through the last song (she had had to park far away and walk). Dwight had to retune his new guitar several times during the show. This new guitar was a slightly more expensive one that the new guitar he had just bought; he returned it as it couldn’t keep its tuning. It’s another of the pointy sort. Dwight made out with some chick while Drop to Zero was playing.
I had worn my kilt in from my recent trip to Scotland. It garnered a bit of attention, but most from Jackie Stuart, a girl I didn’t know but had seen before at previous Aviatik shows. She was quite excited that I had gone to Scotland, as she was part Scottish as well. I talked with her for a bit after the show about my trip (rare, me talking to someone other than Dwight or John). Dwight is going to make a sitcom written by a member of Aviatik based on his moving in with two lesbian couples. I’ll have to see how that gos. The guy seems funny, so hopefully he will be in his writing as well. I drove Dwight’s mom down to her car and we went to Taco Silver’s. We were going to then go to Rockwood’s, but it was late, so I didn’t join them.
Though Jesse was just getting the songs down, he is going to be leaving the Yars. Jesse needs to get good grades in school, so he is quitting all of his bands to ensure success. He will play at the ECC this week and the November 30th show if needed, but none other. Those ECC shows will be hard to continue. They worry a string of drummers will now come and go. They do have another drummer lined up, however. This drummer will play for the Yars, and his other band will practice at John’s house. His other band is pop style punk. They would probably end up playing at Yars shows. Hopefully something’ll work out for them.
John has expressed concern that going to school, working, and playing for the Yars will be a challenge in scheduling and having enough time.
Dwight and John plan to play an acoustic set at the ECC soon, and have invited me to play with them. I will, mainly because I really want to see John play his upright bass. That’ll be awesome. I’ll just do some simple, light stuff with brushes and a partial kit.
I’m no longer the drummer for the Yars, even the temporary drummer. Last Wednesday, I went to the ECC ready to play. Dwight and Rockwood told me that Jessie was going to play the show. So I already played my last show and didn’t realize it at the time. At least it was a fairly cool last show, with the power going out at the very end of our last song. I helped the Yars, which no longer includes myself, move their equipment in. I for the first time ever, was an audience member of the show. It’s a bit different that way; I am able to pay much more attention to what John and Dwight look and sound like. It was strange. They seemed a bit uncomfortable, probably because of the new drummer.
Jessie seems to be a fine replacement for me, and will probably do the Yars good. He only practiced with them twice, but was able to play along well. He played very strongly and kept the beat well. He’s also quite good at throwing in fills. He didn’t know the structures of the songs well yet, including when they ended, but he caught on to changes fairly quickly. Once learns the songs a little better, I’m confident he will tune the parts so they sound very good with the music, and will drive the songs much better than I did.
Watching, I was somewhat glad to be done. The songs seem so fast listening to them, and I couldn’t imagine playing that fast, even though I had for so long. Hopefully with my increased free time, I’ll be able to get some other stuff done now that really needs doing.
I like many of Dwight’s songs a good bit, some which we never played since we got John and became the Yars, so I shall still be coming to shows. I also want to see how Jessie is doing, and see how the songs change with him as lead drummer. I’ll also work on their web page stuff a bit, though for now I don’t know what to do with that. I hope fans enjoyed my part in the Yars, and hope they continue to enjoy the Yars now that I’m a fan as well.
Dwight got a new car. It was amazingly new, being only three years old. His previous two cars were quite old and in bad shape, the very reason both were dumped. His car is very new and shiny looking. The engine compartment even looks clean and nice, with everything in there seemingly designed with a neat appearance in mind. The car is a Ford Focus station wagon. Despite it being a car instead of a truck, it fits the equipment quite nicely. Theres not quite as much room as the truck; it can fit our regular equipment, but not extraneous equipment that we occasionally need to take such as the Rogue PA for our vocals, and it can fit at best two people with one being rather uncomfortable, instead of three with one being slightly uncomfortable. It was quite surprising. It even actually fits Pickles, Rockwood’s speaker cabinet, better, as it has more head room. The cabinet can be slid straigh in instead of tilted and then slid in like we had to do with the truck, making it much easier to do. The doors on the side provide easier access to stuff near the front, so I don’t even have to climb in at all. It is lower to the ground as well, making it easier to reach in. Awesome.
We just found out that King Coopa is in jail. He got a DUI. King Coopa, also known as David Cooper, was a guy we met back when we were playing with Double Barrel in the fall. He was managing their band, and had offered to do it for us as well, but we weren’t wholeheartedly interested, wanted to do it ourselves and keep the extra money. Now Dwight wants to take advantage of management services; he’s tired of having to do all that stuff himself and wants to focus more on playing the music. King Coopa was the only one any of us knew, but he’s not going to be available for another 11 months. Pretty crazy.
I had been thinking about it for a while, the possibilities and problems. Two weeks ago, I made up my mind to tell them, but I didn’t get to see my band mates. Rockwood’s dad was leaving the house to move in with his (Mr. Rockwood’s) mother to help her with gardening in her old age. Rockwood and his sister, Connie, were thus given the house. Rockwood went to South Carolina or the like to help Connie move back to Ohio. So two ECC shows and one practice were cancelled. Friday was the first meeting of the Yars in two weeks, and I had waited to tell them the whole time. It allowed me to mull it over more and weigh the plusses and minuses. In the end, I decided it would be for the better.
I’m leaving the band. I will stay with the band until a suitable new drummer is found and learns the music or our last currently scheduled show on August 19th, whichever comes first. I plan to put up flyers in Kent seeking a drummer willing to play in an established band. We’ll probably have them come to one of our shows to see if they are interested in our music and the Yars in general. Then they can come to our practices and Dwight and Rockwood will talk to them in more detail about the band and find out if they will work out. I will show them my current parts to the music to give them an idea of the style wanted and also a starting point in coming up with their own parts. Hopefully we will find someone that can learn the songs and make parts for them quickly, parts that compliment the music well (perhaps even better than my own). They also must get along with the band members and be willing to play the music already written. Hopefully by August 19th.
Many things influenced my decision. I don’t have so much fun playing in the band now. Sometimes it is fun, but a lot of times it isn’t. I enjoy the music a lot, but I don’t neccesarily enjoy playing it all the time. I’m not the best of drummers at all, never having really gotten any lessons on the set (only on individual percussion instruments, requiring much less coordination), and the Yars music would likely be improved with a better drummer. Sometimes I don’t like the parts Dwight or Rockwood want me to play for the songs, or even the tempo or other aspects of the song, yet they may be better off with those changes, and a more experienced drummer may be better at telling what works well. I’ve got a lot going on in my life right now, and want to make some changes. Drumming for the Yars takes a bit of time and effort and ties me to it. I don’t necisarily like the place I’m in right now and hope leaving the Yars will allow me to find a better place. As my interests are less focused on the Yars and more elsewhere, I can’t be very dedicated to it. Hopefully the new drummer will be quite dedicated and more interested in the success of the band and going places rather than in playing some music for fun. I am very stingy, and drum equipment and other band costs can be quite expensive; leaving the band will allow me to focus my precious resources elsewhere. All in all, I think this will work out for the better of both the band and myself.
In other news, our former fellow band, the Living Deadbeats, got a bit of air time on 100.7 WMMS. MMS plays a ‘local bands’ type show sometimes. I was at work and was surprised to hear the Deadbeats popular (to fans) tune ‘Machine Gun Sam’. I was even more surprised to hear that it was on the radio and not a CD. This means they must be doing alright after we lost contact with them, following the Europe Gyro incident. Good luck to them. I’ll have to watch for them and perhaps catch another of their shows, as it’s been a little while.
John’s dad disliked the idea of us playing at his house anymore, so with a little luck and perseverance, Dwight got us a practicing slot at the Club Khameleon every Friday, 5-8. That’s almost our old practice time-slot. We do have to move our equipment back and forth though (we can still store it in John’s garage, luckily) so it’ll be a bit more efforted. At least shows won’t seem quite as bad then.
Our first practice at the Khameleon went quite well. We played through our songs with the not-so-perfect sound on stage at most shows. Since there were a few folk listening to us, it was actually sort of like a show, but much more laid back. I think the practice will actually be better for us than at a house.
Right after our practice, a storm rolled in. It was pouring and we had to run our equipment out to the truck in the rain. Got a little wet, and so did our equipment, but I think all survived just fine.
If anyone wants to watch us practice, you can, Fridays 5-8; just expect a few more slip-ups and longer breaks between songs.
Sorry for the cancellation if anybody was even coming out to see us tonight. I was a bit sick earlier this morning, with flu-like symptoms and vomit. Other bands are taking our place for the night. We will continue playing at the ECC for Yars nights, though they will become bi-weekly now that school is out (for KSU).
On another note, I guess our current practice location at Rockwood’s dad’s house is no longer available. Last Friday, I was a bit tired for practice. After practice, Dwight wanted to play some basketball. My car was in the way of the hoop, so he wanted me to move it out of the way. I wanted to just go home and sleep. After arguing a bit with Dwight, I decided to move the car and stay for a bit. I’m not very good at close quarters manuevering, especially in reverse, in my new car for some reason (the Camry is bigger than my old Grand Am, which I was fairly good with), and this was a bit of a tricky manuever. I backed up, trying to be careful to not let my front tires turn into the lawn while making sure the rear didn’t hit the porch or either of the cars there. I realized I wasn’t going to make it, so I pulled forward and then back again sharper. This time I was worried that my front tires did indeed run over the lawn a bit, which I thought was confirmed when Rockwood’s dad popped out of the house and angrily asked what I was doing. I said I was moving the car out of the way, but he said that I was tired and was going home. So he and Dwight moved their cars, allowing me to go home.
Later that week, Dwight called me and told me that I had hit the porch during that manuevering. I was totally unaware, but evidently my front tire bumped into it and broke a small piece off. Rockwoods dad hadn’t noticed it at first either, so he was quite mad when he found out. He thought we were trying to hide it from him. He told Rockwood we couln’t practice there anymore. I’m gonna have to call him up tomorrow or so. At there very least, I’ll have to attempt to fix whatever was broken there. I’ll also have to see if I can convince him to let us practice there again, as we will elsewise not have a good place to practice: Dwight lives in an apartment and the neighbor doesn’t like us playing while she is at home, usually after five or six on weekdays and all day on weekends; I live in a trailer where the neighbors are rather close as well, and the rules stipulate no music rehearsal. We’ll find a place if need be, but it’d be much easier to practice at one of our places, where we could leave the equipment.
After a bit of trouble getting a bass we let someone borrow and fixing up Frankenstack (our makeshift stack Dwight was using made from his Leem portable amp running two large speakers from our old PA), we finally got Dwight a new, regular amp head and halfstack. We traded in the old Mexican Fender bass we got from one of our floormates in Clark over two years ago; the old, almost functioning PA we bought from the music store where Dwight had got his guitar lessons years ago; and Dwight’s former favorite amp, his Leem. This, with a little extra cash, got him a used 100 watt (I believe) Fender amp head and a half stack of four 12″ speakers. The bass traded for double what me and Dwight paid for it, while the PA went for less than a third.
I haven’t seen the new stack yet, but I hear it’s both quite loud and light. At 20% volume, it is about as loud as we’d normally have it for practice. It’s lighter and smaller than the frankenstack, and even has wheels, so it’ll be much easier to transport. It was quite a pain to carry the big speakers of frankenstack around and fit them into Dwights truck.