Of course it was in junior high a long, long time ago. 9th grade, 1972… which puts me at 54 for those of you doing the math at home. For some reason I find myself thinking about things I remember from that first band this morning, kind of feeling nostalgic which, being back in Dallas where I grew up and seeing many of the remaining landmarks here, happens quite frequently.
There were five of us, all from St. Mark’s School [of Texas]… Martin Ledyard played drums, so most of the time we rehearsed – and I use the term loosely – at his house just south of Greenway Parks when we couldn’t play at one of the vacant warehouses his dad owned; Mark Walsh (no relation to Joe) and Brett Willard were the guitarists, Roddy Clark played the bass; I played keyboards & sang most of the time. Mark named the band… Cult 45 (pretty clever, eh?). We may have played three gigs total as the band was very short-lived – really just the spring of ’72; by the summer it had dissipated and I would be transferring to a different high school in the fall. I can’t say we were actually good, but I’m pretty sure we didn’t thoroughly suck either.
Mainly what I remember is that we spent more time talking, sometimes arguing, about what songs we were going to play than actually playing and rehearsing the songs we eventually decided on. We worked up versions of “I’m Your Captain/Closer to Home” and Neil Young’s “Cowgirl in the Sand” – both 10 minute songs which we probably (improbably) lengthened somehow. I definitely remember rehearsing “Be My Lover” – we were all way into Alice Cooper in the spring of ’72. My baritone voice had already kicked in by then and I had trouble hitting the high notes on that song.
And I remember this one Saturday afternoon gig – the “big gig” because we actually got paid for it (not much I’m sure) – we did for some 7th grade girl’s birthday party at her house. They had a baby grand piano in their den/study and because of space limitations, I was set up in there while the rest of the band was in the living room – I could see their backs through the open doorway while I was playing and singing “Colour My World” and the rest of our set. I was miked, the piano wasn’t, and there was like a ‘natural’ 500 ms delay on everything I was playing. We came up with one song on the spot, in honor of the birthday girl, dedicated to her, and predictably it was a trainwreck but everyone seemed happy with it… and then we helped ourselves to punch and birthday cake. I don’t recall that there was any beer or anything else involved… that would come later.
So this morning I wanted to give a shout out to those guys, wherever they may be now – I lost track of all of them by my third year of college. Just a short trip down memory lane. If you’ve been in a band, feel free to send in a comment/story about your first one… thanks!
NoV News: Over the weekend, I sent “Nights From a Rooftop” to get mastered and I am happy to report that after getting the test master back, Resonance Mastering out of California will be doing the mastering on the debut album. Brian Hazard of Resonance Mastering will do the final masters of the 10 tracks during the week of May 23rd and Nights on Venus‘ 1st album will be released in MP3 format in… early June.