My career as a rock star

December 1, 2010

Whatgrowup_tweak

When I was an early teen, I wanted to be John Deacon—not the man, but the bass player in a rock band.

I don’t recall any career aspirations from small childhood. I was always drawing pictures, or writing little things, or playing with invisible Harlem Globetrotters in the giant box from our new washer. But none of that transmogrified into a life path. It wasn’t until I was about twelve or thirteen my inner bass player began to make herself known.

Now, I never took bass lessons, electric or otherwise. Every now and then I’d pick up my dad’s old Gibson archtop guitar and relearn the same three or four chords. But that was as far as any learning of a stringed instrument went. But still, I fantasized about being a rock and roll bass player. I remember that it manifested itself mainly at Saturday morning bowling when we’d play “New Kid in Town” (Eagles) and “Slow Ride” (Foghat) on the jukebox and I’d really get into the last chorus.

I started taking piano lessons when I was seven and that became the more practical skill in my rock musician efforts. When I was in high school, I was invited to play a monophonic synthesizer in my boyfriend’s friends’ basement band. We got together pretty regularly for a couple of years. I often didn’t have much to do, as it’s hard to contribute much monophonically in songs like “Cinnamon Girl” (Neil Young) or “Hold on Loosely” (38 Special).

At each practice, I bided my time until we got to the songs during which I could really make that synthesizer hum—“Too Much Time on My Hands” (Styx) and my pièce de résistance, “Never Been Any Reason” (Head East) with that kick-ass synth solo in the middle.

We only ever played in public twice—two summers in a row at the church camp where the mother of two of the band members was a counsellor. At the end of one performance, one little girl breathlessly asked me if I was Joan Jett. I let her down easy.

 

The other thing thing that I did in high school that I suppose could have been a career path was work at a couple of local radio stations, though I don’t remember ever thinking of it that way while I was doing it.

My high school had an in-house, closed circuit student radio station. I got involved, and that led to the opportunity of filling in at the university radio station one Christmas break. I started out reading the news but soon had a weekly, three-hour shift. One of the highlights off my time there was meeting the members of Head East, who were in town for a show and who swung by for an interview. I didn’t conduct it, but I was present and snapped lots of photos (see below). I must have told them that I used to rock their song.

From the campus radio station, I then had a job at the AM (medium wave) country station in town. My main task was to play various prerecorded programs on Sunday mornings, but in the summer when there was longer daylight, I also got the last couple of hours of the day before it got dark and the station ceased broadcasting for the day. This is where I acquired my surprising-to-some-people knowledge of country music.

Such was the extent of my music-related activities. When I graduated with my commercial art degree, my parents gave me a digital piano. I took that over to a friend’s house a few times where I joined him and his friend. They played acoustic guitar and Dobro. The one song that we tried to work up was “You Really Got a Hold on Me.”

Maybe all of this is why I love to sing karaoke so much.

Whatgrowup_blog

The two fellows pictured above are Tony Gross and Danny Odum, who were in the version of Head East that I saw, circa 1981.

Photo of John Deacon, top, taken at the “New of the World” concert that I attended.

3 Responses to “My career as a rock star”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Odd. They are both mentioned in the Background section, as well as being listed in the blue box on the right of the page, but are left out of the Band members section. Clearly this Wikipedia article needs some help.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    That’s what I get for only skimming the article. Updated.

  3. someToast Says:

    Ok, so maybe the bassist rock star thing didn’t happen, but you *do* still get to make pictures and write… how many people get to say that? ?? : )


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