Things I learned in rehearsal this week:
- It was quite a long break over the Christmas hols – we were a tad rusty! Blame it on the mince pies. Still, got it out of the way, back on track next week.
- No one else in the band much likes having their picture taken either.
- Watford Cheetahs have snapped up cornerback Dave ‘Ice Man’ Sweet in the first round of the draft pick for, err, Pinner High. More news on our erstwhile guitarist’s second career as the next Charles Woodson to follow. Big Ben Roethlisberger, watch out. And photos, please some photos.
- No insights about pick slides this week, sorry.
Once the rust has been scraped off, we intend to get some tracks down by the end of January, so watch this space (more likely another space on the blog, but I’m sure you get my drift).
So, instead of writing any more about our latest rehearsal, I’m going to waffle on about my favourite subject instead…
Getting ready for rehearsal on Monday afternoon, I listened to Pearl Jam’s Toronto gig from last September (http://wegotshit.blogspot.com/2011/11/toronto-on-091111-pro-mix.html if you’d like to download a high-quality copy). It’s as good a PJ gig as any I’ve heard. You expect a band that’s been together that long to sound tight, especially when newbie (just the 13 years with them) Matt Cameron is on drums, but they also sound energetic, enthused and, well, alive. (Sorry.)
As someone in a grunge covers band, listening to PJ gigs is a bittersweet experience. Uplifting to hear great songs played by classy musicians, demoralising to think that we will never sound that good. Sacking me and hiring Mike McCready would make a good starting point though. Anyway, the point of covering other bands’ songs isn’t to be as good as them, it’s to play songs you love, live, and give others the chance to hear these great songs live.
One of the challenges of covering some Pearl Jam songs is that they possess an organic quality. You can nail the recorded version, and then listen to it live and see how far it’s evolved over time and with regular airings. So I’m on a mission to hear live versions of as many of the songs as we cover as possible, and hopefully our versions will evolve too.
Two of the songs we cover were included in Toronto: Better Man and Alive. Jeremy doesn’t get out much, his arms, raised in a V, probably get stuck in the door; Yellow Ledbetter was sacrificed as the set closer for a lengthy Rockin’ in the Free World with Uncle Neil – it was Toronto after all. Alive sounded pretty much as ever. Better Man starts with Vedder coaxing the audience into singing the first verse and chorus for him (slacker!), and finishes with some vintage McCready noodling and a lengthy outro.
Anyway, enough of that, time to tune up and practise those songs!