Tuesday, August 15, 2006

I'm not with the band (unless it's virtual)

When I was 15, I bought an electric bass guitar and an amplifier to go with it. My parents let me use the money people had given me when I was a baby. The next day, I set off for Scranton, Pennsylvania to get together with Doreen, my pen-pal with whom I had formed a band. Thus far, there was just the two of us, but we had plans for more people. The name of the band was Priestess. Our collective influences were Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Heart, the Go-Go’s, Motley Crue, the Doors, Judas Priest, Duran Duran, the Beatles, and Pete Seeger.

Yes. Well.

We wrote a few songs, got tee-shirts made up, and talked about the band during the two weeks I visited Doreen. There was one major difference between us, though: she was a serious musician, and I just wanted to be a rock and roller. I knew I didn’t have what it took to work on the development of a band, go on the road, attempt to get recording contracts, and finally open for Joan Jett. [Years later, one of my other pen-pals ended up doing all that and marrying the drummer, but that’s another story.] When the time came to make decisions about what we were going to do with the next parts of our lives, Doreen headed off to a prestigious music school and I studied English Literature at a small liberal arts college in the Midwest.

I really did not know how to teach myself to play the bass guitar. I chose bass because I had read that it was “easy.” It’s not. You actually need skill. However, I have always liked dressing up as different characters, planning carnivals and puppet-shows, dreaming up possible scenarios… in short, Playing Pretend. Now, I really do think it would be fun to be part of a local band, incorporate more music into my storytelling, but I’m not a professional musician in the making. While I wish I had done more music in college, where there was an abundance of coffee-houses in which to perform, at least I attended those coffee-houses. I’ve always been a good fan. Just ask Heather Kropf.

In the meantime, I’ve changed the name of my conceptual band from Maisie Drives the Bus to Mitzi Drives the Bus. I want to wear bright, cheery stripes without getting sued by the people who represent Lucy Cousins. “Mitzi Drives the Bus” is a combination of several stories: Tell Me a Mitzi, by Lore Segal, Maisy Drives the Bus, by Lucy Cousins, and Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, by Mo Willems. My motto is "Folk rock for rebel tots."

6 comments:

Nonny said...

I never get tired of hearing about your metal/goth youth.

I love the new name. Very catchy. Children's musicians sell ALOT of albums. I think your on to something.

galetea said...

Good luck with the "tot rock" band! A niche that needs filling, I feel!

limpy99 said...

I crusied over here from Nonny's place after reading that you like the Melendy books, The Pixies and Lucinda Williams. Very cool.

And if you really want to open for Joan Jett, she's playing at our local agricultural fair on Labor Day. You could probably cut a deal.

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Limpy99! It's good to see you. I'm always glad to meet another Melendy fan, too. Are you going to the agricultural fair? I appreciate it that she does so much touring.

Lone Star Ma said...

I'm so jealous. I just got her new CD as a present from my husband. and as i started teaching this week, whenever I was nervous, I would ask myself "What would Joan Jett do?", except when I had to enforce dress code (bummer).

Melangell said...

Hee hee hee!