Thursday, September 14, 2006

First Band Performance Getting Closer...

Well, the date of the first performance of The Val Serrie Project is getting closer. It will be on Sept 30th - only 2 weeks away. So we only have 4 more practices. And tonight, 2 members couldn't make it.
The first performance will be at a neighborhood block party. Probably 100 people or so for this first outing.
It's going to be a tight squeeze for time between now and then. Tuesday night we had a bit of a photo session so I could gather some photos for the album cover, and the website, promotional materials, etc. My friend Deidre came over just as we were playing and I asked her to take a few pictures. She did a good job - I just wish she could have used the special filter that removes 30 pounds. You see three of these photos above. Most of them are of me while we were playing, but unfortunately there weren't very many of the other guys and most of them turned out to be too dark. The next few were ones I took of the guys before and after the practice. I really still need to take a bunch more of them while playing. I just need them under the lights, etc. Plus, Joe and Jason are the two better-looking guys in the band, so we need to make sure we have lots of pictures of them!

On rhythm guitar we have Joe Parr. He does a great job. He and I have been practicing every Thursday night for well over a year now so he could learn my songs to be able to do this band. It's been a lot of work, but it's worh it, I think. He sounds great! He also has in mind that he wants to create an album of original music of his own, and the album will be called "Thursday Nights With Val" in remembrance of our Thursday night sessions for so long. We practiced, but we also spent a lot of time just talking and telling stories. It's been great fun for both of us.

Then there is Sonny Snipes on bass. He is new to the bass, so he has some learning curve ahead of him for some of the trickier tunes, but he's done well to catch up on many of them so quickly. He does have a new Ibanez 5-string bass that has some great tone to it, so he's got a good head start.

The newest addition to the band is Jason Christenson. He is young, but he has some great drum chops, and he has a great attitude. Extremely polite, energetic, easy to get along with. Anyone who hears him is impressed. He's got a great talent for drumming and he is a fine addition to the Project.

The overall sound is getting there. It really helps that we are using backing tracks on CD to play against. These are tracks that I recorded as the original recordings for these songs, but now I have made special mixes in different forms, some with or without different instruments missing. It allows us to practice without all the members there, and for the live shows, it supplies the recorded parts that we don't have anyone to play. Background harmonies, dual guitar harmony leads, etc.
Joe said he was in some of the Austin bars the other night and found that we actually sound a little better than some of those he heard that night. At least on our stronger tunes.

We'll see how things go. I do hope everyone can make the next four crucial practices. We really need to go through this material a few more times. It's not simple stuff. It can be a little complicated in some places. We cover the gamut from rock, to jazz-rock fusion, to jazz, blues, acoustic, whatever. There is quite a variety for the show.


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