TWITTER: @sirbacon123

06 August 2010

Songs in the Key of Life

The movie High Anxiety was a Mel Brooks classic.
Not as classic as History of the World or Young Frankenstein or certainly not as epic as Blazing Saddles, but it was great.
The feeling of High Anxiety sucks.

It really sucks.
It’s that pit in your stomach caused by stress.
These days there are about a million legitimate reasons to be anxious.
But usually for me, its the small stuff, you know the stuff that Richard Carlson told me not to sweat.
Big life-changing events, piece of cake.
Small stuff, PANIC ATTACK.
The good news is once that small stuff moves from future tense to present tense, the pit somehow disappears.
Pretty much immediately.
Unfortunately I have gotten used to feeling that pit in my stomach, but I definitely sweat it.
The source of the current pit is the upcoming back-to-school picnic.
This is not just any back-to-school picnic.
This is the picnic at the school where my wife is a teacher and my three kids attend.
And the featured attraction of Monday’s picnic is...
...My mid-life crisis, better known as The Clearance Rack.
That’s our three-month old band made up of four 40-somethings looking to re-live their childhood.
So far we’ve played three different shows -- a block party and two high school graduation parties.
And each one has been better than the previous one.
Dare I say, we are not bad.   Even good at times.
But this upcoming gig is the real deal.
Probably close to 500 non-paying customers who are looking to get their money’s worth.
This will be in front of a bunch of parents and teachers who will be seeing my wife EVERY DAY for the next nine months.
What if we stink?
What if I stink?
Lets be honest, we are a band and all four of us need to do our part to sound good.
But as the lead singer, if I sound like Alfalfa, that is all people will remember.
Last week, we played one of the high school graduation parties in front of about 100 people.
It went so well, they asked for an encore.
Unfortunately we had played all nine songs we know by that point, so we had to play the first song all over again to satisfy the crowd.
I changed a couple of the words to give a different feel.
That’s what stars do.
This whole singing thing has been an eye-opener for me.
I definitely have a newfound respect for some of my heroes, like Bruce Springsteen and Paul Hewson.
Every time they hit the stage, they play for like three hours and they never choke.
Ok, they rarely choke.
True, last year Bruce accidentally said, “Hello Ohio”, while he was playing a show in... 
He called it a “nightmare” and knowing how much Bruce cares about his fans, he probably played for six hours after he was told of the mistake.
A few years ago I went to go see U2 in concert and the only seats we could get were behind the stage.
That’s when I discovered that Bono uses a...
I can’t even say it.
Ok, Bono uses a...
Say it isn’t so.
The man who wrote “MLK”, the song I sing to my kids every night before they go to bed uses a teleprompter?
The man who wrote “She’s A Mystery To Me”, the greatest song of all-time, reads the words off a monitor?
The man who wrote “With or Without You”, the song that makes me cry more than Marley and Me, can’t remember those words?
You have got to be kiddi....
What’s that?   They all use a teleprompter?
OMG x 50.
And let me guess, there is no Hanukkah Harry either?
Call me naive, crazy, whatever you want -- but watching Bono watching a monitor broke my heart.
Now here I am, as the lead-singer in a band, a backyard garage band with a bunch of guys who make noise sound pretty good.
Not a whole lot of risk there.
And I’m pulling a Linus, using every security blanket possible.
I have a music stand in front of me, with a three-ring binder that has the words to all NINE of the songs we know.
Plus the three we don’t.
Meanwhile, on any given night Bruce has like 300 of his own songs to choose from.
And dozens of others he likes to cover.
And I actually thought he remembered ALL of the words on his own.
Now who should be the anxious one?
Monday’s Set List
Should I Stay or Should I Go, The Clash
Blitzkrieg Bop, The Ramones
Island in the Sun, Weezer
Pork and Beans, Weezer
Stray Cat Strut, Stray Cats
Someday Someway, Marshall Crenshaw
I Fought The Law, Bobby Fuller
Somethin’ Else, Eddie Cochran
Rave On, Buddy Holly

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