This band started out through and ad on Craigslist that I had answered. They were an all original folk/rock band that was looking for the missing piece to their puzzle. I wasn't too sure what to think about these guys when I first played with them as they were all in the 30's and said they had been playing for a while, but had no sense of phrasing or form when it came to playing. I mean they knew what it should sound like, they just couldn't seem to do it without someone setting it for them. Regardless, the music they had really caught my ear. Pretty original; I heard a cornucopia of styles in the stuff I played that night ranging through The Eagles, Dave Mathews, Hootie and the Blowfish, C,S,N&Y, The Police, Phish, etc. Their harmony vocals is another thing that caught my ear, as they were not only really well written, but fairly tight as well. They had said that they didn't want to pigeon hole them selves with any one type of style and that almost any style is up for trying. I thought that a pretty funny statement coming from a group that was having trouble phrasing with the style they were currently playing, but I kept an open mind.
After the audition as I was driving home, my gut was telling me something wasn't right if they had been playing as long as they said they had, yet couldn't phrase well. Also the statement about the styles was really bugging me as people who say that are usually people who have no clue what they want to play. But the main thing for me was the music I played with them that evening. Some of the best original stuff I'd heard in the area and I thought it had real potential to go somewhere other than the local clubs. When they called the next day and offered me the chair, I took it with a smile knowing full well the work I had in front of me to get up to speed with them.
We rehearsed about a month before we got our first gig at bar in a bowling alley. By this point we had starting getting used to each other's unique personalities. I had to fight some frustration at some of the stuff they'd do (or not so) at rehearsal that I thought any musician worth his salt would be second nature to. Basically 'Musicianship 101' things like phrasing and tuning and being consistent with your parts. I had found that certain members of the band were basically weekend warriors. That is to say, putting forth as little effort as it takes to be just passable on their instrument. Luckily, both were not the main songwriters, so I bit my tongue and hoped that they'd get better or put forth a little more effort.
Or next gig was about another month later out in Gardnerville Nv, for an event called Carson Valley Days. It was your basic small town fair/carnival type of thing. We got treated ok with a covered stage and in house sound, but the sound guy wasn't all that good and our sound suffered because of it, plus there were a few mechanical issues with Doug's sax and Neil's truck, but overall a pretty good gig. We sounded ok even with the mediocre sound mix. But the thing I noticed most on that gig was the inconsistencies of the two members I'd been watching up to that point. Screwing up vocal parts, forgetting guitar and bass parts, forgetting the structure of a song that you wrote, but again, I chose to just bite my tongue and see what happens at next rehearsal.
Well, to make a long story short, nothing happened at the next rehearsal when they did it yet again. It was then I just decided that after our next gig, that was it for me. Even with the music being as good as it was (and still is) the underlying problem was never going to go away because of the friendships that were in place before I had even joined. They didn't want to rock the boat and possibly hurt these two person's feelings. One person in particular was to blame for the way it eventually ended, which was very, very ugly. It's a shame that two people's lack of desire to get better at what they do made this band disintegrate in the way it did. Makes me angry and want to cry at the same time. To think what we could have done with that lineup had we... ... Oh well. No use what if-ing. It's all water under the bridge now.
The music is what made me initially want to play with these guys. As I said above, it's a pretty eclectic bunch 'o styles throughout the tunes we did. I really like them all as they all have something unique and listen worthy, but my favorites have to be He Might Be Blind, There They Go and West Coast Rain. The last one's lyrics are what make it my favorite as it's about past regrets and what you left behind. I find them to be more than a little ironic now. The songs to the left are from a rehearsal that we recorded after about a month of playing together. I played on Neil's Roland V-12 electric kit which has a surprisingly decent sound, but you be the judge.
clock-wise from lower left
Doug Knepp - Keys, Sax, Guitar, Vocals
JD Vorhees - Bass
Jack Pruitt - Guitar, Vocals
Mark Martinez - Drums
Neil Van - Guitar, Vocals