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The Journey of an Attempt Pt. 2: My First Band, Death Rising

In junior high I started what can loosely be considered a band. It started with two friends of mine who would occasionally come over to play Rock Band. They would trade off between singing and guitar, and the one kid who used the guitar most of the time could actually play real guitar. Then the other kid, who usually sang, was actually in chorus in school. So I had the bright idea that we should start an actual band once I get a real drum kit. This idea was first thrown around in August of 2008. For the next year and nine months or so I started the unbearable recruitment process for musicians. The chorus kid, after a while, said he wasn’t interested in the whole “starting a band” thing, which left just me and the guitar player. We'll call him Clyde for now. He said he would take over singing duties and rhythm guitar. That meant all that was left for us to find was a lead guitarist and a bassist. The good thing is that guitarists are everywhere you just have to find a lead player and not someone who just plays chords(for those of you out there who do just play chords I am not saying that’s a bad thing. I actually suck at playing chords due to years of violin and how that instrument is usually played, so good job for being able to do that). The worst thing about the recruitment process is that bassists are almost impossible to find because, usually, if a person is going to play a string instrument that is similar to guitar they will most likely just end up playing guitar. Plus, if a person learns guitar then they can almost immediately play bass. But they usually never even try. Eventually, we ended up talking to a few mutual friends of ours and learned that they play the instruments we needed.

By 9th grade we had the members, by the end of 9th grade we had the ideas, the name: Death Rising, the logo, the style, pretty much everything we needed. We just had to start practicing. In early June of 2010, after school let out for the summer, we started having practices. The practices were usually held at my place because it would be too much of a hassle to move my kit somewhere for a practice. What sucked was it was only me and the lead guitarist, who we'll call Conrad, on that first day of practice. That’s the way it always seemed to be, there was almost always one person missing from practice. But every once in a while we would be able to get everyone there for a practice, but when that happened, we still barely got anything done. It also didn’t help that the practices were very sporadic. We may have been able to have practice twice a month or so, and maybe one of those practices had a total of 3 out of four people there if we were lucky. The first practice where it was just me and the Conrad was when we tried to actually write something. I think about that sorry-ass attempt and it almost makes me cringe. We used seconds as a way to measure the speed of the song and duration of notes instead of using measures, different note stems, and tempo markings. All those years of staring at music went right out the window apparently, and I couldn’t remember how music was constructed, or at least the basics of how to write it. Eventually, we were able to get the whole band together for a practice and were able to actually get things done. We recorded two songs that were pure improv These were recorded with a Rock Band mic placed in the middle of the room and a free music/audio editing software, a very amateurish recording process. One sounded like Heavy Metal gone wrong and the other sounded like a bunch of stoner kids who were sober enough to play their instruments to at least a somewhat proficient degree. Unfortunately, these songs were lost due to accidental deletion of data. No seriously, I’m not even joking or I would put them up somewhere because the stoner-ish song actually wasn’t bad. Except it was called “Spongebob Has Square Pants”…don’t let the bassist name the songs.

So after a few months into 10th grade, and literally nothing to show for the “band” that we were, we found out about the annual talent show. And just like so many people in bands do we used this as an opportunity as an easy to book show. So instead of screwing off during practices and playing useless BS like the Batman Theme (this is an actual example…and I quote “look what I can do!”, “I can play that too!” and that took a good chunk out of practice time for them to stop playing that), and me wanting to actually get stuff done but instead resting my head on the left tom drum because I have to wait for people to get their shit together and actually want to be productive, we actually got some work done. I know I bash this “band” a lot, and I know that it isn’t a good thing to do, but I feel I have a bit of a right to with how much crap I had to put up with. Anyway, we picked out possible covers to do for the talent show and we settled on School by Nirvana, we felt it was a very fitting song to do. We even practiced it a few times which surprised the hell out of me. Of course I still had to have Rock Band up so I could use the practice screen to play along. I couldn’t play by ear at this point yet and I never could read drum tabs because they just don’t register well in my brain. Also, my printer would either be able to get them all on one page but in really small print or on many sheets of paper at a readable font size. It was never good.

Unfortunately, we never got to play this song at the talent show because of in-fighting. I still don’t know to this day the bassist’s side of the story to a full extent but here’s my side:

I got so freaking tired of not doing anything productive in practices, being irritated by what they were doing instead of actually practicing, and being treated like a human drum machine (who according to Clyde, I couldn’t keep a beat) instead of like a member of the band that I helped start. So I eventually started looking for a SIDE project. It would remain a SIDE project until it proved itself better than the original project. So I have one band and I was looking to start another. The first member I found for this side project was a bassist (and that is as far as it ever got). That apparently didn’t set too well with the bassist for the original band and he thought I was replacing him. I told him multiple times that it is just a SIDE project, no one is getting replaced, and I even told him that I value his opinions on things in the band and liked the fact he wasn’t a dick, usually bassists and drummers get along because they are the rhythm section of the band and there is sometimes a pretty cool bond there, at least from my experiences that’s how it goes. So I told him all of what was going on but he still got pissed off and wouldn’t listen to reason. The sucky part of this whole debacle was the fact that this kid was a pretty good friend and because of him jumping to conclusions so quickly we never really talked after that fight/argument.

After the bassist quit, Conrad and Clyde both quit. The band lasted a total of 9 months.

I know this whole thing probably sounds like all I do is bash this “band” but I do have one good thing to say about it. They had potential. I feel like if they wouldn’t have screwed off so much then maybe something good could have happened. Unfortunately, they were unable to use the potential they all had. After all that work I wasn’t going to stop trying. I was going to find another band and actually get somewhere this time. But first, I had to learn how to actually write music.

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