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The Journey of an Attempt Pt. 5: Full of Regret

Metal Corps. is done, finished, a freaking memory and three of us are really happy about it. The three of us that are happy about the demise are those of us who are forming a new band together. It’s Darrel, Terry, and me. We decided that everything that was wrong with the last band will not happen this time. Everyone can make a suggestion for a cover and it will actually be given serious consideration. That was the biggest amendment. The next one is that we didn’t want to do what Earl did, and that is to be extremely controlling. There were other smaller amendments but I’m not going to waste time mentioning those (mainly because I don’t remember them well enough). We changed the name a bunch so at the time of formation we didn’t have a set name, and that was fine. We practiced every once in a while because we couldn’t really search for a lead guitarist till school started.

School started up again which meant we can now search for a lead guitarist. We weren’t too concerned about school work at this point because it was our senior year and we took blow off classes for the most part, except for Terry because he was in 11th grade. In one of those blow off classes I actually met a kid who knows guitar pretty well, we'll call him Bernie. He also had confidence, like a metric shit ton of it. He seemed to actually know what he was talking about with guitar, and he wasn’t an asshole, this kid was pretty much in the band before he even played a note. I know what happened the last time a kid was accepted so quick but at least this person has been playing guitar longer and it showed. He was good enough to be the lead guitarist so now we were able to practice a bit more. Unfortunately, after a while Terry stopped showing up and I don’t even remember why. Now we had to find one more person, again. We kind of stayed a three person band for a while and had a name picked out. Looking back on it I admit it was kind of a mediocre name. It was a Finnish name that translated to something similar to The Devil’s Angels. We should have probably just kept the English version of the name but we eventually changed it to Full of Regret.

We were doing great as a three person band for a while. I hated it because, for me, it’s a tiny bit weird if a band doesn’t have at least 4 people, 5 is enough, anything more is very uncommon but if the band is good I don’t complain about the numbers (even if it’s 9 members like Slipknot, but they’re amazing, so who cares). Now we got one guitarist, one bassist, and a drummer. Bernie knew about the lead guitarist before him and where he stood with us. He knew we didn’t like him so it really surprised him when we said we were going to bring him back.

Eventually, Earl patched things up with Darrel and they became friends again. He patched things up with me just enough that I can be civil with him. It’s not like he didn’t try as hard as he did with Darrel to mend things it’s just that I cared just enough to hear him out so his apology achieved bare minimum forgiveness. We ended up sitting near each other during lunch that year and it was just within earshot (whatever earshot is considered in a noisy cafeteria…about 4-5 seats away). One day around mid-February he tells me to sit across from him the next day because he has something to ask me about that may take the whole lunch period. I agreed, extremely reluctantly, but I agreed. The next day I sit across from him and ask him what he wanted to talk to me about. From what I remember I think that Full of Regret never really had much going for it. So we kind of lost that, but him and Darrel wanted to revive it, bring everyone back into it who was already there, himself. The guy who pissed us off so bad that we didn’t even want to hear his apology the first time, is now going to be a central part of the band again. What happened last time this all happened? Oh yea, bullshit, and a ton of it. So I told him that I will have to think about it, and I will have questions for him the next day. He said that he understood and we left it at that. The next day I sit down and I give him not only my questions, but also my demands. The demands were pretty much centered around the amendments made in the band Darrel, Terry, and I made without Bernie. He answers my questions with the answers I wanted to hear, he said the demands will be met, and he seemed pretty sincere about it. So I told him that I would give this new band a shot. The other thing I remember about this whole thing very clearly was when he passed Darrel on the way out of lunch and high-fived him and said it’s a done deal. I high-fived Darrel too and at this point I thought “Dammit, am I really going to try doing this band thing again with these guys? Whatever. I’m sure it will be fine.” So we told Bernie that Earl is in and we don’t know who’s playing lead or rhythm and at the next practice we’ll figure out who plays what. He ends up never showing up to a single practice after that. He was the smart one and got right the hell out of there. I stayed in it hoping there would be an improvement. There wasn’t.

I know, I know, “Sam, why are you always picking on old bandmates?” Because it’s all part of the truth of it, and I’m not going to sugar coat anything. We get to practice and I swear it’s like they got worse. Like if you mix two things past their expiration date you’re going to get something even worse than those things separate. But I stuck it out because I really did think there would be an improvement. But then there was a glimmer of hope, a second guitarist. This kid wasn’t just a guitarist, he was a lead guitarist. He could shred just as good as Earl and for a while we didn’t know who was going to end up being lead. Eventually, we just decided that it will be interchangeable. Of course, could have gotten in the way here but thankfully they didn’t as much as I thought. Now we have four people and it is an actual full band (in my opinion).

Here’s where things, like usual, get a little crazy. There was another band in school and they were very talented. Remember how I said that there was a band at the auditions for the first talent show we did and they blew away the tryouts (and did very well at the actual show)? Well this was that band, and they lost two members due to infighting. Luckily, the three people that stayed in this band were pretty good friends of mine. Even luckier, the drummer left the band and they needed a replacement, I was one of the two people they turned to. It was probably the happiest moment of my music life since that talent show because I may actually get to be in a band that is on a more skilled level. They gave me a set list and I immediately got to work on learning them. Surprisingly, I was able to play all 18 or so songs proficiently within a few days. The three songs that were originals of theirs were pretty easy so that helped a lot, and they were surprised that I learned their originals so quickly. But the thing was, I wanted to get in this band as soon as possible, if I was to get in at all. Keep in mind that the band I’m currently in, Full of Regret, hated these guys. Their style, their musical ability, the other guys in my band hated it all. We were kind of jealous too because they got to perform at a pep rally and people made a big fuss about them and almost no one knew us and those who did probably thought we sucked. So now I’m auditioning for the band that they hate and they didn’t even know about it. The talent show was coming up too and the songs we were going back and forth on were Remember Everything by Five Finger Death Punch or Voodoo by Godsmack. We eventually ended up choosing Voodoo and it was a very mediocre cover of it when we did practice it. It’s an easy song too but for some reason it sounded so “bleh” whenever we played it and I hate to say it, but it was because Darrel was still finding his voice and trying to find a sound that was right and the experimentation really hurt the possibility for this song to sound good at the time. But experimentation is an unfortunate occasional necessity. It was because of this I went to the now only guitarist in the band that I was auditioning for and said “When’s the earliest we can have this audition. I want to get this going as soon as possible.” He said they could do it in two days and I about jumped out of my skin with excitement. I thought, “In two days I will be auditioning for the most popular band in school. Holy freaking crap!” For the next two days I did nothing but eat, sleep, breathe, and drink that set list. I made sure I knew every song better than I already did and then some. Those two days went by fast, thankfully, and I was a little bit nervous for the audition but I felt like I was ready. Once they got all their (amazing) gear in my house and started setting up the first question they asked me was “With the band you’re in now, do you feel like they’re holding you back?” To which I answered with “Oh my god, hell yes! I want to bash my head off the walls sometimes because of it! Yea, they’re better than the last group of people I was in a band with but it is still enough to drive me up the wall.” They looked at each other like “Okay, he passed that test.” They probably asked me more questions but I can’t remember any other than that. We started the audition with Kryptonite by 3 Doors Down and I’ll never forget what my parents told me about that run through of that song. They said that my neighbor could hear us from his yard and he asked my parents what was going on because it sounded like an actual song for once. They told him about the audition thing and he said that he could actually tell which song it was that we were playing. That never, and I mean NEVER happened with either of the bands I played in before and that was a very welcome change. We played other songs like Aerials by System of a Down, Everlong by Foo Fighters, and my favorite, Still Counting by Volbeat. They wondered why everyone loves that song so much and I said it’s probably because it’s a heavier song, and people like heavy sometimes. The only thing that pissed me off about this song is I would transition to the chorus like an exact measure early. I knew it was because I can do the drum roll transition so fast that I could not wait to do it and also during a part of the chorus I can add more double bass than there already was (like instead of 16th notes I would play 32nd notes which are twice as fast), making it sound cooler in my opinion. Other than having to work on when a fill ends and that transition I had a pretty good audition. It could be better but I’m human so it wasn’t perfect, but still good.

There was no part of me that wanted to go back to practicing with Full of Regret. For two to three hours I was able to keep up with a more experienced band for the most part and now I have to go back to this. Full of Regret had a practice scheduled that following weekend and I was in no mood for it. Mostly because the new guitarist had gotten grounded for smoking, again, so he wouldn’t be able to make practice for the third time. It also didn’t help things when the ones who showed up started to really get on my nerves. First, as usual, we couldn’t get a song to sound the way it was supposed to. Then, the lead guitarist accidentally turned and hit me in the jaw with his guitar’s pointed headstock when I went to fix something close to their gear. Yes, it was an accident so I couldn’t really be too mad but it was still agitating. To top it all off they started bad mouthing the group I auditioned for just a few days ago. I told them I had to get a drink real quick and went to the kitchen, put my head on one of the eye level cabinets, and silently screamed “I auditioned for them dammit!” I walked back into the living room where the practice was going on and I was good for the rest of the time. It’s almost like that silent scream cleared my head and I was able to be relatively calm for the rest of that dreaded practice. I eventually ended up telling them a few days later that I might be quitting and doing a drum solo for the talent show (because I would only have to worry about me screwing up and not those two). They fought me tooth and nail on it and I was extremely close to going through with it till the guitarist for the band I auditioned for came to me and said “I heard you might be quitting you’re band. Stick it out with them, do the show, even though they hold you back. It just wouldn’t be right for you to bail on them like that.” In other words, it would be a dick move to just walk out on this band that worked so hard for this show. I would literally be doing the same thing that Death Rising did to me. So I stuck with them and did the show.

We got through the audition with no problem because remember what I stated in my last post, anyone who tries out most likely gets in. The only hard part of that audition was finding the other guys. They were supposed to be in the music room so I’m sprinting back and forth between the two buildings of the high school looking for them. They were talking to this teacher who let them store their gear in his room. He was also in a band so they were getting last minute advice I guess, I don’t know. I just know I was ready to ring out their necks when I found them because I sprinted all over the school for two round trips. I was hoping the night of the talent show would go smoother.

We were not the first to go on, mainly because I didn’t want some random sound system being brought in again. I got a text right before I started unloading my gear, like just as I got to the high school, “Where are you?! We’re on first!” I found them immediately and asked them to show me the program, because I wanted proof. They said that they lied and just wanted me to get my gear ready faster. I, politely and playfully, started smacking them and telling them that if they helped I would be ready faster (if you watch Archer then you know they sometimes slap a person a bunch of times really fast and not hard at all, that’s pretty much like what I was doing). The whole time we’re laughing about the whole situation. We get everything set up and ready to be moved on stage and the band before us, which was the new popular band, said that we could use their guitar and bass amps. I shook hands with every member in that band because they just improved our performance by a million fold. This was because, A.) Their gear was better than ours was, and B.) Because it cost so much we were not going to move any of it, and it was in the perfect spot too, right beside the drum kit like how I told them to set it up the year before but no one listened. It's like "Oh no, don't listen to the kid who has played on that stage for the last 6 or seven years. Noooo. what do I know?" Anyway, we go out there and I probably looked less than thrilled. Here I am with the same band as last year and just hoping that nothing was going to go wrong like the previous year. I also was thinking about how I auditioned for one of the bigger bands in school and I’m still with this band that I wanted to leave not even two weeks before this show. We were able to get through the song and didn’t do half bad. I will say that as a band we improved but it still wasn’t great. I think any improvement came from the amps and the placement of said amps. We actually didn’t come in last this time so there was that. A day or two after that Terry texted me and was all pissed that I didn’t ask him to be in the new band. I told him that he said before he didn’t want to and after that it was a dead issue because I even told him it wasn’t like there were major improvements. It was kind of the same as the year before. Once I told him all that he actually seemed pretty happy that I didn’t ask him to join.

About a week later I was more or less mentally checked out of that band. I was waiting on word from the band that I tried out for but they were auditioning another drummer so it would be few days before I heard about what their choice was. I eventually told Earl and Darrel to meet me by my locker after school one day and to tell the other guitarist to meet me up there too. Darrel got there and about a second or two later than Earl and the other guy got there and I told them that I have something to tell them, “I’m out, I quit the band.” Darrel turned to me and was like “Dude me too!” He high-fived me and I looked at Earl and his face said it all, it looked like he was thinking “I lost the band, it’s done.” I have heard through the grapevine in recent days before that that Darrel was asked to join the band of the guitarist who was kicked out of the band I auditioned for. Now I had no band to worry about, and I was waiting for word on whether I was in the good band or not. But I had something to occupy my time, writing music and actively trying to finish songs that I started writing. Some of them didn’t sound too bad either (I really do like foreshadowing).

A few days after the disintegration of the band and Earl deleting the Facebook page the guitarist of the band I tried out for came up to me after school and told me the results of the auditions. He said that they were going to go with someone else. I was cool with it and thanked him for letting me actually play a few songs with a band that could actually hold a song together. He wished me luck in my future musical endeavors and I wished him the same. Apparently, when he wished me luck, it had some kind of effect on things because I was going to have an amazing amount of luck with my first real musical endeavor.

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