Having Jesse the lead guitarist quit the band and literally taking all of the songs and solos with him, we were in a spot.
I walked home from school the next day and went up to Jim’s house where he lived with his 11 other siblings. (Yea. You read that correctly) I knock on his door and his hot sister Anita says he’s upstairs.
I go up and there’s Jim just lying on his bed. Not doing anything. Like he’s just depressed.
“How are you?”
“I’m alright. How’s the band.”
“That’s what I came to see you about.”
“Fuckin’ Jesse quit. Said he’d rather watch television.”
“No shit. Television?”
“Yea. I don’t know. But listen…I know I abandoned you and Chris a few months ago, and I’m glad that we’ve remained friends through that. I guess I’m just driven to make it.”
“No problem. We’re cool.”
“So the reason I’m here today is to ask you if you’d like to audition to be in my band. We need another guitarist.”
A familiar wry smile appears on Jim’s face. “Sure. Yea. Aren’t they a bunch of older dudes?
“Brian’s 21. Mark’s a year behind me at school.”
“Alright. I’ll set it up.”
“We’re getting our band back together!”
I talk to the guys and tell them about Jim. The next night I have him meet us at our practice space. (The seasonal restaurant that Mark’s parents own at 19th and New York Aves. It’s closed for the winter.)
He comes in carrying his ’75 post CBS Fender Stratocaster in its respective flight case.
I introduce him to the guys and we discuss what needs to be done. Jim plays some songs. We all start to jam. We all know The Stones, Beatles, Cream, Clapton, Aerosmith, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Zeppelin, The Who, Tom Petty, etc.
I’ve been writing a bunch of material for the last year. I bring my song ‘Bombshell’ over from Renegade. So based on what we four know as musicians we’ll develop a set list. We all start to write down stuff we know, stuff we want to play as a band, what’s on the radio right now, and workout a practice schedule. The space is perfect for us to develop our sound in the next few months.
By April, the weather’s getting warmer and we’re pretty tight as a band. Everybody gets along and there’s good energy. I hang out with Jim mostly because we were friends first. Sometimes I hang out with Mark and we just cruise around in his giant station wagon and smoke cigarettes and talk about life listening to music. Other time’s I’ll grab lunch with Brian or we’ll all hang out together as a band.
We set up a gig to play at Margaret Mace primary school. First grade through ninth grade. My sister will see me rock! I don’t think we’re playing for the whole school, but it’ll be just the middle school kids. Seventh, Eight, and Ninth graders. (Gotta start somewhere!)
“Guys. We gotta come up with a name for our band.”
“We seriously do.”
“Anybody got any ideas?”
Mark speaks: “How about Thunderbuck Jam?”
All: “How about NO!”
“Alright let’s all go home tonight after practice and come up with some names.”
So we’ve come full circle. I fucked up, but got in a good band. Now half of that band is me and Jim. This is good. I feel like I’ve righted the wrongs of my past and now the band will be better than ever.
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