Thursday, January 3, 2008
Here, inspired by Terry Anderson's Christmas morning drumkit shot, is a picture of my first band, Dana and the Blue Jays. I was a Blue Jay, the one to the right with my mom's discarded Silvertone. My bandmates were Tommy Winfree on the other guitar and Dana Olive on drum and cymbal.
I met Dana at the dreaded Wake Forest Physical Fitness camp that my parents sent me to two consecutive summers (for all the good that did, basically putting me off all things physical- or sports-oriented for life). His dad was a WFU professor, I believe, because they lived in a campus apartment. I can't remember if Tommy went to camp too, but he lived kitty-cornered from Reynolds High School. They both were in the next grade up from me.
Most of our repertoire came from the Golden Beatles songbook (the original sculpture on the cover which I saw under glass at the first Tokyo show I played with R.E.M. years later--what a gas) and WTOB radio's playlist. It was about then that I started trying to figure out the chords by retuning my guitar there to whatever I was hearing on the radio.
But the Beatles songbook drove me crazy. There were pictures of George, doing some wacky C-major-shaped-lookin' barre chord that I couldn't begin to approximate at nine; plus, the little chord symbols throughout the song put stuff in keys like D flat, preventing the use of first-position faves like E and A. So I began throwing out key signatures and leisurely learning the pattern in whatever key used the simplest chords, a practice I still use today. My Hamilton capo was yet to become a formidable weapon in my assault against music.
As with many of my bands, we practiced more than we played out. In fact, I don't think we DID play out. But we got my dad to take a picture of us on the Holsapple family's little-used patio. And what a picture, with the date on the border too!
It's a neat reminder of what got me started in this endeavor I've been in for such a long time. Cheers, Dana and Tommy, wherever you are.