Freeform with Stasis of Seasons
This is my face whenever I get to play live with a band.
Whispy wiffling changes muted only by drastic numbers of volume, pushing ever harder to achieve the numbers and the seconds they want to achieve, the other two outside of us pushing in their developments they are looking to achieve, playing the numbers game as well, if in a different mode. Nothing seems the same in this room, nothing but blue light and white noise, acoustic panels barely left attached after the monstrous assault constantly played out on them. I did not know I would end up here, in this strange joyous land of fun, when we were walking up to the room. Clinical, isolated, horrible colors reminiscent of high school or possibly even a county jail. Five of us, stacked in a tiny Honda, getting out was such a relief, but the building looked so ugly, so sad, it seemed impossible dreams could be manufactured inside. Electronic number keyed locks kept us outside while a scrap of paper was retrieved with the sacred numbers on it. Two people disappeared into some crazy offset bathroom, not seen or heard when they left, just when we got to the room they were not there. Some of that was the really shitty metal being played everywhere, the bands that were trying at the moment of our arrival sounded like they had only ever heard Metallica play, and it was repeated three times before we got to the inside of the space. I had played with these gentlemen before, about 40 miles from where we were, in a tiny leaky shack in Golden, Colorado. Now we were in Commerce City, and it had a totally different atmosphere. I however relied on the judgement of my friends, not on my judgement of what looked like an isolation ward in a state prison.
The door shut behind us, and there was my old rig, all sitting pretty, looking used and loved. The crappy metal had faded a good bit on closing the door, only twice revisited when the other two folks came in. I found a 1/4″ cable on the floor plugged into the main on my amp, and plugged it into my bass. Flipped the amp on, and boom, she was purring. Steve-O had climbed behind his kit, and we were practicing some simple times before the other guys had tuned up. Oh yeah, I had to tune a half step down, BECAUSE GOD FORBID ANYONE USE STANDARD TUNING. Ahem, excuse me, it’s a personal rant. We jumped right in, playing a song that was basically A and E, in 4/4 time. I had not played with folks in about a year, but some things never leave you. I had two good guitarists and a great drummer, and when things are that good, you don’t need to think, you just need to play. We rolled it over like Beethoven was dead, jumping in and around those two simple chords, with just a tiny hint of humility. Probably about a ten, maybe fifteen minute jam. We decided it was good, and stopped.
The second jam was about ten minutes, and it was all based on a nice 3/4 beat of funk. Again just two chords, but the guitards got upset at the drummer and I, and cut us off a bit short after the ten minutes. I had some troubles here though, I wanted to get as fast the drums were going, but I was so rusty, I could not pull the licks off. I settled for power instead, and bumped the shit out of the 4 x 10 cabinet behind me. Tapped into the groove power of my ax and made the people shake their ass. We had a violinist along for the ride, mostly just drinking free beer and listening to us, steaming over some personal problem I didn’t want to get into, but when I started pumping the groove, he could not help himself and got lost in the beat, the play between ass pounding bass and subtle drum patterns. Nice to know I still got it. When the guitarist got frustrated as he knows no funk, the drummer stood up and said let’s go outside, where we ate fresh crab apples falling from the tree in the courtyard. Again, I was amazed this place could manufacture dreams so reliably, but the crab apples made up for it. Sweet and tart as all hell, I could see stars, and I figured well, if I gotta play in a prison, this ain’t so bad after all. I had a moment of clarity, so to speak.
Third jams are best jams, it started all convoluted, *7/11 time, C,A,E,A, 4/7 time G, 13/11 time F flat, G, but we finally settled to just play with C, A, E, and A. That settling took 15 minutes, then we let the pipes loose. Settings were adjusted, sounds were tuned in, fastidiously held ideals were tossed aside and broken. We took that beast of time and tamed it into something resembling 4/4 time rock and roll, and then we pounced and chased, turned tail and ran, came back for another pounce, did amazing sweeping gestures, and pounced some more. I forgot about the guitarists for a bit, and the drummer and I played hide and seek within beats, each hiding something and finding something on return. I would run to base, and he would lose me, then I lose him, then he would tag me from behind and we would laugh and start all over again.
I really love playing with a great drummer, there is something about bassists and drummers that see eye to eye, yet have this totally different approach. I think it could be like a bauhausian architect designing a playground with mechanical engineer. However it works though, it’s a great time and space to be, for me. We met up at around 8:00 p.m. and I got back home in about four hours, but it just seems like we played for 45 minutes. I never feel time going by when there is music to be created. I am kinda a bastard in music, I hate playing the same old same old, and refuse to play covers, but instead just play what I want to hear with whatever is going on, and these guys indulge me, even think its pretty neat. I want to thank my friends in Stasis of Seasons for letting this old fart play around a good bit. If you are ever in Denver, you should see them, great band, great friends, never afraid to do something new, even if it doesn’t turn out so well.
* I am not claiming I even understand what times were presented or what they should be, it’s all a farce of what I might have understood.