March 27, 2007

Lake Shannon Days (repost)

This was first posted on October 4, 2004.
Now flash forward about 7 months from the day we met Don Brewer at his home. It is now about 4 months after we finished recording our demo tape and we decided to take it to our new mentor in Parshallville.

We drove to Don Brewer's house several different times but were unable to find him at home. Finally after these many failed attempts, we hit pay dirt. Fortunately, he remembered us and invited us into the house. "So, you guys have a tape with you?", he said. "C'mon in and sit down so we can listen to it."

My thoughts were overwhelmed by the fact that he had invited us into his home and had done it so naturally as if we were old friends. Now, here I was, looking around the room to see what his years of a successful career in music had afforded him. There was a surreal quality about sitting on his living couch admiring the artwork and other decor. I don't remember who was holding the tape but somehow it found it's way into his hands and then onto his open reel equipment on a nearby tape. He returned to the center of the room and sat on the arm of an easy chair as the tape began the countoff for the first song.


Suddenly I was struck by a rapid and deepening panic. It was so odd and I am sure my face betrayed this emerging fear I was experiencing. The first song was nearly ended and I had the realization that this was NOT going to result in anything GOOD. I knew, I knew, I knew. I watched his face for some sign, some visible reaction, some reassurance, that he would take some pity upon us in his final assessment. He would occasionally smile and nod his approval at certain times through listening to the rest of the demo. Me, I found myself wincing at moments when I knew some part of the song had failed to hit the mark, missed the beat, or was offkey. Sadly, there were many such moments. My palms grew damp and a bead of unending sweat had formed on my forehead. Hell, my ears were even perspiring.

It's almost over, it's almost over, god, let it be almost over!

I found myself hoping we could pretend we hadn't brought a tape and that we could talk about sports or cars or women or beehives or fish hooks or ANYTHING!

Once the tape was though, he walked over to rewind the reel. He kept his back to us the entire time and I sensed that he was purposely taking extra time to compose his words before delivering the verdict. I swear it was almost in slow motion, the way he slowly turned around and walked up to me to hand me the tape. As he handed me the tape, he smiled with a gentle expression for I am sure he knew what I knew he knew.?

"Well guys," he began, "it's not bad. The one thing, the main thing, I would suggest is that you need to get your sound tighter." I know he kept talking but I truly cannot recall what was said for the next several moments. I was battling my own demons at that time. After a few moments, the other guys stood up and I realized it was the cue to hit the road.

As we walked out onto his front porch, Don offered, "When you guys put another tape together, feel free to bring up here again. Don't give up, just keep working on it."



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