When I was 16 I joined a band full of guys in their mid twenties – they’d already had some success, with play on triple M and triple J and in my eyes, these guys were music gods. Somehow I lucked into the situation. Right place, right time. Right place being my brother’s bedroom (he was the lead singer) right time being the day their bass player quit.
My first show was an EP launch to a sold out Espy Gershwin room. Goodness me, was I terrified… As if this is a logical first show for a 16 year old! I exclaim with textually sarcastic intonation – You might as well have called me Gabriella Cilmi.
I had butterflies in my stomach as my brother drove us there, he was doing vocal warm ups and I was trying to keep my dinner inside myself.
I took all my queues from the guys in the band and from that day and for another couple of years those three guys taught me everything I needed to know to tackle the stage on my own for years to come.
For years now, I’ve stepped on stages with only a small trace of the nerves I had that first year. Sure, some shows are very important and I sweat attendance numbers or whether or not the hero of mine I’m opening for is going to like me.
But most shows – I show up, we all plug in, we count to 4 and we all have the best time ever. I know all the words, I know who I am, I know what comes next, and I always know what to say. I feel at home on stage. No concerns. No thinking. Just strumming, and singing, and laughing.
Until… I decided to do improv.
My origin story in terms of improvised comedy is not a romantic one. I was sitting on the toilet with my iPhone in my hand. A very funny friend of mine from the states, a comedian by the name of Rajan DharnI posted something about an improv class he took. He’s posted similar things the entire time I’ve known him, so I don’t know if it’s because I was being particularly reflective on the toilet that day, or if I find farts so funny that I was open to the idea of being a comedian. But whatever it was, on a whim, I asked Lord Google for guidance…
God bless Adam Kangas and his SEO skills, because the Improv Conspiracy drew me in immediately. “Chicago Style” that’s the bit that grabbed me.
Because we all wish we were famous Americans right? Plus, I’m a Bulls fan, so the word Chicago just makes me think of wearing second hand Air Jordans in primary school and comparing the price of them with the shoes Marcus CarattI was wearing.
Thanks to The Improv Conspiracy I’ve spent 6 months now welcoming back those butterflies to my stomach. Realizing that I’m SO far from the fearless performer I thought I was and being so completely challenged each and every week by the over-powering and inspiring beast that is Improv.
All of a sudden I DON’T know all of the words, I DON’T know who I am (on Wednesday night I was a reluctant Unicorn Hunter named Charles or Clarence or something I can’t even remember). I DON’T know what comes next, and I am not sure what I’m going to say until I’m saying it. Just reacting, in the moment. Good or bad, it’s just me, my scene partner and that blissful terrifying moment.
I use ‘terrifying’ in about the most positive way one can. It’s an exhilarating scare.
Staring into the eyes of your scene partner having NO clue what they are about to say.
I’ve realised I wasn’t as at home on stage as I thought I was. Now I consider my music career to be where I built my house and laid the floor, only now am I properly getting acquainted with all that lies inside that house. It’s a super fun discovery.
Thanks to those who have watched or helped or joined me in doing it up to this point.
I’m looking forward to learning for a long time yet.
See you at a Harold night.
The challenge is explained here – http://bit.ly/SongAWeek
This weeks topic was HOLIDAY
When I’m at work, I often catch myself daydreaming of what i could be doing instead of being there. I conjure up this fantastic day where i could fit in a million activities and have all the fun in the world. But you know how it goes, you actually get the day off and you don’t have nearly enough time for all that you were thinking about.
This song is about the idea that it would be possible to take the day off work, and have the best date ever.
I’m at ‘small bar’ in San Diego… I’ve blogged from here before. The girl who gives me free drinks seems to have quit. So i paid for this beer.
I’ve been stuck in this cycle of having great melodies it with no words to put to them… or having lyrics i like with no melodies to suit the mood.
It’s very frustrating.
I’ve said it before, I hate the idea of someone stumbling across my voice memos or notes on my phone if I die unexpectedly, it won’t be quite the gold mine that Jeff Buckleys studio tapes were.
So since I’m also lacking a new blog, here’s a Song idea I had…. In text form.
Grand Junction Colorado.
I was in grand junction colorado.
and Cruisers was apparently the place to go.
a red faced man was next to me, his name was Carl.
i know this Because he was flirting with sarah the bargirl.
When I have rings on my finger
I just wanna hit people.
Don’t you just wanna hit people?
I haven’t hit people since I got out. Replied his friend. I’d elbow this guy right here.
…. What else is there to do in grand junction? I extend. Trying to deflect my fear.
Are you hearing this fuckin guy.
Fuckin teen wolf over here.
…… Oh dear.
This reminds me of being hit by Mr. Prouse, only now I’m more aware.
He hit me out the back of Hayden’s house. – I used to care.
He said I boo’d him at graduation, and that it upset him because his grandma was there.
… It’s unfair,
because I didn’t. But it wasn’t about that. He just didn’t like me, I’m sure now he’d admit it.
I could laugh about little things and embrace the quirks of the world.
He would search for reasons to hit people because he couldn’t talk to girls.
The cops called me after my broken nose had healed. But I told them, to drop the case.
He’s not worth the effort. Despite my new crooked face.
He came into my work one day, and he called me a pussy for not looking in his direction.
It would have been wise after that for him to do a burger inspection.
How about Mr. Munchow? He used to taunt me at parties. Tell me to take it outside
But he’s not worth writing about.. Coz i imagine he’d grin with pride.
So you see, Mum. No need to be concerned about grand junction Colorado.
There’s jerks all over the world, just gotta know when to go.
And hey, if these boys are still to young to take this with a grain of salt.
I guess I’ll spend more years humorously avoiding assault.
In unrelated news, here’s a new episode of Songs I Wish I Wrote.
This is ‘Lead Balloon’ by Sarah Humphreys. I’m delighted to call her a friend.
Sarah and I are Launching our respective new releases on October the 26th at The Wesley Anne. (250 high st, Northcote) make sure you’re free.