Today our auditions came to a close for a further guitar player to compliment the line up. Earlier this week we organised today's sessions with three different guys coming at intervals of one hour and fifteen minutes so each one could have fifty minutes with us. Well, that was the intention. Earlier on this week I had an e mail from one guy who said he had gone down with a really nasty cold and was getting worse, he would let me know on Friday if he was able to come. I don't know if he was really saying "I don't know if I want to do this or not, give me until Friday night to decide". But Friday night came and I got an email from him saying he was really ill and couldn't come, good luck with the band. He didn't ask if he could come next week or another time, so I am guessing that he wasn't really wanting to make a commitment, or his heart wasn't in playing in a band, so strike out one. The guy I was really interested in hearing play sent me an e mail saying that he had really thought about it, but he had too many family commitments and that two bands would be too much for him. Well, we want some one who will give us their loyalty. But, having had a couple of conversations with the guy I did like him very much and we agreed to keep each other's phone numbers because who knows what the future will bring.
So there we are, one guy left called Simon. Now Simon did turn up and brought his son with him, a nice kid of about sixteen called Mark. I am a big family man myself so I have no problems with him bringing his son and actually thought it to be a big plus because I have huge respect for guys who do things with their kids. Simon came with an Epiphone Semi, one of those 335 styles with the leaves inlayed into the headstock. His amp was a 75w line 6. Now I am always a bit concerned when people turn up with solid state and modelling amps, because being a traditionalist, I think that there can only be one type of amp for a guitar player, and no matter what brand the amp has, for me it has to have valves.
However, I digress. We enjoyed a couple of hours with him, our session was slowed down by Terry the drummer's bad back so we had a few rests, no problem for me with the Tokai strapped on, always good to take it off for a few minutes. So, we played the same songs we had played with the other guys, whiskey in the Jar etc. We liked Simon, nice guy, even if his amp didn't have valves in it! as a person he would have fit right in and that is a big part of this band. We played some rock and roll standards to see how quickly he could pick up a song without it being rehearsed. As a rhythm only player he would have done well, but as a lead player he wasn't quite there, although he was on the way. So after a good hour and a half with him we all shook hands, thanked him for coming and explained that we had other players to see, which he knew any way. We didn't really, but we wanted to discuss things. We genuinely enjoyed the audition.
So, after Simon had gone, Shaun, Terry and myself sat down and had a good talk between ourselves. As none of us wanted to spend any more time on auditions, having done three weekends of them, we felt we needed to move and complete the line up as we knew that we were happy with at least one of the guys we'd seen. Terry thought that Simon would fit in well as a person, which we all agreed with. But I asked Shaun and Terry that if it was a gut feeling, which guitarist we had seen would they choose? We all said it would be Dave, because we felt he could bring more to the band (a valve amp is always a good stat!!)and that his ability would allow me to step back at times and also allow a twin lead format when we want it. As a huge Wishbone Ash fan I want to cover a couple of their songs.
So, while we were all together I phoned Dave up and invited him to join the band, and he was thrilled to have been asked and said yes please. So we start rehearsals next week for our first gig in six weeks time. More of that in a minute. I am going to wait a week or so before I call Simon and tell him we went for some one else, and There is a reason for that. I want Simon to feel that he wasn't dismissed out of hand and that we considered him carefully. I am mindful that when you say no thanks to some one who has bothered to come and put them selves on the line that they deserve treating respectfully, and I shall call him up and explain that it was a very close decision and on another day it may well have been he who we asked to join. Also if some one can turn up, they deserve the courtesy of a phone call. I hope we swap phone numbers because he will get to be a better player and there is always the future. However, we want what is best for us and I am glad we went through the auditions as we did.
So, Next Saturday we start rehearsing properly. Shaun works for the inland revenue, or as the Americans would call it the IRS. His office is closing and he is transferring to Sheffield, which isn't far from where he lives. His office have organised a big party for about 150+ people and have asked him if he would get the band to play. We are doing this as a shake down gig to sharpen up and get a reaction to what we are going to play, so there is no charge as these are all Shaun's colleagues. Next week I am going to try and post some pictures, If I can work out how to get pictures on here from my tablet. A big thanks for taking the trouble to read this.