30 Nov CHAPTER 11: YOUR MISSION, SHOULD YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT…
Hans is back with the second chapter of his perspective on the GeoCoinfest 2019 event in Manchester, which is actually chapter 11 in the whole story. The loss of 9 numbers has to do with the timezone difference between Colorado and Belgium. So here’s the story of my tenth favorite group of musicians in Belgium… which makes them #1 here in Colorado.
So here we are, the Bugsy Boys (and Girl off course), thrilled at the sudden prospect of a possible show in the UK but also a bit in the dark as in how to tackle the “Travel Bug For A Day”-Mission.
I looked up the “Found it” album on Youtube, as promised and I must say I enjoyed the songs Steve had written. They had humour, were very varied giving us the opportunity to experiment with lots of genres and were simply a lot of fun for any geocacher. Which was a good thing: if you are going to embark on a nearly impossible mission, you might as well be dealing with some nice music. But when I passed on Jon-Paul’s request to the others I was still rather hesitant, I just didn’t see how we would pull this off with Steve living 8 time zones away from us. Jan and Yasmine were more confident it could work, if they could get tablature (*) from Steve and enough time to study the songs. We discussed this a little more and decided to reach out to Steve and see how we could have a go at it and just see how it went.
In the meantime I also reached out to Nico, an old friend of mine who I had played in a band with before. We thought it could be a good idea to have a second guitar player, taking a load off Jan’s shoulders and giving him some more singing breath so to speak. Especially with this GCF request to play somebody else’s album in full, we certainly could use some more strings. I was convinced Nico would be a good addition to the band, both as a musician and as a member of the gang so I was very hapy to hear him say “yes!”. Nico is a man with a great and Sahara dry sense of humour but also a good rhythm guitar player with an impeccable ear for detail. At this point I feel like I should give both Yasmine and Nico a big shoutout as they both helped us out to keep the band going and learned a lot of songs in a short time span. Especially Nico had a rather big chunk of homework to do when joining us. Not only did he have to learn all the songs of our own set, he also had to help figure out and learn Steve’s songs in the meantime… faut le faire, folks !
Next on my MI to do list was contacting Steve. I reached out to him through FB and he was pleasantly surprised to hear he had a TB band. After some chats and a Skype call, we figured out some sort of online modus operandi: it involved creating a Whatsapp group filled with jokes and beer facts exchanging, goofy Dutch translations and an occasional “How are we going to do this again?” remark. As explained by Steve, we started studying Steve’s songs on our own and Steve started sending us video tutorials and tablature (*). Next step: each rehearsal we had a go at a few songs. We recorded demo’s of them once we felt we had figured them out, which we mailed to Steve. He could then use them for practice and add his voice and guitar so we had an idea what the end result could sound like.
Months passed, through the whatsapp conversations we all got to know each other better and better and it quickly became clear that Steve and us got along very well. This really started to look like this was going somewhere really nice and we were more and more looking forward to this show.
Funny thing was that, as the concert date got closer and closer, we started realizing we had put so much time into learning Steve’s songs and also running down each of our own covers with Nico during the rehearsals … that we sort of lacked time to really drill our old songs into our head again. So in August, once everyone was home again from their summer holidays we scheduled some emergency rehearsals to run down the two entire sets again and again and again … and then some more.
At the end of August, we got a chance to play at Birre’s “Welcome to Belgium” event. This served as a “final live rehearsal” and as the official first gig with Nico before heading off to the UK a week later. Nico did a great job, we were happy with our new and improved sound and ready to embark on our UK road trip. Things looked very promising !
(*) Note from the drummer:
“Tablature” is a mythical term amongst musicians, especially guitar players and bass players. Rumour has it that these are wonder pages written by elves deep in the forest and sprinkled with fairy dust giving musicians special insights and magical powers to perform the song in a superior way. Me, being the drummer, I don’t believe this myth. I just count to four and hit it =)
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