The Toronto (GTA) based progressive rock band called CounterPoint, is looking for a guitar player. I am a guitar player who is finally looking to join a band. After some 20 odd years of plying my wares, helping out fellow artists to expand their playing techniques or doing studio work I’ve decided that this is the band that I wish to be a part of … if they like my playing!
This post is about what was going through my mind before, leading up to, and during the first and only jam session that I had with the band … so far? (P.S. I thought it was already posted a while ago, technical problems here folks!)
In the very beginning, Rick Kazmirchuk, the extremely talented keyboardist of the band, told me what songs they wanted to play at this jamming session. I had told him about myself, what styles of guitar playing that I liked and played, what I had been up to over the years of playing/not playing and where I was musically up to that point.
I had not owned an amp for many years, my guitar foot pedals were feeling unwanted and neglected plus I hadn’t had the intonation done on any of my guitars in years to boot! So after our many talks and e-mails on this subject, I started to figure out how to play these tunes. I tried to play them in such a way that it would bring a nice full rounded sound to them.
Once the day of our jam session arrived, I walked into the studio and chatted with the guys who were there. Chris the bass player had not shown up at that point in time. So I then went over to the guitar amp, the amp came with the studio rental and started to hook things up. The device I use to practice at home with and sometimes in a studio setting, a Ibanez Rock and Play RP200 was of course, not working (Murphy’s Law strikes again).
So I now have this amp that I had no detailed working knowledge of, but as good luck would have it, I brought along my old trusty DigiTech Multi Chorus Pedal and it worked great … until the damn batteries ran out. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to open the damn thing up and replace the !@#$%^& batteries! Why didn’t I buy the adapter with this thing?!
The jam that night started off great, but I was a little nervous at first to be honest with you. 1/4 of the way through the very first song I suddenly began to feel more relaxed! It just felt right to me. Not that I am or was intimidated by their musical abilities, but as I’ve said before it’s been a long time since I have wanted to play in any band, and these guys fit the billing to a “T”!
After performing the assigned songs for that evening we kind of sat back, talked a bit and relaxed. Then came the free jamming part of the evening. This of course was a natural direction to follow due to my limited knowledge of their regular set. BTW, 100% of their repertoire is exactly the style in which I want to play, and I know that I can excel at it, if given the time!!!
Just a major bit of information here for you about my guitar playing thought process …
I just love to go over songs in great depth while playing with bands, even it we are just goofing around. I’m not one for jamming, or should I say playing endless progressions over and over while soloing around just for the sake of it. I just don’t really get that much out of it, truth be told.
In certain circumstances, it’s quite an asset to be able to try out different/new approaches to certain sections of a particular song, in an attempt to enhance a songs overall structure and feel. I do understand in this instance, that this is a quick way for the guys to get an overall feel for the depth of my playing abilities and what I can bring to the band, but for me I am a more methodical or structured type of musician. Or maybe it’s because I suck at it? Only time will tell. Come on, I’m pouring my soul out here to you, my good readership!
Now don’t get me wrong here, if there is some sort of technical problem going on in the background while playing live, I can solo around until it is finally resolved, quite easily. To me, this comes from a deep understanding of the song’s COMPLETE structure down to the minute details. Knowing how to play a progression in any song inside out, backwards and forwards or inverted if you will, allows me to shine! That is just how I am as a musician, plain and simple.
CounterPoint is the type of band that would allow me some latitude to express myself musically and perform at a level that I can scale to more lofty heights! They are a bunch of guys who share the same love and enthusiasm in progressive rock music, that I do. I’m just not sure if they saw this or have the time to wait … fair enough!
Over the last several years I have been applying my skills to play live, solo that is, and helping countless guitarist bring their skill set to a higher level. Teaching people to raise their own bar of abilities, to expand HOW they play a song, is my ultimate reward. I never really charge people for this, it’s just for the love of music!
So after the jam, we went our separate ways and here I am today, alive to tell the tale … and hopefully more to come!
Keep on Jammin’ CounterPoint