League of Rock Week 3 – Rise and "SHINE"

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After last week’s frustrating practice I had every intention of working my ass off the entire week to prepare for this Wednesday. Good intentions that unfortunately fell apart as “life” got in the way. Work threw some obstacles my way and then some unexpected “situations” took more time away as my daughter injured her ankle at a baseball game resulting in a trip to the ER, some Xrays and now a very fashionable “air boot” to keep it immobilized as she heals.

Now I wasn’t completely slacking, I made sure to run through our set list a number of times throughout the week but it seemed to come in just 20 minute sessions and not a really good all encompassing practice session.

Booked into the same rehearsal room as the previous week, we plugged in, turned on and proceeded to rock… Up first was Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love and right from the start it felt good. Laurie was on a mission tonight and sang with such conviction and emotion that she proceeded to give us all goosebumps, this is what rock n roll is all about!!! When we get this song down solid, it will certainly be the crown jewel of our set list. We worked out an ending for the song and ran through it once more. Again it felt good, far from perfect and I know I missed a few notes here and there but we made it through and there were moments that felt really tight. Instead of Johnny Cash just flipping us the bird, he was telling us own the song and rock the shit out of it.

From there we moved forward with Wildflower and ran through it once and it too was starting to come together nicely the first time through. Enter our coach for the week guitarist/vocalist Michael Zweig who sat down and got a feel for what we were doing. After hearing about the songs in our set list he said his day was looking up and he asked us to head back into Wildflower. We took it from the top and what seems to be a trend for us happened again. Once there is a coach in the room we seem to tense up a bit and fall apart. It’s funny because personally, I don’t feel any more nervous when they are there but sure enough we went off the rails midway through the song and Michael had us breaking the song apart and trying to repeat certain sections over again. He coached us to jump back in at certain parts within the song and not to waste precious time always starting right back at the beginning as thus can actually become detrimental to our passion of the song.

We were also joined by Topher Stott (co founder of the League of Rock/Drummer) who stayed with us after Michael had left. He really dug in and had us breaking down the song showing us how to better lock in to each other stressing that it’s not as important to emulate the recorded versions but to make them our own. I have to say after he left, we played the song better than we ever had, his advice on the importance of supporting the guitars and making my eight notes pronounced and aggressive during the right times really helped me out.

Next up AC/DC Whole Lotta Rosie, the fast balls out rocker is four on the floor fun but a little tricky to stay in sync. We certainly have to work out our arrangement for this number but it’s feeling better and the groove is tightening up. Having spent so much time on Wildflower, we decided on q quick run through of Janis Joplin’s Move Over. It’s a great song that we will turn our attention to later as this is our bonus 4th song.

As the night drew to a close we did decided to give Whole Lotta Love one last try as it seems to really bring out the best in us. Laurie hit the road to rest her voice as we certainly played a little too loud this evening and we stayed back for Scott and John to work through the guitar solo part for Wildflower. Overall this practice went far better than the last and I think we made some real progress with the songs and arrangements starting to come together. That said, we have booked an extra practice for this weekend. Nothing like some extra ROCK N ROLL time, rise and SHINE!

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