Thursday, April 5, 2012

Trowar Report: Rehearsals In Redmond

I flew out to Seattle last Wednesday for Trowar rehearsals in Redmond, Washington.  Thanks to the taco truck, the cost of the airline ticket, my meals and even our gear did not come out of my own pocket.  I was looking forward to the great feeling of being a (more or less) paid musician, striding through the airport with my bass.  Sadly, I could not con the airline folks into letting me bring my bass onto the plane, so I had to check it.  Through some miracle, it made it intact.  The thing that still has me scratching my head a bit is the TSA notice inside the case, informing me that the contents of my bass case had been inspected.  You see, I had taped the case shut with duct tape, and there was - at least to my eyes - no signs of tampering.  Creepy man.

I stayed at the band manager's cottage on Lake Sammamish.  It was small and modest, with a breath taking, panoramic view.  I slept on the fold out couch in the living room and was greeted each morning by gray skies and a calm lake, complete with sea birds perched on docks and teams of people toiling in their rowing sculls.  Very idyllic.
This photo doesn't really do a good job of representing how pretty it was on Lake Sammamish.  It was cool to watch  (without ever having to get off the couch ) a bald eagle do some fishing .
The rehearsal space is still under construction.  I did not take any photos of the studio because seeing us playing in a room lined with carpet remnants would not do the space any justice.  When complete, the area will be a full recording studio with a live room, a control room, and a green room - all of them pretty decent sized.  This will be the Trowar base of operations; but the plan is that when we're not using it, we will rent it as rehearsal space to national acts when they are touring.  We'll see how everything pans out.  For this particular rehearsal, we played in what will be the control room because it is the room that is closest to completion.  It therefore did the best job of deadening the racket to the world outside.

Rehearsing was par for the course with Trowar:  intense, long - and fun as hell.  Although we'd practice for about 6 hours at a time, there wasn't any pressure with this practice since there are no gigs imminent for us at the moment.  We took this time to chart songs (lyrics and songs structure mainly) and work on vocals.  I had a lot to learn as usual, but it's all positive pressure.  I'm now going to be singing harmonies on some of the tunes, which is both scary and exciting as hell for me.  When I hit the harmonies right, it sounds freaking great and I think it adds a lot to each song.  I'll really have to work on singing and playing at the same time, but I'm relishing the opportunity to take on a greater role in this band.
Filling up the wall with charts.
And of course, playing with Fred and John is always a major treat.  Fred can solo all damn day.  His intensity is perfect for each song.  John's drumming is as powerful as it gets.  It's also extremely creative - I don't think he ever does the same fill twice.  Between the two of them, there's always something new and unique going on.  There's a ton for the ear to seize upon when they're playing.
Palmer's was a nice post-practice hangout for us.  I loved that on the Pacifico sign above the urinal, somebody had take the time to share multiple takes on Frank Zappa's greatness.  ("Zappa rules rock!")  This one says simply:  "Frank Zappa.  Fuck the rest."
I worked on my Trowar "to do" list the following Sunday on the plane back to Indiana.  I need to make sure I have the fingerboard transposed (I play in a tuning that Fred created/taught me) for clearer communication between us.  Of course, I'll be working on harmonies as well.  There are other things on the list - I'm looking forward to working on all of them.  The list is long, but given the optimism of all parties involved, it's easy to get motivated to to them.


  1. Replies
    1. C# (E string)
      F# (A string)
      B (D string)
      E (G string)
      . . . that is, if I figured everything out correctly. Which I think I have. Now to memorize it. . .