Today was Ash Bash rehearsal day. The idea is simple- drum teacher Simon Ash gets 15 of his students to play a song or 2 with a house band that includes your humble narrator on lead guitar, long-time collaborator Andy Cross on vocals and rhythm guitar, Mike Wright on bass and Simon's girlfriend Tina on vocals. As Andy and myself approached No Machine Studios in Wokingham we passed what Andy triumphantly described as 'the glam rock car dealership'- and sure enough there it is, Roy Wood Transits. Shouldn't they use the slogan 'SEE MY BABY DRIVE'?!?
The songs for the show are from artists as diverse as Alice Cooper, The Fratellis and ZZ Top- which brings up an interesting point... let's take 'School's Out' as an example; it's a rock classic in my not-so-humble opinion, but next time it's on the radio, have a good listen. It's a complex song (for example, the two verses are quite different from each other, as are the two 'no more pencils' sections) and the playing is uniformly excellent- it's not something that you can just throw together. Not all the songs are as tricky as that, but you get the picture; add to that the fact that Mike only found out that he was doing the show a couple of days earlier (original bassist Will sadly became unavailable) and you've got a recipe for potential chaos... which thankfully didn't occur. All the drummers turned up with their song(s) learned which fostered a general 'we're all in this together' atmosphere despite the high temperature of the rehearsal studio (both Andy and myself turned our guitar strings black with sweat) and the inevitable time constraints that a day such as this brings. I'm really looking forward to the gig- it should be a good one.
Obviously the only thing to do after a day such as this is to go for a drink or 2 with East- the evening ended with me getting caught in an increasingly bizarre exchange with a rather over-refreshed gentleman in, you've guessed it, a pub toilet:-
Him- 'can I ask you a question mate?'
Me- 'erm, yeah ok'
'you must be, I don't know, 30 to 40?'
'something like that'
'are you married?'
'well, it depends on what you mean by married'
(a bit more aggressively) 'it's a simple question mate- are you now, or have you ever been, married?'
'well, no, but...'
(before I can say anything else) 'so what, you're gay, right?'
'what, not even a bit?'
I really hate that- you're of a 'certain age' and you're not married so people assume that you're gay. I got the feeling that he was drowning his sorrows- but that doesn't give him the right to add to mine. 'Leave now' said East decisively as my new acquaintance waved a drink and bellowed 'come over here and talk to me' across the bar in my general direction. He looked distraught. I think I'd had a better day than him; I rather suspect that I often do...