In an effort to pump the Chicago Martyrs’ gig on Saturday, June 9th, I will dedicate as many blogs as possible between now and then to topics related to the Refreshments.
Roger showed up to the practice with his guitar in one hand and his amp in the other, ready to play. He’d just returned from an extended trip to Taipei, Taiwan, and he was anxious to get back into the Tempe music scene.
We jammed four or five songs that night, a few old Mortals songs (“Psychosis” and “Girly” were among them) and one Hanson Brothers song (“Carefree”), while working our way through a twelve-pack of beer.
Our sound back then was somewhat reminiscent of the Violent Femmes. There was no lead instrument, everything was hooky and danceable, and Roger’s voice had the same urgent, self-deprecating presence as Gordon Gano's.
I can’t convey how much fun I had playing those songs that first night. All three of us were giving ourselves to it, pliant, anxious, and at the same time not giving a shit. A broken bass string threatened to end our jam, but Roger, pliers at the ready, tied a knot in the string, making it secure enough to keep going. We played another song or two before the string gave entirely. We finished the twelve-pack, thrilled with the jam session, and called it a night.
We talked afterward in the driveway, coming down from the buzz of playing (and the twelve-pack). Roger and I found we had a mutual interest in Camper Van Beethoven and the Pixies, and Roger wanted to play me the Pogues, which were sort of his traveling companion on his trip. Everything was falling into place.
The only problem, as we soon found out, was that Roger had planned to stay all summer on his grandparents’ ranch. From May through August, he would be four hours away, too far to commute to Tempe for band practice.
Still, we all wanted this new project to work. Roger promised to drive into Tempe for practice once for every time we came out to the ranch, and he would spend his summer writing as many new songs as possible. Then in September we would kick it into high gear. I had two general studies requirements I needed to finish that summer at ASU; I’d be busy anyway. I could wait until September. The promise of that one jam session was worth waiting for.
More next week.