A few days after our names were picked out of a hat at the first inaugural Rock & Roll Lotto drawing, I showed up at Band #10’s first practice with visions of spontaneous and effortless rocking. My visions were based on experience. I’m not really a musician. I play drums, but I can’t read music and unless they play in 4/4 time, any “serious” musician would be disappointed in my chops. And yet, more often than not, I find that playing music with other people, even people I don’t know very well, usually results in us all making sounds together that expand and constrict, progress and repeat in a way that quickly becomes a song. It’s an awesome feeling because it tricks you into thinking you’re better than you are, and sometimes it tricks other people too.
So even though I didn’t know any of my bandmates or even what instruments they played, I had no doubt Band #10’s first practice would be silky smooth. We would immediately produce the first and second tracks from our soon-to-be forthcoming EP, and a few months later the world would read about our unlikely inception on Wikipedia.
Here’s how our first practice actually went: five of our six members showed up. Rather than just begin making noise, we discussed what kind of music we’d like to play. Our singer mentioned several bands none of us had heard of. One guitar player recommended we play “Trash” by New York Dolls, while our bassist (who confessed she had never played bass before) suggested “Tam Lin” by Fairport Convention. I brought up Motley Crue’s “Kickstart My Heart,” and our flautist brought in tabs for a traditional Argentinian folk song. And while no one knew where our sixth member was during practice, he later chimed in by posting on Facebook the music video for Tosh.O’s “Smell Yo Dick.” This is all you need to know to vividly imagine what our first practice was like.
Rock & Roll Lotto was the brainchild of some Missoula rockers who decided the local music scene could use a shake-up. 75 musicians signed up and on Jan. 27, 11 new bands were formed. Everyone was given a month to write, practice and get along before a Feb. 23 showcase at the VFW.
Since that first practice, Band #10 has gotten it together. Our “beginner” bassist turned out to be the most musically solid of us all, our singer makes other tambourine players seem like elementary school music teachers and the soloing acumen of our flautist has got our guitarists feeling insecure. Though I’m a little weary of once again getting ahead of myself, we’re kind of awesome.
Our first album will be out this spring.