If I recall rightly, I think it was BJ’s idea originally. One night at rehearsal, between songs, while Justin was uncorking the wine and Kyle was perusing cover ideas on his phone, BJ wandered out onto the thin ice and suggested we try switching on our instruments.
** crickets **
“Aw c’mon. It’ll be fun. Everyone get on something you’re not too comfortable with, and we’ll see what happens.”
Each week I’m reminded why I dig working with these guys … always willing to push and maybe open our kimonos to see what’s really underneath. In a respectful, pro kind of way. Like old-school country music it’s cool in doses but it’s probably not something you want every day.
Well, wouldn’t you know it, the ice held and no one drowned. Turns out at that particular juncture Kyle’s phone was telling him to pick up a Traffic tune called “Dear Mr. Fantasy”. Yeah, that’s the one. It was something with straightforward changes and a great groove, easy enough to pick up even on less familiar instruments. Perhaps even more relevant, it was a tune Kyle connected with, which means people will dig his vocals even if (scratch that – WHEN) the instruments sound mediocre at best. No offense to the guys … heck they’re letting me pretend to play harmonica so I’m not complaining in the least.
So what happens when 6 guys pull a switcheroo on all their instruments, then attempt to switch back while the song is in progress? Wouldn’t you know there’s a story about to unfold…
Here’s how it went down: Justin, who was playing Geoff’s guitar, put down the guitar, picked up some sticks, and started playing – replacing Ted on the drums. No easy feat – 4 hands on a drumkit packed into a corner of the basement – but they managed. After Ted has his guitar, next BJ put down the guitar in he had in HIS hands, and proceeded to *attempt* to relieve Geoff of the bass guitar. Their goal was to make it seamless, i.e. someone’s hand held the note whilst the guitar passed over the other’s shoulders, thus completing a smooth, impressive and seamless transaction.
Ahh, yes, well that transaction WAS impressive. Meaning that it DID leave an impression. On Justin’s ceiling fixture. That’s right, as the guitar passed above heads and shoulders, the neck reached up to the ceiling and gave a hearty ‘HI-5′ to the 1970′s translucent glass fixture. Ted says he watched it unfold in slow motion. My jaw was agape. Justin seemed cool with the fixture being in 600 pieces on the floor and kept drumming with a slap-happy grin on his face. I think Kyle was oblivious.
Now here’s where Zen Mustache’s true sensibilities came shining through. Geoff completed his transition to BJ; Justin, Ted and Kyle kept playing. I don’t think anyone missed a single measure as Geoff and I picked up the shards. Then I relieved Kyle on the keyboards, Geoff returned to his guitar, and we had a mighty jam to complete the song. Keep in mind all this happened about 8 inches from where BJ was standing. In bare feet. Playing bass. Mostly with eyes closed.
Afterward, Justin pulled out the ShopVac and we tidied up after ourselves. Yeah, I’d say we’re accumulating some fodder for the storybooks. Maybe we’ll put this one in an obscure appendix somewhere.