Rock Camp Day #3: Heaven & Hell, Up & Down, Dark & Light...
Okay. I should have known. On Monday, at our first "band meeting," the boys unanimously agreed that they love Led Zeppelin. But there are two Zeppelins. There is "wicked Zeppelin", and there is "happy Zeppelin." For example, there is "No Quarter," and then there is "Thank You." And when 7 boys, with an average age of 11, say they want to play Zeppelin, they are talking about the former, not the latter.
So why did I pick the happiest, most lovingest Zep tune of them all? (Guess which, folks.) The kids are just not that into happy Zep.
Eliot -- bless his heart at 9 years old -- has nailed the deceptively difficult groove. Nick owns the piano part. (And his twin bro Rob is hoppin' on the arpeggios.) But two of the boys are simply not on board. The challenge is to impress upon them that you must give everything you've got, even into songs that aren't your faves. (John Raden recounted an interview from a colleague named Mark Snider: "My favorite song is whatever song I am playing at the time.")
This group is so labile. One minute, they are knocking Tom Petty out of the park. The next minute, they are dejectedly shrugging their way through a vapid Zep tune. i might have to scrub it from the set, as no one wants to step up and deliver the vocal.
The Guest: Regional Blues stud, Hank of Hank Shreve Band.
Before his presentation, I asked Hank to fit in a few comments about bandmates needing to set aside their prejudices, expectations, and egos. And how they need to make sacrifices, and sometimes play tunes they hate, or change their parts for the sake of the band's sound. (I confess, I need a little help this week when it comes to articulating these concepts to my Wild Bunch.)
Hank didn't just "fit in a few comments." He made this one of the major themes of his presentation. And said it better than I could. The man is golden. And I could tell that my boys were listening, as they chuckled at Hank's poignant portrayals of tense rehearsal moments.
We instructor's had the pleasure of jamming behind Hank's bluesy harmonica virtuosity. (I played piano, believe it or not.) And Hank got a standing ovation from the campers.
Meanwhile, as bipolar as my group seems to be, they are working up what promises to be an epic set -- true to their collective personality.