Today was one of the first really warm days in recent weeks here in the Bay Area. It was actually HOT for a change and felt like summer again, after weeks of fleece-inducing temperatures.
So we decided to rehearse outside. Cathy was particularly happy about not having to lug all five pieces of her equipment (an acoustic bass, an electric bass, an electric upright bowed bass, an amplifier, and a cajon) up the stairs to Randy’s living room.
It was a gorgeous evening, just beginning to get cool by the time we started at seven o’clock.
I captured this image because I could picture an album cover with the three of us on a set of stairs someday…
Little did we know we would attract so much attention in the neighborhood!
An Unlikely Metallica Fan
We started with a new tune we are covering from Metallica. We noticed a sixty-something woman standing on the sidewalk with a Starbucks cup, listening. A few minutes later, she walked across the street, but instead of leaving, she took a seat on the stone wall in front of the apartment building to continue listening from across the street.
We had played the first Metallica song about three times and moved on to a second one. When we finished it, I turned around to see her raise her cup and say, “Metallica! Yeah!”
Our rehearsal continued outdoors, business as usual.
As night fell, we played by the light of the front porch.
Groups of neighbors walked by throughout the night and stopped to listen for awhile.
The Bust…and The Melodrama
It was ten o’clock when we started our very last song of the night. Just as I started playing, I saw the flashing blue and red lights of a police car out of the corner of my eye. Since my back was facing the street, Cathy and Randy had to tell me about it afterwards.
No, it wasn’t a 911 call to bring an end to our “noise disturbance.”
That came a few minutes later.
As we were packing up our equipment (yes, all four piece of Cathy’s stuff!), a woman approached us to tell us she was having a hard night and listening to our music had helped her feel better about herself. She wanted to know if we would play her just one more song. As if we needed convincing, she proceeded to say that she had just lost forty pounds and was disappointed to find out that it still didn’t make a difference with her ex-boyfriend. Things were still the same.
“What would you like us to play?” asked Randy.
“Oh I don’t know, something that will make me feel better about myself,” she said.
The three of us looked at each other with the knowing glances of a group whose repertoire consists of only “dark”, emotionally resonant songs. “Feel good” or “happy” songs? Nope, none of that here.
Nevertheless, our Melodramatic heartstrings were pulled by this woman’s story of heartbreak in love, and we were inspired by her forty-pound weight loss.
Shut Down By The Po-Po
Just as Randy was getting ready to play “Better Man” – which inspired me to tell her that she needs to find herself a Better Man – we saw a squad car pull up (without sirens) and stop in front of the house. A petite female police officer came out of the car and said, “Your neighbors have now started calling, so if you guys could – uh – be done for the night, that would be great. But…good job! You sound great! It’s just that your neighbors are not happy, and it’s now ten fifteen on a Sunday night.”
We didn’t pass up the opportunity to hand her a Chinese Melodrama information card and fortune cookie (marketing tip: never pass up an opportunity!), but we did have to pass on that final serenade for our forlorn neighbor.
Sorry, neighbor. Hope to see you at our show this Friday where you can hear three hours of music that will speak to the melodrama queens in all of us. 🙂