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The Greatest Band of All Time
Music has always played a large role in my life. My parents seemed to always be blasting the stereo when I was little, whether it was three in the afternoon or three in the morning. In 5th grade I decided that it was my life’s calling to become the next Bruce Springsteen. I politely informed my parents that I would require a guitar, bass, drums, microphone, and a few other musicians who would accompany me on my quest for fame and glory. All I ended up getting was a lousy, paint-chipped Ibanez guitar and a couple quarters for guitar picks but at the time I felt like Jimi Hendrix, Chuck Berry, and Bob Dylan all rolled into one, without the actual ability to play of course.
By the following week I had informed the entire school that I had received an electric guitar and was going to be touring American cities very shortly, as an opening act for U2. Of course, no one believed me except for my friend Ian. Let’s just say Ian is not the smartest book on the shelf. Nevertheless he walked right up to me on the playground and stated, “I can play bass for your band. My parents are going to buy me one and I will play bass for you”.
“I don’t think you understand Ian, I’m practically famous already. And no one really knows who you are, it’s not really a smart career move buddy,” I replied as I continued to strum the air by the swing set. Ian did not take no for an answer and next thing I knew he and I were now a “band”.
We were the coolest cats around. Though we didn’t really know any songs, or even chords for that matter, we still were the talk around the playground for weeks. I was entertaining a gaggle of women by the slide one day when a slightly obese boy with a Rolling Stones shirt on strutted up to me and said, “I’m Josh and you are never going to be famous unless you put me in your band”. He had the attention of my surrounding fan base and I took a couple steps towards him.
“First of all, I already am famous you nincompoop (excuse my harsh language ladies), secondly why would I need you in my band? I don’t even know you”. The girls gasped as Josh and I stood nose to nose.
“I’m not a nincompoop you doofus,” he retorted.
“I’m not a doofus you weirdo”
“I’m not a weirdo you slimeball”
“I’m not a slimeball you taco-brained buffoon”.
This went on for a quite a while until Jerry G.(for those who are not aware, Jerry G. is the worst human being on the planet) told a teacher on us and we both had to go to the principal’s office. As we sat on the couch, waiting for our moment of doom, I leaned over and whispered, “Okay, you can be in the band”.
I declared myself the de-facto singer of the group and allowed Josh to play guitar and Ian to play bass. We were missing one more piece to the puzzle, someone to play the drums. Word got around that we needed a drummer and kids would come up to us in the hallway and start banging on the walls, books, kindergartener’s heads, etc. Ian was in Orchestra and he heard about a child prodigy named Miles. According to legend, Miles’s parents locked him in the basement as a child and made him play drums for eight hours a day so he could grow up and be in marching band. I had to see this guy for myself and one day after school Josh, Ian, and I all walked over to Miles’s house to try and catch a glimpse of the boy wonder.
We rang the doorbell and a short, Asian kid with big glasses opened the door. “I’m sorry but we don’t want any,” he mumbled, about to shut it in our faces.
“Wait a second man we aren’t selling anything. We want you to be part of our band,” I said proudly as Josh and Ian nodded behind me.
“Band as in…Rock n’ Roll band?” he stammered.
“Yes dummy a Rock n’ Roll band”, yelled Ian, shaking his head.
“Uh I’m not sure my mother will allow it,” he said as we pulled him outside.
“Don’t worry; you won’t even need a mother when you’re famous”, Josh laughed as we dragged/carried Miles back to my house for band practice. And so the band was born.
As I remember we were probably the worst band of all time. And yet, we were having the time of our lives. By the end of 6th grade we got an offer to play at this one kid’s house for her birthday. We knew this was our shot, and often discussed the possibility of a famous agent driving by and hearing our amazing music and immediately signing us to a record deal. We showed up to the house a couple hours early so we could get ready for the large crowd that was surely to follow.
We walked around the house to the backyard and began setting up our equipment and discovering various electrical outlets. After a few minutes a man came out of the house as asked us exactly what the hell we thought we were doing. Josh calmly walked up to the man and smiled, “Sir, we are the entertainment tonight for your daughter’s birthday. She requested a famous band so here we are”. He took one look at us and walked back inside, shaking his head. “I guess he was surprised his daughter had such good connections,” Josh said as he turned the volume knob on his amplifier from one to eleven and proceeded to shake the entire house. “That seems about right”.
After a couple hours we had warmed up and were hiding on the side of the house because Ian said that no good band stands on the stage until the crowd is going crazy. The only people who were in the audience at the time was Jessica, the birthday girl, and two of her geeky friends. I motioned Jessica over and whispered, “Jessica, where is everybody? Was there supposed to be an opening band to play before us? Is everybody just waiting for them to finish?”
She shook her head and stammered, “Um, there isn’t anybody else. It’s just me, Tiffany, and Julia”. Josh laid his guitar on the ground carefully and approached her,
“Jessica, baby, you are telling me that you are the only ones coming? That we are playing for you?!” She nodded solemnly and skipped back to her friends.
“Well, a show’s a show I guess. Let’s just do it and get out of here,” I said as we approached our instruments to loud clapping from our three biggest fans. So we played, and pretended it was Madison Square Garden on a bad night. And boy was it fun. We made the best out of it and even came out for an encore with Jessica’s begging. After cake and ice cream we signed autographs for everyone, including her father.
I got a ride home with Miles and his mother and in the car he could not stop telling her about it. “Mom, I’ve got to tell you, rock n’ roll is the greatest! Screw marching band, it’s no fun anyways, I’m going to be a rock star”. His mother looked at me as if to say “This is your fault!”. I just shrugged and smiled the whole way home.