A couple of weeks ago my husband had the opportunity to audition for a recording session. The guy came to our apartment for the audition, so I had the opportunity to hide in the bedroom and listen to the goings on.
I didn’t see the guy because my stepson and I scurried to our bedrooms like roaches as soon as his car pulled up. If I remember correctly, his name was Rob. According to my husband, Rob was a straggly man with a beaten up car that looked like he hadn’t bathed in weeks. He brought his guitar and amp with him so they could play together. He was making a blues album. I should say CD because they don’t make albums anymore, but album sounds so much better to me. You know what I mean? I write album, but when you read it, you think CD. Okay?
Anyway, this is what I overheard and it was all very interesting–dubious but interesting. Rob was from the other coast of Florida but came over here to record his album because their are no decent recording studios on the east coast. He had four days booked in the most expensive studio in the area. Maybe he had money. Some people with money like to dress down. Maybe he was planning on recording and running without paying the musicians he hired. I mean come on now, there must be good recording studios on the east coast of Florida.
The first problem was that Rob couldn’t tune his guitar. When this became apparent, my husband said he was thinking, “Oh no! What can I do to get out of this?”
My husband played an E repeatedly on the piano and Rob said, “Now play an E.” So my husband played the E again for him. Finally, after he was as tuned up as he was going to get, he said, “Play a B blues progression.”
My husband asked, “What feel?”
“You know, a B blues progression,” Rob said.
“Okay but what kind of tempo do you want?” my husband asked.
Then Rob did the strangest thing. To demonstrate the tempo it sounded like he just vaguely rubbed the strings. I could hear the sound of strings being scratched or something, but no pulse. So my husband started playing and Rob launched into a solo that, surprisingly, sounded pretty good.
“Now lets do something with a different feel,” Rob said. Again he vaguely rubbed the strings to demonstrate the kind of feel he wanted. I wondered where he had learned this technique and came to the conclusion that he must have made it up. My husband started playing a bass line and Rob didn’t play anything. He just sat there, watching him play. “Do you listen to any John Lee Hooker?”
“No,” my husband answered.
“This isn’t going to work out,” Rob said, and he packed up his stuff and left. Everyone in the house exhaled when he walked out of the house.
My stepson and I emerged from our rooms and tried to get a full report of what had happened. “I felt like he was going to kill me,” my husband said. “I was waiting for him to put down his guitar and start punching me in the face over and over. I’m glad he left.”
We were all glad he left. We went back to our normal lives–talking about politics, writing about magic boxes and recording accordions–and tried to forget about Rob.