Meet The Nipples
I think I mentioned a while back that I auditioned for the bass spot in this unbelievable band.
Around my neck of the woods, any band that doesn't play shitty covers basically doesn't get to play shows outside of VFW halls.
I'm talking bands consisting of Abrocrombie & Fitch wearing jock assholes that played football in high school.
When their football careers came to and end, they stopped beating up musicians, and became them when they realized how much pussy they can get.
Watching these acts is a joke. It's the stupidest thing you've ever seen. I'm not even kidding. Check out any band, at any bar, any night of the week in downtown Hartford. You'll see former football buddies rockin' to Creed. No shit. There'll be the Quarterback on vocals, the Tight End on bass, the Wide Receiver on guitar, and the Punter playing drums.
Anything new and unfamiliar (i.e. songs that aren't on the radio) goes beyond the attention span of the average Hartford concert-goer, and is greeted with disgust.
I should also point out that these bands don't even bother to play an entire song. They go from the first verse of "Pardon me while I burn" to the chorus, then to the next lame song where they do the same. Why play the boring parts? Remember, when you're playing to crowd of 300 that has the collective intelligence of a nat with Downes Syndrome, dumbing it down is a gig requirement.
I've tried to compete with this shit my whole life. The DIY drive of renting out VFW's and loading it with your friends who are as pretentious as you are loses it's appeal real quick. Quicker than getting tired of driving out of state everytime you want to play to a crowd that likes you.
Blessed art I for living a mere 2 hours from both Boston & New York. I mean, it's not like I live in Alaska or some shit. But still. There has to be some hope to be able to play local.
Enter this secret band I will refer to as The Nipples.
I saw an ad in a local musician's webpage. The Nipples were looking for a bass player. Now, I wasn't looking to join a group. I still play in a band, but they're about as active as a beached whale.
Curiosity got the best of me and I went to check out The Nipples website. After I downloaded the first song, I was hooked. The music was brilliant. The singing was some of the best I've ever heard. The lyrics weren't stupid as most tend to be.
This was exactly what I wanted to do. I was made for this band. The only drawback was that they were looking for someone that could sing harmony, and keyboard experience was a plus. Me having neither, I felt disadvantaged from the get go. But fuck it. If they don't pick me, they're chickenfuckers.
So I write to them....
Dear Nipples, Hi. My name is Jon and I was interested in your bass spot. First, let me just say that I may not fit the profile of what you're looking for. Let's get all the Jon-cons out of the way before you even waste your time on this fool.
*I'm not much of a background singer. I've always let the pretty girl/drummer do most of the harmonizing. I might actually be great! Who know? I never tried. I might be the next Thom freggin' York for all I know!! I did sing harmony with my dad to a song that I wrote for my mom called "Happy Birthday, you're old!" and she said it was "beautiful." And you know, mom's don't lie.
* I can't say I have skills in piano/keyboard. Well, I mean I could say it..... "I have skills in piano/keyboard!" There. I said it. It's BS though.
I can say that I play a mean jaw harp (for real!) and I also have this photo-theremin thing that I bought off of eBay. I have Ebay fever.
* Practicing 3-4 days a week isn't a problem for Jon. Especially if we're mostly talking weekends. I do have one of them-there jobs that does require me to arrive at 9:00AM M-F so............I understand some bands look down on the gainfully employed. I promise not to let it leak to the press though.
But on the sunny side of Jon.....
-I'm an accomplished bass player that actually spells 'bass' the correct way (as opposed to everyone else you've been talking to, who, I'm sure spells it 'base')
- I'm 29, been playing for over 10 years. I own a wonderful Ernie Ball Sterling that sounds like butter. I'm not even kidding, people rub toast against my speaker.
- I live in New Britain so you know I got flavah'!
- I've played all over the place. New York, Boston, Toronto, Russia.
- I meant The Russian Lady in downtown Hartford.
-I love playing out so you won't have to worry about me whining. Not about that anyways
- Just been to the doctor and wants you to know that I'm 100% drug/alcohol abuse free!
- Ugh....what else? Oh, I'm a quick learner, dedicated, blah, blah, ect, ect......
I downloaded some of your stuff and I honestly think it's amazing. It got me excited. Not a lot of Hartford area local bands that I really like.
Well, I have more shtick to feed you if you're interested.
A couple of questions I have are where do you practice, and does The Nipples offer full medical and dental?
Sorry we couldn't get back to you sooner. We practice in Columbia, which is over by UConn and Willimantic. (Editor's note: It's about an hour's drive from me. Very far.) We provide full medical and dental coverage through Blue Cross/Blue Shield, 3 weeks of paid vacation per year, and full use of the official Nipples Lear Jet.
If Columbia isn't too far for your tastes, we'd like to get together and jam sometime next week. Wednesday would be best if you're available then, but Friday might be possible. If you're interested, let me know and I can e-mail you directions.
The only condition is that you'll need to bring over the photo-theremin for us to check out. We're theremin fanatics. Nate has one that he got from the Moog people. If he brings his over too we can have a theremin section! If you have any more questions, let me know and I'll get back to you more quickly than I did this time.
I made plans to get together with them on a Saturday. They had two full songs on their website that they asked me to learn. I spent the Friday before learning every bit of those two songs.
I talked to two of my fellow musician friends and told them what I was doing. the both asked the same question: "What are you going to wear?
We were like teenage girls gabbing about the upcoming prom. What the fuck?
Of course I was thinking the same thing. I had to look cool. nobody wants to play in a band with a bass player that isn't gonna' draw any chicks. That's why so many bands just don't have bass players.
So I dressed like one of the guys from Weezer. I looked like hot shit. I thought about staying home and making love to me, but decided it was unhealthy at this jucture.
So I took the long ass drive out to the middle of nowhere. Expecting who knows what. I was wondering if the house was owned by one of the guy's in the band, or his mom or something.
That was quickly aswered when I stepped inside and took a look at the place.
Beer bottles everywhere. A total fucking mess.
Jon. Welcome home.
As I walked in, I met the guy Moses who was chatting with me via emails. He was the bass player who now wants to switch to guitar. He was a mean bassist too. Some of his shit was very complex, so I was hungry to show the dude what I can do.
His first comments to me were "nice shoes."
You can never go wrong with Converse.
I met the guitar player, Nate, who along with Moses, sings lead, and writes the tunes.
The drummer Andrew, who owned the house was a hippy looking dude. I get along terrible with hippies. Most of them tend not to enjoy my lectures on how their style is lame and should be changed by any means. But I thought I'd wait until after I joined the band before I gave him a copy of "Genghis Jon's Hippy Manifesto."
I brought my photo-theremin and showed it to Nate. he looked at it for like 3 seconds, and put it down. Gave out a polite "pretty cool" to make me feel better or something.
When we got to the practice room, and showed me his moster of a theremin, I understood his greatness.
I was in heaven in their practice space. These guys, like me, have supreme equipment.
Ever wonder why some bands that know how to play really well, don't sound as good as say, The Ramones who can't play at all? It all comes down to the equipment.
Spend $4,000 on amplification and you can piss all over your guitar and you'll sound like Jimi.
The bass head I was using was an Ampeg SVT. I love that fucking thing. I plugged in, hit an open A, and was just like "wow."
So we started off with one of the two songs I learned.
I was smoking, dude. I was on fire. I felt like that guy from the Fantastic Four who's, well...on fire.
I couldn't believe how good I was playing. Every chance I got I was doing these cheesey fill-in's that informed these guys on who their daddy was. I expect a Father's Day gift from all these motherfuckers next time it rolls around.
After the song ended, and I got done doing my 5 minute bass solo that I wrote on the spot for the end. Moses said "nice job."
Nice job? That's it? Cool down, Genghis.
The next song I did just as good. There was a (planned) little, jazzy bass solo thing at the end of this one and felt ballsy enough to change it a bit.
"Nice Job." again, from the biblicly named guy.
"Now what should we do?" asked Nate.
"Play anything." I said. "I'll follow you."
I shouldn't of said that. Who knows what they were gonna' play. I could of made myself look really stupid if I couldn't figure out what they were doing, but fuck it.
They played a new song and I followed right along. I began to trust my ego a bit. I figured that the 'belive in yourself' mentality was working for me.
When that got done, they suggested covers. They asked what I knew. I looked at the floor and saw a set list.
"How about Sweet Jane?" I said.
"Sure, we know that."
So we did that, 4 other Velvet Underground songs. 'King of the Road'. Some surf instrumental that I don't know the name of.
I also suggested "Beat It" by that baby flinging guy, but they didn't know it.
When I was jamming with these guys I was completely in awe. The singing was so good. Somewhere between radiohead and Death cab For Cutie.
These guys were cool. I really wanted to be in this band.
When we got done, they said that they'd be in touch as they have a few more people to check out. That's when the Genghis in me came out, and said "Those guys suck!"
Moses said he'd tell them I said that.
So they gave me a Cd, and I was on my way. Leaving it to chance, but feeling pretty good at my playing.
When I got home and listened to the whole CD, I was numb.
I couldn't believve how good these guys were. I was almost shaking.
from that day, til today I haven't listened to any other CD but this. It's THAT good.
But fear of greatness is not something I'm afflicted by. Even if i was intimidated by their talentt to no end. I can pull my own and I know it.
So after 2 weeks of wondering what's gonna' happen. Am I gonna' be in the best band to come out of Hartford or not. Can I brag to all my friends about what a hero I am, or will I go back to playing in my living room all night? In my mind I was already a Nipple (shut up) and was planning my contributions with these guys.
Yesterday, after the funeral, I got this email...
I wanted to thank you for coming in to try out, and for trying us out. I speak
for all of us when I say we had a great time meeting you and playing with you.
I also wanted to let you know that we have decided to go with someone who can
contribute vocals. I hope you can understand our preference to have a third
vocalist in the band. I can honestly say, though, that I enjoyed your bass
playing, and I wish you luck with your next band.
Thanks again, Moses
No problem man.
Thanks for having me over. I had fun. Keep me in mind if things don't work.
Good luck, Jon.
This is what I wanted to say
ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR FUCKING MINDS??
You want me to sing? How 'bout I sing you a little tune called "YOU'VE MADE THE BIGGEST MISTAKE OF YOUR LIFE, AND WILL REGRET IT FOR ALL ETERNITY, YOU CHICKEN-FUCKING, NO TALENT ASSHOLES!
How about this. I AM in the band! Whether you like it or not.
I'm in the band, and you're all fired!
Now if you'll excuse me, I got rumors to spread about you guys.
And I hope you all die in a plane crash like Lynard Skynard.
PS- And let me know if things don't work out with this new guy.