Last Friday, we had that show booked at Goodfellas. That day, Richie called and said that he’d booked a flight leaving at 5AM, and couldn’t do the show since we’d be playing till 2AM. Uh oh!
Well, we wouldn’t cancel a show with that short of notice (unless we were deathly ill or worse). No matter where the venue, we wouldn’t leave our fans hanging, or the venue without a band; so we had to do some quick thinking.
Brian spoke with Richie and it appeared for a while that Richie would play drums with us till midnight… but somehow communication got confused. Mike came and picked up the band’s house drum set (so Richie wouldn’t have to set anything up). But then later he talked to Richie who had decided he couldn’t make it at all – so Mike didn’t bring the drum set to Goodfellas and assumed the band simply would not play – and he disappeared with the drum set in his car.
Brian and Daemon both play some drums, so we had figured that they might trade off on drums and guitars if worse came to worst. It was now obvious that our bassist also wasn’t coming to the show, but we hoped he had dropped off the drum kit at Goodfellas.
It was getting late and we were still making calls…no substitute drummer was available. So we decided to just bring the acoustic equipment, some percussion, and a positive attitude – and just go for it as a trio. (Now, we’ve been planning a new project with more dynamics, called Psychanaut. It would be able to play both heavy and lighter versions of the songs, and be able to adapt to various venues, with more dynamics – not so slammy as Rock Scarlet… but it was not even completely assembled yet. It certainly wasn’t ready.)
We got to the venue, and nope – no drums! So there we were, setting up, when a guy asked if we played “heavy metal.” My heart sank a bit. This show would not be as loud and heavy as Rock Scarlet usually is, much less metal…would they like it? Then a few people started showing up. Some of our favorite friend/fans were there. I felt bad that they wouldn’t get the full Rock Scarlet show they were expecting. Would they like what we were going to do? With no bass and drums?
We started playing, with the guys switching from electric guitars to acoustic guitars and slide guitars…it began rough as we felt our way in this strange format. I fumbled around with the shaker and tambourine a bit…and yet people started digging it!
Then suddenly a drummer (Michael Axel Fleming) appeared in the audience, looked around and found an overturned plastic bucket – and started playing it like a drum. It didn’t sound half bad! We handed him our cow bell too and It started sounding pretty cool! Having never played with him, that was a welcome surprise. We took a couple requests and played songs we’d never played together before. The crowd was small, so I walked around the room with my wireless mic and sang at each table and all around the pool tables. It was fun
Eventually the women who came with Michael had to leave – but he returned immediately with a small cocktail drum kit which he plopped down beside the stage and started playing along! We took a break and moved some stuff so he could join us onstage.
We played our Celtic style song “High Roads” (which we never play with Rock Scarlet) and “Egypt Eyes” and other percussive songs – and rendition of “Even it Up” by special request, dedicated to two special friends. With the two amplified guitars, me on the percussion and the tiny drum kit –it was sounding surprisingly cool.
A nice touch was when the “heavy metal “guy came up to me at the last break and said “I haven’t heard music this good in here for a long time!”
By the end of the night (the show goes till 2AM at Goodfellas), most people had gone home, but we played on – we were having such fun! Daemon sang an excellent version of “Breathe” by Pink Floyd while Brian played slide. We invited the vocalist for a local 80s cover band to come up and we did multiple part harmonies on songs we’ve never played.
This is the coolest part of the story: we’d been unsure how to start the Psychanaut project without losing the momentum and name recognition of Rock Scarlet… and we weren’t sure exactly how it would sound. But when we got stuck in the proverbial corner …Friday the 13th showed us that we could indeed do this – and even without a full band it sounded really great. Plus everybody had FUN.
And thus Psychanaut begins!