Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Red Carpet, Destruction, and the Derby
Well, I have three band things to blog on this week, so grab a cup of coffee and settle in!
Tuesday night I did my first 'red carpet event'. There was a pre-Grammy showcase at the Viper Room, organized by Brent Harvey, and he graciously extended an invitation to me. I thought it would be a good opportunity to network, and so I accepted. However, Sean had to work and so I asked Remington to go as band representative.
Perhaps at this point it might be a good time to give a little information about Remington. He is by far the most educated member of the band, if not the most dignified. He is incredibly tall, roughly 6'7" in his cowboy boots, and he has a refined wine palate and a fine sense of diplomacy. Not your typical bassist, if such a thing exists.
We arrive at the Viper Room, and there is, indeed, a red carpet, and a bank of photographers with glaringly bright lights illuminating the entire block. We park and walk up to the end of the short line of attendees.
I dressed for the occasion, which in my case means ridiculously high heels, fishnets, and a skirt that bears that moniker loosely. So I am freezing. And standing on a San Francisco-worthy incline wondering: What do we do?
I turn to Rem:
"You always know what the proper thing to do is in any occasion- What do we do?"
"This is the one time in my life, I can honestly say- I have no idea!"
We look around helplessly; do we approach someone, do we bypass the carpet altogether and slip quietly inside? Finally, an official looking woman approaches and extends her hand, she introduces herself as 'Monica', and ushers us to the next place in line. She asks my name, and looks perplexed as I say " V-K- Lynne" as clearly as I can without appearing condescending.
Now, I am fully prepared to step onto this carpet and have no one give a damn and just wait patiently for me to pass through and get to someone more prominent. I step on to the edge of the red shag, and flashbulbs blind me. I smile instinctively, and photographers call "This way honey- look over here!" I smile, and try to look skinny (Tyra says chin forward and FIERCE!) and then I start to walk ahead.
"Wait!!! Hey sweetie- don't forget about us!"
I thought all the photographers were taking shots at the same time, but some further down wanted more dead-on shots I guess, so I stopped and let them snap away, and once again explained "V-K-Lynne. You know, like kd lang…or KT Tunstall."
They finished and I walked directly into a tall blond with a microphone who asked: "Would you do an interview for our channel?"
(Why wouldn't I?)
So I chatted with her for a few minutes, then as I passed her, another woman stopped me, and asked if I would answer some questions for her channel directed to children.
"So keep it clean, you're saying?"
She laughed and asked me about the band, then asked how I thought the music would appeal to children.
"Well, I don't know that it will, but I do know that I have a MySpace friend who says her 3-year-old little boy dances around the room every time she plays my music, so maybe that demographic is out there for me!"
We finished up, and then went inside. Rem was astonished.
"You pulled that one out! I would have had no idea what to say- and you remembered that story right off the top of your head!!!"
"Well- I'm quick on my feet!"
We went into the bar where there were appetizers and alcohol and discussed how long we could stay, because we had to get to rehearsal- Tuesday night is Tuesday night, after all……
Rem and I got back to my house to pick up his bass, my guitar, and run to rehearsal. I threw off my clothes and tossed on some jeans and a sweatshirt, and away we went. Joe was at the gate when we arrived. Rem speculated that Joe had some sort of powers that allowed him to get in the gate every week, and began a Dungeons and Dragons explanation that revealed his true geekery, while Jake let us in.
Jakeypoo had already set up the PA, so we were pretty much ready to go. Rem regaled the others with the red carpet story, and we discussed how these are the types of things awaiting us this year!
We got settled in, and Jake said:
"How long of a set do we have- Cause we should time it".
"30 minutes- and it should be fine, because I have it all planned out, and we all have a set list; everyone knows what we're doing, so it's not like someone's going to look at me onstage and say 'What's next?' because I'll break their balls off if they do."
At this, three sets of eyes scanned the floor for their set lists and dignity, and we launched into the first tune.
We got to Whiskey, and Jake started it at a brisk 79, which nearly cost him his manhood, but we ironed it out quickly, and moved on.
Joe, looking very Cheshire cat, announced that he would be playing in stereo at The Derby. Everyone looked up:
(Yup. We're getting' fancy now. Transitional music. Stereo lead guitar. Costume changed. Bring on the pyro.)
We took a break for Joe's Coke and Jake's cigarette, and talked about the folks we knew who were coming out to the show. Jake came toddling back in:
"So- no backline?"
"I mean it's fine, I just don't like to lug my drums around."
"Well, that's something you should have thought about when you were 5 years old and said, "Mommy, I want to be a drummer", not today."
"I'll do it, I'll do it!"
We launched into the second run of the set, and then we got to Black Halo, This is the song that puts the Funk in the Sexifunk Magic. It's really a great opportunity for Joe and Jake to go nuts and do wacky fusion things that I don't understand, but damn it's fun.
We were in the second verse, when Joe did this crazy thing, and Jake countered with an equally crazy fill, when I noticed they were all looking at me- because I wasn't singing, I was listening to them. I realized that I was just standing there with my mouth open, and just burst out laughing. I tried to regain it, but dissolved into helpless laughter almost immediately. I just couldn't pull it together. Remington punches the air and says:
"Hell to the yeah! THAT'S what the Sexifunk Magic does to the ladies! We destroy! DESTROY!!!"
Now everyone is shrieking with laughter- Jake manages to get out:
"That's…that's…nicest guy in the world yelling, "that's what we do to the ladies- destroy!"
It seems we have no hope of getting though the song at this point, but somehow we rally, because the next night is-
Sean and I get to the Derby, and the guy at the door sends us around to the front of the place. At the front of the place they send us through to the back (where we just came from). The girl at the top of the stairs says, "Artists have to come in at the back", pointing to the doorman who just sent us to the front. (Who's on first?)
Finally, we get in and settled, and the guys arrive. There are acoustic acts playing in the very chill, very dark VIP lounge where we are about to be LOUD and SWEATY. I get a bag of Gummi Bears out of my bag.
"OK- I brought us some band juju for the night, everybody take one."
Joe wrinkles his nose:
"Ahhh, gummi bears, I don't like…"
"Joe, at least it's not a bag of cocaine, eat the fucking gummi bear!"
He takes a bear and puts in it his mouth like it's a turd. But he eats it, and we all partake of the Show Juju- wives and Sean, too.
By 9:30, the place was pretty darn full. The band before us cancelled, so we had ample time to set up. Jake comes over to me and gives me a hug:
"I forgot my high hat stand."
"No, I really did."
"I will fucking kill you."
"No, it's going to be fine, see, I can make it work."
I can never stay mad at Jake, so I just tell him he'd better, and get back to digging out set lists. I tell Joe and Rem to spread out- damn it, we need some room to swing a cat, as Brando would say. So Jake is on the riser, and so am I, but Joe and Brad are on the floor- this is going to work brilliantly…
Christie comes sashaying in all her sassy glory, and we are ready. (She is the fifth honorary band member, in charge of good vibes?
We launch into Mess Like You and the walls collapse. Not literally of course, but the all-wood room is suddenly shell shocked. Fortunately, it was an easy fix; Joe amiably fiddled with his amps, and suddenly, we had the best mix we've ever had. The crowd was amazing- they cheered for everything, they rocked along with us, and they fed us on their energy. By the time we got to Black Halo, we had firmly left our mark.
People swarmed us as we left the stage. They grabbed me and said they would never miss a show again, and would bring all their friends next time. The promoter pressed my hand, said "Amazing!", and invited us back next month. My friend Robert picked me up and screamed. Christie said "You've hit your stride- music, persona, everything."
It was the beginning of a new era. We finally have found our sound, our place, our stage.
And now that we have-
We're here to stay.