Last week we played our very first gig! It was a blast and here is a live recording of our performance at Poor House Bistro in San Jose downtown. This is an amateur recording but it does get better by the third song.
Guitar Showcase is a local music store in the South Bay Area city of Campbell. They are apparently California’s largest independent guitar store. They have been in business for more than 50 years. The owners have been involved with Bay Area music for many decades and have worked with many high profile bands. You can read more about them here. They have a very mom and pop store like feel and a very helpful staff. Any time I need any music equipment, book or accessories I try to shop there. In fact the very first bass guitar (Ibanez GSR200) and amplifier I bought was at Guitar Showcase back in 2010.
Since then I have been on and off learning the bass, taking some lessons and jamming sporadically, motorcycling taking over most of my free time. After my recent Alaska trip which went awry I was left with no motorcycle and little bit more spare time and decided to invest most of it getting up to speed on my bass playing skills. I spent a lot of time learning some of my favorite songs and jamming them away with Arvind who is great on guitar. Late September in 2015 I came across a wonderful program at the Showcase Music Institute, the music school arm of Guitar Showcase. This program, Band Showcase, teaches students the art of playing together in a band for about 9 weeks and culminates in a live performance at a local venue. This seemed like just the thing I needed to help push myself to the next level of bass playing. Move from random jamming to performing complete songs in a single take in front of a live audience!
I managed to convince Arvind to join in on this program (he didn’t need much convincing actually) and found another friend, Arpit, who (unbeknownst to us) had been learning the drums for about a year and signed up for this right away! Our instructor for the program, Tim Allen, a real fun person had us pick our first song. At our first practice session Arvind’s wife, Sharanya, came along and before long was convinced enough to join us as a vocalist. And we were a real band now!
What followed was months of practice. Months because it was very difficult to find time to get through our practice sessions with Tim with each one of us working different hours, having business travel, personal travel and other commitments. Somehow we stuck with it for the next six months practicing extra at Arpit’s place whenever we could. There was lot of learning, learning about our own instrument but mostly about how the other instruments compliment and fit in to make proper sounding music. We learned practical applications of music theory, improvisation, sound setup and the most important thing ‘timing’! We enjoyed every bit of it and looked forward to each practice session.
Being the tech nerds we are by profession we chose to name our band ‘GitPush‘. Soon we had learned five songs and with the blessings of Tim it was time to go live!
We had a good turn out of friends who came to support us. It was a great thrill to play live and having tasted that feeling now we are left with a strong desire to play live again. This will need effort and time to learn more songs and in the process hopefully make us better musicians.