Archive for the ‘Face The Facts Journal’ Category

It was a dark and stormy night. No, really. It was last Sunday when what remained of Hurricane Tomas was starting to reach Ireland from across the Atlantic. I text Cathal to see if maybe we should postpone to a night when we don’t have to walk to the pub in an impending hurricane. He said he’d collect me in his car. OK.

To be honest, I guess I had cold feet. I wanted to play music with these guys again. It was generally great craic, except for the odd falling out. It was a few euro, maybe a few pints, depending on who was driving, and we’d always come away with a few new stories to tell. On the other hand, there was the hassle, the shifting gear, the narky publicans and opinionated patrons. The mentality of “I like what know, so yez had better play what I like.” I was once slapped by the bass guitarist’s sister-in-law for not singing a Garth Brooks’ song to her standards. I know in my head that the good usually outweighs the bad, but enough of the bad can leave a lasting impressions (and welts).

Plus I hadn’t done my homework, and we were meeting up in an hour and a half. Cathal sent around a text earlier in the week requesting that everyone compile a list of songs we could play, which I read as “what do you think we might remember well enough to put two sets together ASAP”. So I spent an hour going through some old set lists, weeding out the songs I could no longer bear to play, then going through iTunes to add a few new ones just to keep it interesting.

As it turned out, I was the only one who did the homework. No one seemed terribly surprised by this, as we passed around and commented on the list. Well, we all have our specialty areas, and list making had been my de facto domain. Cathal got the gigs. He is the front man after all. Martin seems to know where all the wires go in the PA system, and how to perform the light repair work. Ray is…very entertaining. John didn’t make it, being the one who lives furthest away.

Cathal reported that many people at his wedding liked us better than the ultra-professional swing band that was hired for the night. That’s where the latest version of Face the Facts started. Cathal was getting married again and decided that it would be gas if Face the Facts played a few songs at the wedding. So we had a couple of acoustic rehearsals, one with John on bass, none with Ray (probably just as well, since a full drum set might have been too much for the people adjacent to Cathal’s one bedroom apartment.).

There was a gap of at least half a dozen years since we’d played together, and I felt stressed and rusty on the day. We didn’t know when or where we were playing. When we learned that, we were going to set up around the other band, or what it was going to sound like live. I like to be prepared, and this was as unorganized as I’d played it in decades. but when I saw the videos later, we seemed to acquit ourselves much better than I feared we might. And everybody got the bug.

So here we are in the Monread Lodge discussing how we’re going to organize a few gigs for ourselves, just to try it out and see if we want to crank up the machinery again, whether the pain is worth the pleasure. No one is too worried about the songs – between us we have plenty of spaghetti to throw against the wall. Our three biggest concerns are where we’re going to play, whether we’ve got all the gear we need, and whether we’ve really got a full band.

Getting gigs for a five piece band is not as easy as it was before one-man midi-file bands became so prevalent. Many pubs don’t want to know about anything larger than a duo, regardless of how much room they have or how little you’re willing to play for. There are some names that we’re optimistic about, and reconnaissance work to be done.

We seem to have most of the old equipment between us. Martin has a lot of it in his garage, I’ve got the bass bins in the boy’s room, and Ray has the tops, which he is using in another band, which brings us to what may be our biggest hurdle.

John and Ray are both busy in other bands. Ray has several on the go, and is already having to miss gigs with one to play with another, without adding Face the Facts to the Roster. In fairness, he’s only playing once every couple of weeks, but that’s no guarantee that two or more of his bands won’t have gigs scheduled for the same night.

In addition, Ray and John are finishing up their second CD with Raglan Rodeo. In fact, Martin and I were propositioned by Ray to play a series of gigs after the CD release – Raglan Rodeo is between lead guitarists, and some of the tracks from the first CD call for double lead. The first gig is in Rathmines, probably in January. Then there’s one somewhere down country and, oh yes, one in England. Say what? I started the night wondering whether I wanted to do a few local gigs and now I’m being headhunted for one across the sea? Martin jumped at this – he sounds like he really wants to get out there again. I kinda sorta committed to the Rathmines gig, but England? A little too much too soon, but that’s next year. I may be ready, willing and able by then.

In the meantime, Cathal and I are thinking that maybe we should see who else is around to fill out the rhythm section, just in case.

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