Growing up as a teenager, I like a lot of other people had dreams of one day becoming a famous musician. Also like the vast majority of other people, for me that dream never became a reality, but somewhere in the process I discovered that was never really the point. Making music was the opportunity to spend a few hours every week escaping the reality of the daily grind we all face and doing something that was good for me. What I mean by “good for me” was it got me bouncing around and moving instead of flicking through the channels, it helped release any aggression I had built up in a positive manner, and it gave my the opportunity and excuse to spend time with friends which inevitably became increasingly difficult to do as we grew up into adults with adult relationships.
Sadly, growing up does happen to all of us, and there are casualties in the process, making music and “the band” became one of them for me as I and my friends got married, bought homes and had kids. My guitar became just another item occupying space in the closet. My love of music however never went away, in actuality it developed more over the years. Age has a way of softening the absolutes I once knew in genres and musical artists and tastes, and I found myself looking forward to my commutes to and from work when I had those brief little escapes into bite sized five minute realities some musician had created for me. I would try to coax friends into going to see these acts because that was the next best thing to playing myself, plus they had way cooler toys than I could ever afford!
As my tastes broadened I discovered a couple of acts that really spoke to me on a musical level in a way that I had never experienced before, those bands being Porcupine Tree (anything Steven Wilson for that matter) and The Devin Townsend Project. I got lost in their music for a couple of years honestly listening to very little else, rotating between the two and being thankful that I hadn’t stumbled upon them earlier because now I had their respective huge catalogs to keep my addiction well supplied. Of course as I’m rolling along in my car with Anesthetize (wait did I say bite sized? Maybe not always 😉 ) or Deadhead blaring on the stereo I’m fantasizing that it’s me and my non existent band jamming out those tunes, simultaneously thinking who I would invite to play in that band and how there was no chance in hell we would ever be able to play that stuff, and then the final push came from an unlikely source I never saw coming.
My wife and I were sitting down on the couch one night flipping through the channels and stumbled upon a documentary series called Sonic Highways by Dave Grohl, for those of you that haven’t seen it, the gist is that they go around to eight cities to look for inspiration to record a song there and speak to musicians from that city about it’s history. What completely captivated me and honestly endeared Dave Grohl to me, was the immediate recognition of the “geeky love” this guy had for music. I understand that type of love perfectly, it’s the kind that frees that inner child we all have from it’s “being an adult and all the responsibilities you now have” prison and let’s it run wild screaming “that’s sooooo cool” and “oh oh oh, oh my god”. Want an example, watch the LA episode and Taylor Hawkins response to recording with Joe Walsh. I was right there with guy yelling at my poor wife “I know how he feels and how cool would that be”. Yes I’m an idiot, yes I’m OK with that, thankfully she is too.
Geek love aside and finally reaching the point of this post, how that show totally affected me was the message that was buried in every episode. “You don’t have to be a great technical musician, go out and make your music”. My music. I want to calling something “my music”. I want to feel the rush that brings again. I want my fingers to be calloused again, I want the comradery of a bunch of sweaty stinky friends piled together in a small room making sounds only ever heard during a monkey gang bang in some South African rain forest, during rainy season. Stinky, smelly, moist monkey sex, ya, that’s rock and roll. So I took the first step, I opened the door to the cage that little KISS loving nine year old Rob was trapped in. And in his shy little voice he asked this nice women who had been taking care of him for the last twenty six years if she would be ok if he went and asked some of his other friends if they could come out and play. She was. So there was these two other old grumpy men he knew, and he really respected as musicians and more importantly as friends, and asked them if they wanted to play. You could almost hear the click of a door opening somewhere in them and most certainly you could hear it in their voices and see it in their eyes. That was the beginning of the Parry Sound Project.
Parry Sound is a place where the fourth member of the band has a cottage, where we all go to escape reality twice year with the guys and then again with all our families during the summer. It’s a place where we are happy and enjoy each others company even if it’s only for a few brief moments before we head back to reality. It’s a great place that means a lot to us, so it seemed only natural that we should try to capture the feelings that place brings. Throw a Project at the end and you’re
ripping off paying tribute to Mr Townsend’s band that I mentioned earlier. Plus it sounds nice, retro sounding, which is good, because we’re old, err retro I mean. One of our guitar players knew a drummer and bass player, and this past week five out of the six of us got together to talk about this all and fart around on our instruments. Our first official practice will be February 1st.
What this blog will be is a record of the whole process, we’ll talk about gear, about setting up a website, getting logos made, recording, practicing, learning, playing, all the stuff that goes into making a band. But this is about having fun, and we’re gonna have a ton of fun, learn a lot and hopefully make some great music. We hope you join us on this road because the experience is better when it’s shared, and I do believe this will be an experience worth sharing.