CH3 Bandcamp Lesson 5: Practice

Welcome back to the CH3 Bandcamp, a web series of tutorials brought to you by Guitar Center, Pabst Brewing and Dow Chemical.
Here at CH3 Bandcamp, we offer the guidance and valuable tips gleaned from our thirty-plus years in the music industry.
Follow our advice and soon you’ll be rockin’ like your heroes here at CH3, and remember: We will be selecting one promising young band this semester to open one of our actual gigs in either Hemet or Bakersfield, and even allow you to set up our professional gear and learn how to sell Merchandise!

*Note-if you did not receive a confirmation email from your last tuition payment, simply re-submit your credit card information and click the Apply Now button, 2 or 3 times if necessary

Alright young rockers, welcome back!
A quick note about last weeks episode, Lesson 4 : Naming your Band, in which we offered you the handy CH3 band name generator, based on a verb, the word Social or Society, and the first name of a failed politician.
Due to a computer glitch, we’ve heard from six different bands now named Bleeding Society Newts, but that’s okay.
We’ll deal with that in Lesson 15: Copyrights, Trademarks and Suing the Fuck Outta Those Other Clowns!

Today’s lesson deals with that unavoidable task-practice.
Yes, kids, be it Robert Plant and Jimmy Page or even Chad from Nickleback, the stars that inhabit the musical galaxy all share one key thing, I mean, besides herpes simplex 2:
practice practice practice!

Now that you’ve selected your brothers-in rock (see Lesson 3: How to Spot a Suitable Bandmate and Lesson 3.1: For God’s Sake Do Not Choose a Chick Singer) we must get right to the task at hand—let’s learn how to play these goddamn things!

Yeah, I know—you’ve got Guitar Hero nailed and you and Randy next door don’t sound half bad on Green Day Rock Band, but let’s get serious kids.
Besides, it’s a well known fact those video games weren’t developed to actually teach skill at playing an instrument, but at creating the next generation of drone pilots for the military.
So at least ya got that going for ya!

Training tomorrow's digital assassins--Today!

What we need first off is a place to practice.
Here are some suitable places to practice:

In the Garage
In the drummer’s Garage.
24 hour Laundromats
Opening slot at Alex’s Bar.

Here are some not-suitable places to practice:

Paid rehearsal Studio
Crack house (trust us on this one)
In the Garage with the garage door open, and stupid Randy from next door watching from the sidewalk and yelling how much we suck—No, you suck Randy! You Suck!

You Midwest kids, you got it made.
You have those holes under the house, so absurd to us Southern Californians, waddaya call them? Basements? Cellars? Rapecaves?….. Yeah, that thing!

Well, just go on down there and put an American Flag up –upside down, natch!– on the wall, a soiled Persian rug underfoot, a bare lightbulb or two and ya got it!
Your studio awaits, gentlemen!

Be on time, ready to play, having already eaten!

Your typical garage presents a few more challenges. First off, it’s cluttered as hell, even though Mom told you to clean it since Easter.
Second, it has all the soundprrofing of a paper bag, which means every sour note and sappy lyric will be judged by your snooping neighbors.
Just ask dear old Mrs Ramasaki, who’s lived next to my Mom for 40 years, who still stops me and asks why we took the fuck your house and everyone in it! line out of Wetspots.

Anyway, get the boys together and spend a silly Saturday sweeping out the black widows and dumping Dad’s boxes of old gay porn, and then you’ll be ready for the next step: actually playing a song.

There are a few more obstacles, of course.

The drummer has forgotten his sticks, so have some extra handy or be prepared to wait another 45 minutes for him to go back and get them.
The fuckin’ guitar player only wants to play Darkness’ I Believe in a Thing Called Love intro over and over again at max volume, while you are on the phone with Sam Ash trying to find drumsticks at 10pm.

And the Bass Player? Pfft–don’t get me started!

DO NOT practice in your socks. DO get matching ghey haircuts.

But now it’s down to business!
The amps are warmed, the drummer has a stick in each paw, the lead guitar has shut the fuck up for a moment and the bass guy…well, he’s here anyway.

And with a sure handed count off, it’s off and away on your musical career!
Here are some suitable songs to attempt starting and stopping together:

Louie Louie
Wild Thing
Wild Louie
Louie Thing

How’s it sound kids? Not so hot, huh?

Well that’s okay, just keep at it, until the cops come or Mom shuts off the electricity.
Your homework assignment is to get all the way through Blitzkrieg Bop without stopping, got it?
All downstrokes, and don’t let the drummer cheat either, goddamnit!

We’ll meet back right here for next week’s Lesson 6: Building Your Band’s Image and How to Make Sharp Matching Sweater Vests at Home!

Classic presentation: Exposed beams, Drummer has too many drums, goofy guitars, bad haircuts.


News Item Plans are supposedly in progress to reopen the iconic Lower Manhattan nightclub CBGB’s. New owners of the CBGB estate are angling for a new Manhattan spot instead of trying to move back into the old location (now the site of a very pricey John Varvatos boutique). Were it to actually reopen, owners could collect the club’s artifacts from a Williamsburg storage unit, where they’ve been sitting since the venue closed in 2006 after a 33-year run.

Caught the recent showing of Behind the Music with Blondie.

...pretty good, but it's no Vanilla Ice story. I mean, held off a balcony by Suge Knight? Come on!

Heh–love the part when the rest of the band is jealous because Deborah Harry got too much attention…..Duh , motherfuckers!
Yeah, she’s prolly the worst rapper of all time, but them lips? Damn!

Anyway, the episode included all the de rigueur shots of the shadowy bowels of that beloved club, the grafitti plastered walls and the wobbly stage.
And yeah, ya can’t go 12 minutes into the show or 2 paragraphs into an article about CB’s without someone throwing in a pic of that gloriously funky toilet!

Throne of thrones!

Well sir, these recent hints of a resurrection, the images flashing across the screen of its glory days,it took me back to our own fond adventures within those sticky walls.

........yeah,yeah, some great lineups.... but the most amazing thing about these ads? 24 hour parking available in lower Manhattan?!

Our first trip back E in the winter of 1982, when it seems like we dropped in and played a set at CB’s every other night for 2 weeks.

And the toilet? Oh yeh, I dropped deuce in that baby, what you think?!

Just pups! Backstage @ CBGB's, 1983
Nicky, UK Subs...

Oh brother, is that what I hear ya mutter?
Not another trip back to the good old days with these old coots, not again?

Hey, I feel ya shorty.
We’ll move on in just a minute, but I’ll tell you one thing:
When ya see me wearing that goddamned Tshirt that’s been ruined forever by overexposure, guess what?
They gave me that fucker for actually playing there, not because I begged Uncle Phil to get me one at Nordstrom’s for my birthday!
Ya got me?

Ah jeez, the caption dispenser just exploded.

In the years that followed, we’d always come back to NYC, almost as only an excuse to get back into that goddamned club!

And though sometimes the hair was longer, the waistband a little more….relaxed, we always had a blast there.

And then when the touring slowed, finally stopped, and everyone grew up, what happened then?
I would drop into the club, what? 1995? ’96? nostalgic for those old nights.
But the club had changed just as much as I had.

Oh, it still smelled like a swamp and I could still trace my carved initials outside the dressing room, but it held none of the excitement or danger of the past.

As if the very mortar and brick could sense that I was there on a company expense account and staying midtown, a poseur after all, it witheld any of its former charms as I would sit and watch a couple awful bands.
It was just like the Whisky back home, relegated to pay to play bills of goofballs, the audience populated by family members and coworkers, all grumpy to be there on a Wednesday night.
Not a sincere chord strummed all night, not a trace of cocaine on the urinal or a drunken slut bumming smokes in the hall.

Back to the bathroom, CBGB's, 2002.
Molotov Gabby behind the board, CBGB's 2002

Of course, at the end , everyone came back to the club.
With news that CBGB’s was closing, a bunch of West Coast bands came out in 2005 for Benefit for CBGB’s, a weekend that accomplished….um, what exactly?

Did they make money, flying us all out there and putting us up for a weekend?
Doubt it.

It was more like a last visit with the dying rich old aunt, her bulging estate palpable to us greedy nephews who fought to fluff the pillows on her deathbed.

It was fun, to be sure, those last few shows, and yeah we got a little weepy and melodramatic as we waxed drunkenly over the loss of another great club.
But it was after all, only a building, and the magic that it held, the bands and the people, long gone.

And so now they think this little club may just pop up again eh?

Oh, clever rascals, they took each jewel-like plank of stage, every molding rafter from that musky joint and put in storage like the treasures of Tutankhamun.—and someone’s got that goddamned toilet in a vault, don’t you worry!

I’ve heard the rumors, its gonna be in Vegas, housed amongst the other fiberglass NY icons in the New York New York casino.
Or perhaps up in SF, a protected shrine compliments of the twin punk millionaires of Tim Armstrong and Billy Joe.

Also, a convincing rumor that it will be franchised by Sysco Food Corporation in their airport snack bars.
Part of their NYHC comes to Chili’s and Chili’s Express located by Gate 64b!, where a single urine-soaked plank from the club will be placed under spotlights and they’ll serve a special of Yeung Leung and a shot of Maker’s for only 18 bucks!

...where ya suppose this one was taken, hmm?
One last time...Goodnight and Goodbye!

Will we let this fly?
Will we, the grumpy old punkers of yesteryear, as rigid and and surprisingly traditionalist as a group of Mormon librarians?

Or perhaps we’ll take to the latest fad in lazy protest momentum, the Facebook petition?
Oh sure, the Susan G. Komen foundation can’t appease the clinic bombers any longer, and Sharon Osbourne will be bullied into letting Bill Ward into Sabbath, but can we stop the corporate Gods from bringing back our beloved club?

And if it does happen, if they do happen to reincarnate those soggy walls, reconstruct that unspeakable bathroom to modern health codes, what then?
Will we relent, and go back in, taking our children by the hand to show them what a real club looked like?

Hell yeah we will!