When I was 11, my sister Charlotte, our friend Lara and I started a pretty great band. While it didn’t have a name, it did have an interesting sound: Charlotte on the drums, me on the keys and Lara on the violin. We penned a surprisingly dark song for our tender years and set our sights on Top Of The Pops. But then homework and Buffy the Vampire Slayer got in the way, and our dream seemed all but over.
But sixteen years on, I haven’t forgotten it. Yes, I’ve dabbled since – even performing terribly at a couple of places here in New York City – but while I’ve loved the challenge, I’ve never really enjoyed it because I’ve been so self aware.
Well, tonight I tossed that aside. Instead, I stocked up on gin and tonics – and I realized that if you dance and act like you love it, everyone thinks you’re great.
Ryan and I headed to the only place stupid/kind/deaf enough to let me front a rock band: Arlene’s Grocery in the Lower East Side. Every Monday from 10pm, they hold rock karaoke – and it is fantastic. You have to get there around 9.30pm to put your name on a list along with your song of choice, which you pick from their book. Then when you’re called to the stage, you holler along as best as you can with a guitarist, bassist and drummer… and the crowd cheers. If you get a collective ‘HOLY S***!’ when you leave the stage, you know you’ve done well.
There were plenty of songs to choose from but while I knew loads of them, I wasn’t convinced I’d know how all of the verses went. So I opted for a classic – Losing My Religion by R.E.M. – and just prayed I wouldn’t get called up first.
I didn’t – giving me the chance to neck some more G&Ts as I watched other wannabe rockers gyrate for the growing crowd. And thankfully Ryan was called up before me.Ryan has an amazing voice. He sang I Just Can’t Help Myself by the Four Tops, and while he sounded great, I don’t think the band had played it in a while…
Then it was my turn. After an introduction (and the expected mocking of my accent), the guitars started – and suddenly I was up. Man, the song was so much lower than I expected, which wasn’t particularly fun as far as singing went… but I remembered that if I just looked like I was having fun, then I probably would.
Oh, and here’s some video. You can thank some knob in the crowd for the ‘harmonies’… and please, feel free to have a good laugh at all of my mistakes (especially 1:09 haha)…
Somehow I left the stage to cheers. I know I was pretty rubbish, but who cares? I had so much fun.
And most importantly, it made me realize we should get the band back together. What do you say, Charlotte and Lara?