As the Band Turns…

Did you ever think something was going to be an awesome idea, then once you started working on that idea, you totally lost interest and thought it was all a mistake? The Radio Waves was kind of like that for me. The concept was simple: All the people from Fast Times playing the best/most popular songs from Fast Times, plus big hits from the 70s, 90s, and now, packaged under a different name with a different stage look. That sounded awesome. We all like playing together, our experience is a huge benefit, and we’re remarkably compatible as musicians. It’s a solid line-up. And it frankly sounded like easy money, too — our agency was thrilled to hear we wanted to do it because they wanted to book us.

Then I realized, as we discussed the thing and got deeper into rehearsals…that’s a wedding band. And no disrespect to wedding bands, but there are a million of them, and they are all interchangeable. After working on RW for about three months, I simply realized I was bored and not looking forward to the end product. There was no creative challenge, nothing that set this band apart from any other band. I like disco a lot, actually, but the idea of playing it over and over again to faceless corporate clients and bitchy brides made me cringe — especially when I’m looking at all these other half-done projects on my plate. Palette-Swap Ninja is in need of my attention, as two song ideas are waiting for me to develop them.  I always have my own song ideas that I’m afraid to develop. And I have non-musical ideas that I’m working on that I really want to invest time in. All of those are more creatively rewarding than covering “You Sexy Thing” by Hot Chocolate.

So with a month to go before we are supposed to be gig-ready, I told the band I simply wasn’t interested any more. I figured they would kick me out but the guitarist said “I’m glad you said something — I’m not feeling this either. I don’t know what our vision is for this thing and it’s hard to motivate myself to learn the material.”

We had a big band meeting at the FT gig at Black Oak Casino last night and we discussed options. With so many other local bands starting out as 80s acts and expanding exactly the way RW was supposed to do…we realized, doesn’t that leave this niche to us? Why not be the best 80s act we can be, and finish up the half-done website, half-done demos, and half-done DVD to get ourselves out there as the best pure 80s act in the Bay Area? If that means less gigs, so be it — I have a lot going on and I’d rather feel fulfilled by playing fewer, better shows than dragging my ass around every weekend feeling a strange sense of dread about playing Beyonce and Neil Diamond.

So, hopefully I’ll have a new Fast Times website to share in about two months or so. And out of this discussion came the idea for another “extension act” from FT that, to me, sounds like a hell of a lot of fun. I won’t say anything else until we find out if it will work, but I feel like I dodged a bullet with Radio Waves. What’s the point of busting your ass to create a band you don’t even want to be in?

To celebrate the death of Radio Waves and the rebirth of Fast Times, we played “Copacabana” at the end of the night. That song, we nailed. You shoulda been there.

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