Thursday, 21 November 2013

Slow pokes

Since "Heshien" turned out so well, we continued using the same collaborative song writing techniques for the next few months. Myself arranging riffs of Derek's, composing songs from them, and then going through his "poetry" with him to piece lyrics together. I can't remember exactly how long it took us, but it felt like we had a handful of songs in no time. Our band "Slow Poke" now had enough to record a demo. Our new songs were "Underfed", "Neptune", "Torpedo", & "Born Loser". Each song had it's own uniqueness to it, while still preserving the overall style and sound we were forming, which I was still unsure of how to classify by genre. I guess essentially Derek wanted us to be a grunge band, on the cusp of this new unheard of sound. To describe our music, the riffs were slower, sloppy, loose-groove type riffs, that felt good and made you wanna nod your head, similar to say... Black Sabbath's "Sweet Leaf".

Another head nod factor was also the beats I provided. Being a long time fan of rap music, I wanted to add my own element to this new sound we were giving birth to, so naturally most of the beats I provided were directly from classic rap songs. Playing these beats on the drums however in a more aggressive manner gave a completely different dynamic to them. Majority of the beats I "jacked" were from Beastie Boys songs, as they were my all time favourite band at the time & still are to this day. The fusion of these chunky guitar riffs & dope beats definitely brought something magical to the table. Although we now had songs & lyrics, we still had two roadblocks ahead of us.

As I mentioned before, Derek's guitar playing was very "elementary" at best, but the first time I hear him sing I was absolutely mortified. I was digging the songs we were making, but vocally our visions were a bit different. D's voice was somewhat whiny, crackly, and not even close to being in tune. When he sang, or screamed rather, during the heavier parts, he sounded great, but his actual "singing" made me shudder. I never mentioned this and decided to look past it, as this band was more so his vision even though I had taken the reigns as far as our song writing was concerned. Over time his voice developed & matured with each song, and eventually I actually started to like it. It worked well with the music & he had range, despite still being out of tune sometimes....but hey, the guy had NO training whatsoever, and like I said previously, he had heart, the most important quality next to talent.

Derek was attending S.E.E.D., an alternative school in Toronto, and now I was spending time there quite often as well, meanwhile I was still enrolled at my own high school and was still partaking in the co-op program. My days at the animation studio were now spent working on art, band related art, and I was now getting into writing "poetry", which was inspired by Derek. My "poetry" soon turned into writing "raps" naturally. The Mondays I was at my own high school, I'd be happy to spend time with "Iceman" and catch up with my fellow classmates and hear about their co-op experiences. One fellow wanted to be a detective, so I coaxed him into xeroxing me crime scene photos from the books at the police station. I'd also get to see Mike Myers, but I was hanging out with him & Mike Chapman a lot late nights now after my days in Toronto with Derek. D would usually drive me home in the evening, then go spend time with his girlfriend. After she went to sleep, he would return to pick me up & we'd meet up with Mike & Mike for a late night hang.

The nights Derek didn't make it out, Michael, Michael & "Kevin Michael" (Michael is my middle name) would still get together to hang out. We had now graduated from reciting Beastie Boys songs to trying our hand at our own rhymes, which were unconventional, under-developed, but thoroughly enjoyable. This was also planting seeds in our minds to try and start our very own rap band, something Derek didn't seem to thrilled about the first time I mentioned it to him. He knew I loved rap music above all els,e so I guess he figured I'd quit the band if it actually developed into anything. I was totally down for double duty, but I looked at it like both bands were just for fun. I really had no other expectations from these musical ventures except having fun with my friends.

Slow Poke wasn't even officially a band yet regardless. We were a guitarist/singer and a drummer with 5 or 6 songs and no bass player.The other major roadblock we were still dealing with...

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