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Garage band stories

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Fenderdad1950, Jan 10, 2021.

  1. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

    Nov 15, 2009
    Austin, Tx
    I had several garage bands.
    My first was with neighborhood friends:
    Chuck - lead guitar (crap Tiesco del Rey into brand new 1969 SF Super)
    Roger - bass, on a black one pickup amp-in-case Silvertone guitar.
    Roger was designated bass, he was the worst guitar player.
    Greg - drums.
    He actually used sticks on bongos at first.
    He got blue sparkle Silvertone drums later.
    Yours truly, playing a Guyatone very similar to this.
    into a Dad made Heathkit, like this.
    Neither of these are mine, BTW.
    I played rhythm.
    I’ve always been a chord nut.
    Anyways, I’m the only “lifer” musician.
    My friends all grew up.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2021
  2. electrichead

    electrichead Tele-Holic

    May 16, 2013
    Hell if I know,MD
    I was maybe 13 and in Jr high school and played drums at school and in a majorettes squad. My older sister was dating a guy in high school that had a band,
    Their drummer got a bad report card so was grounded.
    I had a pretty nice drum kit and was asked to play with them at the last minute at the Jr high school homecoming dance.
    I had no idea what I was doing but went along for the ride.
    This would have been around 1972 and being a military brat I was going to Jr high on Ft Meade in Maryland.

    Her boyfriend was lead singer and on the 3rd or 4th song decides to run off stage and put on an American flag as a cape and came back out jumping around on the stage.
    Back in in 72 during the war this was a very bad idea and also against the law.
    There were a few MPs hanging around and they immediately jumped on stage and jumped on him.
    They stopped the show and ran us all down to the police barracks.
    I was the only one that had a military ID card and was also a minor.

    My Mother was called and came down and took care of business for everyone but the boyfriend because he was 18 and charged..
    I was treated like one major bad ass on Monday so it was all worth it..
    nojazzhere likes this.
  3. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

    Jun 2, 2003
    In the late sixties we had a 4 pc band with all 4 decent vocalists and rehearsed a lot. We ended up covering the Sgt Peppers album as one set at gigs. We played the songs in order, just like the album. I think there was one song we skipped due to all the studio enhancement it had.... it was a big hit at gigs. Every once in a blue moon someone local reminds me of it.
    SRHmusic and nojazzhere like this.

    MAXXFIELD Tele-Meister

    Aug 19, 2020
    Thought for sure this was going to be about the Mac product (which is still amongst the finest starter DAW out there)....

    And woulda been grest for recording my band in my garage instead of the fostex 4 track
  5. kingofdogs1950

    kingofdogs1950 Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 10, 2006
    Franklin, Texas
    Late '60s garage band, probably pretty typically we were always looking for practice space.
    Parent's garages worked but practice time was time limited by how long it it took for the cops to shop up.
    Also it was a problem having to load/unload every practice.
    We played really loud and garages just didn't work well.
    Professional practice space was scarce back then.
    We finally got lucky when we fired our singer. The new singer was a farm boy whose family owned a lot of property about seven miles out from Corpus Christi.
    His dad fixed up a disused house with new wiring. We were able to leave our gear set up all the time.
    What a dream! Free practice space (plenty big too) and no neighbors for a mile or more. Heaven!
    I didn't think about it at the time, but we seemingly had better equipment that many garage bands.
    Twin reverb and Kustom K200 amps.
    ES335 and Fender bass.
    I played a Vox Jaguar combo organ.
    We did start out with giant PA horns. Awful!
    Those horns could knock a duck out of the sky.
    We were really excited to get a Shure Vocal Master PA.

    nojazzhere and brookdalebill like this.
  6. SparkleFart

    SparkleFart Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

    Jan 15, 2017
    SE Alaska
    You bet – you’re welcome to any use you can make of my experience.

    I’ll bet it’s been twenty-seven or so years since that happened and you know, I can still hear the squawk of that animal like it was yesterday.
    P-Nutz likes this.
  7. teletimetx

    teletimetx Doctor of Teleocity

    Jul 25, 2011
    Houston, TX
    late '69, early '70 played with a group of high school friends for a high school "talent" show and then went on to play a few shows at other area schools. practiced in the basement of the drummer's parent's house. I borrowed an SG from a friend; borrowed his amp, too, because I only had a Harmony Sovereign. Played rhythm guitar except for a few Beach Boys tunes, where I played bass. The lead player was excellent - he'd already earned enough money playing in other bands to buy his own ES-345, with the parallelogram inlays/stereo out? I learned a ton of stuff just hanging around him. He had been playing since the age of 5 and both his parents and an uncle were bluegrassers.

    As follow up, I have been playing one benefit concert every year for the last 10 years with 3 of the guys (lead gtr, bass and drummer) and one of women vocalists from that high school group, except, of course, for this last summer...

    Wasn't my problem, but apparently two of the women lusted after another of the guitar players in that group - and he wasn't interested in either of them...only found out about it a few years ago. Oh, so that's what that was about...
  8. Ed Storer

    Ed Storer Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    May 27, 2010
    Seattle WA
    I had several "bands" in high school. We usually played in the basement "Rec Room". I had a Silvertone "Twin Twelve" combo and my brother played drums at first but took up bass and played a Standel 2x15 amp.

    We really didn't know how much our dad suffered. He was blessed/cursed with perfect pitch and we were almost never in tune; he could tell us when the "drummer of the day" was any good. Of course, we didn't understand how a professor of surgery could be expert at music.

    We did get it right one afternoon when the keyboard player tried playing through my brother's Standel and I plugged into his father's Deluxe Reverb with my Japanese guitar. That was our best session ever.

    We (different personnel) did audition for my school's talent show and didn't make the cut. The only feedback that I got was that my guitar was too shrill - I was using the Silvertone and only the bridge pickup. We were using cheap Radio Shack mics through the guitar amps and I'm sure (Shure) that didn't help us.

    I'm reminded of Springsteen's "Glory Days" only wishing they were more glorious.
  9. 1955

    1955 Doctor of Teleocity

    Apr 10, 2010
    Not a garage but our band rented a room in an old warehouse in an industrial part of town. Place was eerie and weird at night, especially when I was alone in there recording.

    Always paid on time, was on good terms with the landlord.

    Came in one night alone to do some mixing and the entire warehouse was gutted except for our little practice room.

    Band mates came that same night and we moved everything into one room of my apartment, stacked almost to the ceiling.
  10. johnny7

    johnny7 Tele-Meister

    Jun 6, 2006
    Prince Albert, Saskatchewan
    I wonder if there is a book out there called "Garage Band Stories"?
    Seattlesurfer likes this.
  11. fraser

    fraser Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 8, 2007
    Hamilton, Canada
    Not one of my early bands,
    But in my early twenties my band was rehearsing in the garage of the house we lived in.

    there was an older lady next door and at 3 pm every afternoon she would call the police.
    She always said i dont mind the noise or music,
    But 'my show' comes on at 3 and i want to hear it.

    We just were too messed up to be aware of the time or would have stopped for an hour each day.

    anyway one time we are drinking and taking phsycedelics, jamming away, and 2 officers stroll in the door.
    Stunned, we stop.
    Officer 1 says hey can i try your guitar?

    i hand it to him and he plays 'highway to hell' and my band accompanies him.

    then he hands it back and says just take a break till 4, ok?

  12. RollingBender

    RollingBender Tele-Afflicted Vendor Member

    May 14, 2011
    SW Minnesota
    My story belongs to my nephew.

    Ben was about 14 at the time and had received a guitar and amp for Christmas. He was picking it up pretty quickly, (he’s the type to “woodshed” things) and at the beginning of March I got a call from his mom. “Could you find us a drum set for Ben?”

    “Drums? I thought he was playing guitar.”

    “He started a band with some friends. They already have 2 guitar players and they need a drummer. They have a gig next month”.

    I worked fast and found the best pawn shop set I could find in their budget. I made it to their second gig which was just a week or two after their first. Remember, Ben had been playing all of a month, no other real musical experience. Ben didn’t suck. The other guys....not so much.

    Ben still plays and has hopped around the country playing at various punk festivals.
    electrichead and brookdalebill like this.
  13. Nightclub Dwight

    Nightclub Dwight Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 12, 2016
    We were just kids. I was twelve. My brother and our next door neighbor were 10. We had much better equipment than we deserved. Our next door neighbor was given a late 50's Strat that was in his grandmother's closet. True. No, he doesn't still have it. I think a week after he turned 18 he traded it in on a white Les Paul Custom and a Dean Markley amp. Tube preamp, otherwise all solid state. It was about that time that I bought the tweed Gibson amps (2) off him that his grandmother had included with the Strat. No, I don't still have those either. I traded those towards a Ric 360 that is long gone by now as well.

    Anyhoo.... We would make posters advertising our "outdoor concerts" and post them around the neighborhood. We were The Wise Guys. Can't say my dad didn't at least have a hand in coming up with that name, but we employed it the way Lynyrd Skynyrd honored their gym teacher. My dad was probably about as impressed with our humor as the gym teacher was with the guys in his namesake band.

    We would put up the posters, which actually suggested that it might be a good time to run to the beach or do the grocery shopping. The neighborhood moms seemed to appreciate the courtesy warning. I'm told that the lines were always especially long at the local grocery store whenever The Wise Guys set up in the driveway.

    My brother went on to have a stint at Berkeley, then as a touring musician for many years. Me, I pretty much stuck with The Wise Guy's greatest hits.

    We did reconfigure later in high school as The Smoken Bones. That band actually led to me getting laid. Once. So yeah, I guess you can say that I accomplished everything I set out to do as a kid.
    electrichead and Seattlesurfer like this.
  14. Masmus

    Masmus Tele-Meister

    Feb 21, 2018
    San Jose
    Once when I was playing a party we were stuck in a basement with about a hundred people shoulder to shoulder including the band. Someone went up to my white Marshall full stack and for about two minutes looked like they were trying to catch the sound coming out of it (it was on ten). when we stopped I asked him what he was doing and in extremely slurred speech said he was trying to get a beer out of the fridge.

    Three things I learned from playing parties as a teenager.
    1. Post someone sober at the door to talk to cops
    2. No how to talk to the cops
    3. One person in the band should stay sober/drive the truck
    tomkatf, nojazzhere and electrichead like this.
  15. Matt Sarad

    Matt Sarad Tele-Holic

    Apr 29, 2003
    Buckers Field!
    We always had all full case of Lucky Lager at the start of practice.
  16. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

    Nov 15, 2009
    Austin, Tx
    Garage bands loom large in my musical development.
    Like most musicians/guitarists of my vintage, the Beatles shaped my musical taste.
    They were young, clever, irreverent, prolific and most of all, exciting.
    Before I joined their ranks, neighborhood garage bands were everywhere.
    I’d ride my bike and hear several of them.
    To my kid ears, they were all great.
    They sounded just like the Beatles ;).
    I HAD to get in on that.
    My neighborhood friends and I started bashing away.
    We’d play the same two or three chord vamp with our guitars dimed ad nauseum.
    It’s a wonder our poor Moms didn’t lose their minds!
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2021
    Bill likes this.
  17. P-Nutz

    P-Nutz Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Dec 24, 2004
    Middle America
    Then again, the older I get, people may just start referring to me as the featherless pink nightmare ...
    SparkleFart likes this.
  18. Thoughtfree

    Thoughtfree Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

    Feb 27, 2020
    Minneapolis MN
    Not a garage, but a basement band.

    Three amps - Fender Bandmaster, Gibson Invader and Magnatone - were all plugged into the same light bulb-to-socket adapter screwed into the hanging light bulb fixture - with the aid of numerous 2-prong extension cords. The microphone went into Ch 2 of the Bandmaster. You had to switch the polarity of all three amps just right, to get the least 60 Hz hum, but it never completely went away.

    1920s house wiring, therefore many brownouts, many blown house fuses, and seemingly hundreds of painful 120VAC shocks from the microphone to my lips ensued. It didn't help to be standing barefoot on the damp basement floor in the summertime. Don't ever do this, folks, with an electric guitar in your hands... you might wind up like Keith Relf did.

    Any of you young folks remember lip shocks?
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