Thursday, July 23, 2009

This One Time, At Band Camp...

Guess where I've been every weekday since last Thursday? Band Camp! It's not an overnight camp, but lasts all day every day. It's a lot of fun, and pretty tough.

I'm lucky enough to be the only freshman trumpet player, because our third trumpet decided to become a drummer (dummer?) and our first trumpet became a flag girl. There's only five trumpet players in all, from senior to freshman. We have the melody of virtually every song, so we have to make it sound like there are about 20 of us. Needless to say, my chops are dead at the end of each day.

I'm kind of shocked at how much I've been able to learn in just this past week. Roll steps, how to turn, managing to cover a distance that would normally be 2 steps in 44, while playing an instrument. We've got very ambitious formations for the half-time show, and it's tough. In one song, we have 56 steps to move about three yards. In another, 16 steps to move 15 yards. Running backwards, in time to music you're supposed to be playing, is very difficult.

Our theme this year is "decades", with a song from the 50's, 60's, 70's, and 80's. They are:

  • Rockin' Robin
  • Surfin' USA
  • Old Time Rock 'n' Roll
  • Mickey

"Rockin' Robin" is incredibly easy, and has pretty simple moves. The toughest part is going backwards and ending up as part of a diagonal, but I'm managing. "Surfin' USA" is about the same, although we have a solo we need to memorize. I can barely hit all the notes in it, so at a few points I just mime the fingerings (don't tell anyone!). "Old Time Rock 'n' Roll" is the one with the whole "44 steps, 1 yard" thing going on. The one trumpet player literally stays on the same yard line the entire song. "Mickey" is the toughest, with lots of running, both backwards and forwards. At one point everyone forms two circles and the guys have to go inside of them. At that point, everyone stops playing and the girls do the "Hey Mickey" cheer thing. I get to stand in the middle, looking embarrassed while being serenaded. Then we literally run across the field, to form a giant triangle thing.

Despite how tough it is, it's pretty impressive. I'm proud of myself, and how well the section is doing. My back, feet, and lips kill at the end of each day, but it's still a ton of fun.

(P.S.: I wrote this entire post on a Windows 98 powered by dial-up, at an elementary school's library. I've been sliding the rolley chair between two different computers, just so I can achieve about the same things I could with one window and tabbed browsing. Mad props to those who have to surf the net like this every single day.)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Green Day!

Guess where I was last night? A GREEN DAY CONCERT!!! Woohoo! It totally rocked. This was my first actual rock concert, and quite a good introduction to the concept.

We got the tickets off of Craigslist, a nerve wracking experience for my mom. She was afraid they would be counterfeit, which is a valid concern. When we met the guy in the parking lot, my mom wanted to be able to write his license plate down so we could track him down if they were.

"Drew, do you have a pencil?"

"Only this unsharpened one."

"Here, let me see it."

She proceeded to use my dull pocket knife to sharpen it, leaning out the window to avoid getting wood chips in the car. That is what he pulled up seeing: a person leaning out the window waving a knife about. Poor guy must have been terrified.

They said "obstructed" on them, which we took to mean a score board or something in our way. It turns out we were directly behind a huge black curtain. Needless to say, we weren't happy. Fortunately, they were redirecting everyone with tickets for there to seats parallel to the stage, with a great view.

The were opened for by The Bravery, whom I had never listened to before. For those of you who don't feel like looking them up and haven't listened to them, they sound like Coldplay, with a bit of The Cure thrown in when they're live. The singer was very New Wave, which was amusing. Their set was pretty short, and riddled with technical difficulties. I still really liked them, and thought, "I'll probably be opening for them in the future."

Then Green Day came on. AMAZING!!! I swear, they played for three hours. Billie Joe came on stage and immediately cussed us all out because we weren't all dancing. I was, though! I danced the entire concert, and am paying for it today...ahaha.

He did this weird thing during the song "East Jesus Nowhere" that I thought was pretty cool. He started out by asking the audience who wanted to be saved, and everyone started screaming. He was saying all this biblical stuff, and then launched into the song. Towards the end, he asked the audience to send a child onstage, from the mosh pits. This little nine year old came up, and said his name and all that good stuff. Billie Joe held his hand to the kids forehead and said biblical stuff again, and then BAM! The band launched into the loud parts of the song again, fireworks went off, and the kid fell backwards onto the ground, spread eagle.

When the song ended, He shouted at the kid, "Get the f**k off my stage now, you little brat!!" it was pretty funny.

They managed to make every song last 10-20 minutes, with audience participation. He had people come onstage and sing, and at one point a guy came up from the mosh pits and played guitar. He was incredibly ADHD, with all his running and jumping and stuff. I want to write a description of all the songs, but then we'd be here all night. "Holiday" was sweet, and "Hitchin' a Ride" went on forever.

One other cool song was "King For a Day". I'd never heard it before, and thought he was singing "Gay For a Day". I had good reason to think that, too. The lights were rainbow, and the whole band was dressed up like Village People. Billie Joe did...inappropriate things to the stage, and launched into falsetto covers of "Shout!" and that song from Back To The Future Pt. 1. It was hilarious, and incredibly well done.

It was freaky, towards the end. They had cameramen all around the catwalk into the pit, and the images were being projected onto the screen behind them. The images were all filtered, so they looked like the cover of Transformer (old Lou Reed album - anyone heard of it?). He was singing right at the camera, and my mom tapped me on the shoulder.

"Drew, he looks just like you on screen!"

And he did, in a way. His hair was a bit shorter, but other than that we looked alike. It was pretty crazy.

All in all, it was a pretty amazing first concert. I wish I could go on about it for hours, but then of course you'd get bored (if you're not already). My parting comment is: No one knows how to pogo anymore, and not enough people get into the music as much as they should. My neck hurts, and my throat absolutely kills, but it was SOO worth it. Someday I'll be the one onstage!!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Indiana (Pt. 1?)

Does anyone remember me mention I was in Indiana a few weeks ago? Well, I believe the time is here for me to post about it.

The place in Indiana I was in specifically was a small town called Friendship. It actually has a Wikipedia page, which is interesting considering I could stand on top of the town bank and see all the way to the other side. It's significant because of an event that occurs there twice a year: the NMLRA (National Muzzle-Loading Rifle Association) has it's national shoot there. I've been to it before, once when I was four and once when I was eight, but there is a difference between those times and this time; this time I was actually shooting in it. A national competition.

The reason I was there before was my family has always been involved in the NMLRA's functions, My grandparents especially. They have a booth set up on the commercial row to sell stuff at, and my grandpa, mom, and uncle used to shoot in the competitions they have there.

Shooting on a national range was pretty cool, actually. It was like a giant pavilion, with a big bench running down the middle. Most of the people there had enormous tackle boxes filled with loading supplies and who knows what else, while I stood there with my little pouch and tiny box. It wasn't bad, since my grandpa functioned as coach and was there to chat with the whole time.

I shot well, scoring in a few different matches. I took second in an NRA match, and third in a 4H match. The medals were really cool looking, and I got a certificate. In addition, I got bragging rights that I shot and placed in a national competition. Woohoo!

I'd like to update you on the other cool stuff there, such as the flea markets, and the not-so-cool stuff there such as the southern accents, but I have to go to work. woohoo...! If you remind me, I'll post about them soon!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Another COS Update

Quick post today, my apologies. I just want to ask you dear readers to take a look at the following link:
http://www.myspace.com/crushofsociety

that's right - it's Crush Of Society's MySpace! It is very plain at the moment, but I guarantee it will be completely glorified in a little while. As it is, you can add us and see the line-up, perhaps read a bit about our style. Oh, and of course - listen to us play! That's right, I have a song up. It's a horrible recording, because I broke the mic on my MP3 by setting it on my amp a while back. Despite that, it's still us.

So, check it out. Who knows, maybe you're all lucky enough to be fans of the next world-famous band!