Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Laverite origins, part 1

I had everything lined up to start modeling and music. I did not go into modeling based on any false notion that I am what people traditionally think of when they hear the word "model", but simply that I have been a performer for years and don't care how small of a role I play so long as I get work and have interesting experiences doing it. I mean, I'm not getting any sexy glamor catwalk work, but that's not what I set out to do: I'm sitting at a counter eating a burger as a robot leads children onward; I'm running away from hippo monsters as the Power Rangers save the day; I'm holding a plastic board that will get turned into some futuristic communications device in post-production.

But jobs were slow to come and rejection was disproportionately high. I can take rejection, but this is no way to fill up my time. I began the search for a band.

I went all over whatever rehearsal studios and music shops I knew in Tokyo. Almost all of them have folders of members wanted ads, and I collected a bunch that sounded interesting, both VK and non, and headed home to call or email them.

My spiel described my musical experience, what I could do, what I liked, and then the fact that I was a foreigner but I had a visa and I was in this for the long haul. Most never replied to me; a few that did expressed reservations about my foreigner-ness which was really just a lame, weasel-y way to say "no thanks".

I went with a melodic, pretty proggy metal band that called me back. They were called Willpower. My main two influences have been Yes and Dream Theater, and the guitarist told me that they were big fans of DT too. We made a date I could come check 'em out at the studio and jam a little bit. They welcomed the 'foreigner' angle, too.

Their rehearsal space was out in Ikebukuro, easy enough to find, and they were all very glad to meet me. They played a few of their originals for me and I was really impressed; they were so solid as musicians, and the singer was talented as well. The bassist was great, too, but he was quitting at the end of October, which is why I was there. Then it was my turn to play with 'em; we ran through some DT numbers (Pull Me Under, of course, but also Under a Glass Moon and Strange Deja Vu) and a few Yes riffs (because not everyone was that familiar with Yes), and then they threw out some other song titles and band names that I was increasingly unfamiliar with, but by that time it was sort of time to pack up anyway so I didn't have to pretend to slough through some Deep Purple song when what I know of Deep Purple is limited to their name.

Nonetheless, they seemed impressed with me, and we talked logistics and stuff. They told me they were going to go discuss things one more time and they'd get back to me. I wasn't 100% in, but things looked hopeful, and they invited me to come see their last live on 10/31.

The day before, they told me that the live had been canceled, and details to come later. Okay...

About a week after that, I get word that the band had broken up. (Mr. Volt told me, "the irony of a band called 'Willpower' breaking up is not lost on me.") I'm sure there were other complicated internal issues that led to the decision, but at the moment, briefly, it felt like they would have rather quit than continue on with me.

But that taught me that I should stick with what I know. It's clear that my repertoire is somehow both too eclectic and too shallow to hang with certain musicians, so what was left was to seek out the comfort of a scene I already knew...


M said...

Congrats on your band! Good luck! I'm impressed simply by the fact that you can afford to live in Tokyo as a model/musician. ;D

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