Saturday, September 4, 2010

You Just Have to Turn Off Your Mind

A lead singer. That rarefied creature in the music universe. I hate Robert Plant. Get it?

If you've listened to the EBS mp3s I've posted, I'm sure you'll understand why Bill and I thought a lead singer would be an excellent idea. Don't get me wrong--our voices weren't bad. They were a bid rough, though, and not classic-lead-vocalistish enough. Plus, we just wanted to play our instruments and let somebody else belt it out up front.

I can't really remember how this all came together, how the connections were made. My cousin Jason Knox had been one of Bill's guitar students. We weren't exactly in regular contact, though. Nothing bad. No family feuds or anything, we were just on different tracks. Plus, he was still in high school.

However it came about, there we were in Jason's basement, going through preliminary chatter as he prepared to audition as the lead singer for this new band of ours. I had already decided that we would be called Naked ("Haha do you play naked?" gosh... never heard that one before... 9,456,234 times...). Why? Youthful idealism. I believed at the time--and still do, really--that if you are truly being a servant to your art, that you are up there on stage, naked. It's a purity thing, a tapping-into-the-undefinable thing. Coltrane said it best:

"There is never any end. There are always new sounds to imagine; new feelings to get at. And always, there is the need to keep purifying these feelings and sounds so that we can really see what we've discovered in its pure state. So that we can see more and more clearly what we are. In that way, we can give to those who listen the essence, the best of what we are. But to do that at each stage, we have to keep on cleaning the mirror." (

Okay, cosmonauts... back to Jason.

Keep in mind, I LOATHED hair metal--you know, the kind where the band members wore more make-up than their groupies... and those were some rosy-cheeked groupies. I am convinced that Cinderella, mid-career Bon Jovi, and others of that era (even my much-beloved Ozzy in the Jake E. Lee phase) single-handedly caused the hole in the ozone layer with their liberal applications of Aquanet. Jason pulled out his Epiphone acoustic guitar, started singing "Every Rose Has Its Thorn"...

...and blew us away.

The kid had a great voice. Sure, he'd need a little work, but the natural voice was there, something you can't just make happen. It has to be there.

He moved on to "Black" by Pearl Jam. I've always felt that some songs are untouchable, as far as remakes or covers go (only Bob or Jimi should do "Like A Rolling Stone"), and "Black" was on that list until Jason auditioned. I don't know what the guy was tapping into, but I heard the future in his voice.

There was only one problem. He didn't want to be the lead singer. He wanted to play guitar.


  1. Well Cousin, I beleive it started While I was working at Ben Franklins..
    You had come into the store.I knew you and Bill were looking to start a new band.. I had come and sang with you while EBS was preparering for a wedding that got cancelled at the last minute.. any how, back on subject.. I beleive I was more or less begging you to Audition me.. plus I had a great Jam spot in the basement.. I beleive it took me a couple weeks to get you and Bill over to hear me play and sing.. I think my age was an issue..

  2. I'm sure you're right - I was hoping one of you guys would chime in on this! My memory is a bit hazy...

  3. ...You expected ME to remember that?? I'm the guy that's always been referred as "the crunchy one" in the band. LOL

  4. Well.. I didn't know what had transpired before me.. I kinda know the story now..