Monday, May 14, 2007

Mark Banner And His Band

From DQ reader Mark Lahren, in reference to the Rock Band post from last week:
$260 for a rock band simulator is dirt cheap!

Remember, this is aimed at a group of folks, not just one or two. If this was available when I was 18, my buddies and I would have scraped the money together right quick.

By 'buddies,' I mean my other buddies, who weren't members of the rock band I actually hung around with. I was the 'lights guy' (because even the lights guy gets chicks).

It was 1978. The band was called "Mark Banner And His Band." I tried desperately to get them to change their name, but Mark Banner was the drummer (and a good one), and the only member of the group with an ego. Nobody else cared. He had mega-bucks into his drum kit, and the guitarist spent a small fortune on his Gibson Les Paul guitar. He was a Zeppelin fan, and could do Jimmy Page stuff note for note. Other than that, the band sucked and had no structure whatsoever.

At one junior high school dance gig we did, they played "Takin' Care Of Business." For some reason, Banner was drumming backwards (hitting the drum on the off-beat), so I had to leave my post at the light control board and go out amongst the dancers and air-drum so he could watch and see when he should be hitting the drums. It was the only song he had that trouble with.

Then they played "Stairway To Heaven." This is indelibly etched into my brain, as I got shocked (and hard) at the light board because something wasn't grounded right, and I made the mistake of touching two control boards at the same time. Doing the lights was enough fun, though, that I shocked myself two more times before I figured out what not to do.

The problem with "Mark Banner And His Band" however, wasn't the music so much as they didn't have an ending for "Stairway To Heaven." When they practiced at Banner's basement, that song was a jam session that could go on for literally half an hour, or until the bassist threw up on one occasion.

At the dance, they didn't have an ending for it either, and after twenty minutes of the guitar solo, the school's Guidance Counselor (who had counseled me when I'd gone to that school--a terrific guy) came up to me and asked if I could get them to play another song, since the dance floor had emptied. I'd been so busy with my awesome lights, and trying to figure out how not to get shocked, that I hadn't noticed. So I snuck up behind Banner, startling him, and told him to end the song. This resulted in witnessing my first and only "live-fade" experience. Weird. The song just drifted off.

I strongly believe that I will be using "Mark Banner and His Band" at some point in the future.

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