Friday, November 21, 2008

Is This Spinal Tap?

It's common rock and roll knowledge that infamous British rockers Spinal Tap have had a challenge when it comes to maintaining some sort of consistency with the band's drum corps. Or perhaps I should say, drum corpse, as most of the unlucky throne-sitters have met untimely, nay mysterious, ends. Fairly or unfairly, drummers have a reputation for sudden disappearances, and, sadly, thus it is with The Late Joys, who are now looking for what will be drummer number five (we're averaging one a year, a record of Tappish proportions!). Aye, it's true: Though hardly dead, current skins banger Andy Macleod has left the act.

Sad as it is to report that Andy has picked up sticks and moved on to pastures new, what really has me thinking is how similar his departure is to the others who've been in, and out of, the band: Suddenly, without warning, with some misgivings and for personal reasons that may forever remain unknown, politely, and with all hope for the best for the band and the lads in it. No tabloid acrimony here!

This latest, particular departure went along these lines. Following a really great gig a few Saturdays ago at Jovita's, I discovered Andy'd left several messages on my cell phone. Now, when someone wants to get in touch that badly it either means really good news or really bad news. Being of the dark-and-moody sort it's fair to say that I guessed what it was he wanted to talk about. Sure enough, when I finally spoke to him, it was to learn that he was leaving the band.

The selfish part of me was frustrated and not a little cheesed off, but as I've been through this all before, well, I got over that quickly enough. Besides, this is an outfit bred for fun. If someone needs out, that's okay and no hard feelings. We've kept in touch with pretty much all the ex-drummers (they don't spontaneously combust or die in freak gardening accidents!) and I imagine we'll be seeing more of Andy in the future. It's almost funny this pattern of increasingly talented drummers who simply must leave the band. They say familiarity breeds contempt, but in this too, too familiar situation all I can do, ultimately, is shake my head and laugh. Drummers: It was ever thus.

So where does that leave The Late Joys?

Well, for one thing, we need a drummer. Andy's a hard act to follow, too. If you know someone with a bit of drumming talent, please have him or her get in touch via this blog or the official Late Joys website. I know of at least one five-year-old fan who's offered to learn the drums to help us out. So come on y'all: There's a competition brewing! We promise lots of fun, good tunes, gigs of all shapes and sizes and nothing remotely as horrifying as a miniature "Stonehenge" or an improvisational "blues jam" at some B-grade theme park. Or was that the Air Force base? Someone needs to rent that movie...

Meanwhile, the three remaining Late Joys continue to add to our repertoire, and we're revisiting some songs once lost to time that sound rather good with guitar, bass and trumpet (if I do say so myself). We'll be looking to play some gigs soon, too. One thing about not carting around the mighty drum kit: we're ready to perform in your living room and not make your ears bleed. At least, not intentionally.

Andy: safe travels (MoPac's rough when daylight savings time ends!). Late Joys: rehearsal next week! Let's go!