Wednesday, March 13, 2013

7 Inches Across

Now that you're all experts on the Birmingham scene (Don't worry there's plenty of bands left to blog about) I thought it would be worthwhile telling you about the time I was in a band. It was in the first few rainy months of 2009 and I was still at school. I'd ditched my shit friends the year before and was having the time of my life with some new friends -some of which I still see today. We were hanging out in a hallway to escape the rain because even though we probably weren't allowed, we were old enough to not give a shit. It suddenly hit us, Lets form a band! about a week passed of us deciding names, I had some cool name I liked and some other friends wanted to call the band '7 Inches Across' after a line from American Pie, after a few more weeks of debate we settled on that name. We had just named our band after a knob gag. 

The next step of course was to decide who was in, what we would play and were we could rehearse. Eventually we found a teacher who would let us into a music room at break times, some of us owned instruments but none of us could be bothered to bring them, so we 'borrowed' instruments from some actual music students who were on their lunch and made the best of what we had to start making noise. By this point the weather had turned scorching hot and we were sweating in this little room, at one point I fell on my back pretending to play a solo, it was hilarious, and only a minute later did an actual musician come in to see the mess we made and find how much we had stunk out the room with our sweat.

Now I should probably point out that we were all musicians (or at least I was) by this point I was attending weekly guitar lessons and was finding a talent, yet it was difficult finding out what to do with our rehearsals, no one really knew for sure who would play what and whether the band needed to jam and write its own songs to find its sound or whether we should find songs to play, which was also difficult as we were all musicians of varying levels and didn't quite know how tab worked for different instruments. One day my friend came in with tab for Iron Maiden's song 'Different World'. I can still probably play a decent version of 'The Trooper' today but back then it was still hard because it was 10 pages long and maiden have 3 guitarists, who can all play solos.

It was fun though, I can't speak for everyone else in the band, but I felt a rivalry between us and the other schools bands. We were like a team, us against the world, but also us against ourselves. I was in an undefined relationship at the time and she was fascinated by us, she invited her friends to come and watch us and our singer Dan, felt pressured and unable to sing in this new environment. This is how the band arguments started, I didn't really want to be involved, so I wasn't. By the time the bickering was nearly over so was our time at school, there felt like no point continuing as our bassist -a black kid with an afro-was still in year 9.

And so ended what could have been a B-Town band. It's funny looking back because it almost seems as if we were deliberately trying to fit as many rock n' roll cliches into the few weeks as we could. we had band rivalries, inter-band rivalries, a line up that seemed to be constantly changing and problems with girlfriends (The Yoko Factor).

Those of us who left school all went to the same college, but those two years cemented some of our friendships and drove some of us apart. We talked about names in college again but it never went anywhere (no one seemed up for my choice 'Veiny Love Stick'). Not long ago me and Brad, 7 Inches' drummer talked about forming a new band, but by this point our music tastes had divided so much we ended up just talking about music all day, and the spirit wasn't there. I'll never forget that summer though, it was good while it lasted.

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