BackStreet and Tom Slick
Several months had passed since Pamela quit "The Band Formally Known as Beaute Sheila". After a handful of unsuccessful auditions for potential lead singers, Dad made the decision to look for another band. Dad wanted to play in a band with just one lead guitarist, so that he wouldn't have to compete for playing time (again a reflection of Dad's "inexperience-laden ego" - some years later Dad came to strongly prefer a band with dual-lead guitarists).
After several inauspicious auditions, Dad finally practiced with a group that seemed promising. A young lead singer had arranged a session with himself, my Dad, and a lead guitarist. The singer was average, but the guitarist was absolutely awesome, and was technically the best Dad has ever played with to this day! His name was Larry Odneal, a pro with a ton of experience who had recently moved to Denver from Iowa. Larry had an unbelievable ear, playing songs note-for-note and always with the exact tone. Dad recalls once playing for Larry one of his originals on a tape player, and without an instrument to play along, Larry was able to tell Dad the key of the song and each and every chord that was played! Dad made a very difficult decision and decided to quit the Longmont band and give this one a shot.
Well, the new band never even got a practice in! The young singer decided he didn't want Dad because he couldn't sing backup. So Dad had quit a band to join a band he had never been officially asked to join! Such is life. Dad wasn't deeply disappointed, since the band he quit was not going anywhere and because of a built-in immunity to the flaky world of rock musicians. His only disappointment was not getting to play with Larry, but as later fate would have it this strange world of rock musicians can turn out to be a small world.
It didn't take Dad long to land with a newly formed band called BackStreet. The leader of the band was a bass player named Ed. He was average on bass and didn't have a ton of experience, but he was older and very professional. The lead singer/guitarist was a guy named Chuck, a 56-year-old former band icon who was trying to re-live his youth. He apparently toured with a very popular band back in his younger years that backed some of the bigger named bands of his time (I don't know who was president then). His fortiere was showmanship, something he was very good at. However he was a poor guitarist; in fact he seemed to enjoy messing up on a regular basis (he played rhythm guitar - rhythm guitarist is a kind description of someone who is below average on guitar). The drummer was an older guy in his late forties who looked more like an accountant than a drummer (indeed he was an accountant!).
So why did Dad join this band ? Well, there was another member, a female vocalist name Sheri Beaver. She had an absolutely incredible voice. OK, Dad also liked her too, and dated her for a while. But he emphatically denies this as the reason he joined the band!
Because of the experience Chuck had, and because of Ed's professional approach, it only took BackStreet about 2-3 months to get enough songs to start playing out. The first job was a wedding, and well, it was a joke. Not the wedding, but the way Chuck performed. He had a wireless mic, and actually left the room during one song and was singing out there somewhere (not the song Out There Somewhere). Since he couldn't hear the band clearly, he starting singing out of key, which really started grating on people's ears! It was all a big joke to him, but the drummer wasn't laughing. He quit BEFORE the end of the last set! Just walked off a said it was the most un-professional thing he had ever seen.
Well, Dad decided after the wedding fiasco that this was going to be a temporary thing, but he decided to stick with it until something else came along (of course there may have been other reasons why he was hanging around!). The next job was in a restaurant/bar somewhere in Arvada. It was my Dad's first job in a bar, but because of the lack of enthusiasm in the band, and because my Dad was reluctant to invite friends because "the band stinks", the moment wasn't one he remembers too well. The next gig was a bar on I-70 and Kipling (can't recall the name because it changes all the time) that Dad remembers only because of a guy who sat in with the band for about a set, the locally popular Tom Slick. Tom Slick was a bit of an Elvis impersonator with a lousy voice who demonstrated how you can do well if you've got the right marketing, even if you don't have a lick of talent. He was pure showmanship, and therefore a mutual admirer of our esteemed guitarist, Chuck. Dad recalls Tom Slick doing the classic knee slides down the stage, jumping on and off the stage, and other various calisthenics. The one thing that really annoyed Dad was when Slick came over and started banging on the upper notes of Dad's keyboard with his forearm, right in the middle of leads! (and getting sweat all over the place, too)
Well, Dad finally came to the incredible revelation that he could quit the band and still date Shari. Dad felt bad for Ed, who really worked hard at putting together a professional act, something not possible with a reckless has-been as the frontman Chuck. Several years later Ed was successful in putting together a very good band that actually played music.
One milestone did occur while Dad was practicing with BackStreet - he bought a mic! A scary proposition to many of his friends, but Dad nevertheless decided to give background vocals a shot. Dad figured it was the ideal band to try this, since the band was sloppy and most of the songs were oldies that only required a few oohs and ahhs here and there.
Chapter 5 - Fast Forward
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