What a strange night! It was like being a new kid
in my own town. I’ve been in Athens for a long time now and feel
like I know a good chunk of the music crowd, but tonight’s show at
RPM introduced me to so many people who never knew me and that I
never knew. It’s mind blowing for me to think that there are so many
different pockets of the Athens, Georgia music scene.
Tonight’s gig was the debut for The Pretty Please, a band
spearheaded and master minded by Ash Miltiades of Guff and the
Michael Guthrie Band. When their guitarist ditched on them, Ash gave
me the call. All of the members of The Pretty Please except me come
from a punk rock background, but this band is decidedly early ‘70s
rock. I think I was the right guy to call for the gig. And since The
Critical Darlings was on hiatus at the moment, I had time to do it.
We set up in a corner of the room not even facing most of the crowd.
And it was crowded. I could hardly get in and out of the room.
That’s a great problem for a first show. Once the time came, we
jumped right into Ash’s “Love Song”. This one, as with most of his
tunes, don’t even have final titles yet. “Love Song” is very Faces
sounding. It’s a rocker. It’s a mission statement. It’s authentic.
It’s like breathing to me.
We followed that up with a quick segue into my old song “Seven
Hours”. I haven’t performed that live since Q-Sign did it in the
late ‘90s. Ash hand picked it from my catalog and we decided to
share lead vocals on it. It was both a taste of the past and the
future (I hope).
When I looked around, Charley (bass) was leaping around like a
madman. Parker (drums) was laying into it hard also. These guys
bring the energy. Web was lodged in behind his Hammond organ and Ash
and I were trying not to smash our guitars together.
“Thicker Than Blood” came next. This is Ash’s song inspired by his
wife. It’s a highly amplified pop song and I’m proud of the guitar
and vocal interaction on this one. After the show, I heard more
about this song than any other.
Web finally got the chance to be heard on “Gone”. This one sounds
like a druggy / spacey 1972 jam. I actually sat down on the floor
just to get into the groove and that song is all groove. Ash sang
his ass off on it, too. It’s so fun for me to just be able to relax
and not sing lead all night. Too bad we were straining the P.A. so
much and the vocals were barely heard. Still, the crowd was really
into it and so were we.
Next up was my only solo lead vocal of the night. “Best Case
Scenario” is another one that Ash chose from my list of possible
songs. It’s such a goofy little jaunty song that I didn’t think it
would work too well with these guys. I was wrong. They nailed it.
And the response at the end was very satisfying. It’s always a bonus
when a song is played for the first time and by the end of it people
in the audience are singing along.
Ash’s “Girl Business” features a lot of harmony guitars as well as
lyrics written by his daughter. It’s pure power pop replete with “na
na na na na na’s”. The harmony guitar breakdown reminds me of Bob
Ezrin’s mid-70s productions with KISS and Alice Cooper, but I don’t
know that anyone else would think that.
We closed out the night with a version of Seal’s “Crazy” that
sounded like it was being covered by The Vanilla Fudge. I don’t
think anyone really recognized it until it got to the chorus. It was
definitely a full rewrite.
I had a blast tonight. Unfortunately, The Pretty Please hasn’t
played again due to obligations of other members to other bands, but
we did have this moment. And heck, even if The Pretty Please never
plays again (which would be a shame), I still know that somehow,
this was only the beginning.
Thanks to Charley, Web, Parker and Ash for having me join in the
festivities. Thanks to the club and the amazing audience for
welcoming me into the fold. I hope we can do it again!