Wednesday, March 26, 2014

My Musical History, Episode 6: Ground Zero and The Krayons

Zoning Chinchilla may have been over, but I was definitely not done playing in bands. In fact, I was just getting started.

Soon after that last ill-fated dorm banquet performance, I found myself in a new lineup with two former ZC members (the guitarist and the guitarist-turned-bassist), a new singer, and a new drummer. One thing that we all had in common was a fondness for metal - thrash metal, not the hairspray stuff that ZC had been playing. As I mentioned before, I basically started playing the guitar because of bands like Metallica and Megadeth.
Not Ground Zero
So, this new group - dubbed Ground Zero - threw together some metal covers and a few originals, and then got right back out on the gig circuit. We hit up most of the places that ZC had previously plundered (Jazz Cellar, C-5) and basically had a pretty good time, which is hard not to do when you're cranking out thrash classics like Four Horsemen and Tornado of Souls. We even managed to record a cassette demo of our three originals, which I'm pretty sure is lying around somewhere in my house.

Ground Zero didn't last very long, however. After a few metal-filled months, I found myself back at square one. Deciding to try yet another direction - isn't experimenting fun? - I recruited the former Ground Zero/ZC/R.F.H. guitarist (remember when it seemed like our playing relationship wasn't going to work out?) and formed a duo called The Krayons. The idea was that we were going to minimize the potential for drama and error by performing with pre-recorded bass and drum tracks that I would make in my bedroom with our own bass, a Roland drum machine, and a four-track. Oh, and I would also - gasp - take over the lead vocal duties.

It seemed like a good idea. Armed with a new set of more alt-rockish covers and originals (think R.E.M. and The Cure), we played our first show at a shopping mall (I know, I know) and got a pretty decent response. A few weeks later, we even ended up opening for The Krush, a band that was quite popular in Hawaii back in the day. Who knows, maybe we got the gig because of our similarly misspelled names, but nevertheless, it was still pretty cool.

Something just didn't feel right, though. Eventually, I had to concede that rock music - at least the way I wanted to play it - just wasn't rock music without an actual living, breathing rhythm section, even with all the potential for conflict that comes with it. So with that in mind, we scrapped the pre-recorded tracks and set out to find (insert resigned sigh here) a real bassist* and a real drummer. I didn't know it at the time, but that search would eventually lead to some of my most awesome and memorable musical experiences to date.

Next: The Start Of Something Big?

* Or, at least, a real guitarist who we could con force trick talk into playing the bass

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