My foray into the role of front man came when one of my working band mates happened to sign the two of us up for Spoof Fest in Milwaukee. We both have a love for The Smiths, and she took it upon herself to sign us up for a spot, before locking in the people who would actually be playing with us. She knew that I was up for it, and then asked me to rustle up a drummer.
When I called my drummer friend, he said that he was in, but wanted to be Morrissey. There was just
one problem with that. My singer also wanted to be Morrissey, and I wanted to be Morrissey. We all wanted the spotlight. She was the first to relent. She plays guitar, so her job would to play Johnny Marr. My drummer friend said that he would play the drums this time, but “next year, I’m Michael
Stipe, and we’re doing REM.” All we had left to do was find a bass player and second guitarist. Thankfully, those two roles were filled in short order. The practices began in earnest, once we
settled on the four songs that we could manage to learn in time, and play well.
Picking the songs to play when you represent a band at Spoof Fest can be one of the most important tasks. Which hit songs do you choose from? Sometimes that’s easy, as the band you plan to “represent” might have just a few recognizable songs. Other times, you have to lobby for your choice of songs from a long list of great numbers. Of the four songs we agreed to play, three were easy picks. We would open the show with Bigmouth Strikes Again. Panic would surely be on our list. Cemetery Gates was an easy number to put together. Would there be time for five songs? Our guitar player was pushing for the band to also play This Charming Man. I was up for that, as that song would test my newly formed vocal abilities. As the weeks of rehearsal wore on, we had to forget about the thought of a fifth song. Of course, we had to close with How Soon Is Now. That song would require the most rehearsal time. We had our song list, and it was also time to work on moves, costumes, and style. Next week, I’ll write about how it felt to be the singer of a band for the first time in my life.