It seemed like a good idea at the time. We'd start a band, learn some songs and get some gigs, get some girls, make a record, get famous and...
Pretty heady dreams for 14-year olds. Most of those dreams, excepting the last one, even came true- in one form or another. The biggest thrill at that age was actually doing something that you had created, something that you weren't told to do, in fact doing something slightly rebellious, even if millions of other boys (and a few girls) were doing it too. Our parents must have been mortified, but they did allow us to rehearse in the basement, they even gave us rides to the first few gigs (before we were old enough to drive.) We learned quickly about the darker side of show biz- playing for fraternity parties (worse than Animal House) and learning how to smoke and drink (the drugs would come later.) But there were some moments that gave us a realization that there was a power in music, and it was good. By our senior year in high school we had split up, the better players were keen to form a regular band, the rest of us tried other things- theater, art, photography; the Viet Nam war made the choice for us in many cases.
While watching a couple of teen-age bands at the Iceland Airwaves festival ( Jakobinarina and Retro Stefson) I had to laugh, comparing them to the groups I was in when I was about the same age. These kids are already accomplished musicians, seasoned performers- Jakobinarina has played internationally- whereas we played for possibly a thousand people in total- using borrowed equipment and more nerve than talent. But somehow, as those Icelandic bands also did, we managed to create some real joy, joy that is harder to capture the more jaded and road-weary one gets with experience.
"A fine little girl, she waits for me
I catch a ship, sail cross the sea
On that ship, I'm all alone
I never know when I'll make it home
Ah Louie, Louie
I said: me gotta go
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
I said ah Louie, Louie
I said me gotta go..." -Richard Berry, Louie, Louie