Gigs & Appearances Journal

Electric Jam @ Market On 7th

I’ll be heading to Ybor City, Florida tonight to kick off the weekly Wednesday jam at Market On 7th. It’ll be the first time I’ve been to Market On 7th since I played there in the first week of December with Systematic Chaos. Gino, the owner, seemed happy to be getting something going again on Wednesdays when I talked to him last night. For my part, I’m excited to be returning to an old haunt that feels very much like a second home. Wherever else I might play in the Tampa Bay area, I’ll always have a special fondness for Market On 7th. It is, after all, where I transitioned back into a musician after having been a truck driver for so many years.

I’m excited and intimidated at the same time. Not about returning to Market, but about the people I’ll be playing with there. I think it’s safe to say that John Hester, the guitarist for Systematic Chaos is out of the mix. After our drummer, Del Westcott, took off and focused his energies on a band called Dramatica, I tried every week for four weeks to get John to come out and do something at Market On 7th on Wednesdays. He either didn’t want to, or her agreed to do it and then dropped out at the last minute. I finally took the hint and tried to think of something else that I could do on Wednesdays at Market.

The idea that finally came to me was to establish an Invitation Only jam, and invite out some of the guys I’ve been meeting through my efforts to get Capt. Thornton’s Tampa Bay Local Music Festival off of the ground. I tried to get it started with John, but he showed little interest. After having him cancel out at the last moment for two weeks in a row, I decided to go it alone, and tried to launch it last week with the help of Rich Caggia and a drummer I’ve recently met named Doug (don’t know his last name yet). That fell through. But the next evening I met in Largo with Wyzyrd and two guitar players at Circle Rehearsal Studios to hammer out a few tunes and see if we wanted to get a band going. Afterward I suggested that we do the Wednesday thing. Much to my surprise, everyone agreed.

Now… here’s where the trepidation comes in.

I’ve bumped heads a bit with both of the guitar players who are coming out. Without intent, of course. One guitar player misunderstood a lot of what I told him about myself, and somehow came to the conclusion that I was only interested in playing Heavy Metal, and that my primary focus was on getting a duo act together with Victoria. We got that straightened out. But then I turned out to have an amazing capacity to annoy the other guitar player, as well. First he didn’t seem to appreciate it when I prodded them by saying I hadn’t heard from them, and he sent me a copy of his response the day after the Largo jam, with an analysis and supposition as to how I’d come to the conclusion that I hadn’t heard from them. I didn’t point out that I meant I had hadn’t heard from him since that one response on Friday. It seemed best to let it slide. Then he took offense that I had listed the Wednesday thing as an event, coming to the conclusion that it was an Open Mic instead of a jam focused on our new band, essentially tell us to give him a call if we ever decide to get serious. Doug smoothed that over and got him to agree to come out tonight. One can only wonder what kind of mood he’ll be in.

So… I’m returning to Market On 7th with a couple of guys I’ve already had some friction with, and I honestly don’t know how it’ll go. I mean, musically I think we’ll click really well. But Rich Caggia is going to be coming out, and he might be bringing a keyboard player with him. Doug is all for it, but it had already occurred to me that the latter guitar player might have a problem with it. He doesn’t seem to understand that this Wednesday thing is just a great, free way for us to shake out some songs and see how we gel together. Yes, some other people will be there. Yes, some other people might sit on a few songs. Much of the focus will be on the band, but it’ll also be fun to jam with some other people.

Only time will tell how this will go over with certain volatile personalities.

In the end, the gist of this evening, though, is that I’m trying to get a Wednesday jam off the ground at Market On 7th. These guys were invited as my guests. But if anyone shows up laying down rules and demands because their particular needs are not being met, it won’t go over well. As it’s already occurred to me, if anyone doesn’t like some of these other musicians coming out, they’ll have to find a way to make peace with it. Those other musicians were invited first. I just thought it’d be great to bring in this new band to shake out some things and discuss where we want to go from here. There are worse places we could jam than Market On 7th. And if some people have a problem with the spotlight not being entirely on them and this potential band, all I can say is “welcome to the music industry, son”.

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