In February of 2009 I got a call from Del Westcott, wanting to know if I wanted to play in some sort of progressive band with a guitar player he’d hooked up with on BandMix. I was all for it, but the project never materialized. Instead, Del mentioned that he’d been playing with another band to keep his chops up, and asked if I’d be interested in doing that instead. I was looking for something to do musically, so I figured “why the hell not?”
That band turned out to be the Traveling Wildebeests, which had started out as an acoustic duo. Then they’d added Del. Then they decided they needed a bass player, too. I jammed with them on a Saturday at Market On 7th, in the old Ybor City section of Tampa, and was asked to join the band. We played a week later at the same place, at which point the guitar players had a spat and one of them quit. So after joining the band, we wound up as a three piece a week later. We would eventually change our name to Systematic Chaos, and would play for most of 2009 there at Market On 7th (though we did play out on a handful of other gigs).
I enjoyed playing with these guys, and I think we could have done a lot. We just never seemed to find our groove, and we all seemed to pulling in opposite directions all the time. In retrospect, I think maybe the band wasn’t a good match of personalities. John, the guitar player, mostly wanted to do Blues and Classic Rock. Del, the drummer, wanted to work in some more alternative stuff. And I wanted to do more originals and maybe try our hands at some more experimental stuff. But since each of us was stubborn, we never got going in any particular direction, and generally wound up going nowhere. The band finally disintegrated in December of 2009 when Del decided to concentrate on a new band, Dramatica.
I’m grateful for the experience, though. I’ll always consider Del and John to be my friends. Jamming with them helped me get back up to speed as a musician, and it gave me the chance to regain my confidence, stamina and chops, which will benefit me in other projects. I wouldn’t be who I am today without these guys, and I’ll never forget ’em.
- J. Michael Hester – guitars, vocals
- Wicasta Lovelace – bass, vocals
- Del Westcott – drums, covals