November 22, 2011

There's only a first "first"! A background.

Seth Regan performs as Mankind Tracer in Second Life

As the first post for this new blog, I would like to give a bit of background on my musical journey.

As a little boy growing up in new York, for some reason or another I always took notice in the sounds I was hearing. My parents both loved music and there was always music playing in the house, be it Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Johnny Mathis, or other 40's - 60's popular music. I can remember the record player we had and how my mother would teach me how to use it. I took some piano lessons and all of my teachers were amazed with how I would pick things up by ear. I guess I was lazy and didn't really want to spend the time learning how to actually "read" the music. But I can remember being able to hear a melody and pick out the main notes on piano. I suppose I lost interested in piano until my early adult life but soon after moving and losing my piano teacher, I found the guitar.

My professional music career started in Greenwich Village, NY. I was sixteen years old and I was offered a 3 song set at a place called The Back Fence. A bunch of friends and family came out to support me and I had SUCH a blast. 15 minutes of live performing and I was hooked. I tell you, I've never tried heroin, nor will I, but they say it's very addicting. After 30 years, I can tell you... live performing should be illegal! I'm kidding of course but it's definitely addicting.

Fast forward to post college: One of the bands I toured with was called Route Nine. A couple of guys were looking to form a band. I auditioned and two days later got the call that I was in. So the first step was to compare notes and just jam together, feel each other out and put a solid song list together that we were all comfortable with. Now myself, having come from doing acoustic gigs and maybe toying with a band here or there (Toying: Def: Screwing around, not serious) this was all kind of new to me. There was that sense of "can I rely on these guys during a live performance?" at first. But you know, that quickly vanished. Our first show was at a Lion's Lodge or some place like that. We rented the place out on a Sunday and invited everyone we knew and you know, about 200 people came out to support this new band that their friends and family had put together.

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A few months go by and actually quite quickly, the word was spreading on us. Here are these four guys: One amazing guitarist, one solid bass player with skills and an awesome voice, one drummer who didn't know the meaning of the word "volume" and me, a singer and guitarist more interested in "how quick can I turn this into more women"! But faster than I knew it, we became a very well known cover band touring up and down the eastern USA and we got this stigma as THE rock party band. At the time, I had hair down to my butt and most gig nights consisted of a shot and a beer after setup and as the night progressed, more shots and beers and a topless and pretty buzzed "me" up on the bar with a wireless mic (usually accompanied by one or two similarly clad groupies). I mean who was I to turn down drinks from fans? Holy bat snot that was SO much fun... VEYR hard to do night after night but FUNNNNN!!! But we were young, oh and our drummer was quite DEAFENING! I mean come on Bert! We even tried caging "the animal" in a plexiglass cage but lasted about two weeks.

The problem with drinking and playing live is that the more you drink, the deafer you get and the more the instrumentalists need to turn up (closer to 11)! MY problem is that a singer can only push so much air, even the loudest opera singers have a limit. Also, raising the mixer volume on my vocal channel can only go so high before I blow the speakers... and MANY eardrums! So there I was most nights, coming to the final half of the third set, half deaf, half drunk and half dressed. But you know, I wouldn't change a thing. We had so much fun! I can go on and on with the stories but at the end of the day, after all was said and done and "Last Call" came around, it wasn't so much the fame. I mean let's face it, we weren't Pink Floyd in Madison Square Garden. But we had a tremendous following. No it wasn't the fame. It was the friendship, comradery and brotherhood between these four mid twenties guys who all had common goals and faith in each other. We so enjoyed being on that stage and partying together. It was a brotherhood. Yes. THAT'S what I enjoyed most.

So when you go out to see bands perform, enjoy the music, of course, but also don't take for granted the incredible amount of time and effort that goes on BEFORE the shows... AFTER the shows. Even in Second Life. There's rehearsal and more rehearsal. There's setup time. Beyond the "image" that fans get, there IS work that is done.

But look at the band members, see if they have that chemistry with each other, because I can tell you, Route Nine was ALL about that chemistry (and of course the booze and babes). I think it was that brotherhood that we shared which made our shows so incredible for us to play and put the amazing amount of effort in... to ensure they were the best they could be for our fans.

The brotherhood... I miss that.

Then Came Second Life....

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