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Published: 2002/11/24
by Jim Overton

How I Joined The Band

{Editor’s note: Jim Overton submitted this piece on his first days with the developing band Chesterfield Inlet, which may sound familiar to many of you out there in a young band or supporting such a group…]
You can hear the laughter from the crowd before you enter the place. This is a cool little pub with a restaurant upstairs. The pub holds about 120 people. Tonight it’s standing room only. The band is a popular local one called Chesterfield Inlet.
This was the scene when I walked in to help the band set up their gear. One of the guitarists, Andy, worked with me at my day job. We were good friends so I gladly helped him whenever I could. I had already recorded some of the band’s music and was familiar with the sound they were going for.
The electricity in the air before a band plays is something unique. It’s like everyone knows each other and they’re all there to have a good time. During the sound check the conversation quiets down in anticipation. Beers are ordered and the good seats go quickly.
I was running some cables balancing out some speakers and doing a sound check when Andy approached me. Apparently the regular percussionist cancelled at the last minute. This was a paying gig and about fifteen minutes before showtime. Knowing that I knew the music and had a little background as a drummer, Andy asked me to fill in that night.
I didn’t even have to think about it. They handed me a set of bongos and I ran through a few exercises to warm up. Next thing I know we’re being introduced and all I can think about is not embarrassing myself or the band. I remember it was really hot that night and we played for about three hours. I think I got paid forty bucks for that night plus some free beers. It was great. I’ll never forget how much fun it was to have the crowd cheering, joking around with the guys in the band, and feeling like there’s no place else I’d rather be.

Over the next couple of weeks I quietly practiced their music, kind of hoping my position in the band would be resolved somehow. They still had their regular drummer but everything was in limbo until they spoke to him directly. At a practice two weeks later, Dave, (the regular percussionist), called and resigned from the band, citing time constraints. That night they asked me if I’d be willing to commit to the band and be a full time member. Of course the answer was yes.
From there things quickly grew and we hired a bass player a month later, also a good friend of Andy’s. Now we had six in the band, singer, percussionist, two guitarists, bass player, and backup vocalist/tambourine. One month later we recorded our first CD. Five hours, one take on most of the tracks. Sold 300 copies as an independent. Shortly after that we lost the backup vocalist because she couldn’t commit to the practices. That’s one thing it takes to make a band, dedication. I can’t imagine not doing it.
We played nonstop for a three month period and a couple of the shows were just crazy. One place was a ski lodge. In the background behind the stage skiers were flying downhill at night and the snow was a beautiful backdrop to the band. Cool show. In front of us was a couch about five feet away. Fireplace on the side. Good vibe.
Then there’s the other side. We played a sports bar who vowed never to have us play again because we used profanity in the last song of the night. Then they short changed our pay fifty dollars. A real class act. They told us to go with whatever the crowd wanted and they were chanting for the song. I think we did the right thing by following what the crowd wanted.
Now we’re working on our second CD and the buzz is really strong. We’re aching to play a show but we’re working on new music first. In our catalog we have about fifty songs, all original. Thankfully, there are four strong songwriters in our band of five. Life is good and we’ll keep jamming until we can’t jam anymore. See you at the show.

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