My name is Scott.
I sing for City Zoo.
We get to play again.
I am excited.
Before we get into that, I’ll start with something else.
This is, in part, the post I should have written nine months ago.
I didn’t because I was too pissed & hurt at the time. At times I can be a bit of a whiny bitch (hmph…singers…) Here we go:
On September 1st, 2011, City Zoo played it’s last show w/ Rory.
Before I start off on this tangent, I want to make it clear that these are my opinions alone, and I in no way can speak for the rest of the guys in the band on this subject. I think we all dealt with it in our own personal ways.
I will say that I believe I took it the hardest.
Rory, Nick, & I started this band together back in 2009. Those of you who’ve known us all personally know that I was living with Nick at the time and became friends with Rory as a result. Rory was already in The Green Genes at the time and I felt like it was something of a coup to convince them to play in a band with me (being older, it’s hard to gauge how those younger than you perceive you at times – Generation gap?).
If I remember it right, I don’t think Rory had any idea of what was going to happen that night at Nick’s when we just got together to hang out and play. I think 3 songs came out of it. Within about a month, we had ten songs and began playing: looking back, how cool is this for a first gig?
I’m watching this and thinking about how important this night was to me on a number of levels:
1.) I socially snubbed my eventual wife because I was too hopped up on adrenaline from the show to recognize her. (Stupid on my part I know, almost a disaster, and she’s so wonderful she rarely brings it up.) We had only met twice up until that point and had never been on a date. To this day, I barely remember anything that happened after the show. I maintain I was sober the whole evening.
2.) WE PLAYED ON A ROOFTOP IN DOWNTOWN NEW ORLEANS!!!
3.) T-Rex hands became a staple of mockery
for me of me.
4.) I got to get up and perform music with my friends. And we were friends (and some relatives!) before we were bandmates. Hell, we kept joking for a while that we needed to marry Rory off to someone in our family just so we’d be related.
Spending two years playing in one group is more than what a lot of bands do. And even with the plethora of musical acts available to watch on a given night in this town, all those bands still sit comfortably in the minority. For every one that gets up on a stage, there’s dozens that are over before they begin. We were fortunate. If you were there and remember these nights feel free to comment.
But in that time, I was singing and playing with guys that made me feel comfortable as a songwriter, as a singer and lyricist, and simply as a performer. I never even actively wrote music for a band until we started this one. Example:
Wish I had a later vid of this, the song evolved in waves of awesomeness I cannot describe.
When Rory left, I felt like that confidence had left as well. Granted, he totally left in the right way and for the right reasons. This is NOT AN ATTACK or a complaint. He has definitely gone on to bigger and better things:
Not to mention being a super star grad student at the same time. Congratulations.
One of the complicated things about a band is trying to get 4, 5, even 9 guys in the same room at the same time long enough for your songs to sound not good, but great. Sometimes we did that, sometimes we didn’t. But those times that you’re in rehearsal is also hang out time, friend time, social hour, in addition to rockin’ your ass off. So when a member moves on, there’s not just a void in the band. There’s a void in your friendships. I’ve never been the best at maintaining anything emotional or friendly with anyone. People that I’ve known long enough know this. So yes, I took Rory’s departure hard because it felt like losing a friend way more than losing a musician.
There’s lots of things I want to gush about. There’s lots of gchat conversations I can site that point to all this coming or how awesome it is being friends with someone that shares your musical interests. But there it is. I hurt. Not playing music with my friend anymore is hard.
I’ll say this for the band: It was a hell of a lot of fun while it lasted, Ro. Thank you.
These last 9 months have been a pretty big journey. I’ve had a chance to grow up a little more: enjoy my marriage, purchase a house, remodel a house, work, travel, direct a play, act in one. All of these experiences have aided in developing who I am in my adult life.
Almost the entire time though, what we now know as City Zoo kept getting together, kept playing together (Anyone in Westwego can probably attest to various noise ordinance violations on Tuesday nights). It’s been a drastically different process this time around. Yes, one that is harder, and at times even more frustrating, but one that is no less rewarding.
If there’s one thing that really made a leap since Rory’s departure, it’s Nick’s level of production. Since we started getting back together, Nick has been the source of all our music. Sure, lyrically it’s still me up there, and shaping some of the structures have gone into the hands of the entire band – but damn near everything you’re going to hear from us has thus far come from Nick’s brain to your ears. I couldn’t be more proud of him right now. I watched him play some of his first chords, and to be around and sing over some of this is astonishing.
Pete and Jeff have now become significant voices in the band. They develop stops, changes and direct the pacing of the new songs like never before. Things start to feel more like a collaborative process when they both get involved. Each new song we develop eventually(get it) has a part or moment with their own unique stamp on it.
The elephant in the room as we began this part of the journey was of course, who was going to step in? Believe it or not, I picked up a guitar for a while and jammed with the guys as we tried to flesh out these new songs. However, my lyric writing has always began organically in rehearsal. I hear a melody in the song or a phrase pops into my head, a subject, I can write it down. At least this is exactly what happens when I haven’t written the music. Instead, I was memorizing chord structures and following changes and being a guitarist first and not writing anything. (For a guitarist, I make a great singer…is this thing on???) Imagine a TERRIBLE case of writer’s block.
So to remedy this situation, and in sort of keeping it “in the family,” we have a new member to introduce:
Nick has been with Rachel nearly a decade, Rachel has a brother, who Nick kind of got started on playing guitar. It just so happens after several years and a band or two, he got REALLY good. Now he plays with us.
For the past few months, Ryan has been working with us on all this new material. Our rehearsals have grown back into the consistent rockfests we’re used to and laughter peals from Pete’s house between riffs like it used to. Its funny – to me anyway – but for the last 3 years, we all stand in the same spots when we practice. When I was trying to follow along on guitar, I’d stand in the “guitarist spot” but somehow that never felt right. Once Ryan stood in that part of the room and I resumed my place in the corner near the cat-box, it began to feel familiar again. Not that I’m comfortable there, I’m allergic to cats, but it’s always felt more like “my spot”. A story for another day.
The show (yes there’s a show!) we’re playing at Banks Street Bar on May 26th is our first one back in front of a public audience since that September 1st night. We’re going to rip the cover off at leas 6 pieces of brand spanking new material. We’ll also be reviving a couple of familiar City Zoo songs.
If you’ve been hanging out with us for these past 3 years, then its going to feel like a fresh start with some old friends. If you’ve never seen us play before, then you’ll have just found your new favorite band and you’ll ask every bar you frequent to book us. And if you’re in a band and watching us, you’re definitely going to want us opening for you ALL THE TIME!!!
The only question I have now is: Who’s going to jump up and down like madmen with me at the show?
To put it mildly,
Get used to it. And get to rockin’.
See you May 26th, Animals (FB Invite! Pass it on!),
ST from CZ