"I want to be in a band." This is exactly what I used to say when I was in the third grade, and so did four other classmates of mine. This was right around the time when Poison was at their best with what I consider one of the greatest albums of all time, Look What The Cat Dragged In. We loved, I mean LOVED this album. If you didn't have the cassette tape, then you were not cool. Every day we would be singing these tunes when we got the into our little groups.
One day, while we were all together, we thought it would be a great idea to start a band. We had the coolest of cool names picked out. Are you ready for it? We were going to be THE ELECTRIC EELS. That's right, all in caps. We even had our logo drawn out, which I provided an actual sketch of below.
Anyway, here we were, myself, Chris R, Jeff, James and Chris B ready to pick out which instrument we would be playing. I wanted to be the lead guitarist, Jeff was going to be back up guitarist, James would be bass, Chris B had drums and Chris R would be lead vocals. We were set and ready to rock n' roll.
Now all I needed to do was break the news to my parents. I remember going home that night and sharing my new band with my parents. My dad was all for it and my mom immediately said the lessons would be too expensive. Me being the know it all I still am today, decided I wouldn't need lessons, all I needed was the guitar. I got our JC Penney catalog and turned it to the instruments and picked out a killer guitar similar to the one down below.
In the meantime, Chris R and I decided to start writing some songs. And did we ever start writing some songs. I think when it was all said and done, I had written a total of six in a matter of two weeks. They were golden, and the two I still remember were called, "Breaking Up" and "Damn You." I wish I still had the songs, but you will see later why I no longer have them. The chorus of both songs went something like this:
Golden, I know. Give me a break, we were in the third grade. We were all set, all we needed were our instruments. Chris B got lucky because his parents went out and bought him a set of drums and had him in lessons. They had the money, where as a couple of us others grew up on the other side of the tracks. Our only hope was that Santa would come through.
Unfortunately my plan of waking up early was derailed by my inability to go to sleep. If I remember correctly, I was the last one to wake up. I still walked into the living room to where my V shaped guitar was waiting. I walked into the room slowly, stopping to peak around the corner to get a glimpse of this thing that was going to make all my dreams come true.
I couldn't see it. What was going on, I thought. My brothers and sister were all seated next to their presents, and the only pile left did not have a guitar in it. I came out from the corner and walked to my pile and stood there, staring in disbelief. Santa had done me wrong. I was as good as I could be the last three months before Christmas and he still failed me. I can't remember if I cried or not, likely I did. All my dreams went away in an instant. Seeing my disappointment, my parents asked me what was wrong, and I cried about not getting a guitar. They didn't say much and insisted I could buy the thing once I got a paper route. That would have taken a whole year to save up that kind of money.
It makes me sad to think about it now. Everything I had hoped for went down the drain. The thought of not playing in a band flooded my thoughts and my emotions didn't stop pouring out. I know it sounds ungrateful for being this emotional over not getting something, but I was in the third grade. It was my dream, and I knew my band mates would move on without me.
The day school was back in session, I walked into class with my head down. I met with the rest of the band and told them I was unable to get a guitar, and likely wouldn't have one for a while. Much to my surprise, Chris R and Jeff didn't have their piece as well. Chris R continued to get crap because all he needed was a mic. Jeff was now backing out of the band all together. The EELS were on the verge of falling apart before we even got started. This couldn't happen, I wouldn't let it happen.
I proceeded to beg my parents every night for a guitar for what seemed like a month. After so much pleading, I realized my dream of being in a band would not come true, or would have to at least wait a few years. I informed my other mates, and James and Chris B were disappointed. Chris R had still not gotten his mic.
With our hope dwindling, Chris R and I decided to write some more songs. Chris R had found this company out in Los Angeles that was looking for songs. We mailed everything we had, failing to maintain a copy for ourselves. Weeks went by until I finally got a letter in the mail stating they wanted to record the previous listed songs, but would need a down payment of around $300. Of course I didn't have this money and when I asked my parents for it, the letter was dismissed as a scam.
It probably was a scam, but just let a little boy dream. So much disappointment, so much regret for a little third grade boy. Eventually the ELECTRIC EELS broke up, but we all remained friends. Years would pass and James and I often talk of what could have been with the EELS.
I texted James recently and told him I was going to write a blog about the EELS. His response was, "I still have that same bass and still can't play it. I bet Chris R still hasn't gone out and bought that microphone yet." James was probably the most disappointed out of us all. He was also a die hard metal fan and had dreams of really rocking it. Santa ruined so many lives that Christmas Day.
Years have gone by and I continue to want that guitar, but unable to pull the trigger on the purchase. Maybe I'm afraid of what might have been, or maybe I'm afraid of never being able to play it. The latter the most likely due to the dominance of the right side of my brain. I can't comprehend how people can place their fingers while strumming with the other hand. I try and my brain tells me to stop thinking about my left hand and focus on the right. Same way with the piano. If a song only required the use of one hand, I would be good to go. Unfortunately, my piano playing has only resulted in mastering one handed Christmas songs.
It's kind of ironic, Santa ruined my life, but yet the only songs I can play are Christmas songs.