The excitement of auditioning for a rock band
| The sheets of lyrics amplified the trembling in my hands. I knew these songs, inside and out. Been singing them since they came out over twenty years ago, but nerves necessitated bringing the lyrics. In the cramped practice studio, the drummer, and leader of the Grunge cover band, mounted his cymbals. To my left, a Marshall amp roared as the guitarist strummed to confirm his tuning. To my right, an empty spot, as the bassist was a no-show. I wanted to start with "Would" by Alice in Chains, but would the bass-driven song sound the same? Would I miss my parts? Anxiety raised the hairs on my arm.
"We good?" The guitarist asked, both he and the drummer looked at me expectantly.
I stepped to the microphone and replied, "Let's do it," so that I could check the sound level. Determination hit me hard, I dropped the lyrics on the chair behind me, took the microphone in my hand, and nodded to the guitarist. Just an audition. This is what I want, right? If I want it as bad as I feel I do, then fear is not allowed to interfere.
The rhythm guitar kicked in, so recognizable in its riff. A deep breath washed calm over me, the microphone comfortable in my light grip. I let the percussion pound its rhythm into my bones, a slight rock to my shoulders rippling down through my hips. Coming in with the first verse, the nerves vanished completely, my voice blended with the instruments and it felt so right. The chorus approached, I could feel the rush of my heart pounding in my chest with excitement, the confidence that I would nail it.
And it happened. Growling the graveled howl into the first crescendo, previously unknown reserves of adrenaline flooded every inch of my body. The microphone became mine. In the corner of my vision, the guitarist doubled-down on an intense grimace, plowing into his strings, an unconscious "Yeah" mouthed as he watched me. Then he and the drummer disappeared. The room faded away. I could only hear and feel the music, lost in the vocal expression of each word. I know my eyes made their own journey around the space, but no longer saw or registered my surroundings.
With the final dramatic ending of the song, the adrenaline rush consumed me and an uncontrolled shout of excitement burst forth. My legs and hands trembled once again, now filled with happiness and satisfaction. My own questions and doubts were quenched in that moment. Singing was what I needed to do, what I have always needed to do.
The audition continued for another hour, dabbling in Guns N Roses, Stone Temple Pilots, and Nirvana. Unabated joy gripped me throughout. At the end of our time, both men shook my hand, thanked me for the audition and said they would get back to me. In the end, they liked the vocals, but were looking for someone with more experience in fronting a band. So be it. That was an objection I could not overcome. Still, the passion and drive within had received their taste, the hunger unappeased.
It took almost three hours to come down from the natural high and adrenaline rush. My decision was made, the love for music was now a dream I would pursue. Not for money, not for fame, but solely for the love of doing what makes me feel good. I have been singing since I can remember, a four-year-old trying to navigate the harmonies of the Oak Ridge Boys. Yet the fear of failure and rejection always barred my leap, crippled any effort I might put forth. I do not care anymore. I do not care if I fail, I do not care if others reject my efforts or do not find my musical pursuits pleasing. I am embracing the freedom from the chains of social acceptance and doing what I love.