Friday, August 12, 2011

I Didn't Plan to be a Groupie

I didn’t plan to be a groupie, it just worked out that way.

But seeds were planted along the way even though I didn’t recognize them.

I like music, and after high school my sisters, friends, and I would go out to hear local bands, or go to clubs to dance. I never chased after any of the musicians in the bands we listened to, and never aspired to be a groupie.

What I knew about being a groupie came from Kate Hudson as Penny Lane in Almost Famous. I still didn’t plan to be a groupie, and my then-fiance/now-husband Ray wasn’t playing music in 2000 when the movie came out. He had played in bands from the time he was 17 until he was in his late thirties, and he knew some of the local Vero Beach musicians.

We would go out to hear Smoking Man and Elegant Mess, and sometimes when they mixed their lineups, Smoking Mess. We got to be friends with them (alright, he was already friends with them, I got to know them and be friends with them). When Smoking Man and Elegant Mess broke up, two members from each band got together and formed 4 Steps Closer. The two singers and the lead guitar player sang and played at our wedding.

And life intervened. 4 Steps Closer went on hiatus; I don’t think they ever formally broke up. My husband and I co-chair two annual fundraisers for the ARC of Indian River County, one of which is a music show.

ARC-a-palooza was born in 2006. As part of the lineup, Ray asked Sheldon and John from 4 Steps Closer if they would like to play one set as a three-piece band. Rehearsals started in October for the April show. I suggested the band name One Night Stand, since they were only going to play one night.

Three years ago One Night Stand added Dave Ulrich, and he suggested they start playing out. One Night Stand no longer applied, and the band name was changed to Crooked Creek Band. They play a mix of rock and new country (Keith Urban, Zac Brown Band, Jason Aldean, hometown boy Jake Owen, Tim McGraw).

My job as a band wife is to be a groupie. I go to most of the shows in public venues (Earl’s Hideaway in Sebastian, Long Branch Saloon in Vero Beach), and some of the private parties. I cheer, I clap, I dance, I talk about the band to anyone with questions. I take pictures of people standing in front of the band with their cameras. I am my husband’s best groupie. It’s fun “being with the band,” and brings a different element to my quiet life as a bookkeeper and writer. 

I like the biker crowd when the band plays at Earl's on a Saturday afternoon (next show date September 3, if you're interested!). I like the country crowd  and the line dancers at the Long Branch Saloon (next show dates August 25-27). People like to hear good music, get up and dance, and enjoy the show. 

I'm lucky that in addition to enjoying a band, I got the chance to be a groupie. It's a good gig if you can get it.

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