I left him to work on it for a few days, before I took what he’d produced and toddled along to my next audition, just knowing I was going to blow their socks off! Didn’t have a clue whether it was any good, it was a whole load of notes on music paper, we hadn’t had time to rehearse it. What could possibly go wrong?
I’ve just remembered about another notable audition I did during that period. It was at the famous Pineapple Dance Studios in London. A label or management company or someone was trying to create a pop duo to rival a popular act at the time called Dollar. They had already found the girl singer so were looking for the boy.
I’d had some head shots taken by a photographer down the road and was looking pretty cool in them. That’s probably why they asked me along. I wish I still had some of those photos, but I sent them all out in the post with my demo tape.
The audition was just like a factory production line; loads of likely lads queued up outside the audition room, being shepherded in one at a time. They gave me a tape of the song, yes their ‘hit’ song was already written, and I had about 10-15 minutes to learn it.
There I go into the audition room. I say audition room, but it was a dance studio. Picture if you will a typical dance room; wooden floor boards, floor to ceiling mirrors at one end, and ballet hands rails on the walls. There was a piano in the centre of the room. Did I mention that the room was full of ‘music mogul’ types?
The pianist starts ‘striking up the band’ and I am on point. I was singing well and killing the tune. So they decided to take things up a level and bring out the girl. Out came this vision, dressed like Madonna in that film Desperately Seeking Susan. Man she was hot!
I was trying to play it cool. The pianist starts playing again. I start singing; I’ve got this! Then all of a sudden she starts to sing along with me, in harmony! Well that completely threw me. I’d never sang a duet with anyone before, plus I wasn’t expecting it. I crashed and burned! It was one of those classic “I’ll get my coat” moments. So I did and I left.
OK, so let’s get back on plot. I have my own song and an unrehearsed piano score. What could go wrong right?
Well quite a lot actually. At these auditions you had a very limited time to impress; no second chances. I handed my music to the pianist. He looks at the paper, he looks at me, he looks at the paper again. Then he gives me one of those “Are you sure about this mate?” looks. I guess things were going to go badly. They did!
By now you’re probably wondering why I’m telling you this story. I mean, it’s hardly one of my successes is it? Believe me, this was a very pivotal moment in my music career.
The audition was bad, the song simply didn’t work. However, the guy running the auditions pulls me over and says: “Have you ever thought about accompanying yourself? All you have to do is get a guitar and learn a few chords!“
Eureka!!! Can you hear all those bells that were ringing in my head! I had a new mission.
Now remember, I’m pretty broke, big mortgage, no furniture right?
I knew nothing about guitars then, but went trawling through all the local second hand shops trying to find myself one. I eventually came across a pretty beat up acoustic guitar that was within my budget. I didn’t realise at the time, but there was a good reason that guitar was languishing unloved in that shop and priced as cheap as chips.
Basically it was shot! The frets on the neck were so worn down you needed super human finger strength to hold down a chord. Barre chords, you can forget it. However, I didn’t know this. I thought all guitars were like that.
My next stop was to WHSmith to buy myself a book on how to play the guitar. I eventually decided upon a paperback book called Guitar by Dan Morgan.
“The book which teaches you everything you want to know about playing the guitar (illustrated) New, revised edition”
I hoped that Dan was better at teaching guitar than he was at English grammar.
The book cost 60p ($1.75). Don’t be shocked, things were cheaper then (and the exchange rate was better). We’re talking about the old days remember.
I read, I learned, I played, and my fingers bled.
But would bleeding for my art really be worth it?