Thursday, April 8, 2010

I Need a Little Backup

There are two kinds of people in the world: those who perform as part of a group and those who fly solo.

As a family of six, we are definitely a group act, but I've recently come to the conclusion that I'm lacking something in my life, and I've decided what I need is … backup singers.

Think about it: what mom couldn't use backup singers? Instead of repeating myself 237 times a day, I'd just have to sing the chorus through a couple of times and my backup singers would pick up the slack.

Me: "It's 5:30, baby. Turn off the screens and do your homework."

My backup singers: "Do your homework, do your homework, yeah, do your homework now."

Me: "It's bedtime, honey. Put your jammies on, brush your teeth and get into bed."

My backup singers: "Get to bed, get to bed, yeah, get to bed now."

Brilliant, right? And I'm not the only writer to think along these lines. Turns out some pretty famous authors have formed a nearly infamous rock group known as the Rock Bottom Remainders. Current members include: Mitch Albom on keyboards, Dave Barry on lead guitar, Roy Blount Jr., Greg Iles on lead guitar, Kathi Kamen Goldmark on vocals, Stephen King on rhythm guitar, Matt Groening on cowbell, James McBride on sax, Amy Tan on vocals, Ridley Pearson on bass, and Scott Turow on vocals.

I thought of joining up with the Rock Bottom Remainders, who are performing their Wordstock Tour this month in DC, Philly, NY and Boston. Lest you think this is a bit of a leap, given my not-quite-published status, it turns out I have an in. Scott Turow's mom, the lovely Rita Turow, is a long-time member of the Off Campus Writers' Workshop, the very writers' group of which I am a member of the board. One phone call to Rita, and I'd be a shoe-in to join the group.

But, on further reflection (given my not-quite-published status), I thought the group might relegate want me to sing backup, and that simply does not fit in with my plans. No, I want to be a best-selling author and have my very own band with my very own backup singers. Not that I can actually sing, or anything, but one step at a time.

And I have already taken the first step. According to the Wall Street Journal, one of the biggest startup problems new bands face is coming up with a good name. As John Jergensen wrote in "From ABBA to ZZ Top, All the Good Band Names are Taken," it turns out that once again, the Internet is to blame. "The last decade's digital revolution not only transformed the way people listen to music, it changed the way bands establish identities," wrote Jergensen. Facebook, MySpace and other social networking sites have given once local-only garage bands international visibility. And they are willing to sue if you encroach on their names.

Luckily for me, a quick Google search confirmed that there is, as of yet, no band with the name "Two Kinds of People." And if I want to go edgier, I can always use 2KoP. So Step 1: pick a cool name for the band. Check. If you're still struggling with Step 1 in creating your own band, you'll be happy to know that there are all kinds of band name generators available online.

Now it seems that all I have to do to get my own band is to become a famous author. I'm still working on that. In the meantime, if you are interested in becoming one of my backup singers, you might want to check out this wikihow article on How to be a Backup Singer.

Have your own band stories, glories or fantasies? Please do share by clicking here. Then sit back and enjoy this musical interlude from the Rock Bottom Remainders:

Photo credit: Mics by Matt Gibson via Creative Commons.


Jim said...

Hey, Sus. I can add some vocal rhythm accompaniment:

WaHa, WaHa, WaHa, ...

Girl on a Hill said...

Oh, Susan, I've fantasized about having a band since I was a kid, listening to my mom's AM radio. I'd be lead singer and guitarist, the back-up singers would be reliable and not too loud. The crowd would be adoring. Hey, it may still happen...I've got a boyfriend in the music business. And you never know, Susan, if the singing doesn't work out, you could always learn to play a heck of a tambourine!

Susan Bearman said...

Jim Bob — a big WaaaHaaa right back at ya!

Ardis — I had no idea. I can totally see you as the lead singer of a band. You'd be hot! Do you actually sing, or just date people in the music business?

Unknown said...

Love those Rock Bottomers! Family can be band! Remember the Partridge family! Nothing like that in our family though - bad singers and no one played an instrument!