Textbook Criminals. Part 6

A couple of says get glossed over, and then it's practice time!

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The band meeting really wasn't worth writing home about. Ric got a bit more abuse, a list of songs was agreed upon that they would learn that night (or at least, try to) and then they ate their lunches. They also wrote up a set of rules about which songs they would play in future.

1. It had to be from a band they all liked (which wrote off a lot of them) 2. It had to be fairly easy for everyone (especially Brad) 3. If Ric suggested it, and no one else knew the song, they wouldn't play it.

Ric figured this was fair. After all, he couldn't sing half the songs he liked.

In the evening, after dinner, John sat in the box room, strumming his guitar. Things in the band had gone pretty quickly, and it had helped keep his mind off his recently being dumped. Sometimes Ric was a complete idiot, but he could accidentally make someone feel better.

John started messing around in a minor pentatonic scale to get himself warmed up. He played slowly and smoothly, making sure not to screw up too badly. His black Jackson was truly a beautiful sight to behold, all black and pointy. He'd worked hard to get it, and it was certainly an improvement over the crappy acoustic he'd started out on.

When he finished with the warm-up, he went into the bands first song, Fell In Love With a Girl. It was a simple song made up entirely of power chords, and he played it loud and hard as he slid from B5 to A5, down the neck to D5 and back up to finish on an F5. He played this a few times, then moved into the second verse, before stopping abruptly as the White Stripes intended. They had chosen the song purely based on its simplicity, as they were all fairly amateur at playing music. John was probably the most experienced of them all, though only by a few months. He repeated the song a few more times, then took a break to go on the computer.

Unsurprisingly, Ric was online. John sighed, and decided to talk to him.

Hey.

Miles away in the middle of nowhere, Ric wasn't paying attention to the computer. He was listening to loud music and playing a video game. It could be said that he was practicing his singing, but that implies he'd consciously started singing along with the music.

John waited a few minutes and gave up. He'd reply eventually.

*

Wednesday came and went without much going on. John and his ex-girlfriend still weren't talking, so he'd been trying to avoid her as much as possible. Sadly, this meant more time hanging around with Ric, whose tendency to be nerdy and irritating was currently in full swing due to his excitement about Thursday. Brad didn't spend much time with them, choosing instead to hang around with friends from elsewhere, but he sat with them at lunch and they talked about their progress on learning the songs. The general consensus of opinion was that the songs were easy, but no one could really be bothered to learn them. However, there was always that night. How hard could it be?

*

Hello

It was Thursday, at last, and the band was congregating in the schools main music room. While the rest of the schools facilities were old and breaking, the music department had constant large streams of money flowing into it, and as such was actually quite a nice place. It also came with a drum kit, which was particularly handy for Brad, who was happily slamming it with his sticks.

Hang on John, play some notes while Brad slams on the drums a bit.

John, who'd just finished screwing around with his amp, played a chord. Brad started banging out a beat, and John strummed along. The noise was huge. Neither John nor Ric had been in the close vicinity of an acoustic kit before, and so weren't quite adjusted to the huge volume it produced. John turned up the volume accordingly, and carried on strumming to check he could be heard. Ric spoke into the microphone, but what he said was lost. He turned up the volume some more.

Ok, that should do it. Can everyone stop for a second?

No one listened. By this point, it seemed John and Brad had started jamming, Brad playing a simple rhythm and John soloing randomly, and with little confidence in his abilities. If John had one problem, it would be his lack of confidence. He was a pretty good player, but didn't believe in himself, and so his improvisation sounded pretty uninspiring.

Ric tried again.

OI. SHUT UP.

John stopped, and Brad steadily came to a halt. Brad loved playing the drums. If he had the stamina, he'd play forever. He showed this by randomly playing fills while Ric was trying to talk.

Thanks. Now then- a drum fill crashed over him, how are we on the song front?

John stared down at his guitar. Brad played another fill, smashing as loudly as possible. John looked back up and shouted across to Ric.

I learned Fell In Love With a Girl.

Ric looked at Brad, who was now hammering on the bass pedal. Brad shrugged in a manner that suggested he hadn't bothered to learn anything, and then went into another fill. Ric looked mildly annoyed. John tried to rectify the situation.

Be fair, it's only a White Stripes song. The drums aren't exactly hard. And I'm fairly certain Brad's more qualified to play than Meg.

Ric laughed. I like the White Stripes!

Brad stopped. His ears were ringing from the crash cymbal, and he was getting tired already.

Do either of you actually know the drums to the song?

John looked at Ric, who appeared to be thinking. Back in the days when his parents were trying to mould him to become more than just the garden-variety nerd, Ric had taken a couple of drumming lessons before ultimately quitting. He walked over to Brad and stuck out his hand.

Gimmie your sticks for a sec.

Brad responded by slamming the stick into Ric's hand as hard as he could. Ric recoiled in pain, and John started laughing. Ric joined in the laughter, and so did Brad. After a minute, Brad made a clever observation.

There's probably some other drumsticks kicking around in here anyway. There's no way in hell I'm lending you these.

Ric looked around and, lo and behold, there were two sticks lying on the floor. He picked them up, and Brad moved out of his seat. Ric closed his eyes for a second, and then told John to start playing. John started up, and Ric waited for his time to jump in. Brad watched as Ric played the rhythm, struggling slightly to keep in time with John. Then he had a go.

The instrumentalists ran through it a few times, and Ric joined in with the singing. The song went smoothly, except for times where a gap was missed or lyrics were forgotten. They went through the song again, and then another time, and some how they were picking it up quickly. After the third time, Ric refused to sing. His throat hurt, and he could see that everyone else was getting tired. He sat down and took a breath.

Well, it seems we may have some talent after all.

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