It wasn't too hard a decision, but I thought the tale might elicit some sighs of recognition from TB. I haven't played in a band since 1993. In the interim, I played one gig with a punk band, and jammed for about three minutes with another. Literally three minutes, it was during their rehearsal, and I sat in while the real bassist went for a beer and a piss. That was seven years ago. I started getting the itch again about a year ago, and got a rig together. My Traynor Mono Block B / G-K Backline 410 and brand new Squier VM TB answered an ad for a 70's album rock band. My kinda stuff. Emails were exchanged, a set of songs was offered up for me to learn, and a date set. The material didn't exactly set me on fire (Born To Be Wild, Paranoid, Tush, et cetera), but since this was a brand-new group, I thought perhaps these were the building block songs. You know, the ones that everyone calls when feeling each other out for vibe. Besides, there was some Zeppelin in the list that I'd never learned because JPJ intimidates me. So I happily got to woodshedding. Got to the first rehearsal and after introductions and caveats all around concerning how rusty we all were, we started into "Tush". Bad juju immediately. The drummer's shuffle was like the intro to "We Will Rock You". Zero groove. "Paranoid" didn't go so bad. Drummer (who is also the founder/leader) asks for a count-in to "Good Times, Bad Times", which I found really odd for obvious reasons. All the same, I was happy just to be playing with other people again, and it was going okay. What's more, I found out in a hurry that I'm still fairly good. Really, it was like riding a bike, much to my surprise and delight. Then the first "incident" happened. One of the songs on the list is "Day Tripper". Great, I like that song just fine. But the rest of the list was pretty firmly in a harder-rocking way, leaving the Fab Four sticking out like a sore thumb. Have you considered, I asked the drummer, Cheap Trick's arrangement of the song to bring it in line thematically with the rest of the material? Let me tell you friends, the guy freaked OUT. BAD. Just completely lost his ****. I hadn't even known him an hour at this point. Once he settled down, he explained that in his three previous outfits, he'd been pushing for a Beatles arrangement of a Beatles song, and was stonewalled every time. Fair enough. We'll find other material to segue into and out of that one. Talking later about the things we all liked, the guitarist brought up The Police, and asked what I thought of "Message In A Bottle". Drummer snarks that he doesn't know why we're even discussing this again, as he's already refused to play it, claiming he simply cannot play ska. Somehow, I believe him. Nevertheless, that's two freak-outs inside of two hours. I shoulda known (and prob'ly did) right then. It doesn't get any better when he reveals he's never heard of Uriah Heep and doesn't know the Allmans' "One Way Out". Next rehearsal, I ask around to see what everyone thought of our repertoire. Were we passionate about this stuff, or were they the building blocks I'd assumed? Drummer gets pissy. I let it go. He mentions "Day Tripper", and I say that it's important to him, so we're doing it. He seems genuinely moved. We all start talking about Beatles songs, and I mention that I love Beatles songs so much, that I even love the Sgt. Pepper's movie. I also admit to flat-out loving the Bee Gees. "Bee Gees? They did that one great record, right? Animal Noises?" Sigh. No, that's Beach Boys. Pet Sounds. The new songs for the week go with some trouble, and it turns out that drummer doesn't have the records. He watches performances on YouTube, then goes downstairs and plays what he remembers. I'd made reference CDs for everyone with the first nine songs of our set on them. After rehearsal is over, I'm talking about the next reference CD, and what would everyone like to try out? Drummer stews for a while, then explodes that we're gonna play the 15 songs he picked out. Period. "I started this band so that…" Oh snap. He went there. He played the 'it's MY band' card. I calmly explain that nobody's trying to preempt him, but of the 15, there's only 6 left. It doesn't surprise me that such simple arithmetic eludes him, as he's increasingly having trouble counting to four. At any rate, six songs is a waste of a CD, we've already learned nine, and I'm looking into next month. I don't wanna be caught flat-footed and stagnate for a month. Everyone joins in in salving his bruised ego. As I'm packing up, he apologizes but stands firm. If we don't pick a set and stick to it, we'll never leave the basement, he claims. Which is true, but not the point I was making. He tells me how good we have it, that his brother has to play "867-5309" every night, and what a drag that is. Thing is, I LOVE that song, so… try again. In the car home, I decide I've attended my last rehearsal with this guy. I'm bummed because the guitarist and I are on the same page, and of a similar skill and situation in that we both have careers. We aren't looking for this to be a part-time job, we're looking to have a ball. True to my word, I make the reference CDs for everyone, and head off to this week's get-together. I tell the guitarist what's up when he notices I'm sans bass. He understands, and respects my decision. Drummer, however… At first he's all calm about it, like he gets it. As the seconds tick away, however, he gets increasingly (and visibly) upset. "You woulda had your pick of songs eventually!" Not the point, bro. I'd given it some thought, and he's right. He DID start the band. And he has every right to pursue his muse without me peeing in his Wheaties over what I feel is a boring set. I tell him so, and wish him luck. "Really, I'd just be getting in your way. We have very different ideas about band identity, and I should step aside rather than waste your time." He asks what I'd be playing were it up to me. I tell him that I have a taste for slightly more obscure material. Hits, but lesser-known ones. At this point, he just gets snotty. "Oh, so material that the audience won't have a clue about 70% of the time? Yeah, that's cool." Right about here, guitarist kindly intervenes and asks if I need help with my rig. Drummer pointedly does not offer to help. As I'm leaving, my last sight of him is one where he's pacing, visibly shaking with rage. So, I know I can still play. That's good. And I found out that even in my 30s, there's band drama. Not so good. Either way, I've got new confidence going forward, looking for cats who see it my way.