Take 5

BY: JARED ZANGHI

“Do you want to do that one more time?”

We’re two hours into practice. My fingers hurt. My back hurts. I’m hungry. No I don’t want to do that one more time.

“Sure, dude,” I say and the other band members nod their approval and begin to take the song from the top. Again.

We finish the song and I pick up my phone and play back what we just performed. When the recording ends we look at each other wondering if our lead singer, Ted, is satisfied. He runs his hands through his hair and thinks for a second.

“Maybe you should play that in G instead.”

Dude, I don’t even know what the fuck G is. “You sure? I think right now is fine.”

“Just try G. We’ll nail it this time. Make sure you record it again.”

“Maybe we should take 5 first,” I say looking at my other band members for support.

“After this one,” our drummer, Matt, says. “We should prolly get this.”

Band of brothers, dude. You should rent it sometime. That pissed me off. I set everything up for one more recording. This needs to be the last one. I tell everyone to get ready and I hit record. I walk back to my position next to my amp as Ted starts the song off. My fingers don’t sting but they’re certainly telling me I should stop as I slide them to the E string on my bass. “Just one more,” I tell myself as I join in with everyone.

A few minutes later and the song is wrapped up. I don’t think it was a good take but it’s hard to care when you’re this drained.

“Okay, that was pretty good. Yo, right before the chorus though, can you do hit the crash instead of the hi-hat? Also, John, during the bridge I think you jumped into the chorus early there. Wanna do it again?”

“Nah, we should take 5,” John says. “I got to go soon anyway.”

“Take 5,” I agree. Finally.

My head hurts. I’m exhausted. I feel like I need to lie down for at least two hours or else I’m going to be in a bad mood the rest of the night. I mean, I already am but I’m not at the point of lashing out at anyone. John and Matt are their usual selves, but I can tell Ted is starting to get where I am. I’ve known him for years and I know how he can be when he’s annoyed.  He probably has a headache too. He probably isn’t satisfied with the end of practice either. We’re all shooting the shit and talking about nothing in particular in the kitchen as we all eat and try to recapture our energy. My energy is focused entirely on not snapping at anybody.

“Am I rattling ya, bro??” Ted says to me at one point after a mildly-insulting joke I did not laugh at because my brain is dead.

“Nah, bro,” I say feigning a smile. “I’m just too dead to respond.” But in my mind I was saying “I could literally rip your head off right now.”

Eventually we go our separate ways for the night. John has to see his girlfriend, Matt has a party to go to, and Ted and I both need to decompose. Another practice in the books.

There is always a certain sadness that comes with the end of a long and hectic day. Comedowns like this always hit me hard and my mood begins to worsen. Hopelessness is a truly terrible feeling that loves to attack when you feel stuck. I love my bandmates. I love playing music. I can’t stand not going anywhere though. I can’t stand being in a basement for a couple hours and feeling like we’ve accomplished nothing. How many times can we do this before it’s just a waste of time? Fuck, I took the whole weekend off to do this.

“God dammit!” I yell at myself and begin searching for a distraction to shake this driving misery.

It’s much later when I finally go and listen to the recordings. I’m the one who sends everything out to everyone, but I’m not sending it out if it’s garbage. With headphones on, I press play and as soon as the chorus hits everything else evaporates and I feel it. A rush of energy sweeps over me. This is why I do this. “You guys are going to love this,” I text to everyone. I make sure to play each song again to make sure I don’t miss anything. Son of a bitch, Ted was right again.  My smile is ear to ear as I send the files over.

Anger, frustration, doubt. It’s all gone. We are the best fucking band in the world.

I wish there was another practice tomorrow.