How often do you get to meet someone in your line of work that you admire? I’m a fairly strange musician in that I really don’t have any heroes. Once I really learned to play and had other people that looked up to my playing I sorta dropped that whole hero mentality. That’s not to say that I don’t have other musicians that I certainly respect and admire. Hell there’s been quite a few that I’ve mentioned here on the blog in the past 11 months. Damn it’s almost been an entire year. I wonder what I’ll do for the one year anniversary? That won’t be long, I’ll have to put some thought into it.
Yet here we are again on a Fallen Friday. It’s a band that truly should have been able to break through to the big time. Imperial Drag consisted of a couple of members from the then defunct Jellyfish. In case you haven’t read every post up to this date – I’m a huge fan of Jellyfish. I really wish I could have been around to see them live. I was still learning to play. The same can be said for Imperial Drag. Getting back to my original point of meeting people you admire in your line of work.
When I did my first solo album I started playing some gigs around Los Angeles to put a band together and get the members working together so that I could get it on the road. One of the first gigs I did was at The Gig in Hollywood. It’s a fairly cush place. Like a lot of Hollywood venues though they book too many bands in a night. Which is a very mixed blessing. For the most part it’s horrendous on an audience. Especially when they mix and match music by what seems to be tossing darts at a dart board of music genres. A metal band could be followed by a Singer/Songwriter by an Emo band and so on.
One this particular gig at The Gig (I played a bunch there) I was back stage about to load in for sound check when Eric Dover walks by me coming from the stage. I did a double take and then said “hey you’re Eric Dover.” He responded by saying yeah. I let him know that I was a fan of his. You see there was an interview at one point that I read on him about the Jellyfish days where he said he’d go home crying because they were so tough on him. But hell, he lived through it and to me he’s one of the best showmen I’ve ever seen. A true rock star. Anyway, he was very cool about me talking to him. It turned out his band was also on the bill. I was excited cause that meant I got to see him play.
After that brief encounter my guys loaded onto the stage and we did our soundcheck. One of the interesting things about that was the soundman. He checked the whole band starting with the drums, then the bass, then the samples, then the vocals. The last thing he checked was the guitars. As Chris Hellstrom and I were playing through something the soundguy was there scratching his head. He spoke up and said “You know, I’ve never said this before in my life… but both you guitar players can turn up.” Meaning that our amps were aparently not loud enough for his normal taste. See the irony of that situation is that most of the time (maybe 99%) the guitarist is almost always the one that is way too loud. However, I’m a strong proponent of letting the PA doing the work and I know that very few people give a shit about the guitar in comparison to the song and the vocals.
What I failed to mention is that Eric sat in the room while we were doing our soundcheck. Once we got done, Eric came over to me and started asking me all kinds of questions about my gear. Here’s this guy that was in two of the best pop rock acts in the past 10 to 15 years, who also fronted Slash’s Snake Pit and he’s at some Hollywood hole in the wall asking someone else about their gear. Of course I was over the moon about it. The guitar he was curious about was my Joe’s Guitar (Whitesides Viper 7). He’d never heard of Joe’s Guitars and had also never played a 7 string. So I guess that gave me instant cred in his book. He was also curious about my amp, which is the Groove Tubes Trio into a GT Soul-O 150 head.
We sat there chatting about gear and such, when he suddenly tells me he really liked the vibe of the music he heard during soundcheck. I could have fallen over at that comment. I gave him a copy of my demo and put all my contact info on it. He had mentioned he would consider doing some writing with me. Shit, I could have crapped my pants right there. I didn’t, but I could have. What a thrill it would have been. I was too stupid – I didn’t get his number. I never did hear from Eric. Oh well.
Either way I’m still pleased I got to meet a musician that I totally respected from a distance. Imperial Drag only released one CD. Today’s link is actually the only digital thing they have on iTunes. If you can find the CD in stores I strongly suggest that you snap it up. There are also about an additional 20 songs they did that didn’t make it to an album. Most of them are traded on websites or via ID fans. I have about 10 of those 20 songs, however there’s still about 10 more that I haven’t yet found. At some point I hope to bump back into Eric and maybe I can bug him about getting them to the digital services.
The band members have gone on to do their own projects and interestingly enough I did end up meeting Roger Manning one night as he’s endorsed by Native Instruments as I am. Hmmm… I know I’m going to be looking to outside musicians when I finally record my next CD. I think I’ll have to get a line on Roger for doing some keyboard stuff, I’ll have to make mental note of that.
I’ve said it once before but bares repeating, do yourself a favor and hunt down everything that Imperial Drag has done. It’s just damn good music.