Yesterday I went to Apple Rehearsal Studios to play some tunes by a local group that was looking for a guitar player. Did it go well? Well, let's just say I'm going back next week, so the answer on that is yes. 🙂
A few things happened that were really cool.
First, it has literally been 17 years (when I was 17 years old) since I've played with anybody that is on my level. Yes, I know that sounds.. well.. pretentious, but the deal is that these guys are studio rats like I am, and that's not a bad thing. They know timing. They know what a metronome is. They know chords, phrasing, groove, etc.
Second (and this is definitely the coolest part,) I actually found a groove when playing with these guys. And that never happens. Whenever I play guitar outside of my lil' studio I have, I can never get out of what I call the "stiff" phase. What happens is that my fingers feel raw, the strings bite against my hands, the sound just isn't there, and so on. After about an hour of playing with these guys, I got loose. The neck felt right. The strings softened up. The sound was there.
I'll repeat: This never happens. I never get comfortable playing outside of my controlled environment. But this time I did - and I know why. It's because these guys knew their songs, and they are composed in such a way where it invites guitar rather than repels it. It is very difficult to describe in words what that means, so.. you'll just have to take my word for it. 🙂
I'm not going to say I felt elated, but rather comfortable - which is more important. The set just worked, and as a credit to the unit, we were able to hash out a few of the tunes with absolutely no backing tracks and play as a real band on first meet-up. And that's something that never happens either because it usually takes playing together at least 5 or 6 times before anything good happens.
Oh, and also I got to hit a local sports bar with these guys afterward. The place was dead but that was okay because the conversation was good, the chicks working there were hot and I didn't feel alienated at all. Social digs like that are a huge plus.
This is the third set of guys I've jammed with since moving to Florida. They say the third time's a charm and yeah, I'm very happy with the way things turned out.