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Chapter 47: Taking Care of Business
True to his word, Russell helped Avant Groove put together a demo.
First, he stepped up promotions of each of Avant Groove’s gigs, advertised shows in local newspapers, handed out flyers to the next show at each performance and started making in roads to different clubs and venues the band hadn’t been to or meant to get to. The exposure and putting the word out, increased attendance at Avant Groove’s shows and consequently, fattened the groups’ pockets. They also started playing at larger venues and gained a dedicated following. The coup de grace was the studio time, a week’s worth of it, Russell secured through an old friend who just opened up a recording studio in Crestwood. He wanted to make press kits to send out along with a CD to whet the listener’s appetite and increase interest in booking Avant Groove.
The band rehearsed ten songs for inclusion on the demo, so when they reported to their first recording session, they were ready.
The band arrived at WorldWide Trax recording studio on Cicero Avenue. It was an unassuming brick edifice of white and beige that looked like just another small business that lined the street. The reception area was well appointed with smart looking and comfortable furniture, real plants and a friendly and helpful associate behind the desk.
Terry sat down and the rest of the band followed suit. There were pictures on the wall of a portly, light-skinned man with wavy, salt and pepper hair an infectious smile and the look of intelligence and wisdom about him, posing with different musical groups, some of whom Terry knew and some he didn’t. A moment later, the man in the pictures came out of the doors leading to the studios in back. Russell got up and gave him a hug and introduced him to everyone.
“This is Jerry Riser.” Russell said. “He’s gonna be the engineer for your sessions.”
“Hey, guys.” Jerry began. “I just want to lay down a few guidelines: I’m here to help you get the best sound you can for your demo. To do that, I need you guys to designate one person to give me feedback and ideas, listen to me when I do make suggestions and don’t forget that even though we’re working, not to forget to have fun.”
Everyone agreed with those conditions and while the rest of the band got their equipment into the studio proper, Terry, who was voted in as spokesperson, told Riser about their sound and what they wanted from their demo. Once everything was settled, Terry joined the rest of Avant Grove in the booth and Riser asked them to warm up with an instrumental jam.
“Let’s go with ‘Groove’s Theory’,” Terry suggested.
“Cool,” Eric responded. “You got it, Dom?”
“I know it.” Terry counted off the beat and the band flowed into the song.
Terry noticed the look of astonishment on Riser’s face and Russell’s look of pride as they played. Terry grinned and went back to concentrating on the song, which clocked in at ten minutes when they finished.
“All right.” Riser said over the loudspeaker. “What we’re gonna do is have you record all your tracks live and have Dom do overdubs if she needs to. I get the feeling it won’t take long for you guys to record.”
Terry and Groove nodded and looked at each other. A smiled broke out on both of their faces and spread to the rest of the group. They realized they were one step closer to making their dreams come true and were definitely ready to, just like Mariah Carey sang, make it happen.
“I don’t believe it.” Riser said as he shook his head.
“Believe it.” Terry said. “This is what we do.”
Riser was accustomed to groups laying down tracks for songs over a period of weeks, essentially cutting and pasting and moving parts and sounds around until the desired sound was attained. He wasn’t prepared for Avant Groove’s ability to play for hours and do flawless first takes of every song they recorded with little need for any overdubs.
They were in the engineer’s booth, listening to the playback of their session. Excitement and pride glowed on everyone’s faces. Terry looked at Dom and gave her a wink, which was quickly returned. Now the band just had to decide which of the ten songs would end up on the demo disc.
“Okay,” Riser said to Terry. “Do you know which songs you want on the disc?”
“Yeah,” Terry responded and rattled of the list.
“Good, good. I’m gonna do a mix of these at home tonight, so I need everyone to come back tomorrow night so you can hear it and y’all can do some small overdubs.”
“Yeah, we’re gonna have to.” Terry said nonchalantly. “Some of the tracks sound kind of thin.” Riser blinked and looked a little taken aback by Terry’s attitude. He wasn’t the only one. Everybody looked at Terry and marveled at how rude he sounded.
“What do you mean?” Riser asked.
Terry finally picked up on the tension in the room and quickly said, “I’m sorry. No disrespect, I just noticed that we could fatten up some of the instrumental tracks on a couple of songs and maybe have Dom do some harmony on her vocals.”
Riser shook his head and grinned, “No, that’s my fault, Terry. Incidentally, I was thinking the same thing.”
“Then, we’re done for the day. If all of you could come back tomorrow about the same time, we’ll see about getting this done.” Everybody agreed to do that and made their way outside. Terry threw back his head and bellowed at the top of his lungs. Eric, who was smiling, joined in and they hugged each other. Soon the whole band joined in on the lovefest.
“A demo! We’re recordin’ a fuckin’ demo, man!”
“We da shit! We are da shit!”
“It’s about time.” Lisa said. “We’re finally on our way.”
“True,” Eric agreed, “But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We’re taking a first step, but we don’t have a deal yet.”
Dom grabbed him by the shoulders. “Aww, c’mon, Groove. This is a big step. Let’s enjoy it a little.”
“No, Eric’s right.” Russell said. “We still have a lotta work ahead of us. But we are off to a good start.”
“I take it we still have rehearsal in the morning?” Larry asked.
“Of course.” Terry and Eric chorused.
Larry started towards his car with a spring in his step. “Awright, then. I’ll see y’all in the morning.”
“I got some booty waitin’ for me so, peace.” Rob announced.
“Don’t let us stop you.” Terry remarked.
“Neva that.” Rob yelled as he tore out of the parking lot. Eric and Terry both shook their heads.
“Do I have to sing at practice tomorrow?” Dom asked.
“Nope. Need to rest your voice.” Terry said.
“We done here?” Lisa asked abruptly. “Anything else?” Terry recalled that Lisa had been a little anxious and fidgety all night, like she had someplace to be. He looked at Eric, who looked like a bus had just made a bloody smear of his heart.
“No.” Terry said quietly.
“Good. See y’all.” Lisa said as she turned and nearly ran to her car.
“Don’t be late tomorrow!” Terry yelled. “And get some sleep!”
“Bite me!” Lisa bellowed back as she drove off.
“Damn, Roger’s got Lisa’s nose wide open,” Dom said in wonder.
“Truly that.” Terry agreed.
“Whatever.” Eric spat. He stalked towards his car. Terry shook his head and felt his heart hurt for him. Eric tried to keep it on the DL, but Terry knew how much Eric truly loved Lisa.
“Groove, why don’t you just tell her, man?”
A sad grin came to Eric’s face. “You already know how that’s gonna turn out. She ain’t seein’ me that way, Terry.” Eric waved his goodbye and drove off.
“Unrequited love is a bitch.” Terry said and held Dom’s hand.
“Come on. Let’s get you home.” Terry said.
(c)2015 Courtney & W.L. Sherrod