Keyboardist Wanted

I was talking with Brangien about the move to our not-so-new house and how leaving my old house (somewhat ancient history now that we’re 8 months removed) was surprisingly difficult. I identified with living right in the heart of things—being able to walk most places, live without a car, walk for groceries, and on game days hear the roar of Seahawks stadium from my front porch. All that is good and right about city living surrounded my house on the hill at the NE corner of 18th & E. Marion.  You therefore might think moving a mere 5 minutes by car would be a snap. In retrospect, it likely would have been easier for us to move to New York, or Austin,  or Girdwood. I would have been forced to let go and jump into a new adventure. But this was a lateral Seattle move and I had over-identified with the house and ‘hood I had so carefully chosen 11 years earlier.

The new house is quiet. No roar from the Hawks Nest on game day. I’m less apt to walk to get groceries or coffee, but spend more time walking along Lake Washington. I drive more. Lucky for me, places can change people. After an adjustment period, I now love it. Which led me to tell Brangien about my first band, which I joined when I moved back to Seattle from Anchorage in the early 90s. I moved here with the simple goal of playing in a rock & roll band. I answered an ad for “keyboardist wanted” in the classifieds of the Seattle music rag The Rocket. The ad read something like, “original R&R band looking for keyboardist …” That was an exciting ad to read for a keyboardist fresh off the plane from Alaska. The overwhelming majority of ads were for guitarists, drummers, bassists, singers … anything but keyboardists. I got my nerve up and called the number (this was pre-internet) and quickly learned that the lead singer and guitarist were not only  recent Anchorage transplants (hadn’t I just escaped its icy claw?) but that there was a typo in the Rocket ad. It was meant to read “R&B band”. Damnit! I had my heart set on being in a rock band. It was the early 90s in Seattle (do the math). But there I was talking to Sid, who said, “rehearsal is this Thursday in Renton at our condo community center.” I arrived with my keyboard and amp and my previously unimagined Seattle musical adventures began. That typo sent me on a path that I hadn’t considered. I learned to play in a style that stretched my abilities. I wasn’t great, but I was good enough and I what I learned changed how I played. In future bands I was able to sprinkle my playing with a bit of soul—the result of an R intended as a B.

So, does the musician make the band or the band make the musician? Or for that matter, does the employee make the company or the company, the employee? Do I reside in the new ‘hood, or it in me? For me the answer is simple: if presented with a typo, take it.

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