Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Hailstorm - House Band of Valhalla

And somewhere…in some mead hall in the highest citadel of Asgard, the great Odin smiled.

Three years ago I bought a drum set. I’m not entirely sure why. Perhaps it was my mini-midlife crisis splurge. Maybe I was subconsciously angry with my wife and thought I’d exact my revenge through assaults of thundering sonic blasts. Or maybe, just maybe, I hadn’t quite yet given up that pipe dream of being a rock star.

When I moved to Texas I had a fleeting encounter with reality. “What the hell am I going to do with a drum set in TEXAS?!” I didn’t know anyone here to jam with. I couldn’t fit it on the moving truck. And I doubted there would be a place for it in my new home. My wife loathed the thing and I could really use some “points” since I was displacing her from all that she held dear. I allowed my heart to be reasoned by my head and I quickly sold it for peanuts.

Weeks into my stay in Texas I was introduced to Jayd…a dude that shares my passion for sonic bliss and puts me to shame in knowledge of the note. He plays guitar. Then I meet Josh…another music fan. He plays anything that can make sound. Next is Steve, another guy cut from the proper musical cloth that is also quickly mastering the bass. Then Barry….guitar. And Randy….guitar and wicked vocals. All that was missing was a drummer. CURSE YOU, HEAD! I should always follow my freaking overly sensitive bleeding heart.

Sometime in April, Jayd was approached to put a band together for a church activity. It was the second “Swapapalooza” festival and would be “Hailstorm’s” second time taking the stage as musical entertainment. Let me expound a bit on those two terms:

“Swapapalooza” is a neighborhood swap. Thanks to overly creative minds like my friend and colleague Ben Martin’s, some further clarity is required here. There is no fish bowl at the door with a note taped to it with the word "KEYS" scrawled on the note. No random-wild-unabashed-monkeysex going on at THIS church function. Rather, this swap is more like a giant free garage sale or swap meet. Thanks to yet another friend and colleague, Roger Church, the details of the event require some delicate explanation. For instance, “Swapapalooza is where people in the neighborhood bring all their used unwanted crap to the event and people can trade for other people’s used unwanted crap, saving a trip to Good Will.” After hearing that explanation, Roger’s suggestion was to change the title from “Swapapalooza” to "Screw the Needy." A better explanation would have been, “Swapapalooza is an opportunity for local families and children to exchange gently used necessities or longed-for luxuries that they would otherwise be unable to justify.” I digress.

“Hailstorm” is the name of the band, thus titled since its debut came on the heels of the gnarly Austin hail storm of last year.

Jayd obliged and came to me, asking if I would be willing to pound the skins for the band. But alas, I had no drum set. Freaking head. Incredibly, Josh had been in negotiations to trade some gear for a drum set and we were simply days from having the kit in hand. We started to noodle through ideas for a setlist, and when the kit arrived we met to jam.

It was quite remarkable how quickly we gelled. I felt a bit overwhelmed, not having an instrument at home to practice on, but I listened to the songs and imagined in my head what it would be like to play them. After 5 rehearsals, Hailstorm was ready to take the stage.

We fully embraced the Norse feel of the band’s name and appropriately adopted rad stage names. Ranvald, Magnus, Thor, Stiv, Lars, and Juror #5. Jayd and I designed a logo and we all made tee shirts for the gig. Some of our groupies wore similar tees.

I’ve never had more fun in my entire life.

This experience was less about sound and more about style. We never took ourselves seriously but were all proud with what we accomplished. We played 15 songs in our set, covering everything from Beatles to Weezer to Michael Jackson.

Let's Go from Tyler Pearson on Vimeo.

The crowd and groupies loved it and I’m confident that Hailstorm will once again be called upon to gently rock the house, sending praises to Tyr and to Thor and to Loki. Odin the wise shall smile once again.


Sherri said...

Go Lars! I love Hailstorm, especially the drummer....

Paul said...

You guys rock! Maybe next time you can wear beards and animals skins.

Chris said...

Awesome blog! This wouldn't happen to be the same Tyler from EQ (OoC) or WoW would it, because I must say sir your love of music and Phish demands it be so. If it is shoot me a line at ccorey84@gmail. This is Chris (Zak). If not, ignore my ramblings and just take the praise for the really sweet blog ><