The Rockula Update- The Necro Tonz Reunion Blues

The prospect of The Necro Tonz getting back together gave me mixed feelings
When Colleen first broached the subject, it was that I would sit in on a few songs but I felt like I wanted more involement
I set about looking for ways to use my skills to do a variety of things
The first thing that came to mind was that I could provide backup vocals and harmonies
This was soon followed with the idea that I would use my Roland SPDS as a percussion pad (bongos, timbales, triangle etc…)
The ideas that I have been brewing for Tiki Torture would also come into play with video
This would give me a real world application for my ideas concerning backgrounds
In addition, I also recognized the chance to handle compromise more effectively
After all, these were all musicians with egos and quirks equal to my own

Let me give a brief history of my involvement with The Necro Tonz
I was asked to join after their 2nd drummer (3rd if you count Papa Fly sitting in) exited
This is the moment that I adopted the personal of Count Rockula (later, just Rockula….or Jerkula etc…)
I had no practical experience in Jazz but could approximate it
Furthermore, I drew upon all of my experiences listening to the Dr Demento Show which played all kinds of novelty music (especially Jazz novelty like Spike Jones etc…)
This was a situation that would create a bit of a separation between me and the rest of the band
They wanted to be considered as legitimate musicians and I wanted to ham it up
We were an un-dead lounge band that wears zombie makeup for crissakes and you’re worried about your musical integrity
Eventually, I quit to join a “rock band” but have regretted the decision ever since
I was replaced by Robin Graves who had a Jazz pedigree through his father and was much more suited for their aspirations of musical integrity

Flash forawrd to a few months ago as I start cooking up my various ideas to present to the band
As I had mentioned, I was also looking to learn some lessons in compromise and got them early as expected
In addition to my ideas about vocals, percussion and video I thought it might be cool to insert some sound effects samples and to run Nekkie and Mike’s vocals as well as sax, bass etc… through effects processors to add ambience
That wasn’t met with too much enthusiasm so I scaled back my sonic contributions to the aforementioned vocals/percussion
The next idea with video was to go beyond simple collages of material and to synch the content with the music
This would be done by various “click” like tracks of bongos, shakers, claves etc…. that could be embedded in the video soundtrack to keep the band at the proper tempo
This idea was immediately shot down by Robin who did not want to attempt synching with a click
After some debate, I decided to drop the issue and concentrate on making music video for their pre-recorded material
The synching could be done by nudging the video DJ to adjust for the time fluctuations
I had now run through the pool of ideas and came out the other side with a clear  picture of what I was contributing
Add to that my addition as Video/DJ for the entire evening and I had a sizeable contribution to the gig, even with many of my ideas being shot down
The result- Win for Rockula!

I wish I could say that rehearsals went well because they didn’t
I attended the first two sporaticaly because I was usually rehearsing the same night with Scary Cherry
After that, there were quite a few rehearsals that were either incomplete or cancelled because one of the members couldn’t make it
This made me want to distance myself a bit from the result just in case the whole thing came off badly due to lack of preparedness but it also offered a challenge for me to improvise in order to get the best personal result and personal satisfaction
Little would I know how much my improvisational skills would be challenged (and at the last minute)

I had produced music videos for Skulls, Ghoul From Ipanema, I put a Spell on You, 13 Men, Welcome To Cocktail Hell, Helter Skelter and Hell (Squirrel Nut Zippers)
I had a wrestling collage made for The Crusher and Scrapple from the Apple but The song “Kill me Now” just wouldn’t allow itself to be finished and I was getting a bit burnt out
My enthusiasm had been waning due to the number of cancelled rehearsals but things got worse when Colleen broke her ribs a week before the show
She winced her way through the final rehearsal (minus a member btw) and we decided that I would step in and sing some songs that were not gender defined, plus I would provide  some extra supporting vocals to keep Colleen from having to really belt it out
After all, I still have a higher range (ha ha)
We limped through the final rehearsal and planned to make the changes to the show in order to keep Nekkie on and off the stage at the right moments
That is, until I woke up the next morning

The message from Colleen read “One of the guys is not comfortable with you singing lead vocals on songs that they believe have been branded Colleen songs” (paraphrased)
“Please don’t feel offended”
Turns out that I was offended and I responded in kind, only stopping myself before I let loose all of my resentments from the past
I explained that I was very upset and wanted to calm down before I responded  but once I did, I had decided that the anxiety and strees from participating onstage was too much
I decided that it was best for me to just hang back at the DJ booth and do my thing
To Colleen’s credit, she didn’t blow up at me either

Surprisingly, the day of was relatively stress free
I arrived at the show, set up my equipment and did my thing to my satisfaction
Colleen sent Lance out to talk to me because her ribs were getting bad and would I please sing a couple of songs at the end just to give her a second of rest
I decided not to let my personal grudges against other people get in the way
Besides, Colleen treated me with respect and open mindedness the entire time
I went onstage, sang Cold Gin and backups for I’m Going Home and left the stage for them to take a bow

The results form this experience have been varied
I got a chance to experiment with the concepts that will come into play with Tiki Torture
I also got a chance to learn how to win
Not to win or lose it all, but to win as much for myself as possible
I also learned the benefits of moderating my ego and temper so that I have a realalistic sense of self worth rather than an overblown sense of self importance


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