Saturday, March 24, 2012

My Complicated Relationship With Rock & Roll Vikings, Part One: The Beginning

I've never been good with break-ups. It's hard to admit that you aren't happy with the way a relationship is going and that you would be better off without it. I never want to hurt anyone's feelings or cause a conflict. Which is why I'm currently in an awkward position. I know I need to end things, but I have been putting it off because I don't even really know how to end things.

Let me back up a little bit.

I am involved with low-budget production of a rock opera about Norse mythology.

It's not really working out.

Allow me to recapitulate...

It all started a couple of months ago when a stumbled upon an intriguing Craigslist ad: "Wanted: Musical Director For An Original Rock Musical."  Naturally, I had to click on it.  I read through the ad and realized that I met all of the major requirements (meaning I can read music, play piano, and I love rock musicals), so I replied on a whim. 

It wasn't long before I got a response from a guy who's name was strangely familiar.  I couldn't place where I had heard his name before, so I just went ahead and read his email without giving it a second thought.  He told me that he had composed a rock opera and was looking to produce it in town within a few months.  There was a link to some of the music from the rock opera, so I clicked on it to see what it sounded like.  I landed on a page with a couple of weird recordings and a picture of the composer.

I gasped.  This guy was definitely someone I went to high school with.

...And middle school. 

We were in the high school marching band together.  And symphonic band.  And middle school jazz band.  And advanced high school jazz band.  We were in the rhythm section together - he played drums, I played piano.  We practically sat next to each other in jazz band but never actually talked to each other.  He was an awkward redhead who didn't talk and frankly, I didn't really talk either.  So naturally, we were not friends simply because we couldn't figure out how to manage a simple conversation. 

Plus, he was always making out with that second-chair clarinet chick during lunch.  It was gross.  It offended me.  They needed to get a room. 

Anyway, here he was, that awkward redhead from high school, resurfacing in my email inbox six years later with what he described as "an epic rock opera of awesomeness."

I stared at the email and tried to figure out what to do.  I've really come a long way since I was a socially inept teenager and running into people that knew me in high school is generally a drag.  Maybe I should just delete his email and pretend it never happened?  After all, he was pretty weird back in the day, wasn't he?  I thought about it and realized I didn't actually know him.  Besides, the whole thing was oddly sychronistic.  Maybe I should meet him for coffee and see what's up?  

And so I scheduled a coffee date with him.  As I drove there, I couldn't help but wonder if he would remember me from high school or not.  How was I even supposed to handle that?  What if he didn't remember me at all?  Was I supposed to bring it up?  Was I supposed to act like I was meeting him for the first time?

A text message reading "Btw wearing a pea coat and have red hair" came through on my phone as I was looking for a place to park.  I laughed.  He did not know who I was.  I buttoned up my big green coat, sent him a text that said "Haha, me too!" and walked towards the coffee shop.

I saw him immediately when I entered the coffee shop.  He was sitting at a table in the middle of the room and was indeed wearing a pea coat.  He pointed at me and said, "It's YOU."

I pointed at him and said, "It's YOU."  This was awkward.

He continued to point and said "It's YOU" once again.  This time I pointed at myself and said, "It's ME!"  We laughed, made some clunky smalltalk, and I excused myself to go order a cup of coffee.  When I returned with my drink, we had to go through the whole "Soooo, what have you been up to since high school?" conversation, which was strange because (as I established earlier) we didn't really talk in high school.  Still, we had to compare notes on our post-high school experiences as well as gossip about a whole bunch of irrelevant people from marching band that I honestly forgot even existed.  It was definitely the most I had ever talked to this guy. 

Just when I was beginning to regret meeting him for coffee, the conversation switched to a more relevant topic: his epic rock opera.  Over the next hour and a half, I learned the following things:

The rock opera was his original composition and has never been performed before.
-  The story is based on Norse mythology.  Yes, Loki and Thor and vikings and all of that crap cool stuff. 
-  All of the lyrics/words were written by a guy he met online who may or may not live in France and speak English as a second language.
-  The script has severed heads in it.
-  The music is not "Broadway rock."  The music will "blow your f@#$ing mind."

He babbled on about how he was inspired by "Tommy" and "Jesus Christ Superstar," excitedly explaining that the music was written for a large ensemble of electric guitars and string instruments.  He said he planned to produce it in a couple of months and he needed someone to act as musical director.  Could that someone be me?

It sounded like a wacky project, but who doesn't love a good viking?  It sounded like fun.  Besides, I've got my own rock opera cooking in the back of my brain files (can't forget about good old Goat Man) and working on a project like this could give me a little insight into how it's done.  And I definitely needed an excuse to leave my parents' house and meet new people...

So I said I would do it.  I climbed on board the viking rock opera train as the fearless musical director.  And it was strange, but I was excited.

Well, I was excited until my inbox began filling up with pages upon pages of complicated sheet music...

To Be Continued...


  1. It's definitely tough when you sign up for a job and later end up regretting it. I've done that before; I accepted a job offer, but before I even started working I realized that I really didn't want the job because of what it would entail. (Nothing illegal, of course, it was just that the work itself didn't interest me.) So I called the employer and told her that I couldn't take the job after all, though I felt bad about it.

    I'm interested in reading more about your experience this Norse mythology rock opera, because that's definitely something I've never seen done before. But if you really feel unhappy or dissatisfied with this job, you have the right to quit.

  2. Uh oh, complicated sheet music? That would send me running, but then again I can't even read non complicated sheet music.

    Also, I love your new header.

  3. Replies
    1. Hehe. And I haven't even gotten to the weird part yet...

  4. To be continued...Seeeeriously?! C'mon! *CAN'T WAIT!*

  5. severed heads? what will you use for the fake blood? oh, you should definitely include an electronic oboe. that would sound awesome.

  6. Hmm. I must admit I am as intrigued about this idea as I am horrified.

    I hate when you run into people you used to know and you have to have that stupid awkward conversation. Especially when it's people you never really talked to because then you have to pretend that a) you care and b) you actually know what they wanted to do in the first place and c) that you care.


It makes my day when YOU leave me comments. :D