Greetings, first chair musicians. I know what you’re thinking: “Why would a Julliard recruiter slip a note in my locker requesting to meet ‘without parents present’ in someone’s basement? Why does it look like said recruiter lives in said basement?” So maybe I’m not a recruiter from Julliard. But before you try the door — which is unlocked — rest assured I’m not after your pure bodies. I’m after your pure talent. I’ve been scouting you for some time. Recitals, halftime shows, marching competitions…I even took a job at Denny’s to watch you more closely and develop accurate character assessments. You should be flattered you’ve made it this far.
As frontman of Rochester’s fastest-rising indie rock band, I’m offering you the opportunity of a lifetime. You see, to have any semblance of street cred, an indie band must have several songs containing epic string or horn sections. Since I can’t afford professional backing musicians, I’ve turned to you, the all-stars of the high school’s orchestra and marching band.
Some of you may know me as the brooding twenty-something who takes your late-night omelet orders and reads tattered copies of Sartre on his smoke breaks, but I’m also an accomplished troubadour in the areas of baroque pop, art punk, and freak folk. No, I did not make those up. There’s a big world out there, a world beyond your Bachs and Sousas. I went to the Wind Ensemble’s Annual Snow Show last week and, frankly, I found it unimaginative and trite. You can do better.
And to show you how, I made everyone a copy of my band’s EP. The only way to truly enjoy it would be on vinyl, but my dad had these CD-R’s lying around the house. I’ll play the first track, an exploration of mortality and the loss of innocence set to the contrapuntal combination of 80s pop drumbeats, mandolin, and my keyboard on its glockenspiel setting.
It appears that several of you are having an immediate — and, in some cases, physical – reaction to my trademark, angst-ridden wail. Good. Like all complex art, my vocals aim not to please but to provoke. If you want to write fun, catchy songs and record them in such pat acoustic milieu as “studios,” then get out of my parents’ house. But if you want to compose 18-minute folk-prog-metal sagas based on ancient Celtic legends and refuse to record them anywhere but barns or defunct churches, we could have a beautiful partnership.
Join me and together we will craft the kind of hyper-literate anthems best delivered with a slew of anachronistic instruments and rousing vocal harmonies. Sure, some folks, like the school security guard or my two bandmates, don’t understand how fruitful our collaboration could be, but we’ll prove them wrong. With your ripe adolescent anguish, startling expertise in history and fantasy, and access to the ethnomusicology class supply closet, you’re exactly what the band needs.
If the experience I’ve described isn’t enticing enough, I can offer some rewards to sweeten the pot. None involve money, so any sellouts can just leave now. Sit down, Teddy, and at least hear what I have to offer.
THERE WILL BE DECADENCE!
All musicians have go-to indulgences. I noticed you all enjoy post-recital trips to Friendly’s. I promise to take you out for a sundae of your choice following at least one concert a month. Think about it. Play a few notes at the climax of a song or two and you’ve got yourself a free Conehead! Note: this offer excludes giant varieties like a Jim Dandy, which is way out of my price range.
THERE WILL BE STARDOM!
You guys won’t always play backup. I will occasionally step aside and let YOU SHINE. I’m seeing nodding from the more attention-starved members of the group. That’s good. For instance, Simon and Renu, I would trust your mad cello and oboe skills to lead on “Curs’d Apothecary (The Pangs).” It’s a punchy romp in B minor I wrote for our upcoming theme album about teenage lovers torn apart by the Black Plague. I’d back you with guitar licks that sound like people wailing about their pus-filled buboes — you know, real David Gilmour-type stuff.
THERE WILL BE ROMANCE!
Guys, I noticed how you were all competing for the affections of that mezzo-soprano at the cast-and-crew party for Hello, Dolly! That’ll be the last time you fight over a girl! There’s plenty to go around when you have a drunken audience of lonely post-grads, especially the alternative chicks who’ll go after the brass section just to be different. BTW, word at Denny’s is that the mezzo-soprano has mono, so keep your distance.
THERE WILL BE ROCKING!
You didn’t think it would be possible with a French horn, Jenny, but it is! Gone are the days of playing for unappreciative jocks and parents who are just being supportive. Our concerts will become legendary. We will melt hipster faces with our operatic grandeur. We will sweat a lot and not brush our brows because we are too busy being intense. We will move the crowd to pump their fists like so many restless Judd Nelsons. And with that, we will first conquer the lofts, then the warehouses, and finally — the holy grail of indie domination — the festivals.
Yes, this is what cult followings, rave reviews, and iPod commercials — a.k.a. “dreams” — are made of. Mull it over and get back to me after school tomorrow. I’ll be at Denny’s.