Two's company

I'm not a big fan of two-piece bands--by which I mean the guitar-drums combination that was kicked off by the White Stripes and really popularized by the Black Keys. The Beatles had two guitars, bass, and drums. The Who showed us that one guitar was enough. I have been very comfortable playing in three-piece bands. But two? I never thought I'd go for that. After all, I am married to a bass player! And I love bass guitar. More than once, I have thought about putting the guitar aside and playing bass instead.

But some people have made the guitar-drums thing work well. There are not only the aforementioned White Stripes and the Black Keys, but also local (now international) hot band Japandroids and, among my favourite bands anywhere, the Pack a.d. For my money, the Pack have really shown how much possibility there is in this format--not to mention economy. They are currently touring Europe with a total of four people: themselves, their tour manager, and their sound tech.

Sometimes, you just want to go with the fewest complications. Really that means solo. I have sometimes done that and might again. But I love to play loud and play in a band. I will never rule out playing in a larger band, but right now, since I'm a guitarist and the other person I know who is also frustrated with not playing enough is a drummer, well, there you go.

We're calling ourselves V+T. Not super creative, but band names are hard to come by, and you can expend a lot of energy coming up with one that (a) is not used already (b) is easy to find with Google and (c) you both agree on.

With any format, there are always limitations. Obviously, when you have only drums and guitar, you're really straining against boundaries. Conventional guitar solos are pretty much out. Drums really need to fill space. So does the guitar. I crank up the distortion and the bottom end and I play a lot of drones. T will be making more use of toms and cymbals. Will I need a bigger amp? Yesterday, T actually asked me to turn up! Guitarists don't hear that very often.

Fundamentally, duos run on audacity. It's just not enough, right? But we're going to do it anyway! We're going to be loud! We're going to rock hard! We're going to play great songs! If it's not at least somewhat audacious, it's probably not rock and roll.

We're just beginning to put material together. We have maybe three songs at this point and lots of semi-formed ideas. Several of the songs I've been working on recently aren't right for this format. But I have a feeling we're going to find a burst of creativity. And when we're ready, or maybe even before (audacity again), we're going to be coming to your town. OK, figuratively. Or maybe literally. You never know.

No comments: