Operation: Rock Star is a GO!

Hi! I’m Keith, and I’m a forty-something graphic designer working in the DFW metroplex. I’m married, no kids (by choice), I like comic books and video games, Harry Potter and Doctor Who, and I know the the antagonists in the animated feature “The Yellow Submarine” were the Blue Meanies. I am what is politely termed a pop-culture enthusiast; the not-so-nice term is geek.

I’m also the co-lead singer of a classic/Southern rock cover band based out of Terrell called The East Texas Garage Band, and I don’t care who you are, that’s pretty damn cool – not everybody can claim to be the lead singer of a band. And as lead singers go, I’m not bad: I can sing a song, stay on beat and in tune, and not embarrass myself or my band mates.

The East Texas Garage Band performing

The East Texas Garage Band at Lone Star Legends

Truth be told, though, I’m in the band only by the graces of one of my oldest, bestest friends and brother from another mother, Pauly – there are three other vocalist in the band, each one playing an instrument and playing it well, so if I was to get struck down by lightning tomorrow (always a possibility, I’m a liberal in Texas), the band wouldn’t have to miss a single gig.

After my wife and my marriage, singing and performing are my two biggest passions. I desperately want to bring more to my band than just a good voice and ability to harmonize; just as desperately, I want to be able to perform smaller, more personal solo shows. I could perform a little coffee house gig on Thursday, then help front my band with Pauly on Saturday. My life would be complete.

The problem before me, though, is two-fold:

First and foremost, I don’t play an instrument. Because no one was there to slap me and say “NO! Wait for marching band, dumbass!” I took violin and cello lessons back in middle school, two of the most unflattering instruments for a teenager, rating just above the sousaphone and French horn. While I can find and play my melody on a piano, I can’t get both hands working; and while my parents bought me a guitar once upon a time, they forgot to spring for the lessons to go along with it. If I wanted to perform solo tomorrow, I’d first have to spring for a karaoke machine, and I’m sorry, I don’t care how high tech the technology is, there’s nothing warm and cozy about singing along with a music track – huge amounts of fun at a bar with a bunch of like-minded friends, complete fail at a coffee shop with the people in black.

So my first challenge is to learn an accompanying instrument. My darling wife loves me, so I currently own an acoustic guitar and full-size electric keyboard. I want to learn the guitar to strum at coffee shops, but Pauly wants me to learn the keyboard to fill in the holes of our wall of sound with the band – so like the idiot I am, I’m going to attempt to learn both.

My second challenge is my appearance.


Not exactly Steven Tyler

The six years I spent in the Army were fifteen years ago, and complain all you want about daily physical training, it will keep a geek toned and semi-sexy; a Joss Whedon fetish coupled with a Ho-Ho addiction, and before you know it the singing geek is two-hundred and seventy-five pounds of chewed bubble-gum. And as much as I’d like to say my appearance doesn’t matter, it does: I’m self-conscious up on stage. I don’t want my audience pointing and laughing at the big fat poser trying to rock out without having a coronary, and I don’t want my immense ass blocking the view to my most excellent singing drummer.

Contrary to what most people think, singing is also a hell of a lot of work – crooning one song is easy; belting out forty-eight songs over the span of four hours is a huge strain not only to your throat, but your diaphram, your back, your shoulders, your legs and your feet especially if you’re trying to maintain the same quality of vocal performance throughout the show, especially if you’re attempting to put on the best show possible from start to finish. Performing well takes stamina.

Losing one-hundred pounds would be a big help in both of those directions.

So that’s the point of this blog: I’m going to record and report my efforts to become an actual musician, a fully-rounded member of my band and potential solo performer, the best possible front man I can be. I’m going to learn the keyboard (for the band), learn the guitar (for the solo act), and lose one-hundred pounds (because there can only be one Meat Loaf, and even he slimmed down a bit later in life). And I’m going to do all this while not losing my mind or running off my lovely, loving wife.

Welcome to Operation: Rock Star – hope you enjoy the ride.


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