It was the first band I was in where I was not mostly thinking about being cool. Music has always come easily to me; I never really had to practice my parts. And I never was very nervous performing in a group. So that allowed me to think full-time about being a badass. For the sake of perspective, I was a skinny kid with glasses who played the piano. Music was the only place where I even remotely had a shot. So I tried and tried. I had a nine-piece band called "The Brotherhood" with four horns and a chick singer. I was the nerdiest one in the group, but it felt great.
In Gildersleeve, we played hard stuff. Genesis. Yes. Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Gentle Giant. Todd Rundgren (the synth stuff). Fiendishly difficult originals. And we actually played it pretty well. We got a reputation as a "player's band". Occasionally, we would succumb to well-meaning advice and play the token Aerosmith or Grand Funk tune, but they never felt right. I liked the fact that these tunes kicked my ass every night. There was no time, and no need, to think about looking cool; I was busy getting satisfaction from the music.
Fast forward 35 years (oh, that didn't hurt). The other three guys in Gildersleeve are all one year younger than I am, and they were all in the same graduating class of Hudson High School. Their 40th reunion is coming up next year, and - yuuuup - they're putting the band back together. There's a date and everything. And I'm surprised at how profoundly this affects me.
It's not a midlife crisis thing - unless I live to be 116. Hell, for my midlife crisis, I bought a car that's now old enough to have its own crisis. I also know that the reason it was so cool the first time around was just that - it was the first time. I've done countless musical things since then that were, in every sense of the word, bigger than Gildersleeve. And I know it won't make me young again. But I guess I appreciate that I have memories of those years that I'd like to revisit - I know that many people don't. And I think I'd like to be challenged like that again.
We all have continued to play - John is a much-sought-after live and session player. Mark lives in CA and is the guy responsible for the music for the Mighty Morphing Power Rangers (and I don't know where that shows up on his resume). Rick has a ridiculously well-equipped band called "The Graphics", where he plays guitar now. So we should be able to avoid the movie cliches and get right to the music.
So, kids and kiddettes, clear your calendars for August 2, 2014. Technology is our friend; I won't be carrying a 500-pound stage rig, which is good for oh so many reasons. And the PA'll be half the original size, and sound twice as good. I plan on having a remarkably good time.