The Oort cloud is a theoretical cluster of our solar system’s farthest flung objects, a thing that, if true as postulated, is likely the last thing standing (floating?) between our planetary neighborhood and the rest of space.
Probably not a more appropriate thing,if you’re a guy like me, from which to glean inspiration for your extremely theoretical band’s name.
Since late 2012, Oort Patrol – a name that to me conjures an image of uniformed space men making rounds in the darkest expanse – has been not exactly my band, but an outlet at least for some of the things a band does. I’ve been playing music as a hobby for close to 30 years, and an old band going semi-dormant as the forces of life put four grown men in four different places wasn’t going to stop me from keeping on keeping on. What was I gonna do, not find a way to make up songs?
So even as me and my friends haven’t been able to get together and make noise once a week or so, I’ve made it a point when I have time to sit down and make sure my ideas at least get out of my head. I’ve probably written 40 or 50 songs over the last few years, a humble count for a professional, but an absolute flood of creativity for a part timer like me. Most of them exist in the form of crude demos slowly filling up my laptop’s hard drive, but a small number have been recorded at least semi-professionally and released to the public (read that as “uploaded to the internet where virtually nobody will take notice,” which is absolutely fine). I actually feel more confident in my ability to write songs now than ever, even if I’m embarrassingly out of practice at the actual performance part of things.
But so anyway, that makes for a segue into the next part of this column. That performance part, if you don’t keep up with it, goes away pretty quickly. I’ve been working with some friends over the past few months to prepare for an inaugural Oort Patrol performance in November.
For the last three years, I’ve been asked to get a band together for EddieFest, which takes place this November in Carrboro in memory of my old friend Eddie Watkins. Eddie died in 2016, and his ex-wife and kids have staged the event to not only pay tribute to an absolutely awesome guy, but also to raise funds for suicide awareness and prevention.
I’ve never been able to put a group together, but this year I was determined it would be different. And so for the last couple of months now I’ve been “jamming,” as it were, with a group of guys on a set we’ll debut in November.
And let me tell you – never having been what you’d call a great guitar player in the first place – man, this stuff is hard. I flub chord changes, forget lyrics I wrote, sing poorly, and get sore in weird places because I did something as simple as standing up and holding a guitar for an hour. Real rockstar over here.
That’s not to say things aren’t coming together. They are. The songs started to sound as intended after a few tries, and each week is an improvement on the last. There’s no telling if this will be a one off performance or not, because aging has dulled my appetite for lugging heavy equipment all over the state to play for a handful of people and get home after midnight. There will of course be more writing and recording, because as I said earlier, that’s just something I do.
But the most important thing is how much fun I’m having being back on the horse – or to use a term more in keeping with the origins of Oort Patrol’s name, getting back in the spaceship. Now make it so, Number One.
To quote one of his favorite songwriters, Gordon Anderson has six guitars he can barely play and a questionable singing voice as well. Oort Patrol’s catalog can be downloaded for free at www.oortpatrol.bandcamp.com.