How A Band Begins

I’m in the midst of reading Vince Neil’s autobiography.  Which, frankly, I don’t recommend.  There’s a TON of complaining.  Nikki Sixx’s “Heroin Diaries” book is a much more interesting and coherent read.  The album is fantastic too.

Anyway, I’m reading about how Motley Crue came together and got their start.  Got me thinking about how my own band started.  As with anything like this it was pretty low key.  But people ask about it periodically, so here’s the story…

I was going to a community college after high school in 1991 or 92.  I had talked about having a band all through high school and never got around to it.  I was on the outs with my girlfriend at the time and she was dating this guy named Brandon May.  He was a bass player looking to form a band.  She mentioned me and introduced us.

I didn’t really care what kind of band it was, so long as it was a band.  So Brandon came over to my house and sat down in our little music room.  I sat on the piano bench and said, “So… What kind of band are we?”  He said, “What do you mean?”

I said, “This kind?”, and played a sort of Motley Crue style riff.  “Or this kind?”, and played a more thrash metal, Metallica style thing.  He thought for a second and said, “Uh, the first one.”  And that’s how we decided on our sound.  Had we decided the other direction, things may have been considerably different along the way.

It’s funny to me now that those were the only two choices in my head.  It’s kind of like saying “Are we country or western?” 🙂

And that was the beginning.  We brought in Brad Springer to play 2nd guitar, Bill McCord to sing, and a guy named Avery to play drums, and a band was born.

Oh, and the name?  Our original name was “Confused?”  Yep, with the question mark.  When we found out about another band using the same name we went through some others… Confused Beyond Belief, Brimstone, and some other dopey ones, before landing on Roadside Attraction.  And of course I’ve stuck with that through five bass players, four or five singers, eight drummers, and a couple other guitarists.

My favorite memory of the early days?  We used to rehearse on Sundays in my mom’s daycare room.  The local Weinerschnitzel had 25 cent mustard dogs and Sundays and we’d order 30 of them for lunch.  The look on their face was always priceless.  Another time on another Sunday rehearsal, I hadn’t gotten enough sleep the night before.  We were playing a ballad and I fell asleep during the song, and kept playing!  I woke up just in time for my solo and didn’t miss a note.  🙂

Oh, and here’s what the current version of the group sounds like…

Phil Johnson

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