Right Angle Woman
Raised in Ashland, Massachusetts, I grew up in a family of 5 kids, all of which played some kind of musical instrument beginning in the 5th grade. I chose the saxophone. I have no idea why. I guess it looked cool with the curves and all the buttons (keys) to push ;-)
After about 3 or 4 years of playing alto and tenor sax, and after realizing I was not going to be the next Clarence Clemons, I decided to try something else. I asked my parents if I could buy either a dirt bike or a drum set. In the interest of personal and public safety, I began taking drum lessons and bought my first kit for 300 bucks. I really wanted the dirt bike though :-( Everyone in my neighborhood had one. I remember when Jimmy Thompson's dad gave him a brand new yellow Yamaha YZ80 dirt bike. He christened it with a bottle of champagne. We were only about 15 so we couldn't drink it though. What a waste. Anyway, where was I ? Oh yeah, drums.
I played the drums in the high school concert and marching bands and briefly formed a band with a few buddies named Rare Form in my senior year. We played at my high school senior variety show and in the cafeteria for the lunch crowd a few times and had a blast.
I went on to play snare drum in the University of Massachusetts Minuteman Marching Band, "The Power and Class of New England" in college. I met many great and talented people and had the greatest instructor, Thomas Hannum. I also met my wife to be in the band. The Marching Band was the best part of my time in college. The drum line, as well as the rest of the band, was run with military precision. There is nothing like the sound and look of 9 snare drummers along with the 4 quads and 5 bass drummers playing as one with dead on precision, all decked out in uniform or "wearing our monkey suits" as we would say. It would always piss of our section leader when we would actually play better with the monkey suits on. Good times.....
After graduating college, getting a job, and having a family, I didn't really do anything musically for the next 18 years. I would tap on my drums or goof around with an acoustic guitar once in a while or fiddle around with an electric guitar when my son started taking guitar lessons but nothing serious. I had very little success with the guitar due my big sausage fingers.
While I was in high school playing drums, I remember always wanting to try the bass guitar and would borrow the school's jazz band bass over the summer. I always liked the sound of a bass guitar. You can feel the sound as much as hear it. When listening to music, I always found myself focusing on the bass line and humming along to it. After 18 years essentially away from music I officially picked up the bass guitar when my wife bought me a Jay Turser bass guitar for Christmas in 2006. I heard that bass is easy to learn and difficult to master. I was no spring chicken, so if I wanted to do something with it, that sounded good to me and, bonus, there were two fewer strings to worry about and they were further apart so my "sausage fingers" didn't pose a problem!
Instead of taking lessons, I decided to teach myself so my technique is not exactly textbook :-). I didn't use too many instruction books but rather just listened to and played along with classic rock CDs, particularly a lot of Rush, my long time favorite band. Unlike the drums, I could practice quietly with headphones and not bother anyone. I would occasionally jam with my cousin's husband who was learning to play guitar at the time.
In mid 2007 I decided that if I was going to continue, and hopefully progress, it was time to reach out and try to find others to jam with, so I jumped on Craig's list. I'm not terribly social or outgoing so I really didn't know what I was getting myself into or what to expect. I certainly didn't feel good enough to jump into an an established gigging band.
Fortunately for me I met Paul, an experienced, extremely talented and thankfully, patient, multi-instrumentalist who was looking to build a band from the ground up. After the first jam, I knew it felt right. I told Paul I was very interested in continuing and I was invited to do so. The seeds of Right Angle Woman were thus sewn. Over the next year and a half, jamming informally turned into organized rehearsals as we, one by one, incorporated additional members. Dave on drums and Don on lead vocals. After our first gig on 2/27/2009 we completed the original lineup when Brian, the master of the effects pedals and slide guitar, joined to co-lead on guitar. We only auditioned one guitarist and we knew it was right from our first meeting. It really could not have worked out any better. We are all working stiffs with families and pets and we were all looking for an outlet to take our minds off of the daily grind.
The lineup has changed over the past 6+ years as we lost Don and Dave to life's ever changing priorities but we struck gold again with their respective replacements, Gus and Steve. With all the members, past and present, it truly was like lightning striking several times in the same spot. It could not have worked out any better over the years. Quite remarkable.
For me, it is not always about the music but also the camaraderie. It's about getting together once a week to rehearse, break bread around the dinner table, tell jokes and stories and laugh about nothing. It's not just a band but also a family. The RAW family. Our weekly dinners around the round table being all thanks to our gracious host Carmen, Paul's wife, our biggest supporter, biggest fan and constructive critic. She also gratefully puts up with all the glassware shaking ;-)
Being a member of this band has been, and continues to be, a musical journey and challenge. I have literally learned to play bass guitar while being in this band and I continue to learn with every rehearsal and gig. I am grateful to my bandmates for their patience, encouragement and instruction when needed.
I will continue to make music with my friends until I am no longer physically able to do so.
Chris (Caveman) - Bassist - Right Angle Woman
RIght Angle Woman 2020 Peace, Love, Local Music