It’s the summer of 1985 and I’m 16 years old. Been driving since April and the band I was in found a Battle of the Bands opportunity at the Thirsty Whale in Rosemont, IL. This place was legendary in the 80s for hard rock.
So, I lied about where I was going, to be able to take my dad’s station wagon and load our gear for the show. We were first to perform and I decided to wear white corduroy pants, because, well I was a nerd. Our first song was none other than “More Than A Feeling” by Boston. I had no business singing that song then and still can’t. Just as we hit the stage I look out and every heavy metal band from the Chicago area was there for a photo shoot for the “Class of ’85” poster. Talk about pressure. Every person in that audience besides the 3 friends we had come with us could play any song we had in our set 10x better.
So we finish the first song and what felt like an hour of silence – the crowd went crazy. Obviously, looking back they were showing support for some young teenagers who were in way over their skis. But that’s how musicians are – supportive, cool and some of the best people around. I was hooked.
We also played some Rush and Aerosmith, which of course I can’t sing either. But hey, gotta start somewhere. This was probably my 2nd legit band and the first band that I was lead singer.
We finished our set and quickly broke down the gear for the next band. I went to the table with my friends and they were pretty excited. They thought we did great and should easily win this battle. The 2nd and only other band came on and played Eagles and Steely Dan. I thought they sucked and my friends left patting us on the back for a sure win.
We waited till the end of the night, tried to find a manager to see about this battle. Oddly, no one was talking to us about anything. So I went to a bartender and asked how we find out who won. He asked which band I was in and told him the first one. His quick reply while not even stopping his wash duty was, “the 2nd band won.”
I was in shock. Like really pissed. How could this be? I even stopped by our guitarists house at midnight to tell him we lost I was in such disbelief.
In hindsight, we sucked too. We were playing songs we had no business attempting at that stage. But it was fun and we took a chance. I learned a lot about performing even if it was only three songs.
To illustrate how unprepared we were, they asked us our band name when signing up and we didn’t have one, so someone said “Moment’s Notice” and we went with that. It was our one and only gig.