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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Fly Me Courageous

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Although hardly anyone I know has heard of it, this song brings back some good memories. Those memories actually came up in a couple of completely unrelated conversations recently, which is what prompted me to get hold of the Drivin N Cryin album Fly Me Courageous was released on back in the early 90's (the album was called Fly Me Courageous as well). A couple of days after buying the CD I was playing along to it & decided to record a cover version, which was completed within a day (much like the other cover versions I've uploaded to my profile). This is also the first song to be solely recorded using my Vox AC4 that I mentioned in the 'New kit & updated recordings' blog.
The song dates back to 1991 when I was 17. Me & a couple of friends (Mark Dean on drums, Chris Donaldson on bass) formed a band called Inferno and Fly Me Courageous was one of our main songs. The band fluctuated between being a three & four piece (the fourth member varied) and had a few short bursts of activity interrupted by each of us focussing on other bands, but any time the three of us were playing together that was our band name and we played this song as our closing number. That was the plan anyway, we only ever played two gigs.
The first of those two gigs was the most memorable (for me at least). We'd entered a battle of the bands contest at a local school. From what I remember, we went on about fourth out of five bands. We were on late enough for most of the audience to have got bored and gone outside at least. As it was 1991, the grunge scene had just exploded and all teenage boys wanted to be Kurt Cobain. All except us. All of the bands playing that night did Smells Like Teen Spirit plus at least one other Nirvana song. We were the only band that was different, which is probably what made it go so well.
Like I said, by the time we played most of the audience had got bored and gone outside. We walked on stage to virtually no reaction as there was hardly anyone left to react. For our opening song we played Summer of 69. It was a good choice as by the time we were halfway through the first verse the place was starting to fill up. The girls came in & started to dance, obviously that meant all the boys who had been outside followed. I can't remember what the second song we played was but it was a ballad - the only ballad that got played all night as none of the other bands did one. That gave all the boys in the audience a chance to grab one of the girls & try their luck. Then as our third & final song we played Fly Me Courageous. By this time everyone's spirits had been lifted & it was heavy enough to keep the boys headbanging but not so heavy that the girls lost interest.
I think there was one more band on after us, but as they played essentially the same set as all the bands that went before us, they were mostly ignored. We ended up winning the contest & had to play an encore. At the time we'd only practiced those three songs with the 4th member of the band from that time (I can't remember anything about him, I think his name was John - him & me shared lead vocals & guitar) so we had a quick panic backstage before deciding to play Johnny B Goode - Mark, Chris & myself used to play that as a practice song in a previous incarnation of the band & it was easy enough for John to join in with.
Part of the prize for winning was a slot at a gig being put on as part of an annual town fair. We learned an extra couple of songs for that gig, but I can't remember what they were now. I also don't really remember exactly what happened on the day, but from what I recall I arrived an hour or so before we were due to go onstage to give me time for a couple of drinks before we played. Unfortunately everything was quite a way behind schedule & we ended up playing about 2 or 3 hours later than expected. I'd had more than a couple of drinks by this point, and although I remember playing through part of the gig sitting on the edge of the stage (because I'd drunk too much) I don't remember anything else about it. At the time I thought it went quite well, but my memory of it is so hazy that when I look back on it I have to assume I was too drunk to have played as well as I remembered. I don't think my drinking was actually a problem at that stage, but over the next few years it definitely became a problem before I eventually quit. I've now been completely tee-total since April 2000.
If I've remembered everything in the right order, that was the last time Inferno played together. I think Mark & Chris went off and joined other bands, but I lost touch with them - although Chris is on my Facebook friends list & when I posted a link to this recording on there he said he remembered the battle of the bands gig fondly as well. It’s a shame really - of all the bands I've been in over the years, that was the only band that played exactly the type of music I've always wanted to play. My other bands may have had more success or longevity, but Inferno will (probably) always be the one I remember as my favourite.
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