Thursday, March 18, 2010
Thou shall not blaspheme the name of Pat Benatar
It was a little over a decade ago.
The details are kind of sketchy in my mind, but a blog post by Lynn Rush brought the memories rushing back last week.
I think Pat Benatar almost broke up my first band.
Don’t tell Pat. She doesn’t know. I wouldn’t want her to feel bad.
Even so, because of the incident, the legendary pop diva was included, by name, in the “Ten Commandments of Band Life.”
And why shouldn’t she be included?
After releasing hit after hit and inspiring high school girls everywhere in the ‘80s to be just like her (remember Fast Times at Ridgemont High?) Pat Benatar deserves to have her own commandment.
It all started in the late 1990s. I was in a cover band called Mean Persuasion with my husband, Dana, drummer Andrew, guitarist, Diego and bassist Allan.
We practiced at Andrew’s house every weekend and, for some reason, it seemed like it took a long time to build our set list to 40 songs. (And anyone who has been in or followed a cover band knows it doesn’t take long to get tired of those 40 songs.)
So, when Mean P, as we affectionately refer to the band now, had some downtime, Dana and I thought we’d be smart and put down as many fresh songs as possible.
That meant the songs had to be fairly simple to play and easy to remember.
That’s where Ms. Benatar comes in.
Among the songs Dana and I learned was her most recognizable tune, “Hit Me with Your Best Shot.”
Now, by far, that’s not one of my favorites, but we were looking for easy to play, remember?
Well, halfway through our weekend practice, a disagreement arose about why I was forcing my bandmates to learn a song no one particularly cared for.
Personally, I didn’t care what we learned, as long as it was learned quickly and we sounded good playing it. We had already played through “Hit Me…” a couple of times and it sounded decent.
Why toss out a good thing?
The guys in the band, however, didn’t agree. (Diego and Andrew preferred Bob Marley and Deep Purple.)
Being tired and frustrated, I slightly overreacted (which I’ve never done before and haven’t done since).
If we didn’t put that Pat Benatar song on the list, I was going to quit!
Somehow, my meltdown was interpreted as, “Don’t say anything bad about Pat Benatar, or Kat will yank your tongue through your nostril.”
We eventually made up for the disagreement through a series of phone calls during the week.
The following weekend, when we again gathered for practice, Andrew came prepared with a list of “The Ten Commandments of the Band.”
And on the list – you guessed it: “Thou shalt not blaspheme the name of Pat Benatar.”
More than a decade has passed since then, and I still haven’t lived down that tantrum.
In fact, it carried over to into my last musical endeavor. One day, out of the blue, another bass player asked why he wasn’t ever supposed to say anything bad about Pat Benatar.
I just shook my head and thought, “Because there is nothing bad you can say about Pat Benatar.”