The Switcher: The Song of the Street - Chapter 1

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©2020 - Foxxe Wilder

A typical day for a street musician takes a sharp turn into the atypical.



Chapter One

The music could be heard from just over a block away. Randy, the lead guitar player, initially found the warehouse months ago and approached the manager to rent space for the alternative metal band he was in.

It was located in the warehouse district of town, well away from any residences so they could play to their hearts' content without needing to worry about noise complaints.

Randy tore into the lead and Jason, when he was not singing lead vocals, covered with his rhythm playing. Damien covered the bottom end with his bass playing and added background vocals to the mix.

Dwayne held it all together with his drumming, and adding a bit of background vocals as well from time to time.

Dwayne stopped drumming and sighed heavily.

"No, no, no, Randy," he said, "remember how you played that lick last week? Play it like that and I can bring us all in after the 4th bar."

Randy looked up with a raised eyebrow,"Seriously? You liked that?"

"Hell yeah, dude!" Dwayne grinned, "those were some pretty killer licks you played here last week. We should definitely incorporate them into the final mix."

Dwayne checked the faces of Jason and Damien, finding agreeable looks on each.

"Hell yeah!" Jason chimed in and Damien nodded silently.

They repeated the same song another two times before they moved onto another tune, playing it a total of three times in a row.

Damien initially wasn't a big fan of the constant practising, but he did it just the same with every bit of seriousness as he put into all his other musical projects in the past. This one was a little different though. He had only picked up the bass guitar a little over a year previous, and really didn't feel too confident about his playing but all the other guys encouraged him constantly.

His background vocals initially got him into the band in the first place but he never felt his guitar playing held up to the material they wanted to do.

But Damien had a background in other instruments over his lifetime, among them he learned to play tuba in high school. He reasoned that as the bass used the same clef as the tuba and was laid out similar to a normal guitar then he should have little trouble adapting to the bass.

He was right. He took to the bass as if he was designed to play it from the beginning.

He liked being in a band. It helped to give him hope for the future. It also broke the monotony that playing guitar on the street could get like.

He had spent 4 years playing guitar on the street and had been playing guitar for 10 years now. He didn't play fancy like so many people he knew. He considered himself as a vocalist first and used the guitar to complement his singing.

The guys in the band hung around for another 30 minutes after turning the amps and other gear off for the day.

They considered it their winding down time.

Damien opted out early this time though, he had to make some cash and the street was calling his name.

“Hey there Damien, you hitting the strip tonight?” Randy asked grabbing his coat.

“Yeah, I'm short on rent again this month. I'm going to have to make up the difference real quick too. I have just short of a week to build up another thirty bucks for rent,” Damien smiled weakly, “Hey guys, I'm going to leave my bass here until tomorrow. “

“Sure not a problem dude,” Randy nodded, “It will be safe here.”

Damien nodded with a smile. He knew it would be okay. They regularly stored all their stage gear in the warehouse space and Randy even got it all insured just in case.

Damien slipped on his own black leather jacket and denim vest, lifted his hard shell acoustic case and headed out the door.

“Hey, you need a ride?” Dwayne asked Damien.

“Nah, I got a bus pass, I'm good. The buses take me right down there anyways, but hey thanks for the offer.”

Damien took off on foot towards the nearest city bus stop. He checked the sky. No signs of rain. That's good.

He stopped at the bus stop, joining an oriental couple already there.

The oriental couple bantered back and forth in Chinese. Damien checked his watch. He had timed it pretty well. The bus would be there within a few minutes. If he had come out any later he would have had to wait an extra 20 minutes for the next bus.

No, he wasn't very big on waiting for things, especially buses.

Minutes later he was on the bus headed to the downtown core. It was a place he referred to as his old stomping grounds. He had become a bit of a landmark there over the past four years.

He treated his job as a street musician as a normal job, complete with long hours, and various set lists to guide him along.

Yes, he had spent almost every single day of his existence for over four years down there and everyone in the neighbourhood knew him.

He loved that feeling. No, he was no high paid rock star by any definition but he considered himself as successful because he got to do something he loved for a living.

The other guys in the band had their hopes pinned on an upcoming battle of the bands contest next month. They were all excited about it.

He wasn't expecting much from it but it was an opportunity for the band to be seen and heard out in public, and what was a band if they were never heard?

Damien liked being in a band but it was all for naught if you spent all your time in practice and never actually hit the stage. He loved the stage, whether it was a raised dais or just a spot in a doorway on the street.

He loved performing. It was his way to express all the pent up emotions that guys were not supposed to show. Compassion, hope and tenderness were such things that guys were not even supposed to have but he had his own emotion portal that he made good use of.

The bus made the wide turn onto the street where the downtown core clustered around a long row of movie theatres, restaurants and night clubs. Damien's stop was coming up soon. He readied himself for the upcoming night, and rang the bell to signal the bus driver to stop at the next bus stop.

(To be continued)

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It's been a while since any universe had inspired me but Melanie Brown's The Switcher universe caught my eye, (and my heart).

This story is pulled from a life I used to know intimately (the music business as it truly is!) with a generous addition of The switcher format.
It's currently slow going for me, as I am notoriously fraught with writers' block quite a lot, but I will endeavour to continue.

My many thanks to Melanie for her creation of this wonderful universe! :)

Yes, an interesting universe

Iolanthe Portmanteaux's picture

Yes, Melanie's invention is one that can keep on giving. I'm looking forward to seeing how this develops.

- io

Oh you!!

Hook n run... Totally unfair!


Yeah I know eh?

Admittedly I was going to hold off on Chapter Two for a few days, so I can keep ahead of the curve a bit (have one up, one in the can and one on the drawing board) but admittedly that could be too much for even me to hope for!

But.... :)

sad but true.

The reality is that it is not a job that will support one very easily and definitely not over the poverty line.

But I loved the spirit of it all. To be a travelling bard was a dream of mine once.