Saturday, May 23, 2009

Starting A Band In The New Millennium. With BBQ.

My 14-year-old son had band practice today.

He also had baseball practice, but he's had baseball practice for the past five years. Band practice, on the other hand, is noteworthy because this is their first practice. It's also notable for, oh, let's say a bajillion other reasons, starting with the fact that they acquired a new lead singer this week. And did I mention that their first gig (a talent show) is Tuesday?

I know. Not exactly how a list-making, plan-ahead, don't-you-need-a-sweater, let's-make-sure-we-have-enough-batteries-and-$20-bills-in-the-house-in-the-event-of-an-apocalypse mom would do it, right?

OK. I joke (lamely). I realize they're 14. I know their Y-chromosomes could be playing a role here. For them, this is likely going exactly according to schedule. Just consider the many items they've already checked off the "Let's Start A Band" list.

An epic name? Check. Naming the band required weeks of discussion (a.k.a., "text messaging") and research (a.k.a., "Googling"). "Lycanthrope,"* an early frontrunner, emerged victorious.

A beastly logo? Check. You can't have a band without groupies, you can't have groupies without T-shirts, and you can't have T-shirts without a logo. Duh ... The bass player graciously diverted time from his exam preparation schedule to design the band logo (above). No T-shirts yet, but dude, have you seen the logo?

An awesome Facebook page? Check. Being a band of the new millennium, Lycanthrope (or, as it's known on FB, "Lycanthrope!") requires a virtual fan club. Without a single performance, rehearsal or CD, they'd already picked up 46 potential groupies via Facebook. True, four of them are the band members, but to their credit, none of them are me. Parents and little sisters would surely skew the desired demographics, which are, presumably, major record labels and 14-year-old girls, not necessarily in that order.

Artistic differences? Check. Even before the first gig, the lead singer was replaced. It's possible that, years from now, on VHI's "Behind The Music: Lycanthrope," he'll be compared to Pete Best, the original drummer for the Beatles. It's more likely, though, that he'll have his own skyrocketing solo career, which won't involve sharing concert receipts (or groupies) with any bandmates.

A place to practice? Check. Somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good, because practice is not Chez Wiles. Fate was "instrumental" here. As my teen explained to me: Every band (and ostensibly, every band mom) knows that practices are always at the drummer's house. Even though you may tire of listening to it at home, particularly during the hours of, let's say, anytime you're at home, an electric guitar can fit in a car and go to practice somewhere else. A drum kit, not so much.

Hairstyles? Check, check, check and check. Three of the bandmates are going "emo," which has not been clearly translated for me, but is apparently the preferred style of every guitarist who's made an appearance on The Today Show this year. (Sadly, Matt and Meredith are my other primary sources for new music.) The fourth band member has either agreed to, or been coerced into, something slightly more extreme, involving the need for an electric shaver. He's not my kid. I'm not asking.

In truth, we parents are pretty excited to see what comes of this. We've all invested plenty of time in music lessons over the years, although not for any of these particular instruments. My own son took piano and cello. Go figure. We're curious to see how this plays out, so to speak. I, for one, have never known anyone who started a band. It all sounds pretty Disney-Channel to me.

And should Lycanthrope end up with more than one gig, I'll be happy to cater (a.k.a., "spy" and "eavesdrop"). I'll even bring hair products and pick out the green M&Ms. But only after they've had something decent to eat, like this easy, slow-cooker BBQ.

(Bonus: Click here for a peek at the first Lycanthrope practice! Also sure to be featured in "Behind the Music: Lycanthrope.")

* Lycanthrope -- A werewolf or alien spirit in the physical form of a bloodthirsty wolf.

Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork BBQ

1 large Boston butt or pork shoulder, as large as will fit in your slow cooker

1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon paprika
red pepper flakes

1 lemon, sliced
1 onion, peeled and sliced
1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon Liquid Smoke
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup water

Your favorite BBQ sauce (I use 1/2 cup Bone Sucking Sauce and 1/2 cup cider vinegar)

Mix spices and rub over pork. Place in slow cooker. Place lemon, bay leaf and onion slices on top. Mix Liquid Smoke, vinegar and water, and pour in bottom of slow cooker. Cook on low (don't remove the lid!) for about 10 hours. Pork will be very tender. Remove roast from slow cooker, pull apart with forks and discard fat. Remove onions and lemons from slow cooker and return shredded pork. Season with Tabasco and your preference of BBQ sauce. Combine and let heat another 1/2 hour. Serve on rolls with slaw. Leftovers freeze well.

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