Jeni Marinucci: Panic Button Years


The Story of How I Came to Own Leather Pants and a Tambourine

...and why you should, too.

League of Rock |

I sing in the shower. 

I also sing in the car, at the grocery store, in line at the passport office, and while I am walking my dog. I sing in the school carpool, at my friends' houses, and in the stirrups at the doctor's office. It seems I sing everywhere but where one might normally sing, but it makes me happy and I have never been told to stop - yet. 

It was time for me to start doing this somewhere else - somewhere more fitting, perhaps - but I am tiny bit older than "join a band with the cute guy in your English Lit class," and my teenage daughter asked me to please stop hanging around the high school and threatened to run away, and so I am left with fewer people in my social circle to do it with. My kids sometimes agree to play air guitar along in the car but anywhere else is "just weird" and despite offering up a gift of music lessons (and maybe some other favours) my partner lets his guitar gather dust (and that is not a metaphor.) 

My neighbours are getting tired of hearing More Than a Feeling from my shower and are circling a neighbourhood petition requiring me to keep my bathroom window closed or at least get a longer playlist. 

My solve? 

It came in the way of gift. 

All of a sudden I found myself agreeing to participate in the Toronto chapter of the League Of Rock. Fast forward to me heading into the city to meet a group of people I didn't know from Adam (or Eve) and with whom I would soon be not only singing in front of, but rocking out with on stage and in recording sessions. Our group quickly nailed our song list down to four selections based on mutual likes and our playing ability. I can unequivocally say that since week two when we really started getting into it, I leave each practice session walking on air. (Of course I can't talk either, but the loud singing is cathartic and losing my voice for an hour or two afterwards is more than worth it.) 

Look at it this way:

If you loved hockey when you were younger, you probably play in an old-timer league.

If you loved baseball in your teens, you likely participate in a beer-league each summer.

Aren't you sick of only watching fun from the sidelines? Pull your old bass from the downstairs closet and stretch out your vintage Zeppelin concert shirt. There are others like you and they are ready to rock. 

If you play an instrument and it makes you happy to be with others, why aren't you doing something about it? You don't need to wander the city looking into seedy back street clubs searching for band mates. (However, in my experience, back street clubs usually making fucking delicious wings and serve ice cold beer so you may wanna go there anyway. Screw it; it's for research.) 

Last week, one of the several music coaches involved with League of Rock popped into our session room to offer insights and critique. These coaches - international music industry insiders who are incredibly talented and accomplished in their own right - offered ideas I had never thought of before which will help stretch my abilities, not the least of which was the warmly welcomed idea of having fun and dressing the part for one of our three club performances as a group. 

And friends, I am here to tell you that any activity wherein your coach suggests you all buy some fucking leather pants and bang on tambourines is more than okay with me; it's heaven.