Last week’s Ultimate Jam Night was set to be all heavy metal, which leaves very little in the line of backing vocals, so I was takin the week easy, and all of a sudden I get a Facebook Message that says “Gimme a call, I wanna discuss some harmonies for this week’s show.” Honestly, time stood still for a few fleeting moments, as this message was from Joe Retta. For those that don’t know: Joe Retta probably has one of THE best, if not THE BEST, voices in rock; just callin it like I see it. My heart was starting to race and I was beginning to shoot myself down, before I ever even took the chance.
I called the number he sent and he answers. “Hey Joe! It’s Kevin” I say, not having any idea what to expect. He says “hey! I’m singing “Kill the King” by Rainbow this week and there’s a great harmony that I’d like you on, if you’re into it?!” First off: “Kill the who? I’d never heard that song before in my whole life, but I’m sure as hell not gonna tell Joe Retta “no” so I say “oh cool! He says “take a listen and see what you think, I can sing the high harmony, or the low, but I think I’d like to take the high.” I say “I’ll take a listen and learn both parts (which is what I always do whenever I’m asked to sing harmony, I learn every part, so I can pivot, if necessary), he says “awesome! I’ll check back with you tomorrow and see how ya feel.” Tomorrow is Tuesday, also known as “The day of the show.” No pressure. I proceed to start listening to the song and the high is REALLY high, and the low is a tasteful 3rd below. For all intents and purposes, the high is the harmony, and “the low” is the melody. So, in all reality, the “high” is a 3rd above the melody. Clear as mud?? Good! Anyway, I’m learning both parts, and the low is easy peasy, so I’m starting to add my “vocal nuances” to the low and really getting comfortable with it when I see my phone light up. I’m in the middle of dinner, and kinda watching a movie, and I see “too late to chat?” – it’s Joe Retta again. Apparently, I missed the first couple messages and then grab the phone and quickly text back “sorry, pal. I was in the middle of dinner and a movie. What’s up?!” He says “oh sorry. We can talk tomorrow.” I say, “no. I’m cool. I paused it. The show is WAY more important than a movie!” He says “call me.” I call him and he answers “How are ya?!” I say “I’m good. What’s up?!” He says “you know, would you rather sing the high?” I said “huh?” He said “well, I know you can sing both, and it may be a little weird for me to jump back and forth between the melody and the harmony, and I know you can kill the high too!” I’m momentarily frozen, and I say “well, usually, I’m down for lows and highs, but I’ve been havin a bit of an issue with my highs as of late, and I’d die if I attempted to hit the high, and sound like Bobby Brady.” He says “you’re an amazing singer. I know you can do this.” So I say “okay. I’ll do it!” He says “tell ya what, lets touch base in the morning and you tell me how you’re feeling with it?” I said “perfect!”
Well, Tuesday came, and my voice was really killin it! I was feeling so good and really ready to make Joe not regret his decision to ask me. I sang it literally, allllllllllll the way from Apple Valley to Hollywood – I literally had it on replay; 1 song on replay, from Apple Valley to Hollywood?! That’s a lot of plays.
when I arrived, I was so ready to nail this part, we were the 5th song, my nerves were up, but only enough to keep me alert…. Song 1, then 2, then 3, then 4 and I all of a sudden panicked “shit! What are the words??!??” However, I just exhaled and said “nope. Sorry, Satan. Not today!” And I literally put those worries outta my mind.
Our turn came and we hit the stage and I sang the high, and at times, when he would jump to the high, I dropped to the low. We KILLED it! No shit! KILLED IT! I was way proud and came off the stage and Chuck Wright was standing at the top of the stairs and he said something, and I went over to him and said “could you hear how we played off one another?” He said “huh?” I said “could you hear the high and how we harmonized??!?” He said “Nope.” Lol. All that stress and I was barely even in the mix. However, THAT wasn’t the point; the point was, I was asked to do something of which I was a little worried at first, but I plowed right through my nerves and KILLED it! Sean McNabb was playing bass and was standing right next to me, and he said “awesome job on the harmony, Kev!” “Thanks, bud” was my response.
So, long story short: the only people that heard my harmonies were Sean, and all the people right in front of me at the foot of the stage!” The funniest part was when I was talking with Joe later and said “way cool how we played off one another”, and he said “what do you mean?” I said “on ‘Kill the King’ – he said “oh man, I couldn’t even hear you. I shoulda asked them to include you in my “in ears” (monitors in his ears) – too funny, all that stress and HE couldn’t hear me either. LMAO! Lots of back and forth stress, but still SOOOOOO worth it!!!