Thanks for reading! I’ve decided to journal the history of my involvement with Run Like Hell in memoir form. This will be a multi-part series diving into my beginnings, middles, and present day reflections playing in this wonderful ensemble. Please enjoy!
Reflections on a two-year Band-iversary November 23rd, 2015 - Present
By: Sharisse Germain, Formerly Sharisse Derby
Chapter 1: The Beginning
“You’re a big fish in such a small pond, Sharisse. It’s time you go out and find what awaits you in the ocean.” - Jerry Germain, My Father
I remember when I first noticed the blinking blue light on my phone, indicating someone was trying to get a hold of me. I remember receiving the message like it was yesterday. Little did I know this message would change my life forever. A man wrote to me, inquiring if I was interested in joining a startup Pink Floyd Tribute band looking for a keyboard player and singer. Six months prior, by happenstance, I was on an advertising sales call for a recording studio in Hudson, and they asked me if I’d like to record a quick cover singing some Led Zeppelin, because their producer, a long-time family friend, wanted to show off my voice. The YouTube video they quickly produced apparently piqued some interest for a few musicians in “The Cities” and they wanted to know how they could use the power coming from my throat to help catalyze their project.
That night, after reading the message to myself a few times, I found myself deep in thought. I lounged on the rug in my living room, waiting for my homemade chicken noodle soup to finish simmering on that chilly November evening, wondering if I had added enough thyme to give it the earthy flavor I craved. I needed to trick my bones into feeling sunnier days. I stretched my tight back muscles, and picked at knots in the dreadlocked mop that I claim to be “a legitimate hairdo.” I peered to my right at my Korg C-90 electric piano, and my Yamaha MO-8 production synthesizer tethered to my mammoth Gallien-Krueger Bass amp and cabinet. I had 176 weighted keys positioned perpendicular on hardwood floors as the wind whipped outside, and they begged me to help accompany “Will you still love me tomorrow?” by Carole King tinkling through my Crosley turntable.
In hindsight, my response was extremely timid. Picturing in my head, scenes from Brit Floyd and The Australian Pink Floyd Show, I knew this wasn’t going to be a cake walk. I hadn’t had any experience in productions of the caliber I had imagined, but I was curious and excited at the same time.
“I love Pink Floyd!” I wrote. “Dark Side of the Moon changed my entire perspective on life…one evening in college…” Then I went on to say my famous last words. “I can totally sing Great Gig in the Sky.” I was most definitely stretching the truth, but I kept the deception to myself. I wasn’t outright lying. I knew intrinsically that I could do it. It had been a goal of mine for about 10 years to master that song with the grace and power of Claire Torrey, who also stumbled into the realm of Pink Floyd by happenstance. With my Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance certificate collecting dust on my bookshelf, I knew I had the physical range. I knew I had the power. I knew I had the accuracy. I knew I had the skill. I used to study and perform Bel Canto – Bellini, Donizetti etc. I had the agility to sing Mozart, the control to sing Debussy, and the ear to sing Copeland. If I could sing pieces written by those composers, I could definitely sing this one. It was just a matter of dusting off 4 years of dormant vocal training, and 3 years of sing-yelling Bon Jovi and Guns and Roses songs in my then-cover band that I fronted, Ten Mile Creek to achieve perfection.
My downstairs neighbor banged on the ceiling for me to cease my melodious indulgence with Ms King’s mysteriously honest and raw vocalizations. I stopped, picked up my phone, and arranged an audition.
Arriving at the studio the first time was a mental trip. I found myself in the parking lot of a huge warehouse dimly lit, with numerous semi-trailers resting for the night in their respective docks. There was an open dock on the south end of the building, and I spotted Todd, who was waiting to help me load my extremely heavy Yamaha up into the freight elevator, I sang with the group (which, by the way, looks nothing like our current lineup) and after I was finished with Brain Damage/Eclipse, they all shouted in unison, “YOU’RE HIRED.”
Stay Tuned for Chapter 2