The Beginning

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For as long as I could remember, I'd wanted to be in a rock band. Not surprising when you think about it. I come from Wales, the country that gave the world Bullet For My Valentine, Lostprophets, Funeral For A Friend and Skindred. So I guess it was inevitable that I'd be exposed to rock for most of my life. I still remember my first ever gig: Bullet For My Valentine in Cardiff. I couldn't hear properly for the next week after that, and to this day I'm convinced my ribs haven't recovered, but it was totally worth it. It was that concert that set me on my path to metal stardom. That very same night, I went out and bought an electric guitar. It took me three whole years, but I learned to play it. Every spare moment I had, I was locked in my room trying to perfect the riffs I'd spent years listening to. 

For weeks after that, I'd scoured all the noticeboards I could find, trying to see if there were any bands out there looking for a guitarist. Nothing. I was on the verge of giving up altogether, when I had a brainwave. These days it's easy to become famous. All you need to do is post a video of yourself on the internet, and hope enough people see it. 

I positioned my phone so I'd get a clear video, picked up my guitar, and pondered which song to play. It needed to be one that meant something to me, but also one that showed off my ability. In the end there was only one choice for the job. So I pressed the record button on my phone, and launched into the opening riff of Waking the Demon. 

Four minutes and seven seconds later, I put the guitar down and ended the recording. I played it back to make sure it was good enough quality, before I uploaded it onto the big old world that is the internet. Within half an hour, I'd received a grand total of two comments. One told me to "go die in a hole, you emo freak", and the other asked if I could do a cover of Nightmare by Avenged Sevenfold. Disheartened, I turned my laptop off and went to bed. As always, my pessimistic side told me that perhaps I wasn't as good as I thought I was, and that I was just deluding myself. 

The next morning, I opened my email inbox to find three new emails. Three more people had commented on my video. The first was just a standard expression of appreciation for the song in general, not my playing ability. The second was a sarcastic comment about Justin Bieber. But it was the third that really got my attention. It read "Hey, you're really good! We need a guitarist like you in our band, send me an email some time." My heart leapt as I typed out a reply to him. Five minutes later another message pinged through, telling me that his band practise on Wednesday nights in his uncle's warehouse and that I should come along. 

The next night approached the warehouse, checked the address, and nervously knocked on the door. After a minute or so, the door opened to reveal a girl, not much older than me. 


"Hey, I'm Johnny? The guy from the internet?" The girl relaxed. 

"Cool, come on in." I hesitantly stepped inside and looked around. 

"So where's Sam?" She smiled at me. 

"You're talking to her." I looked at her in shock. 

"You're Sam? But I thought you were a boy?" She laughed. 

"That's what they all say. I'm not offended; I'm more than capable of holding my own in this band." Her bandmates nodded in agreement behind her. She stepped up to the microphone. "At the moment we just perform covers, because... well because we just suck at writing songs. Can you do Nightmare?" I looked at her sceptically. 

"I can, but can you?" She rolled her eyes. The drummer began the classical introduction that deceives the listener into a false sense of security, before I used my guitar to change the tone altogether. I heard the bass pedal that signalled the end of the intro, and then... 

"NIGHTMARE!!!!!" I heard at such a high volume I was certain the windows would shatter. I looked around for the stereo that the song was being played from, and then I saw Sam's mouth wide open, still screaming out the word. I looked over at her dumbfounded, and she simply raised her eyebrows smugly. 

I managed to compose myself enough to finish the song, and I even managed to give a passable attempt at the solo. When we'd finished, Sam took the other guys over to one side and huddled them together. I could hear them whispering but couldn't make out the words. After a minute they came back. 

"Johnny, the guys and I have been talking and we think you're one hell of a player, but not what this band is looking for." I waited for a moment as the rejection started to sink in. Suddenly a huge grin appeared on Sam's face. "I'm kidding! Welcome aboard!" She threw her arms around me in a rib-crushing bear hug, and the other members patted me on the back.  

As I left the warehouse, the truth finally dawned on me. I was officially in a band. And one step closer to accomplishing the one thing I'd wanted all my life.

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