When I was laid off a few years ago, a musician friend suggested I look for work as a lounge pianist. I could demo some keyboard music and send it to resorts. The idea sounded like it was worth a try. I set up a recording session with Hank Childers at VGB Studio.
Once we'd compiled a sufficient number of tracks, Hank asked me what my plans were.
"I'd like to find a guitarist and start a band eventually," I said. "Maybe in a few months. First I need to become a better singer."
"I know someone who's looking for a project," said Hank. "Would it be OK if I gave him your number?"
The someone was Ron Amistadi. He played drums, not guitar. But what the hell. I was up for any opportunity to jam, and decent drummers are hard to find in Tucson.
Ron called. He seemed nice enough. We scheduled a day to meet, and he arrived at the appointed time. After we got his kit into my living room, I played him some of my songs.
It didn't surprise me when Ron turned out to be a good drummer. Hank wouldn't have connected us if he weren't. The thing that got my attention was that Ron understood what to do with singer-songwritery songs like mine. He came in exactly where I would have asked him to. He made the songs sound a lot more like they were supposed to sound.
Ron noticed that we were connecting as well. "This is a special situation," he said. He uttered the phrase "special situation" several times that day. He wanted us to start a project together.
I told him about how I wanted to learn to sing first. That we couldn't gig with my voice in its current state.
No dice. Ron wanted to start this bad boy now. The singing, yeah, it needed work, but it would get better as we went along. Why wait?
Somewhere in the middle of my protests, the part of me that's smarter than the rest of me interrupted my thoughts.
Susan, it said. Here is a drummer who plays well, who understands your style, who's a nice guy, who shows up when he says he will, and he WANTS TO WORK WITH YOU. Don't be an idiot.
So, with many caveats about my weak vocals, I agreed. We called our new project ... our new project. The name would come later.
That first meeting happened on April 14, 2003, exactly seven years ago.
Cinder Bridge exists because Ron had enough faith that I could learn what I needed to learn, and faith in what we could accomplish together.
Happy anniversary, Ron the Drummer. Happy anniversary, Cinder Bridge. It's still a special situation.