There's plenty of actual freestyle jamming going on when The Annual Jam Band gets together. It's how we were born. It's what we do best (and love).
J., Taller J. and I spend borderline-inappropriate amounts of time neglecting work, exercise and calling our poor, worried mothers to craft unique and jammable chord progressions. And spending any free time from that riffing over old recordings.
However, cover songs are a great way to learn new things, and we play plenty of those as well.
This isn't going to be any sort of detailed explanation as to why these are jammable tunes. I'm just going to have some fun and post a lot of videos of the songs we've been covering throughout Annual Jam Week 2012. I'll add a word or two at the bottom of each clip. If anyone wants to know chord progressions, just ask in the comments.
[ P.S. Past hits we've rolled like Marley's "Stir it Up," 311's "Sunset in July," "Fur Elise" (you heard me) and a ridiculous acoustic/electric shred of "Sweet Child of Mine" are all accounted for in the embedded player at AcmeStuffCo [DOT] com, official homepage of The Annual Jam Band... ]
L. has been singing this great modern, bluesy tune. Easy (yet unique) chord progression that just sounds cool. Starts in B.
Another easy, yet unique jam that Bradley Nowell buried in his strange album Robbin' the Hood (best version is obviously on the live album seen above - Stand by Your Van). Once you start playing this tune, it leaves nobody's head for days.
Ahh, Budos Band. An AJB favorite. We love how every song sounds like a cop chase or the theme to the final credits of a crime thriller. Their basslines are great for soloing over in major scales or melodic minor (I kinda combined the two). We also jam Chicago Falcon.
Here's one I've been singing (with no capo; I can't hit those notes like Christian Z.). Also... Damn I need a ukulele or something. (L. and I have also been singing a pretty stellar "Close Your Eyes and Count to Ten" together.)
"Misirlou"... Here's the thing about that. The former incarnation of our band did play Misirlou, but, as the years go by, we've found that you DON'T ALWAYS HAVE TO PLAY THE MISIRLOU SOLO TO MISIRLOU. Isn't that fun? Break it down and listen to what's in back: a fun little E, F and occasional G guitar rhythm. A Latin (though I'm told it's Italian)-sounding riff that anybody can go nuts over (at your own speed). Stellar.
Gogol. These songs are meant to be lamented and screamed. The great thing about alcohol.. ahem, excuse me -- "Alcohol" -- is that it sounds great at any speed. It's a simple walk down from barred Amin to open E. Eugene seems to jam it slow live (while on the album it's quicker). We usually start slower and end up with the room stomping, spilling and screaming (same with this other favorite Gogol Bordello song we've been rocking).
[ * Added later: I'd say our group-sing of "Through the Roof 'n Underground" was an absolute highlight of the Jam for me. Totally awesome and memorable. ]
I'm just going to go ahead and post this. I'll add more songs as the week goes on...
ROck and/or roll!!!
Happy Annual Jam Week!
[ All below added post-Rockford Jam Weekend (the REAL Annual Jam Party) ] ...
I hadn't really planned on jamming this track.. It's just a riff I absentmindedly noodle while other people are setting up. But it caught on this time. A lot of people say they like the raw energy of the Keys' blues sound. Groovy. Me too. But what I like here is that the basic riff is a jam. There's no simple Black Keys song -- he's always rocking it out.
This turned into a great, bluesy jam. Add bass, drums and another guitar and you've got a simple, classic song anyone can play. Richards does a pretty cool sideways hammer-on thing at the start of the riff that I've talked about here before. Great tone, great sound. That's why they're the Stones!
There are a couple of Stadium Arcadium-era Chili Peppers songs that my bassist likes to play just to show off (ha! I kid. He's aces and knows it). They haven't been entirely our style in the past, but the Annual Jam Band seems to be moving in an ever-funkier direction (and the Chilis are one of everybody's all-time favorite bands). I can turn up the fuzz and have fun here (and on Readymade).
If you want a couple of (SUPER) simplified Radiohead jams to rock out, the above tune is basically Dm and G for the verse, F and G for the chorus. We've jammed Creep in the past too: G, B, C, Cmin.
I feel alive. Rock.