Sigma Six at the Basement

The following reflection was written in 2003, when I was between 25 and 26 years old.


Sigma Six played a show in Jon’s basement for an assorted crowd of our friends, probably our biggest crowd so far, on 10 February 1996. It was our longest set ever as well and the first time we were playing complete with bass and drums. Needless to say, we were excited about it.

The set-list looked like this:

  1. Rain Song (Led Zeppelin)
  2. Runaway Train (Soul Asylum)
  3. Man On The Moon (REM)
  4. Dominated Love Slave (Green Day)
  5. Knowledge (Green Day)
  6. Half The World Away (REM or Oasis)
  7. Nightswimming (REM)
  8. Labels (Clark/Clark, Johnson, Dubner, Murphy, Martin, Mills)
  9. It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine) (REM)
  10. Crucify (Tori Amos)
  11. Will You Stay (Martin/Johnson, Dubner, Murphy, Mills, Clark)
  12. Fearless (Pink Floyd (?))
  13. Van Diemen’s Land (U2)
  14. Faded Memories (Martin/Mills, Johnson)
  15. Country Feedback (REM)
  16. Goodbye Cruel World (Floyd (?))

Right off the bat, as I look over this set-list, it’s a fucking mystery to me.

Half of these songs I don’t even remember who did them. I don’t recall who in the band wanted to do them. And, it terrifies me that there were only three originals in the entire set. We weren’t that good a band to pull off that many complicated covers from so many disparate acts.

We started with “Rain Song” because Paul’s guitar had to be in a different tuning. JonMartin sang on that but I don’t recall it being very good. It was more a Paul thing and Jon was the one who got drafted to sing it. “Runaway Train” was more Jon, though I always longed to sing it too. “Man On The Moon” was Jon again and it was okay.

“Dominated Love Slave” was always a highlight of our set and even though Paul barely ever learned the fucking song, it was still okay. It got better later on when we had someone who would actually take the time to learn how to play it. “Knowledge” followed that up and that was Jon’s Green Day song. He did a pretty good job with it. He dug that song, so I’m not surprised.

I don’t remember if it was Oasis’s or REM’s “Half The World Away” that we played. We were pretty much a fucking REM cover band at this point, so it wouldn’t surprise me if it was another song by them. “Nightswimming” followed that with Dubner on piano and Jon on vocals. It was, like everything else, just okay.

I did an okay version of “Labels” after that and ruined my fucking vocal chords. Jon followed with “End of the World” and then I came back to do “Crucify,” one of my favorite songs, but definitely not a song I ever should have sang — especially after ripping my throat apart with “Labels” two songs before.

“Will You Stay” was a Jon original and it wasn’t bad. “Fearless”... who the fuck knows? It was another song Paul wanted to play, I’m sure. “Van Diemen’s Land” was something I recall as being pretty good. I’d never heard the original, after all.

We closed the show with “Faded” which was always pretty okay and then “Feedback” which was never quite there and then Jon sang “Goodbye Cruel World” and it was over.

The set was too long and my girlfriend couldn’t make it and I only got to sing three fucking songs. There was virtually no point in me being there. If they had cut my songs it probably wouldn’t have made a difference in the show. It might’ve even been better.

I couldn’t write songs with Paul and that’s what I wanted to do. I was only vaguely interested in doing covers. I half-heartedly prayed that someday we would have a guitar player with at least an ounce of creativity in his body.