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Back at CalArts, my best friend was a guy named Kevin Kmetz. Amazing guitar player, and probably the best musician I've ever met. Second year, I introduced him to my neighbor, Adam Keeney, another composer and guitar player. They hit it off, and a few years later formed a band called the J.S. Bach Experience (along with Theo Mordey and Darren Burns, but I had no part in introducing them). JSBX performed rock covers of Bach's greatest pieces. They were very good.

Kevin found himself stalling for time at one of the first performances, when Darren's amplifier broke onstage.

"Tell a Bach joke!" I suggested from the audience. So, Kevin improvised one. And it was horrible. As luck would have it, there was a reviewer in the audience, and they liked the Bach joke. Mentioned it in their review. Which meant the band would have to come up with more Bach jokes to tell at their next show.

Clearly, this wasn't going to happen. So, we set up a contest on their website, offering a free CD to whoever submitted the best joke that month. I don't believe we got a single submission on time, but they came pouring in a week or two after the deadline. My personal favorite was "Why did Bach have so many children? / Because there were no stops on his organ." But like I said, that came in too late.

Still, the announcement had been made, and we had to present a CD to someone at the next show. So the guys asked everyone they knew to submit something. And I just found a copy of mine.

I'll warn you up front, it's deliberately obtuse. You won't get the joke if you haven't taken a semester or two of music theory. It made Kevin laugh, though.

Not that he used it, mind you.

He chose instead to go with one by a girl named Stacy Jones, who he ended up marrying two years later.

I still insist mine was better. But I'm glad I didn't end up marrying Kevin in her place.

    J.S. Bach goes into a bar. The bartender asks him "What'll it be?" and Bach responds: "I'll have a gin and tonic, hold the gin."

    This confuses the bartender. He's not used to such an order. His mind is boggled. So, seeking clarification, the bartender turns to Bach and says "Huh?"

    Bach sees the confusion he's subjected the bartender to, and figures he'd best explain himself. "It's my kids", he says.

    "Your kids?"

    "Yes. Leopold August in particular. He was only an infant when he died, but his memory is still with me."

    The bartender doesn't see how this could affect Bach's drink order. So he asks: "Why was he so special?"

    "My first wife and I had seven kids. He was the last. You know how everyone always pays more attention to the youngest. Well, his brothers and sisters hated him. They were so jealous - he just came in and took over."

    "So, what happened?"

    "Nothing, really. Can I get that drink?"

    "Sure. Gin and tonic, right?"

    "Hold the gin."

    The bartender scratched his head. "I still don't get it."

    "Well, I was thinking about Leopold August, and you know what they say... a dominant seventh always leads to the SUBMEDIANT."

    The bartender looked at Bach blankly. Bach shrugged.
    "Sorry, deceptive cadence. A dominant seventh always leads to the tonic."

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