I want to share my experiences over the past year+ playing music with old bandmates. I've been meaning to do this given the abundance of musicians here. I've had T for 20+ years. Too many AC/DC concerts and the like. T spiked a bit 3 years ago and is now about a 3-4 on 1-10 in my best estimation. I'm well habituated. Mask when needed. About 14 months ago I reconnected with the old cover bandmates from the 80s. We are all in mid to upper 50s in age. Big challenge is that they live 5 hours away, but near my family that I visit fairly often. I'd hardly played guitar over the past 15-20 years, save for myself w/ an acoustic from 2003-2008 when living near a beach. Recently we've been practicing together about once every 8-10 weeks and have worked up about 20 cover songs. Classic rock w/ a country flavor: John Mellencamp, Stones, Eagles (sans great harmonies..), Tom Petty, Johnny Cash, etc. Problem is, these guys won't practice at home and seem to have little true interest in playing gigs. Clearly we could have easily played a set of 10-12 songs months ago if everyone did their homework, and someone arranged a gig near where they live. Also, the other guitarist wants us to play several or more of his original songs. Tunes are usually G, C, D w/ nearly identical strumming patterns. I'm not interested and pretty sure the others aren't very much either. Also, I'm singing lead on quite a few songs and he won't learn the needed fills. It's starting to feel like real work; too many mistakes due to lack of true practice, plus the time I spend practicing and the traveling. Now for the noise. We play in a small basement. Our sessions run about 3-4 hours at ~90 dB. Of course I wear hearing protection: 30 dB Extreme Isolation Ex-29s. No ill effects so far. In facts sometimes afterward I'll go to see friends that were a major act back in the 1980s (MTV, Letterman, Arsenio Hall, American Music Awards) play reunion gigs. Next week we'll gather again, and we are going to each separately do an online poll to rank the songs from 1-10 to see who likes what. Then I'm going to let them know that I'm done with what's often called "practice". If a gig is booked, I'll "rehearse" the set(s) with them. Just plain foolish to endure the noise and hassle just to play. Good news is that between those songs and others I've been practicing at home, I could probably soon do a 3 set gig myself sitting on a stool with an acoustic and a mike. My retirement gig! Or maybe I'll form a band where I live with more serious players. But still, overall, it's great getting back into music, and I'm much better now at fingering and changing chords!