So this is a new endeavor for me (blogging), hopeful that it will generate some interest, both for myself and anyone who finds this here. My reach for musical proficiency began in earnest one Christmas after receiving a plastic rifle as a gift. I immediately strapped it over the shoulder and began to strum it as a guitar! Infatuated with music making, I continued a never ending, albeit intermittent climb to musical aspirations that remain forever on the horizon. As a child singing along with a limited but formidable number of 45 rpm records, I would channel Elton John’s ‘Philadelphia Freedom’ at the top of my lungs whilst enjoying the sonic sugar high with headphones on. Those outside the headphone induced delirium I was enjoying, thought otherwise about my present abilities to carry a tune. I don’t remember the exact phrasing used to quash my efforts at out loud singing ‘practice’ but it did and still does give pause for concern. Though I can, given the right opportunity, publicly display skill in this regard (singing), There is a struggle to put it out there. But do continue the search for opportunity to do so.
Sometime later I received a much desired acoustic guitar, which was not as easy to play as the aforementioned rifle, but I would soldier on as it were with the help of a lovely young guitar teacher Miss Staci Misiti, if I remember correctly. She would walk me through the ‘Mel Bay’ learn to play guitar method. Once I broke a string and thought the guitar was forever broken, I cried like a little baby, emotional memories seem to last forever. Time passed interest waned but never left. A few acoustic guitars later, I got my first electric guitar and that was the real beginning of my musical journey. Armed with a proper desire to learn to play, to impress girls, I got lessons from the local guitar hero and began to get an education in rock that I was not privy to before. Being the oldest I had no elder brother or sister to inform my ears of music that was available besides top 40 radio. My Teacher at that time Marc Schumman (Marc Ferrari in the 80’s I think) Began my musical sojourn into hard rock guitar with bands like Aerosmith, Van Halen, Ted Nugent etc… Practicing in earnest I impressed my teacher but still didn’t quite understand the music he would try to teach me. I being a KISS fan new nothing of Led Zeppelin. An overlooked bit of music history that time had no problem helping me to correct. That and friends who would become the source input for the sonic impetus driving much of my formative musical training.
My first band. Me and Bob Alcott formed ‘Red Freaks Don’t Smoke’ He new what it alluded to, I did not, and still don’t. They say 3 chords can say so much, but we only knew 3 notes before we took our show to the patio, at which time we were promptly hailed as guitar heroes via the ‘tossing of the proverbial empty bottle’ at our stage. This was not the last time some one would think so much of my stage presence as to throw something! That one really hurt, not the first one though. We were noticed, and there is no such thing as bad publicity! (Stone to the side of the head not withstanding)
Many, many lessons and practice sessions later with maybe 3 songs under our belt, we audition a drummer to round out our trio. The guy showed up with the biggest drum set I’d ever seen and a professional ability that far out weighed our own. I guess my sales ability on the phone and overt optimism about what we were capable of got him to show up. Why he stayed that afternoon I’ve no idea, but first time with a drummer and I was hooked. Rock n roll even our basic version of ‘Rocky Mountain Way’ in the garage that day sold me on the unflappable desire to continue this course and try again.
Again and again. The impetus to make rock music had borrowed deep and there were quite a few others that also entertained this obdurate wish to annoy our families, from the basement or, the neighbors from the attic on a Sunday morning. Restating famous guitar riffs and songs that got ever faster and harder (dynamically). We bore the names of our tribe, Warlord, Blitzkrieg with honor. And a determined preoccupation to not be associated with any other style of music than the ‘hard rock’, which been channeled into our brains as our fingers and feet would follow as best we could, to impress ourselves as well as, the beer drinking population that would tolerate the caterwauling we were capable of.
And so it went on, Wedding Receptions, Clubs, Pubs, Battles of the Bands, Private Parties, Writing and Recording, Teaching, Jamming. I always enjoy trying to make a performance a thing to behold, rehearsals could get discouraging depending on many things, not the least of which was how often we could get together. Once a month is not going to cut it to perform regularly, too often and it may sound uninspired. Then there are the leaders of the band that can be demanding to the point of dictatorship, that can be demoralizing. And yet to get out there and play, make something happen sonically as well as the myriad other ways music can affect us is still the main goal, of wanting to be a musician in the first place. Of course it can also be for private amusement, one does not need to want to perform to want to play. But I think if you develop something to the point that it makes you happy, you will probably want to share that at some time to make another happy.
À la prochaine (until next time)