Friday, April 15, 2011

Playing Music Again

This really does not have much to do with Venice Beach per se but I have started practicing guitar and writing music again. Last night I broke out my solid-body electric and my little Fender practice amp and re-familiarized myself with the vagaries of electric guitar. Since learning guitar in my late teens and early 20s, I have mostly played acoustic, but I have a Strat knockoff and a  Gibson semi-hollow knockoff. I find that electric guitars are more fun when you are playing with others in a band. I don't enjoy electric as much as acoustic when I'm playing solo.

So, anyway, last night, after I had made sure the guitar was in tune with itself, I hooked it up to the practice amp and went through some old favorites: "The Wind Cries Mary," "Rock and Roll Hootchie Koo" and "Revolution". I was surprised how good I sounded, given that I have not touched an electric guitar in over six months and never really became expert on electric to begin with.

I am also trying to re-construct one of the last songs I wrote 10 years ago, called 'Chasing Rainbows.' I was so arrogant about my musicianship back then that I didn't think I needed to write anything down. Silly me. While I can remember perfectly well the melody of the song and its chord progressions, the words are a different matter. I can remember the first and parts of the second and third verses and part of the bridge. The words come back to me in little bits and pieces and I hope someday I can remember the whole song. Needless to say, I am now writing it down. When I remember a line or two, I promptly note them in my lyrics binder.

Alma heard me play the song 10 years ago and loved it then. So now, when I try various iterations of words and lines, she knows pretty much whether they are correct. And she actually remembered one of the lines of the bridge that I had forgotten. So it's a team effort, I guess you could say.

What is weird is that picking up the guitar again has triggered all my rock and roll fantasies. "If I can just get this song perfect . . . " I think to myself. Or "All I really need is a new amp and . . . " Or (my personal fav) "This one could be the one that helps me hit the big time."

I am resolved though not to buy any more equipment. I have spent so much money on equipment over the years and, aside from the fun I have had with the gear, have never earned back anywhere near what I spent. My closet right now is full of old gear I no longer use: a Carvin PA, a Tascam 4-Track recorder, a Digitech digital effects processor and a multi-pedal unit, among other bits of gear. I can't bring myself to part with any of it because you never know, success might be just around the corner and then I'll be able to put the gear to good use. Right. And if you believe that, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I'd like to sell you. Seriously, though, were I to get rid of some of the gear, it would be like confessing that my rock and roll fantasies were only that.

1 comment:

  1. So. Fantasies are good. They are like a washing machine for our psychy, and it feels so good when they are nice and clean. It doesn't say less of you as a musician that some of your equipment was bought to feed a fantasy, it says more of you as a human.