Saturday, November 03, 2007

The Reverently Befuddled Aesthete, Continued

Sometime in High School I got the impression that if I wanted to play in a rock and roll band, playing bass guitar was the fastest, easiest route. I had no empirical evidence of this. The bass players I could name had genuine musical chops — Geddy Lee, John Entwhistle, even Michael Anthony from Van Halen. Anthony sure jumped around a lot, though. Maybe that's where the idea took hold.

A friend of mine generously took me on a tour of the city’s music shops, to give me a few tips and keep me from making a completely disastrous purchase. I loved walking into all these places, even the pawn shops. It felt like I was entering the pantheon of some exotic house of worship, where the elements gleamed and beckoned to be picked up and played. I lived in hope that I’d someday be worthy of just such an honor. My friend would take down a Les Paul, hook it up to a Peavey amp and coax all manner of incredible music from it. I, on the other hand, would reach for a cheap Ibanez knock-off, plug it in and ... well, even in 1981 when everybody and their gerbil could play the opening bass riff to “Turn Me Loose” or “My Sharona” I clearly marked myself as an infidel in the House of Music.

I bought the knock-off and farted around with it for a few months, but never got anywhere close to actual proficiency. I sold it a year later and gave up on my rock and roll dreams.

For the last 20 years I’ve owned and played a simple acoustic guitar. I’ll happily strum it at any bonfire; I even know a couple of scales. But I don’t know it nearly so well as to prompt me to buy anything so sweet as this stuff (same friend, BTW). Still, I love to look at it. These are the doors that grant the true disciple access to such terrific sounds. And for that I revere it.

Post-Script: since I'm talking bass guitarists, it behooves me to link to at least one interview with Lemmy from Motörhead. "Q: Is it true you tried to teach Sid Vicious how to play bass?" "A: Yeah. It was all uphill. And he still couldn’t play bass when he died, I mean, ****ing hell."


DarkoV said...

While I'm sure your friend's musical skills are well worth admiration, envy and a few other choisce selections from the the Book of 7 Evils, I was taken by the pictures provided in his Facebook posting.

I mean, come on WP, it's one thing to be extolling one's Player virtues (Is he Canadian? I don't think a Canadian would be so, uhmmm, self-promoting), but it's a completely different point he seems to be making by displaying all of his (beautiful) guitars in a vertical nature. I mean, come on, even the instruments have to take a horizontal rest at some point. I get the point, but geez does he have to really, really rub it in about the energy that musicians (or should I just say guitarists) possess.
Where's his wife to at least help us poor suckers out with comedy relief?
I rest my case; I'm going horizontal.

Whisky Prajer said...

Well, I'll vouch for his skill as a guitarist, but leave other skill-sets open to speculation -- cautious speculation, since he and his beautiful wife have managed the "be fruitful and multiply" trick more often than I and mine did.

As for self-promotion, I should add that my friend was slow to give me the link to this photo-album. He posted to share with other musicians, and my understanding is this sort of display is akin to the locker-room talk one engages in at the local raquet club following a good match. Besides, it doesn't matter what nationality the musician is, if he can't promote himself, he's not a musician: he's a pizza delivery boy.