all apologies

You’re welcome for now having such a cool song in your head.

When I was younger, I was part of this sort-of garage band. I say sort-of because, with me on guitar, my friend Dean on bass, and my brother on drums, we never had a singer. None us were uninhibited enough to try singing, especially as this was the late eighties and everyone at that time sang really, really high. But we made a lot of noise and generally had a good time rockin’ out in my parents’ garage.(1)

For some reason, this morning, here a good what? twenty years? since the last time we played together, I woke up thinking about those days. And before I was even fully out of bed, I thought: I should apologize in-person to everyone who ever listened to me play guitar.

I wasn’t very good. Like at all. Oh I could play rhythm guitar just fine – at least until my brother wanted to rock out to early Metallica. But this was the 80s where every band was a collection of men in sexually confusing make-up(2) and with generally very little talent…except the lead-guitarist. From Eddie to Nuno to Slash to C.C. to even the guy in fucking Winger, the guys doing the solos were amazing.

And I couldn’t play like that. But it didn’t matter. My brother played the drums so loudly that pretty much no one could hear me anyway. So I just made it up. I’m sure no one now really cares or maybe even noticed. Still, though…

Nowadays I’m a much more devoted musician. I’m not really any better at playing lead guitar than I was then, though the crucial difference is that I’m totally okay with what I can’t do, like guitar solos. Oh I can craft one together for my own recordings if I want to, but it takes much time, trial-and-error, and a healthy dose of recording magic to make it all work. But, for example, knowing that I’d like to play some banjo during the annual holiday shows my friends and I put together, I began practicing in January. When I was younger, the notion of practicing more than ten minutes – real practicing, not just jamming along with the CD – was foreign.

Later this morning, a friend of my sister’s, who’d been a neighbor growing up, wanted to send me a friend-request on Facebook. He said, “My life is the way it is because of you and your damn guitar.”(3) Now, this guy is a really good guitar player. Like really good. I think he’d been playing all of six months before he was better than I am. So I can only conclude that he means he purposefully practiced so that he wouldn’t sound as awful as I did.

But even if that’s the case, its nice to have influenced someone toward a life with a bit more music in it. Music makes things that are awesome even more awesome and I’m glad I could have an impact of that nature on a person’s life. Even if it came at the expense of him listening to my awful, awful, bloody dreadful guitar solos.

It’s also weird that I woke up thinking about this stuff on the same day that my sister’s friend mentioned it, but that’s a little too weird for me to consider today as I run around apologizing to everyone who ever heard me fumble through a solo.


  1. Which, now that I’m of an age older than my parents were at that time, I appreciate how kind of them it was to allow us to make all that racket right outside the back door. Especially since there were a few occasions when Dean’s bass guitar or my brother’s double-bass pedal caused certain ceramic baubles to meet an early, splintery doom.
  2. Seriously. For a while there the dudes from Poison were hot in a way that made me not a little uncomfortable.
  3. Context and enthusiasm lead me to believe he means that in a good way.
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