the lengths and widths of a struggling young musician with no future, no money, and constant thought.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
welcome to my unfinished life.
Average morning. Wednesday. Sun’s out. Cute. Well, here I am again, laying in bed staring at the unfinished ceiling of my unfinished room in my unfinished house, where I’m composing my unfinished breakthrough solo album. It’s comprised of 10-12 unfinished hits. Welcome to my unfinished life. It’s 7:28am. My alarm goes off at 7 on weekdays. I’ve been ‘snoozing’ for the past 28 minutes. Alright, Lazy Ass, get up.
Floor’s cold- Scratch that. Unfinished floor’s cold under my feet. Quick stretch, neck pops, I walk forward. I instantly recall the dream I had last night: I’m at a water park with several friends, and one of them has invited these girls to tag along. One of their names is Haniv, which is either a Gaelic or Middle Eastern derivation (I have neither proclivity, so whatever). She is thin, blonde, the lines of her face are comforting. My dream self is this confident, familiar persona. During the dream it becomes evident that we are both interested. A few laughs, solid eye contact. I’m getting places. All of a sudden it’s time to go home. I offer to give her a ride, which is quite forward of me seeing as I’m assuming she lives nearby, and I’m assuming I have a car. But this is dream world, get off me. It turns out that both assumptions are correct, as she tells me she lives right down the street, but it’s a bit of a long walk, and she’s exhausted from the H2O-pallooza, so she would gladly allow me to drive her. We walk in companionable happy silence to my car, which turns out to be an old VW beetle, ’67, yellow. What a man’s car. Thanks brain. Un-phased I walk her over to the passenger side, open the door and say something cliche/suave like, “You’re carriage awaits.” She smiles. A cute, teenesque half-smile. She climbs in and I shut the door gently. This is the part where the dream begins to fall apart. I get in the car. I look across at her. She’s got the same half smile paused on her face. Weird. And then I see it. Looking down at the floor of the car…. there are 3 pedals. Standard shift. F*ck. I am a product of the ever so disappointing 21st Century. I cannot drive manual. Panic sets in.
Then I wake up. Oh well. Forget Haniv. She has a stupid name anyway. By this time I’m downstairs exploring deep inside the refrigerator, only to be disappointed by its contents. I make a cup of coffee, whistling the solo from Hendrix’s Bold As Love. #ElectricGuitarReferenceNo.1 Coffee’s cold. My whole day is ruined.
Bathroom time. Pee. Shower. Shave. By the way, I live with my parents. I mention this now because when I look in the cabinet I notice my Mother forgot to buy my special shaving cream. My Dad uses Barbasol. So do I, but I have to get the Sensitive version, because I get hives if I use the regular. Shut up, Dane Cook. Some of us are actually living with this stuff.
I can’t blame my Mom. My older brother is severely autistic. He’s a 22 year old 2 year old, if you follow. I love him to death. We have a common interest in Queen, Clapton #ElectricGuitarReferenceNo.2, James Taylor, and American dubstep. Our 2004 Suburban is equipped with a kick-ass Bose sound system. Needless to say, it’s a pretty good time. My parents are even more occupied than usual. My younger sister is taking driver’s ed. So, as usual, I am the non-important middle child. I wonder if there’s a support group for guys like me. “Hi, my name is Alex, I’m a useless, musically brilliant, guitar-playing teenager. I’m a middle child. I’ve been inconsequential for 18 years.”
Ok, that’s a little melodramatic sensationalized. Melodramatic is a stupid word. I hate that word. It sounds like an adjective for a soap opera involving cantaloupes or something. Not really. I’m getting off topic now.
BTW I have a best friend. Almon. He plays the drums. And the ukulele. I’m just putting that out there now, because I’ll probably devote an entire post to him at some point. I love him. Oh and I’m not gay.
Where was I? Oh yeah. Guitar. Since nothing is really going on in the house, I decide to go upstairs to my room and immerse myself in my one passion*: Blues electric guitar. Beware because for this part of my post, I’m about to get slightly less clever and a bit more rudimentary. I’m about to tell you all about my guitar.
I am obsessed with the blues. More importantly I am obsessed with electric guitar. More importantly, John Mayer is one of the greatest musicians of our time. But I digress. Playing the guitar: This is really the only element in which I feel completely safe from harm. My own world. Something I have complete control over.
I flip the red switch of my Marshall 80w Valvestate amplifier. It clicks on, a few electrical pops and fizzes let me know I can relax. In my head I see a vision of electricity warming up the tube, an original Marshall, running through all the wires and capacitors. The dual 12 inch Celestion speakers revving up like some kind of hotrod engine.I pick up my guitar. A black, relic stratocaster. It’s weight is so familiar in my hands. I built it. It’s perfect. It weighs nine pounds exactly. For those of you who are unaware, that is obnoxiously heavy. Regular stratocasters weigh in anywhere from 6-7 pounds. I did this on purpose. Why? Excellent question. The denser the wood and the heavier the instrument, the longer the sustain, which is pretty much the most important quality of a guitar. I bought a 2007 USA 70′s reissue Fender neck with a rosewood fretboard used on ebay for $300. I had a custom body made out of 3-piece solid hard rock maple. I ripped the pickups and hardware out of a vintage 80′s Bently strat. Technicalities aside, it’s a beautiful instrument. There you go. That’s my “I have an impressive knowledge of guitar shit” speech. Be impressed. Moving on.
Music, to me, is like a lifeline. I need it. Without it, I’m 150,000% sure I would cease to exist. Nothing kicks my ass harder than a masterfully clean blues solo. Or a smooth transition between major and minor pentatonic scale. Some kids heroes are Superman and Batman and Spiderman. Mine are and will always be Buddy Guy, Stevie Ray Vaughan, BB King, Hendrix, Clapton, and John Mayer. I love the blues. Did I hit on that 3 times already? Well, fourth time’s the charm. I play guitar for most of the day. No Joke. Most of the day. As in, 51% or more of the day. I’ll break for food once in a while. Actually, I’ve been working on this technique where if I’m hungry I’ll place a sandwich on my shelf. That way, I can keep playing guitar, and take bites out of my sandwich by walking over to the shelf. My heart stays happy, and my stomach shuts up for a while. Am I getting weird yet?
I was joking about the last 1/3rd of the above paragraph. I’ve never done that in my life. But I probably could.
This is my first blog post, and I had no idea my insipid thoughts would take up this much space. Suffice it to say, I’ve been playing guitar all the live long figurative day, and now the cover of night, like a big “show’s over” curtain, darkens my one man stage. And seeing as there is not enough electricity upstairs in my unfinished house, to play through my amp and have a light on, I’ll have to live another unfinished day, put to rest another unfinished riff, lay down my ironically unfinished guitar, and go to sleep. Nothing spells out home like an Army grade fold out cot that I bought from the military surplus store in Conway. Sweet Dreams, you Bluestrovertant Man.
*Maybe I’m exaggerating. I have several other passions, which include but are not limited to: old cars, ultimate frisbee, beautiful women, baseball, fishing, the beach, etc etc etc. “Oh! Nice to meet you Mr. Average American Teenager! Do you want a f*cking medal or something?”