…my guitars aren’t gonna strum themselves…
I started taking guitar lessons in the fall of my 7th grade year, which is about 25 years ago. As I was just beginning to learn how to hold a pick and strum once, a buddy of mine taught me how to play my first song, Nirvana’s About A Girl. Em~G repeat. I didn’t know what minor meant, I just thought my friend was some kind of wizard for having this coded knowledge. At the time I also had a guitar poster that had all these chord charts and scales and such, so I used that as a reference.
I took lessons at a small local music shop that kind of doubled as a bar. My brother took bass lessons and my mother thought I would be interested in guitar…….
In the summer before my sixth grade year, I used to look at my mom’s semi-hollow super sweet and classic guitar with hopes of playing it one day. I remember putting it on my lap and awkwardly motioning my right arm in a somewhat strumming spasm while hesitantly allowing a piece of the pick to touch the strings and cause a nasty twang. My mom, being a music teacher, showed me a book that I started to look at, which showed me names of the strings and some of my first notes on the first few frets. I got as far as Row row row your boat, before discovering distortion on my mom’s sweet and classic tube amp.
Later that summer a friend of mine who was the best drummer in the whole school invited a few friends to his house and encouraged anyone to bring instruments. My mom allowed me to bring the guitar and amp, and a few other friends parents allowed their kids to bring their guitars as well. We all plugged in and began playing just disconnected out-of-tune noise with the fortunate saving grace of having a drummer who knew how to play a beat. After a few minutes of twang bang fuzz Mmmmph ping the drummer picked up one of the guitars and said he know how to play “Two Princes” so he strummed some nasty half muted strokes along the fret board while one of us jumped on the drum set. The other guitarist mimicked his strumming pattern and there you have it, my first band.
About 2 minutes later we decided to get on our bikes and go get pizza, where we talked about different band name ideas at Giavonni’s (or was it Guiseppes). And when we returned my jacket caught on fire because it was sitting on a space heater…
…as I started AND continued to remember and write this, it came to me how badly I was getting it all wrong. Oh but it all happened, but oh maybe not in the right order.