Friday, December 5, 2008

Self Proclaimed Troubadors

The guitar is a powerful instrument. From the depths of its six-string soul came power unlike anything the musical world had ever seen. Rock gods and blues legends were born, forever changing generations of music the world over. But alongside these gods and legends, another breed of guitar player was born. A different kind of guitar player. A guitar player who's skills would scrape the lower reaches of sub-par playing and who's "abilities" would be used to promote self-absorption and deception. An "artist" who's repertoire would include the not-so-complicated songs on a Dave Matthews Band set list or the emotional melodies spilling out of "Your Body is a Wonderland." Whatever the case, this player abuses the power of the guitar and, in turn, engages in unethical pick-up tactics.

The guitar has powerful effects on women. Seriously. It's a scientific fact/I read it on Wikipedia. The sounds coming from a guitar are a natural aphrodisiac and as long as you make borderline "I'm stalking you" eye contact and lick your lips every once in a while whilst playing, the hottest girl in the room will sleep with you. I don't make the rules. The problem is, more and more guys are finding out about this age old secret and are taking advantage of it. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is as wrong as an albino at a Snoop Dogg concert. Now before I start dogging on the Benedict Arnolds of guitar playing, how about some background on me?

I've been playing the guitar for going on eight years now, and boy are my arms tired! But seriously, they are. I started playing the guitar in high school when high-pitched, awkward me had nothing else to do since making the personal choice to abstain from having pre-collegiate alcohol. I just didn't want to fall in love too soon and get my heart broken again. It hurts too bad.

I was such a fool.

So I started learning the songs that most touched my heart/the songs that didn't hurt to play, and actually became a self-proclaimed ok at it. Most of these tracks were centered around the 90's because, after all, it was the greatest decade of this or any generation. One can only imagine the emotional tears of joy I brought to my audiences. Like witnessing the miracle of birth or two rainbows at once, there is nothing like hearing the graceful melody of "Semi-Charmed Kinda Life" on acoustic guitar around a campfire. One word: breathtaking.

So there I am, shredding in stadiums (my parents' garage) and living like a rock star (putting extra sugar on my cereal) when not-so-all-of-a-sudden I realized the powerful magnetic attraction between my guitar and girls. Now I don't want to mislead you into thinking that girls were throwing their bras at me, but they were. Literally, everywhere I went there were bras. And right when I thought I got rid of one, it seemed like two more would replace it. Now I know what you're thinking, "That's awesome! You must have been ridiculously charismatic and good-looking!" Well, I was.

Not pictured: Me.

But in all honesty, I learned the guitar for ME. I learned it because I wanted to and because I wanted to be in Simon and Garfunkel (who rejected me after only one audition!? I guess they weren't big fans of the whole "trio" thing. Close-minded if you ask me...) But then I went to college. Now, most of us have run into the guy that always has his guitar out and plays songs just to be noticed. That's really nothing new and to be honest, I'm not even really upset about it. If you're good at guitar, in my opinion, you should share it with the moderation of course. I mean, Wendy's is awesome, but to eat it everyday would literally kill someone via tasty values. My annoyance begins where it's taken a step further by putting on a button up and enough cologne to successfully tranquilize a moose before each rousing set of "Wonderwall" followed by a borderline offensive interpretation of "Freebird."

I actually had someone ask me in college to teach him guitar so he could get women. He came in my dorm room and said "Can you teach me to play guitar so I can get women?" Isn't that like asking "Can you teach me to break dance so I can stop the war in Iraq?" It's not really an instantaneous thing and really doesn't get any better when mixed with hazardous levels of Axe and collars popped higher than Jay and Silent Bob at a Cheech and Chong convention.

The point I'm trying to make is, as mentioned, the majority of all women are attracted to the guitar. But don't learn the guitar to get women. Frankly, it's flat-out overrated and considered "selling out" in most Midwestern cultures. And if you're going to play "You're Body is a Wonderland", at least play it when either A) alone or B) directly staring into the eyes of a single girl in your bedroom. Don't play it on a secondhand, multi-stained couch in the middle of a sausage fest where one or two girls were tricked into showing up with the more-than-delivered upon promise of free alcohol. They are only interested in you because your partial delivery of the man-God's love anthem reminded them of something they desperately want (but can't realistically have). So in a drunken stuper they close their eyes and imagine Mayer in some inappropriate manner when, in reality, they will open their eyes to find that they are holding on to a dream but are left with the essence of John Mayer's table Oh, and all of the other guys think you're a douche bag.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

New poster!

Let me be distinctly clear by saying that "New poster!" does not mean I am handing out a literal poster with some not so clever and overly used drinking joke such as "One Tequila, Two Tequila, Three Tequila, Floor!!" That would not be fair to you and, in all honesty, is a blatant lie. I know from personal experience that the only person who would hit the floor after three shots of tequila is an 8 year old girl (in the United States anyways.) No, I am indeed speaking of the new blog poster, Nowasteland, who many of you may or may not be familiar with. He is a good friend of mine and also, coincidentally, has things that really grind his gears. Check out his first post below and keep your eyes open for updates because even though I've never been very good at math, I do know that two blog posters means more udpates, and more updates means more awesome.



Tuesday, December 2, 2008

An Assault on Taste: Commerce and Christmas Music

Pondering the intricacies of cheese and sausage gift basket marketing during the holiday season, it's not uncommon for me to daydream songs playing on a turntable in my head. Jimmy Page guitar solos, Wilco lyrics, hell even a Rachmaninov concerto have snuck into my consciousness at which point I typically stop myself, a second or two away from humming.

Usually I hear things I've recently listened to (hence the arguably good list above). Which is why, when "Good King Wenceslas" started playing in my head this morning, I was confused. That song sucks and there's no damn way my producer (me) would have let it on the air. No way. I, nevertheless, shrugged it off and went back to analyzing pictures of smoked gouda and summer sausage.

Then I got Cheneyed by another round of birdshot in the form of notes clumped together; this time I noticed it in my ear and not emanating from my brain. "Bah rum-bum-bum bummmmmmmm." I've had homicidal thoughts about the little drummer boy since I was, well, a little boy (sans drum). No way he gets on the playlist.

Cheney + Gun

Well, it turns out that the guy who shows up to my office one day like every other week (still can't figure that one out) has his radio on one nudge above zero volume and tuned to the only radio station that can ever descend even further below Kenny G on the List of Good Taste: Christmas Carols on Repeat. No DJs. Just Terry Bradshaw and Rosie O'Donnell double teaming Silent Night, break for commercials, repeat.

I'm not going to get into a diatribe on how the ubiquity of Christmas music, sales, and presents bastardizes the true meaning of Christmas, whatever that may be. It probably does, but that's not the point. This is an assault on taste.

Do you really think God---and if you don't believe in God, imagine there's a God of Taste---is up there thinking "I'm glad humans made Little Drummer Boy. It's the pinnacle of audio-art. Put that on repeat."? Not a chance. While I'm damn tired of people speaking on behalf of God (e.g. "God doesn't like gay people", "God wants me to kill people different from me", etc.) may I put forth that God doesn't want to hear crappy music, especially on or about his birthday? He (or she) wants to read between the lines on When the Levees Break or sync Dark Side and Wizard of Oz. Maybe some Chopin when feeling down. Not The Brady Bunch sings "O Holy Night."

So turn it off and pop in some Dylan. Listen to it, because life is too short to ignore great art and even acknowledge bad art.

Oh, on the same "We Suck at Christmas" note: a bunch of greedy, materialistic wretches in Valley Stream, NY (on Long Island) trampled a Walmart employee on Black Friday stampeding for marginally discounted TVs, blenders, and furbies or whatever the hell children like these days. Cool, guys.