So last night I’m playing. And I’m getting stoked for the next song, because during practice, all the parts were covered…and the chord progression was just a bit bluesy…which meant that I got to bump up to the neck pickup, throw on just a light touch of untimed delay, put my pick in my mouth (this part isn’t essential when playing with just finger attack, but it’s a nice bluesy touch), and throw in some very sparse yet poignant, what I considered to be, absolutely earth-shattering Larry Carlton minimalistic blues riffs. (As a side note, the earth absolutely did not shatter when I played them, which was surprising and a little bit disturbing to my view of my own skills; and in fact, no one even did so much as turn around to mention my genius to me. But that’s okay. I’m so above their opinions. One of the keys to maintaining your status as the untouchable lead guitarist, is to never, ever let your own ego be brought down by the jealousy of lesser musicians. ) Anyway, I was stoked to be able to play a little of this in the service. I’ve been really into blues lately for some reason. Possibly because I’m on like, day 8 of my twice annual lemonade fast. So the world looks very bleak to me right now. Very bleak. The blues helps.
Service starts, and we get through the first couple songs. And then the one I’m waiting for. Enter acoustic. Enter vocals. Enter little snare roll. Now some bass anchorage. Background vocals on the harmony. Guitar on the high end dotted quarters. Piano filling out the middle. Okay. My turn. And then it happened. The thing I hate above all other things. When it sounds perfect without me. I listened to every part. And everyone was creating this wonderful space, and this incredible sound…bordering dangerously right on that precipice between ‘perfect’ and ‘I’ve heard this before.’ And somewhere, some voice told me that my tired old blues riffs (that’s definitely not how I thought about them last night) that I was about to play were going to push it over that precipice. And so I hit my mute switch. And turned my guitar’s volume down. That way, if the overwhelming need to be part of the perfection ended up overtaking me, at least there would be a chance that my stupidity would come to the rescue, and I would forget that one of my muting techniques was engaged, and hence still preserve the beauty. And so I was silent. For like, 5 hours.
Or at least it seemed like 5 hours. It was probably more like 30 seconds. And then the song of course picks up, and guess what? I still got to play my blues riffs. Even probably more than I should have. For some reason, the idea of being silent or minimalistic for the good of the music as a whole, sounds so good on paper, on the internet, or when talking amongst musicians. But on stage, or when you’re the one who actually has to be silent, it’s like absolute torture. Like someone sticking a Floyd Rose-equipped ESP in your hands, and forcing you to play Lincoln Brewster solos through Line 6 amp modelers…and you’re not even allowed to use the delay settings! (Sorry…I’ve just been really nice lately and wishing everyone the best no matter what equipment they play, as long as they’re making wonderful music………and sometimes…it’s just gotta come out! hehehe Now this is the part where you go whip out your ESP’s, plug your POD directly into your computer, and record some clips that’ll make my cry in shame. hehehe Or mention that Mr. Brewster has thousands of people at each one of his worship concerts, and I’ve got…uh…hundreds if I’m lucky? Sometimes tens? But that’s okay. It’s not about numbers for me. In fact, I don’t even notice them. Don’t you just want to throw something when people say that? hehe) Wait, what was I talking about? My opinionation distracted me…
Okay, so silence can be amazing. And many times just what it needed. And to resist the urge to throw on some reverse looping, a little reverb, grab your Two Rock (riiiigggghhht), and play this:
Wow. Really hard to resist that. But depending on the musical situation, even the most beautiful things can sometimes be too much. Although if I could sound like John Mayer, I’m not sure I’d ever stop playing. However, John does kind of prove my whole point with his talking. Just be quiet, John. Stop trying to be the new indie poster boy for the recycled James Dean persona, and just play your guitar. That’s what we want. Yikes, I’m kind of mean today. I think I need to eat something. But seriously, John. I’d hate you and your enormous ego if you weren’t such a blasted incredible musician……which…makes me hate you, also. But in a much more loving way. Like, I hate how much your skill makes me hate myself. So much hate right now.
I would like a turkey sandwich.