Back by popular demand. Or so I say. (Previous chapter is here.)
I) Act like a big deal. You kind of have to, because everyone outside the church for some reason just treats you like a normal person, not the church rockstar like which you’ve grown accustomed to being treated.
In your best ‘Look at me I’m Bono but I’m better because I also hate Bono’ impersonation, you brood and mumble through the atheists’ questions with your own esoteric questions in place of answers. ‘What are we here for?’ is answered with ‘What are we here for?’ and ‘How do you explain the differing accounts of Paul’s conversion?’ is answered with, ‘How do you even put a post-spiritual awakening into words, man?’ Eventually the brooding becomes so ultra-hipster that they can no longer hear the words coming out of your mouth as you sink further and further behind the umbrella in the Chipotle outdoor eating area. Oh ya. You’re that skinny. Just look at your jeans. It’s like you don’t even eat at all, but just spend all your time running your fingers through your beard in the Orange County wilderness while you ponder the corporate takeover of the free market and what scarf will go worst with that wolf-moon shirt. When all they can see of you behind the umbrella is the 13 folds of your beanie and the horned rim of your glasses, they finally leave.
You brood back to your car, stumbling into nine real people on your way as you desperately try to follow seven new twitter-people on your phone. You tweet something witty like, ‘That awkward moment when you follow Joel Houston and then realize you have more twitter followers than he does. #justsayin .’ It’s a big deal, but you don’t really care. What does it matter when the collapse of the free market economy is imminent according to SNL? The new iPhone 5 Apple Maps guides you back to your car, and you head back to the church. Your phone is on the seat next to you, almost exploding with chirp notifications of twitter mentions, facebook likes, and instagram tags. You literally cannot wait for the five minute drive to be over so that you can check them.
You avoid the crowd still milling after church, and pull into the back lot reserved for newcomers and musicians. It’s time for rehearsal for the Sunday night service. You know, the real service. Where worship really happens. Which basically means that the college kids don’t care how loud you turn up your amp. Because how can worship truly happen if we are hindering the musicians’ creative gifts? I.e. ‘loudness.’ You and the pastor have had many a deep theological discussion on this. He doesn’t see your perspective because he’s only concerned with pleasing the older folks (blue hairs as you so respectfully refer to them) who are the biggest tithers. Yep, the church’s greed can be the only possible reason you are asked on Sunday morning to destroy your worship-inducing tone by turning down from 9 to 7. But not on Sunday nights. Worship and tone run free and frolic together in a sunlight-filled meadow of beards and Strymon pedals. You wonder as you step on stage if you should use some of those lyrics in your new Bandcamp worship album (of which Kickstarter supporters get two free LP copies, spread the word…or don’t, whatever).
The band starts trickling in. You realize that you were actually at Chipotle with most of these people a few minutes ago, but you all somehow forgot about each others’ presence amongst all the instagram tagging of each other, and ended up wandering back to the church separately. You grab your guitar and flip your amp off of stand-by, hitting your Supermoon reverb, and playing a chord. Just as you suspected…it sounds amazing. You quick pull out your phone and check your 14 Facebook worship guitar gear groups that you are a part of, to make sure the Supermoon is still the best sounding reverb. You breathe a sigh of relief. It is. Yep, you are now confident that your tone sounds good.
On come the fifteen other pedals. Your tone doesn’t sound quite as good now, but you are much cooler. In fact, it seems like worship is happening even now, as your delay-laden cavernous lo-fi shimmer settings echo off of the church drywall. You’re not exactly sure how worship is happening if no one is worshiping, but that thought doesn’t seem to give anyone pause during the service, so you don’t worry about it either during practice. How can worship not be happening amongst those reversed swells of absolute passion and Kundesque beauty? Every note in the G pentatonic scale is ringing out in sustained bliss. You can’t stand those blues guys who only know how to go up and down that tired old pentatonic scale. You also only know how to go up and down the pentatonic scale, but you use delay. That’s different. The notes ring out in the most wonderfully cacophonic harmony your ears have ever heard! Nay, that anyone’s ear have ever heard! What a blessing you are to the rest of your team of they walk onto the stage in the midst of this meditative, worshipful whale watch you have laid out before them with your servant’s heart.
Suddenly, your heart skips a beat. You watch the door at the back of the worship center slowly open. It can’t be! A small knot starts to turn inside your stomach. You try to resist, but your hand starts to slowly and inexorably slip to an F. A flatted 7th! The most hated scale degree in all of post-modern worship! You can’t help it…your brain whirls with the horror. In through the open door walks the new guitarist, carrying none other than a Marshall Valvestate! He walks the long, slow walk of the length of the center aisle of the sanctuary. The Marshall is getting closer and closer! You can taste the Spinal Tap! You think that he must be at the wrong church. He has to be! You watch in stupefied terror as he slowly climbs the stage steps and starts to set up his gear next to yours! You can’t believe it! Quick as the immediate denial of a hipster worship guitarist that he has ever owned a Boss pedal, you…
A) Pull out your phone and post a ’1970′s hue instagram photo of your Morgan next to his Marshall with a caption in reference to the Spinal Tap ‘This one goes to eleven’ scene which no one has referenced for at least two days.
B) Saunter over to his amp, bend down, and peer into the back of it as if looking for what types of tubes it has. When he asks what you are doing, it is the perfect open door for of course Godly and edifying pontification on the importance of tube amps in worship.
C) Ignore him completely, but bust out a few super awesome licks every time he glances in your direction.
D) Ignore him completely.
E) Catch the bassist’s eye, glance at the Marshall, and then steal a quick glance back to the bassist, while you smirk and shake your head. The bassist looks back at you with the ‘You are a guitarist, and hence an idiot’ eyes.
F) Do the same thing with the drummer. He stares back at you, expressionless as he pounds on his cymbals methodically. Is he even looking at you?
G) Offer the new guitarist your 240v European converter, and when his amp explodes, go…’Oh, I’m so sorry! Guess you’ll just have to use my backup Blues Junior.’
H) Put your iPod headphones in and relearn the second guitar part on every song, as you know you’ll now have to play both parts because his amp won’t cut through the mix.
I) Go back to the sound booth and steal some black tape, and tape over the Marshall logo. Who cares how it sounds…when was the last time you saw a Marshall logo at Elevation Church, Hillsong, or Jesus Culture? If Gungor doesn’t play it, it doesn’t belong in worship.
J) Say hi and introduce yourself. Maybe ask his name, and see if you can learn anything from his gear and playing.
K) Ask if he needs prayer. When he asks what for, just wink condescendingly at him as you bow your head and put your arm around his shoulder.
L) Subtly place your Morgan directly in front of his Marshall. When he questions you, look confused.
M) Tackle him, knock him out, and tie him to a chair in the green room. Make him watch ‘Rattle and Hum’ on repeat while cranking ‘Comfortably Numb’ from your phone into the headphones you’ve jammed into his ears, while putting the house lighting system on a chase pattern. Steal his phone and sign him up for The Gear Page, Ebay, and 17 Facebook worship guitar gear groups.
And as always, you can’t choose J). hehe
Remember that tone, gear, and that awesome feeling of being on the worship team, pale in comparison to loving God and loving people. Your worship team and your congregation need love and relationships so much more than they need another $400 variation on a tubescreamer. Even more than they need a changeover from solid state to tube. Oh ya. I’m serious about this.