Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Being A Musician Is Hard

I've been playing guitar for a very long time now, and one thing I can tell you is that writing and playing your own music isn't a cakewalk.  There's a reason why real professional musicians practice for hours upon hours everyday.  It's cuz making music is hard.

I was reminded of this fact this week cuz I, for the first time in a very long time, sat down to write a song.  Here's a few things I re-learned, and the reasons why I'm not a professional musician.  You know, beyond I'm just not very good.

  • Writing lyrics is a pain in the ass - Dude, trying to put your feelings into words... Not my strong suit.  Especially when you wanna keep to a specific rhythmic flow and you have to make everything rhyme.  I should stick to the A,A,A,A rhyme scheme.  At least that's a little easier.
  • Singing is hard - You may not believe me, but I used to have a pretty decent singing voice.  I cut my teeth singing along to Harry Connick, Jr. and Queen in my buddy's old orange Subaru (Code name: The Rock N' Roll Pumpkin).  I got pretty good singing along with Weezer and Nerf Herder and Fountains of Wayne.  Of course, back then I had no idea there was so much cool metal out there.  Once I found bands like Lamb of God, In Flames, and Children of Bodom, I pretty much stopped listening to bands I could sing along with.  Therefore, my voice fell out of practice and now it just sucks.
  • Singing while playing guitar is a challenge - It just is.  Playing your guitar parts while trying to remember your lyrics and sing on key...  I mean, there are plenty of people who can do it, no sweat.  Rivers Cuomo, Dave Mustaine, Brian Setzer.  Those guys can pull it off.  I can't.  Not without copious amounts of work.  And I have to wonder if it's worth it.
  • Ripping off your musical heroes is way too easy - There's a reason so much of the music I write sounds like Weezer and why all my metal riffs sound like something rejected from a Killswitch Engage record.  It's cuz I tend to regurgitate the music I love, without changing it too much.  It's just so much simpler to paraphrase something some band you love created.
  • Stagefright - I am incredibly shy and I don't do well in front of a crowd, even a one-person crowd.  So even if I somehow navigate the gauntlet of songwriting and get to the point where I can play it and sing it at the same time, I can't play it in front of anyone without pissing my pants.
Still, when I get it together and actually play my stuff for people, it feels pretty damn amazing.  So I should just suck it up and get on with it.  \m/  \m/

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Darkness Rocks, Holiday-style!!

It's December, which means winter, snow, and freezing-ass cold.  We've had all of that round here over the past week-and-a-half.  It also means Christmas, and with that, an inundation of all things holly and jolly.  Speaking of all things holly and jolly, here's a holly jolly holiday jam from The Darkness.  Commence with the festive air guitaring!!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Sick Daze

So, Monday when I woke up, I didn't feel very well.  By noon, I was having trouble standing up without losing my balance.  By about 2 p.m., I knew I was in deep doo doo.  I was coming down with the sickness (Damn you, Disturbed).

As a result, I've spent 99.9% of my time since I got home on Monday in bed.  I can describe the experience by appropriating a quote from The Wonder Years: After two hours of TV and steady bed rest, the world always looks a lot better.  After ten hours of TV and steady bed rest, the world always looks a lot worse.  There's only so much Top Gear you can watch before you zone out.  (Or start speaking with a British accent.)

In the effort to keep my mind occupied during my sick time, I've been playing a game with myself.  I've been trying to see how many lucid observations I can make under the influence of cough syrup.  Most the time, my brain has been static or endless fields of colorful tulips.  But here are a few I've managed to latch onto:

  • Heating pads were not made to be slept upon.
  • There's a certain age that, once reached, it is impossible to fall asleep with death metal playing.  I believe I've reached that age.
  • Ted Mosby's a lot less funny after 2 a.m.  I guess Ted's mom was right about nothing good happening after 2 a.m.
  • I don't know how sick folk got along before NetFlix.  And being sick without NetFlix just sucks.
  • Cough syrup leaves a really warm feeling in your chest after you take it.  But just after you take it.
  • I think my favorite performance in any comic book movie I've ever seen may just be J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man movies.  Perfect blustery brilliance!
  • It's really hard to translate the sounds you hear in your head into music coming out of your guitar amp.  It's doubly hard when your head feels like it's stuffed with cotton balls.
  • Laughter is the best medicine.  Unless you have a nasty hacking cough.
  • Sometimes, a long, hot shower is the greatest damn thing in the world.
  • Watching scary movies while you're under the weather is a recipe for scary dreams.
  • I really wanna see the new Lamb of God documentary As the Palaces Burn.  It covers the issues the band had as a result of Randy Blythe's arrest in the Czech Republic.  It sounds riveting.
  • When you can't stand up straight without feeling dizzy, taking a leak is an unpleasant adventure.
I'd write more, but I'm not feeling so hot right now.  Don't worry, though.  A nice, long, hot shower and a couple pins in the hip and I'll be as good as new.