Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Music, music, I hear music....

There have been two musical high points in my life, both characterized by the question, "Where the fuck did that come from?" They've been much on my mind lately, so I'm subjecting you to them.

The first occurred my senior year of high school. I was a band nerd. Even worse, a marching band nerd. Even so, the homecoming game my senior year was the only solo I ever got to play, so fuck you all, I'm rolling in it like a dog in stinky dead shit.

Homecoming, 1992: we played Can't Help Falling in Love. Cheesy assed songs and homecoming games go together like homosexuals and pleather. Bite me. They crowned Miss Red Fox and I played my shit. Dunno what came over me, but I played the hell out of it. Gave myself goose bumps.

Wasn't sure at the time if it was just me or what. When we came off the field, though, my old section leader was there waiting on me, with that oh-so-inspiring exclamation: "Where the fuck did that come from?"

See, I don't generally play that well. I tend toward the mechanical. I play the same every time, but it's not very moving.

Sight read like a motherfucker, though.

My mom was up in the stands with the video recorder, and she got so excited about my performance, she hit the record button. Sadly, the machine was already recording, so she actually wound up excluding my solo from the tape.

It's probably all for the best. My memory of the night is almost certainly ten times better than the actual performance was.

I've got recordings of subsequent performances. I can tell you: I vastly prefer the memory.

Flash forward about 10 years: I've mentioned the practice a few times. I ditched the trumpet, and started studying guitar. You get laid more playing guitar than trumpet, or so I'm told. Unless you're black. Black guys get laid plenty. That might not have much to do with the trumpet, though.

Where was I? Oh, yes, hot, sweaty, black men.

No, wait. Music. Right.

So I took up guitar. I'm a mediocre guitarist at best. And a shitty vocalist, again, at best.

A few years ago, I hit pretty much rock bottom as far as my young 30-something years are concerned. I went all emo and shit, and wrote a song about how bad I hurt.

It was thoroughly horrible.

I played it a few dozen times, in self-serving fashion, and hollered it at the top of my lungs, and it helped me deal with one of the most thoroughly awful times I ever bullheaded myself through.

I was playing music with a couple of my friends at the time. Nothing serious: we played a few coffee houses, but nothing more. Had a few thorougly embarassing moments I'd rather forget, and a few rather awesome moments I'll never let go.

At practice one night, while we were waiting to start in on the routine proper, I was noodling around to warm up, and started playing the self-indulgent piece of shit I'd written. The guitar part was ass. The lyrics were worse. But when you really feel it, sometimes, something gestalt happens.

When I got done, the guys all looked at me for a while. I can't remember which one finally asked me, but the question was, once again: "Where the fuck did that come from?"

If I knew, I probably wouldn't be writing software for a living.

Art is a mystery to me, a depth I've barely plumbed.


fett said...

I've always maintained that if I could carry only one memory into the afterlife it would be playing with the jazz band in high school. I had more fun in that band. I used to get really into it. One night I had some guy, some parent I think, come up to me after a concert and tell me that he loved watching me play, that I made the concert for him. That was cool.

I had a small amount of talent but never the drive to turn it into something larger. Which is why I didn't go into music as a career. People never understood that. But 90% of my best memories are from the times singing of playing music. Those times hold both a regret and a joy.

E. S. Collins said...

My own high school band was one of those drum heavy hard hitting don't you wish you were black so you could dance to this shit kind. I wasn't part of it though I was more the guy on the football team than the guy who has musical talent. I find it strange that people find it strange that a person can play football AND love literature. Strange world. One of my biggest regrets, in a life filled with more than I can stand thinking about, is never learning to play an instrument.

Where was I? Sweaty black men? That reminds me, you know I'm part black, right? I'm just sayin'.