Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The Wheels on the Bike Go Round and Round...

...or at least they do when I'm doing my job. Got a part time evening job wrenchin' and representin' for these fine folks. It's fun and challenging, mostly because the bikes are old and need a lot of care.

It's cutting into my practice time, but oddly I think it's going to help me be a better musician in the end. I'm learning just how much free time I really have and how much I can do with it if I stay focused. That's always been a problem for me: too much slacking.

The plan is to use this part time job to get used to being more productive. So when I leave it I'll be able to spend at least the same amount of time working on music. That's the theory anyway.

In the meantime I get paid to ride around and work on bikes, things I do for fun. Sweet.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Sharp. Really sharp.

I was just skimming a book on Jackson Pollack and it re-awakened my desire to be on the cutting edge. Unfortunately that edge is a long way from where I stand. Not like the fab D-Ray, she's so on it that I doubt she ever needs to shave her legs. Oh, and yes that is an accordion and no, it doesn't suck. You ain't never heard sounds like the ones she gets (wrangles, manipulates, outright-pillages) outta that thing!

Monday, July 04, 2005

Posture and Philosophy

We played the bikefest last weekend. Our first gig in at least a year. The whole band was a bit trepidatious; we haven't practiced much in the last couple of months. Half way through the first song there was a noticeable change in mood. It was like we all realized at the same time that: "Yes, we know how to do this!" Not only was it more fun than monkeys wearing pants, but we played better than we've done in a long, long time.

So much of music is in the brain. Assuming you've spent the time getting your hands to obey orders, a good performance comes down to attitude and mindset.

I've been practicing standing up straight. I've had bad posture since my early teens and I used to suffer terrible back spasms. None of the myriad advice I was given worked, possibly 'cause most of it didn't make sense. I mean, how exactly does pretending there's a balloon attached to your head help? I felt like I should be ducking in doorways and avoiding anyone with a lit cigarette.

The hardest part about standing up straight is remembering to do it. I have to force myself to remember when I'm taking a shower, washing dishes or playing guitar. It feels really strange, strange "down there" when I try and be more, er, erect whilst playing guitar. Something about that pelvic tilt stirs the Rock God in me. I want to stick out my tongue, put my foot up on the monitor and make the girls scream. Fortunately the ironic/sarcastic portions of my brain are overdeveloped. There's little possibility I'm going to make an ass of myself by rocking out too much. In fact other than bobbing my head there's little moving I'm going to do at all. The curse of Classical training.

I'm going to have to learn to move around a bit if we're going to gig more, and that is the plan. Or so I'm told. Play a few gigs and use the money to record in some guys livingroom studio. Sounds good to me, I'm tired of trying to make P happy with the recordings I've been doing.

The other thing I've been thinking about is philosophy. Specifically the nature of reality. Seems like I'm surrounded by new-age hippy types, all of whom are trying to convince themselves that they're more powerful than they actually are.

There's nothing wrong with self improvement and there's certainly nothing wrong with valuing one's self, but there are limits. When you start to believe that the whole universe is subject to your will, that's when you lose me. We certainly create our own circumstances by the actions we choose, but reality as a whole? No way.

To believe that would be to deny those great moments of community that happen when playing with the band. Those moments when the group rises above the sum of it's parts, when things go goosebumpy in the night. Moments like we had halfway through R ubber D uckie last weekend.
If I create the universe out of whole-cloth then everything I around me is, well, me. The others in the band couldn't be separate entities that I've managed to achieve a fleeting and wondrous connection with. At best they'd be parts of myself that I was unaware of. A worthy goal I suppose, meeting the hidden parts of ones psyche, but in this case I refuse to believe that's what's happening.

My universe is inhabited by more than just me. And I don't mean light-beings, spirit-guides or pod-people. (Well, I'm not entirely sure about the latter.) No, my universe is full of humans: strange, wondrous, almost unfathomable in their thoughts and actions. I cherish those instances of connection that go deeper than day to day communication. Those moments, that for me, come from a band in full cry, eight hands speaking with one voice. Keep your crystals, chakras, signs and spaceships-behind-the-comet, humanity is mystery enough for me.

*That's me, hiding on the left. Yup, I wear my guitar really high, another curse from a Classical upbringing. Can yah say "Rawk God"? Hmmph, me neither.