Wednesday, October 10, 2012

We Are Our Music

I hear some folks saying that Rock and Roll is dead. No, they have just grown older. Rock and Roll is evolving. It has been evolving, and ever since Elvis first stepped onto a stage country music has been a generation behind rock and roll in sound, look and feel. In the '80's country music sounded like the rock of the '60's. In the '90's country music sounded like the rock of the '70's. And, today we are listening to '90's rock on country stations. They are using the same guitar licks as back then. The only thing new, and the only thing that redefines it as a country song is the addition of the steel guitar and fiddle. The good thing is that it is played to an ever wider audience. But, music, almost without exception, is good for the soul.

In the '50's my brother used more Brylcream (a little dab 'll do ya)than my parents used gas in their cars. Actually, he went from waxing his crew-cut to the greasy glob of Brylcream. He wore a black leather motorcycle jacket from early fall to late spring. In the summer his cigarettes were rolled into the sleeve of his t-shirt. And yes, it was white. Remember "Grease". Remember James Dean. My brother, Pat, looked like Elvis Presley, and acted like James Dean. And, although my brother wore his pants 2" below his waist line his pants did not look as if he were wearing a loaded diaper. Gang fights were seldom more than 4 or 5 would-be hoodlums chasing 2 or 3 punks from another town down the street, and generally thankful that they didn't catch them.

In the '60's came the Beatles, and me. My parents no longer bought Brylcream. To this day I have never used anything on my hair but water. Beatlemania turned into an acid trip, free love, and some gal singing about some dumb White Rabbit. The  psychedelic light shows hypnotized the audience and the musicians. My eyes still see things that were never there. Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, and a whole passel more were lost to the drugs and booze. Free love made doctors rich from treating venereal disease. Everybody went to live in a commune. And, the hippies and politicians got together and lost the first war we ever lost if you consider the Korean Conflict as a draw. We are still on that losing streak.

God, I hate remembering disco. The beat of the music never changed. People were graduating from college, becoming teachers, and staying out of the military. They were so enlightened, and sickening. Thank God that didn't last long. But, someone busted their speakers at a rock concert, and punk music was born. Sic Vicious, Sex Pistols, musicians that were never sure of their gender. But, who cares. They were just pissed because there parents abortion did not take, and they were born.

And, then someone thought it would be cool to wear his pants like a convict. So, they dropped their drawers. Today, after every 3rd step they have to stop to pull up their pants. That's why the cops catch the bad ones so easily. And, they can't figure it out.

I started my music career at the age of 14 when my dad traded his Martin 28 D in, and bought me a Fender Mustang, door rattling, window breaking electric guitar. My music career ended in January of 1968 when I sold my guitar, got drunk, and took to vacations to Vietnam. Life took over after that. I spent the next 25 years with no music in my life. On July 4, 1993 I somehow landed in Fair Park in Dallas, Texas. I watched Sammy Kershaw, and a couple of other country musicians and a military band play that afternoon. That night I watched the rock group America, then Steven Stills, and the what was essentially The Eagles in concert. That night brought me out of the darkest years of my life. I was high on music for the next 6 weeks. And, three months later I bought an Ovation acoustic/electric guitar. Six months later I also owned a 60 watt Crate amplifier, a Fender Strat and a Gibson Les Paul guitars. But, that lasted less than 3 years before life took control of my finances. So, for 14 more years I went without making music. However, as of August, 2010 I am back at it with a cheap little Fender CD-140 acoustic/electric guitar, and a Fender Acoustasonic amplifier. I have written 20+ songs of my own, and I am fairly proficient with 70+ cover songs, and have an additional list of 200+ songs that I am working with.

Many of the songs I play are personal songs that pretty much describes my life as it was lived. And, that is what the best music is supposed to do. Music, with it's lyrics, notes, chords, instruments, musicians, and singers tell stories that pull at the strings that are tied to our soul. We are our music.

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