My beautiful hot pink Daisy Rock guitar
Music–serious music–requires the kind of hard work and dedication that only obsessive-compulsive people are able to dedicate to it.
Without being neither terribly obsessive about much of anything in this life, nor having worked up enough slather to be compulsive about much of anything, music simply does not fit into the category of ‘serious’ for me. Rather, I do it for fun, and as we all know, anything one does for fun can never be ‘serious’, can it? The only side effect that having fun causes is a bit of an addiction to that which makes the fun. Hence, I am a bit addicted to my music. Not obsessive–not compulsive…just a little tiny bit—addicted.
The addiction, when continued unchecked, causes many odd afflictions in my life. The tendency to tap my toe to a rhythm, or tap my finger on the table to a syncopated beat becomes unavoidably elaborate, as is the urge to hum strange melodic harmonies.
But that is not the only thing that could happen. Lo and behold, one day, the strange urge overcame me and I felt a great need to burst out in strange warblings which many people took for musically pleasing vocalization. Convinced by their most generous sincerity, I took my strange warblings and developed it as far as I was able to, until one day, to my untrained ears, they took on a different and less strange form of vocal warbling and became an obvious song–of sorts.
I was ecstatic. I was humbled.
I was four-years-old.
Needless to say, after that fateful day, four years into the making of my life’s story, I found out that I could bang along to pots and pans and make a kind of strange music. I found out that strings attached to any old box will make a kind of music too. This passion of making music from all sorts of strange things stayed with me until I got old enough to stand.
On stage that is. After that, it was all I could do just to keep from standing all the time.
On stage that is.
I wanted to play the guitar. No, can’t do that, ’cause then who’s going to sing? I wanted to play the drums. Can’t do that either, ’cause who’s gonna sing? But I want to play the keyboard. Well, if you insist, but remember, you gotta sing lead too. Well, how’m I gonna play keyboards if I have to sing all the time? Your problem. You figure it out, and as long as you can sing lead, you can do whatever you want.
Well, I never was able to do figure out how to make music and sing at the same time. I’m not that talented, and don’t have that much obsession or compulsion. Hence the migration to songwriting and making music. Now, here was something fresh. I could make my music using whatever gong, stick, pot, or champagne flute I desired. If I wanted to hum along or strum along, nobody could say it was wrong. It’s MY SONG–so screw you and your mama too, and who the f**k cares what the hell you think anyway!
Well, for what it’s worth, that kind of attitude only goes so far because nobody lives in a vacuum except maybe dust bunnies.
And honey, I ain’t no dust bunny.
So it was with a devil-may-care attitude that I went into my musical sojourne. I sang what folks wanted to hear, but wrote what I wanted to write.
My double life became a twisted bizzare thing that didn’t make sense to anyone but myself. I began to wonder about my own sense of what was supposed to be musically good and what was just flat out terrible, and I began second-guessing myself.
After years of this self-doubt, I fell into a rut of strumming along to whatever the radio played. If everybody liked it, it can’t be all that bad now, could it?
Well, could it?
Strangely enough, I never figured out the answer to that question. There is no doubt that there are lots of very talented musicians out there, most of whom are far more obsessed about their music than I ever will be about mine, and even more musicians who are so compulsive with their creation than I could even dream of being with mine.
I had to concede defeat. After all, who am I to challenge anybody’s preconceived notions of self-worth and bloated ego? So yes, I feel absolutely fine about singing other people’s music. Nothing wrong with admiring the quality of the Beatle’s music. I still go about strumming my favorite guitar songs like ‘Margarittaville’ even though I’m not some old white dude who’s wearing flip flops and strumming a six string, or some transcendental hippy with hair down to his knees. I’m just having fun!
So sue me.