Tuesday, July 20, 2004
guitars or music or whatever
This is the dumbest thing I've ever heard, but it provides me with a good segue for what I what I was planning on writing about today.
I play guitar. I've played guitar for the past eleven (geez - eleven?) years. There's one thing that you must learn very early on in your playing in order to become a successful and talented musician: you must learn to hate all other guitar players.
Though I'm not a successful or talented musician, or able to bench press 100 pounds, or able to tell if a woman I'm making love to is enjoying herself or in intense pain or unconscious, I hate other guitar players. On my list of things I hate, it's:
1) Iggy's Keltic Lounge
2) Guitar players
3) Everyone from south of the equator
4) That fucking guy at Zesty's who keeps giving me shit when I ask for double sausage on my slice
5) Any woman who has rejected me
6) Kiss (the band)
7) Half my family
8) 75% of my friends
9) All my ex-girlfriends
10) The homeless
This hate for other guitarists was cultivated from a young age. In high school when I started playing, I lagged behind many of the guitarists I was friends with, because I was too poor (quick - get the violins) to take lessons. In addition to not having the money to take lessons, I lacked the ambition to practice or even try at all to become a better player. The result is that years later I blame my parents for being poor and thus not sending me to lessons. Surely, if I had had lessons, and a desire to actually learn to play the instrument, I would be a member of the Rolling Stones by now.
Much like sexual intercourse, I was not ideally equipped to play the guitar. However, unlike sexual intercourse, over time I learned to adapt and become a better performer. My sausage-link fingers, which at first had trouble positioning themselves into even the simplest of chords, slowly grew into long, pervert-like tentacles that can now not only easily move about the guitar, but are also perfect for inappropriately touching exotic dancers and unsuspecting passed-out drunk girls on the subway. My girlie wrist, which quickly grew tired of holding barre chords in place, would soon grow to be strong and competent, thanks to excessive (and clinically-diagnosed deviant) masturbation.
And so I became stronger and better. The problem: my catalog of music. High school was at once the best of times and the worst of times for music. While such ground-breaking music as Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Radiohead burst onto the scene (and whose songs I learned at a break-neck pace), there was one band that towered over them all (whose songs I never bothered to learn because they sucked): The Dave Matthews Band.
To say that I only kinda hate DMB is to say that I only kinda ate that tub of Cool Whip last night, or that I only kinda had a nervous breakdown a few years back, only to come to three years later to realize I was living in New Mexico working at a carburetor factory, and I had adopted a Vietnamese child who I called Trevor.
Anyway, I hate the Dave Matthews Band. Why? Besides the fact that they're music sucks, it's because every chick I wanted to bang in high school loved them.
At every lame high school party, there would invariably be a guy there with his guitar. And invariably it would only be a matter of time before the guitar playing douchebag would break into "Crash" or "Say Goodbye" and have every girl in the room eating out of his hand.
Where was I during all this? Oh, I was at those parties, but I'd be in the corner with my friends who also had no shot of getting laid, saying things like, "I don't know why they like him - he's a total tool" and "I totally know how to play other music on the guitar - good music, like Led Zeppelin or The Who...Dave Matthews sucks" and "I think I almost had a stroke the other day because I beat off so violently."
In a way though, I have to respect the douchebags who played DMB at the parties - they learned at an early age that if you give a guy a guitar, put him on a stage or in front of a group of people and let him go, women will want to sleep with him. Even yours truly, a man who is considered by everyone he meets to be in the lower percentile (15%) of attractiveness, somehow still managed to get some ass when he was in bands in college.
But this harmless high school guitar-playing douchebag changed over the years into a young man who is "serious" about music. A young man who walks around the Lower East Side or the East Village with his $2500 custom-built Gibson on his back, trying to "pay his dues" while his lawyer daddy "pays his rent." A young man who waits tables in Tribeca during the day but spends his nights in the dank clubs of Alphabet City, doing his best Strokes impression. A young man who wears vintage t-shirts and sunglasses even at night, and who listens to bands with names like The Aislers Set, Dimitri from Paris, Broken Social Scene, The Magnetic Fields, and Creedence Clearwater Revival (sorry, not that last one).
What is the difference between this young man and me? He gets a LOT more women. Like, boatloads. Like, I'm happy if a woman under 300 pounds stands next to me on the subway and doesn't have body odor. This guy actually has SEX with hot hipster chicks. I mean, damn.
Many things have changed in my life since when I started playing guitar in high school - 1500% increase in body hair, I've had sex since but I'm basically a virgin again because of this physically, mentally and emotionally debilitating torturous drought, etc - but the unabating hatred for everyone else who plays guitar (and gets more ass than me, which is everyone who plays guitar) has not subsided, and it doesn't seem that'll it subside anytime soon.
Still, I know that this hatred has made me a better musician. If you don't have the desire to play better than your peers, and also to murder your peers, how can you say you are progressing? The answer: you can't.
So my advice to those kids starting out: always wear a condom. My guitar-related advice: take stock of the guitarists around you. Make friends with them. Take stock of their weaknesses and deficiencies. Use this knowledge to crush them. You will be a much better musician and person if you do this. Just look at me!
[Well, maybe I'm a bad example. But you get the point.]