11/16/2005

When The Student Is Ready The Teacher Will Appear


you know what I've never had? Well, yeah, that too. I never found two chicks that could get along well enough for the fifteen minutes required. And I've never had thousands upon thousands of people chant my name in adulation. 'Course, any idiot with some patience and a sniper rifle could have that right about now if they wanted.

Hey- some musician humor- you have to have something to say when people yell "Freebird". I've always loved flippin' 'em off and saying, "no charge". That's a good one. I also like, "What? Larry Bird's in trouble?"

I saw this guy once, whatsisname from School For The Dead, umm...Henning. Henning Olenbusch. Anyway, he feigned utter ignorance of the song. THAT was funny. I thought I was going to fucking drop straight down. I gripped the bar. My buddies th' Del Rays used to kick into the full 14 minute opus. Brilliantly.

So, anyway- never had a mentor of any sort. Sure, I've had plenty of role models. I've always had Neddie around to subtly suggest I not shove my head up my ass a couple. My mom has a talent for removing th' wheat from the chaff if you know what I mean. But anyway, as for anyone with a lot of experience in my chosen field guiding my footsteps, nah. My manager Case Clayborne had the gift of nurture and a level head but sometimes in my business you have to learn the skill of rank assholehood. It's expected. And Case is a fine, rosewood-inlaid teak letter opener when oftimes a lead fucking pipe is the tool for th' job.

I think it's because anyone in this biz who is old is succesful or they're in another line by now. It's like, Cobain got to sit at Stipe's feet in his day, for all the good it did him. But he didn't get to sit at his feet until he was like Jesus Of Th' Disembarassed.

Zimmie had Woody Guthrie. That's a great story. Dylan must have known how good that would be in print. Dylan had an unerring motherfucking instinct. How it would look from that vantage point of success. What a great story it would be.

Beatles never had anyone like that. They were shysted every step of th' way by suits and such. But there couldn't be anyone because they were unprecedented. They were the very first brick in the wall of the Youth Culture that we all puke over so much Today. Yeah, it's a bitter pill, I know. Tell yourself it tastes like pommodori al puttanesca.

I find the wisdom of age in the oddest places. Like Ray at Cahillane Dodge. Ray can tell you what Northampton looked like in 1933 and how they built all these canals and shit and it will blow your little mind. And Ray's dirty, man. I GUARANTEE you that Ray gets laid. And Ray's totally up on computers and the internets and he'll probably google himself and read this so I have to make it all nice. Which I would do anyway. Because Ray shreds.

As far as music, I couldn't really name one single older professional musician who's ever given me the goods. It's pretty much stumbling in the dark. Everything changes as far as the media and the technology and the commercial avenues but certain things are always going to stay the same. Like, stay hydrated at all times. Or, your vocal chords are like any other muscle that needs to be stretched, toned and warmed up. Or, sometimes you do have to lift with your back because there are other weight flashpoints like your abdomen and your knees. Your KNEES, man! That crap about lifting with your legs? Ay, ay, ay.

DON'T lift. Don't ever lift. Roll. I've been trying to find a little amp I can use for rehearsals and smaller gigs instead of my SWR goddamn stack but the thing rolls. Any little 300 watt combo? You're going to be lifting that fucker. Don't lift. Roll.

Don't slump. Always sit up straight because slumping creates a pressure in your abdomen that is stressful.

You have to keep an old set of bass strings so if you need to punch in that bass line later it doesn't sound different. You keep a set of "sort of old" strings, a set of "pretty old" strings and a set of "totally old strings" depending on the overdub.

When I worked for Martyne in Jane's Addiction it was, "every time I put down a bass it gets a new set of strings". Every time.

I didn't have to actually buy a set of bass strings after that. From '01 to '03. I had a fucking hamper of played-once GHS Boomers.

Those guys can't be mentors, though. They live in a fairyland and are endearingly convinced of their own merits. And you can't blame 'em because it really does look like they succeeded on their talents. And let's not pretend that that isn't a part of the equation, no matter how minor. Plus, they're not old enough. Guys are only a few older than me.

All my college profs where sort of puds except Roland Wiggins the pianist was fuckin' awesome and Ray Copeland who played flugel for 'Trane was a monster of modern harmelodic theory. And I use ALL that stuff. I use it in my piano parts and I use it in th' Monster Harmonies. Those are all jazz-voiced, open-chord-closed-chord sort of bebop horn section-ish. Stuff doesn't get as gooey as you need it until you start flatting the odd 13th, you know? Fagen knows how to cut that shit. My biggest song ever, "I Could Cry" by fiction, the big note of the song, the big chorus note, was a 4th over a minor 7th.

It's probably just my own mistrust. Every intuition I've ever had or ever seen anyone else have in the business was wrong. Young, old, indifferent. All wrong. If I was your A&R guy I would choose the wrong single every fucking time.

Young people have sought to cast me in this role from time to time and I accept but only on a musical level. Coming to me for career wisdom would be like goin' to Achilles for fucking ankle stretches. It would be like going to Joan of Arc for sunburn advice. It'd be like going to Elton John for cunnilingus tips. Hee hee. Cunnilingus tips 'n' dirty rice. With some nice Moxy.

That'll put some hair on your god damn fucking chest canus.

2 Comments:

Blogger The Viscount LaCarte said...

Rumor has it that James Jamerson NEVER changed his bass strings.



(I usually don't do this but this time? jmzhykyt How cool is that?)

11:51 AM  
Blogger XTCfan said...

I used to be in a band that would play B-52s when someone yelled out for Freebird ... we'd say, "There was some Southern Rock for you ... are ya happy now?"


Fuckin' qkuepiot audience "members"...

5:44 PM  

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