5/22/2006

Zen And The Art Of Rhodes Maintenance, Soulfinger Diaries: Making No Friends


If I'm not working on Sunday I like to spend some time listening to music and maintaining the ol' Rhodes. Some steel wool on the tines with some WD40 to de-corrode, a bit of tuning, vacuuming out the detritus of another 5 gigs from the harp and th' keybed. Then the weekly chore of carefully re-gluing whatever corner of the tolex might be tearing up. Hot glue and an iron on low.

She's Becoming Very Important To Me. I think it has to do with the darkness of these gigs. She connects me with my home and myself at weird times. I've never felt quite so strongly for an instrument before. The Rhodes is big and solid. A bass guitar is a male instrument; it's perfectly obvious. And while I love my basses in a manly, here's-to-the-regiment kind of way, the Rhodes is a girl, all the way. She's like Sal Th' Feist or Lori that way. I like having a girl around. I don't have to explain that, right? Just like a skirt likes to have some dude around. There's an agreeableness to it. But it has to be like Lori or my mom or Sal Th' Feist or somebody like that that doesn't want to suck your lifeforce in front of their friends to prove something. It's that fuckin' yin and yang thing, I guess. Or some shit. Women can really, really knock you for a couple because you're programmed to believe they're nicer and more emotionally attuned or some crap but that's a load for the most part and so you're not as prepared when they fucking zero in on you with their little Lady Macbeth thing.

I sure do hate girls in bars. Woah. They find out you're the Lead Singer and then it's your job to salve their li'l egos or it's trouble. The belligerence. The drunken indignation. the harsh and resounding imprecations. It doesn't hurt because I'm older now and I sort of don't give much of a toss but if I have to hear something loud like that I'd just as soon have it be a guitar or something. Jiminy polesmoking Christmas.

See, I'm a weird and disgusting creature in this way. I'm still in it for the music, man. All th' cliched stuff about getting into bands to meet chicks just doesn't fit me. I'd just as soon smoke a cig and go over th' head between sets as get some drunk flapping skirt telling me about her drama. Jesus fucking Christ.

That's th' Making No Friends part. Deal with it. I don't know what to say, man. I don't much like listening to fucking juiced-up air guitar dudes either. I've always got a smile and a handshake and that but why is it so hard to understand that I'm at th' MOTHER FUCKING OFFICE? I'm at the fucking office. I've stepped away from my desk is all.

But the difference betwixt the genders is that the dudes don't turn into psychotic, tattooed little banshees when you don't try to cop a feel. And they don't ask if you're "a homo". I love that one. Sometimes you actually just act like she's figured it out and you're free and clear. The path between you and Th' Music has been cleared of The Revenge Of Th' Spurned Harridan. Your future becomes simple and clear: one, you're going to have a nice pop of Patrone Tequila and two, you're going to do a rock 'n' roll show. And if you have to feign homosexuality to do so I say it's a small price and you're in good fucking company anyway.

Anyway, th' Rhodes took a blow of some type this weekend and when I got her up in the studio the keys from middle C up were sticking. Sure enough- sighting along the side I could see the escapement between the keys and the case was cockeyed and the keys were sticking against the side. You don't have to worry much about this sort of thing with the electric piano. Somewhere or other there's going to be a few big ass screws or some sort of adjustment or a shimming that can be performed that will set things to rights. It's not like some fucking syntho where you're going to have to deal with Rajman from Bangladesh for a month to get a fucking Return Authorization Number and you're not going to have a keyboard again until polesmoking fucking Christmas. Jesus Christ. We sure did do it up right, huh? Modern life rocks. Piece of shit.

This one was a little troubling to me, though. With th' piano. It was such a big misalignment and I couldn't find any clear way to right it. A couple of big Phillips head screws that held the assembly in were daunting to me because they looked like they'd strip without a good long oil soak.

After a good hour or so consulting the manual and removing keys to study the underlying structure the solution hit me suddenly. The Rhodes had been manhandled into the back of the van and the left side had probably been dropped a few inches; enough for the misalignment to happen. I carefully laid the old girl down on her back (oh, that does not sound right), lifted the left side up about six inches and dropped it very scientifically to the floor.

That got her back to perfect operating condition in short order. It's like Keyboard Rolfing.

Yeah, she's a good one.

Built in 1979, don't you know.

Don't you just fucking know. And you know what else? She doesn't have any tattoos that I gotta see and she doesn't have to tell me about how she shaves her fucking gash.

Did I say that.

7 Comments:

Blogger roxtar said...

I'd be willing to bet she doesn't have a dirty-faced kid or three that she dumped on her own mother, or a meth-making boyfriend in jail on a domestic battery rap. Or gonorrhea.

7:12 AM  
Blogger Employee of the Month said...

cigarette-hag,ass-crack tattoo,payday loan store frequenter, whaddaya homo?

9:54 AM  
Anonymous the brentmeister general said...

Man, that hulking great piano thing looks like wayyyy too much effort to look after. You should get yourself a cheap DX7 off ebay, they make the same kind of noise & are dirt cheap second hand.
.
kkhzy - the sound of brentmeister being strangled by lightfoot

2:58 PM  
Blogger Bobby Lightfoot said...

roxtar- heck, at least there's th' meth connection there, you know?

employee- heck, at least she's gotta cigrit.

brentmeister uberleuitnant gevurtztrenhoffer- get outta my HEAD!! Out! Out!

3:21 PM  
Blogger fgfdsg said...

I frequently walk into a crowded room and look around at the punters, only to realise that I wouldn't Fuck anyone there, even if they paid me.

Luckily no-one wants to fuck me either, but i'm not doing the sexy gyrations things up on the stage.

Time to take the cucumber out of your leather trousers.

6:20 PM  
Blogger Bobby Lightfoot said...

See, that's th' thing, though- they don't want to fuck me, they want me to want to fuck them.

Actual sex is th' furthest thing from the whole transaction. That's why the whole thing is such a wank.

8:28 PM  
Blogger XTCfan said...

See, that's th' thing, though- they don't want to fuck me, they want me to want to fuck them.

Exactly. During my time on the stage, when I was dealing with groupies, I rarely encountered a situation where the woman genuinely enjoyed my performance and simply wanted to have an exchange of pleasure, so to speak. Instead, it was centered around the pursuit of another notch in the belt, or on the bedpost ("Oh, I've never had a drummer before," etc.), or some other goal ("I'm a singer, too," etc.)

This is not to say that I didn't occasionally take them up the offer -- I'm only human after all -- but by and large it was profoundly unsatisfying. I learned after a while that it was a helluva lot more fun to play with their heads than with their other parts.

1:40 PM  

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