A Guitar Life

me with guitar-1992

Posing with a friend’s guitar. 1991-1992

When I was young boy, I dreamed of playing guitar in a rock band. I played some awesome air guitar while blasting my favorite tunes from my giant boombox. Later, I found an old tennis racquet and the tactile feedback of strumming it like a guitar made me feel like a real guitarist as I watched hours of MTV and dreamed of spandex, leather, big hair…and the rocker girls!

Eventually, I would receive my first electric guitar. It was $75 pawn shop special. I don’t remember the name brand, but it was black and had a Gibson Les Paul style body and pickups. I never got to hear what those humbuckers sounded like, because I didn’t have an amplifier. That was okay, since I was a guitar hero in the making. I practiced every day.  I tried, in vain, to be one of those savant guitar players who could learn by ear, and without lessons, by trying to play every song that I heard on the radio. However, I would discover how to play songs by tablature, and pick up an amplifier, and I learned to play a handful of songs, but finding a band to join proved to be difficult for me. I had friends who were already in bands and knew of others who were trying to form bands, but after all those years of practicing behind closed doors, I couldn’t get comfortable with the idea of performing in front of people, be it an audition with a band or on stage at some rock area with throngs of screaming fans…and rocker girls!

Many years later, with a few friends, we were celebrating life at a local pub. A live band was playing all of our favorite songs. We decided, at that moment, that we should form our own band and just play cover songs. We didn’t need to make albums or go on world tours. We could play gigs late into the night and sleep in our own beds until noon the next day. The plan seemed even more doable when a sober Monday morning rolled around. We acquired some instruments and had our first band practice. We named the band and even got a gig at some dive bar, provided that we could get at least forty-five minutes of music to play. “It didn’t even have to be good,” they told us. Unfortunately, that practice was our one and only. Work and family obligations kept us from getting to that gig…and the rocker girls!

I may not have become a guitar hero, but knowing the mechanics has helped me to appreciate the music more deeply. I can still play a few tunes and this keeps me connected to that world…and, of course, the rocker girls.



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