Between 1997 and 2007, few things mattered more to me than my guitars. I wanted to learn some basics, form a band, write some tunes, record an album, and play out in a limited capacity.
The results were mixed, at best. I recorded some music, I formed a band. We recorded some more music. But we never really got off the ground. If you’re interested in hearing our efforts, you’ll find it here. The Greek tragedy that is the story of that decade can be found in my book. (The link is below)
Between 2007 and 2017, few things mattered less than my guitars. The implosion of my band broke my heart (yeah, I was that serious) and I was tired of starting anew again and again. I also had other “adult” demands eating up 95 percent of my time, including writing my first book. There was no real place for making new music.
Slowly but surely, I sold off my music gear. Seven guitars, a couple of basses, keyboards …. the whole shebang left a piece at a time over a few years. Eventually, even my prized ’96 Fender Stratocaster went as well, despite its immense sentimental value. Starting with the fact that it was signed by my musical hero, Adrian Belew.
In 2017, the interest in playing returned. This time, I would approach it in a more economical fashion. I bought several cheap guitars I came to call “planks.”
The thought was I would make these cheap guitars work for me. I would write a song after each one, and to turn those songs into an album. I wasn’t worried about selling it. In fact, I would be more than happy to give it away.
Once again, life conspired against me. There was no time for exploration. Some of the guitars were too cheap to enjoy playing. I sold them for pennies on the dollar, and I didn’t care.
It’s 2021, and I’m ready to start anew. This time, I mean it.
A few more planks found their way into my home. But this time, they were quality planks. Specifically, three Epiphones (because I can’t afford Gibsons). But they’re solid instruments. They look and feel terrific. They sound great, and holding each of them inspires me to play.
My number 2 Strat is a “Frankenstein,” containing the parts of at least four other guitars. But it plays well, has silent pickups, and a killer custom paint job with a story of its own.
That guitar was supposed to be my Number 1. Then I had a happy accident.
One day while visiting one of my favorite guitar shops, I stumbled over an ’88 Strat that looked and felt identical to my ’96. Even the body color was identical! It was a stock instrument, so that meant buying new parts and retrofitting it.
It was gonna be an investment. I knew that. But in semi-retirement, I knew this was the ideal time. And I was ready to take things seriously. So I ordered the parts. And now, there’re here.
I’ve made musician friends in Chicago, and they’re guiding me to the guy who can properly retrofit this guitar and bring me home again, in a manner of speaking. The idea excites me not just because of the guitar, but because of my new ambitions.
There aren’t any.
I have no plans to record. I will not form or lead a new band. I just want to play merely for the sake of playing. I’ve never had that desire before.
If something comes from this, fine. If nothing comes from this, fine. The most ambitious thing I’ve asked of my musician friends is to jam with them maybe once a month. That’s it. Anything else is a bonus.
But first, I need to learn to play again. That’s another story.
You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (cirdecsongs) My book, I Can’t Be the Only One Hearing This: A Lifetime of Music Through Eclectic Ears, is available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other fine book dealers. I’m currently working on my next book, The Wizard of WOO: The Life and Music of Bernie Worrell
If you’d like to have your record reviewed, please contact me at email@example.com