... what does it take to be a musician?.. one thing is for sure, children.. it takes a lot more than just talent.. or even an affinity with an instrument.. being a musician is a state of mind, I think... getting lost in a song you are playing... simply because you love it so much... enjoying the sounds you are making.. creating these sounds for yourself...

... I have an old Fender that I bang on from time to time... I taught myself to fingerpick it back when I was 16, and I've never looked back... I always viewed my playing as a very private thing.. not for anyone else... when I wanted to play, I'd isolate myself... the back porch.. the garage... and I would play my music... it wasn't until the past year that I've started attempting to sing while playing... prodded on by a friend from work who also plays...I have to tell you.. I didn't like it at first... I was too nervous to rip into a song in front of someone... sure, I had no problem busting in with the guitar.. but, my voice was a totally separate situation... I just didn't feel comfortable...

... a good friend suggested a solution this problem....what was it?... it was quite cunning, actually.. he recommended that I learn a few Neil Young songs... after all, I enjoyed his fingerpicking style, and his lyrics were great... but, better yet, it really wouldn't matter if I was off-key too much.. so, I set about learning Thrasher... a crackerjack of a song.. the lyrics are incredible... for instance..

"it was then that I knew I'd had enough - burnt my credit cards for fuel, and headed out to where the pavement turns to sand"

..and, of course...

"down the windy halls of friendship, to the rose clipped by the bullwhip, the motel of Lost Companions waits with heated pool, and bar"

... classic... I love singing this song.. even though I do it badly... it doesn't really matter... I sing it for me.. hell, I've even tortured a few bloggers with it when I met them in person... the point is, this song made me wonder about what a musician really is... and, I think it is this... playing with your heart... loving what you are doing... and, having the nerve to lay it all out there for everyone to see... and, even if you are still playing alone on the porch - laying out there for your self to see... there is a huge difference between an... entertainer... a performer... an artist.. I am none of these... but, I am a musician.. even if I have no audience...

by Eric on July 11, 2004 | Bullshit (6) | SWG Stories
Bullshit So Far

Thrasher is one of the greatest songs of our time my man. I'd love to hear you play it.

Bullshitted by Gooseneck on July 11, 2004 11:15 AM

.. I agree, Goose... it is one hell of a song.. as for hearing me play it?.. who knows, man?.. one of these days...

Bullshitted by Eric on July 11, 2004 06:27 PM

If you post an mp3 of your horrid caterwaulin', I promise to give it a listen and make fun of you :-)

Bullshitted by Harvey on July 11, 2004 07:30 PM, Harv... is THAT how caterwaulin' is spelled?.. thanks, I always wondered... heh.. no way in great HELL you're getting an MP3 of my singing... nooooo waaaayy... gotta hear it live, or not at all...

Bullshitted by Eric on July 11, 2004 08:35 PM

I feel exactly the same way, Eric.

I started teaching myself guitar when I was fifteen. My punk buddies and I had dreams of forming a band, but it was never for other people it was always for ourselves.

My guitar playing now has always been for myself. If someone walks into the room, I falter, generally. Especially if I'm trying to sing. I just can't do what I do in front of people. I'm a musician, but not a performer or entertainer.

Even recording throws me off, and I sometimes wish that someone would tap my room so I could hear it later...

I think this is because I use my music as an incredible emotional catharsis, so when I sing and play those songs people are seeing a soft underbelly that I tend to hide and protect.

My goal is to be able to sing amazingly well and on-key in another 15-20 years... Then maybe I can share with others...or maybe not.

Bullshitted by Dz on July 12, 2004 01:28 AM

As you know my friend. I am no great guitar picker, but you have heard my best, my most heartfelt, and purest. It matters not that the heathens across the road listen, but if you hear yourself, and lose yourself in the music, then it is art.

Great post.

Bullshitted by Johnny - Oh on July 13, 2004 01:19 AM