At the age 13 my ear was permanently snagged by the vibration of sound. I am most certainly not an audio engineer and I wouldn’t pretend to know what to do with all the dials or miniature levers that shift up and down. I would like to guess that the technical experts will handle that sort of thing and ensure something that resembles perfection.
Fuel and Simple Plan were just 2 bands that really picked up my spirit. I liked to sing along with the singer of Simple Plan and these days I subtly add the baritone for all their songs just for kicks. I’ll do the falsetto too, but when they whale on those power chords with fury, I throw in the baritone.
Fuel, to me, is a bit of different story with a much darker sound. I finally figured out what it takes to emulate that guy’s voice when he really loses it during parts of the songs. And then I gained a new respect for him and all the rest of the members of the group. The number of bands a bunch of us listened to are too numerous to recall. There were a lot. Nowadays, I am slightly more influenced by Women singers and songwriters paying very close attention to pitch or range of notes.
Then one day, out of unresolvable frustration, I picked up the guitar and began to try and play. I attended handfuls of music lessons and have stuck with it on and off for a long period of time. I don’t know how many breakthroughs I’ve had yet it’s when I’m on the verge of a breakdown that I reach that next level of skill and understanding. Playing with chords and notes, combining all of them; it does something to me. It resolves an internal tension that nags at me time and again and releases a positive energy that, I believe, lifts.
Sometimes I drop the pick and just play with my fingers in a desperate attempt to hold on to myself. Yeah, it’s a last resort. Or sometimes I’ll just riff the blues as I think about the times I was lucky to have with my 2nd teacher of music. And if I absolutely hate myself beyond explanation, I will attack pillows without guilt or remorse and settle for creating my little blues rhapsody on guitar. Who needs a piano when you got a guitar eh?
I got so sick of hearing “Oh…his fingers are to little”. Until one day I just began strangling the neck of the guitar with my left hand. Problem solved. All I have to do now is make sure my fingernails are properly trimmed as to not create interference between strings.
This morning I brewed coffee. Yeah, I found a silly little mug. I guess I like mugs. The handles are so cute and neat. Within half and hour I was beside myself again and absolutely disgusted with myself. Ok, I have to create something fast or I’ll jump off a cliff. So I diddle around on the fret board, experimenting with open strings, long slides, pull-offs, hammer-ons and all that good stuff until I find something that pleases my ear, perpetuating a sigh effect. Alright, temporary balance.
Sorry to drabble on. It’s been a hard morning.
I’m experimenting with something cool right now. C9 and Em make up the verses with muting effects. Then a variation of hollow-G, 3/4 of a G7 without the depressed F-note and a modified C-chord for the chorus. A lot of playing with individual fingers throughout it. It sounds so neat, like I’m being transported from the Starship Enterprise to the planet’s surface. You know what I mean? The chorus of the song makes me feel like I’m dematerializing and re-materializing while traveling through time (no not a black hole in the space shuttle yet something along those lines). I don’t know how to explain the feeling; the chorus just carries me through and I hear it echo through my head, sporadically.
I’ll always share all this stuff openly because I like to share thoughts and ideas and I like to learn together. I’ve gotten up on stage a couple times and it was a lot of fun, painful as it may have been for the audience/listeners. I don’t mind the stage yet most of the time I like the limelight to be cast on someone else. To see the light shine on another person.
To some degree, all of this stuff just kind of comes to me. From inside and from the feelings of the people that are around us. I like to share it in the hope of moving forward, creating something new, and expanding together.
I just don’t know who to share it with and maybe that is something that doesn’t need to be figured out or solved. I guess this writing forum is good enough for me but I’m also reaching out the best way I know how, despite the arrogance I project through the festering of deeply-knit anger.
And that’s why I need you. I need you because you heal me. Or, at least, you may be willing to heal me. I think I healed you in the best way I knew how. I hope I healed a part of you and it was never my intention to do opposite or otherwise. We collided. We loved. We fought. We made up. We added a new life to this world.
I don’t think I need to say anything else,
Matthew R. Polkinghorne