Sunday, January 7, 2007

Rediscovering the Music Muse or Who's "Jack?"

Another part of my New Year's Resolutions was to renew my interest in music, mainly picking up the guitar again after a lay-off of about 15 years. It was always only a hobby, I was never very good at it but, it was fun and I had great memories of making "joyous noise" with two of my best friends, Richard Miceli and Rodney Means (both shared "Best Man" duty at my wedding). We called ourselves "Warped Sky" and besides totally butchering musical favorites of our by Jimi Hendrix, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, and songs like "Peter Gun - Theme" we liked to play original tunes and songs which Richard labeled best,"Noise Jazz Or Art Noise", in a recent letter which came with CD he compiled of some of our old stuff:

"I think that if we would have taken ourselves seriously and concentrated on what could be called noise jazz or art noise we may have found a small following made up of art underground strange dark goth...(crowd)...If you take songs like "Dark Side" or "Devolting" (two original Wraped Sky tunes - DJW), we were making them up as we go along and I think we were doing a good job of it... for two guy in a small apartment on 97th street with nothing better to do but make some noise."
- Richard Miceli - Warped Sky: composer / Flute / Guitar / Vocals / Misc. Noise.

Hearing the tunes again brought a board smile to my face. Coupled with my 10 year old son starting the trombone lessons (don't ask!). I decided pull out my guitar and practice with him as a way to help both of us find our "Musical Muse", him for the first time, and me for a second.

So, for a New Year resolution, I'm setting aside Sundays as a "Music Muse day". I'm going to keep it board, I'll try to practice guitar, or work on editing Warped Sky old tapes to CD (before they totally decay and turn to dust). Or, do something with Apple's itunes, (I've been using it to compose "down and dirty" music tracks for my Dragonfly Flipz Movies). Or it will be something as simple as pulling out a favorite CD or hooking the old phonograph and digging some old vinyl records out of the garage, to groove on!

I may feel brave enough to share some of these past and future explorations with everyone. Hell, I at this point in my life, taking a chance to laugh at doesn't mean much. Besides, I still more fun to be a participant that a spectator.

Here my guitar, a Gibson 175T ("T" for thin body) and my new practice amp (thanks to Rodney M. for the Xmas Gift) and Spencer's trombone (from Balboa Elementary School). It turns out my guitar is kind of rare. Checking on the web, it was only produced for three years back in the 70's and is now worth three times what I paid for it then. That's nice to know, but I would never sell it anyway. I plugged it into the amp, which I'd just brought, for the first time yesterday. The 175t stills sound great, although, I play like crap, now. What's needed is practice...practice...practice. I'll keep you posted.

I dig around the closet for this old flyer announcing the Jazz Duets I did with fellow guitar student, Peter Grosset. Pete and I met at the Guitar Study Center in New York, he was a much better guitarist than me, but liked practice our class lessons with me. After the classes ended, he talked me into joining him for a once a week gig at Greenwich Village cafe. We play on Wednesday nights for about two hours for tips and a free burger meal. I think we did it for about two months in the summer before our work schedule conflicted with doing it. It was fun.

People would always ask for request, but having a limited number of tunes under our belt, we couldn't fulfill them too often. One time a young lady asked for "Happy Birthday" for her boyfriend sitting at he table with her. Not knowing how to play the simple tune I answered, "Well, we can't do that, but we're going to do "A day in the Life of a Fool", will that do? I don't recall getting a tip from them. But, the look on their faces was priceless.

Someone, I had just met, once referred to me as a Renaissance Man when he found out I was an artist (illustrator), played guitar, and wrote stories (original comic book Sci-Fi adventure). I always liked that image of myself. But, in my darkest moments of self-doubt I'd think of it as being a "Jack of All trades..." and the lesser used ending of that saying "...and master of NONE". In any case, I hoping to rise my interest in the other creative areas of my life that have atrophied over time as I pursued a professional career, which causes you to specialize in one area to be marketable. Stick around, maybe "knowing "Jack" isn't a bad idea.

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