Brain Re-wiring

Manny and the Gretsch

Manny and the Gretsch

Recently, Sarah and I went back to Fresno to attend a loosely organized get-together of people from the arts and music scene of the late 80’s and early 90’s. At least that’s how I think of it, because we left town in 1993. In fact, many people live elsewhere now, but come back to town over Christmas break to visit the family.

This year also included a bonus: a reunion gig of The Miss Alans, a popular Fresno band that really nearly broke through, but not quite. The reunion gig really turned out to be the centerpiece of the weekend. I was not really part of the TMA scene back then, but was really looking forward to seeing the couple members of the band that are friends and to seeing them play. One of the great things about the show was having an opportunity to really work on taking concerts photos in the low-light and high-contrast conditions. I had never had much luck with this before. But with my D300s, I was able to get some shots I was really happy with.

Then an awkward thing happened. During the last song of the show, guitarist friend Manny hopped off the stage to get a beer or something, and suddenly one minute I was slugging beer and taking photos, and the next I had a live guitar in my hand with the band vamping, waiting for someone to do something with it. Unfortunately, long ago were the days when I played guitar almost at all, much less in front of lots of people, and my brain was no longer wired for serendipitous improvising. So, deer-in-headlights syndrome was the result.

Yes, I was a little embarrassed by the whole thing. Even writing about it now is cringey. And it made me wonder why I even still have instruments taking up space in the closet and next to the computer. I had the realization that it was really time to get rid of this clutter in the house and in my psyche, this part of my ancient past.

Then a funny thing happened. My climate scientist friend Bill is taking guitar lessons and insisted we get together to try to work on some kind of modal soloing ideas he was introduced to at his guitar lesson. I didn’t really want to do this, think about this, face this. But I did. So, tonight we did that. We traded twos and fours over some progressions, and it was hard, but we both really got into it and had a great time. We came away exhilarated. So now we are planning on jamming every week, figuring it out, and getting it down.

Yeah. Face the fears.

  • Michaelsaaf

    Derek Smalls raises his fist!