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Chasing the Dragon Pt.1

I’ve been pondering the reasons why I do what I do. The good and the bad that has come from living the life. The pitfalls, the glorious moments, the long drives, late nights, slow crowds, and playing arenas one night and then to the bar staff in some dive the next night.

I’m not sure this fits into a lesson or a tip but I hope that at the end you reflect on your choice. If that doesn’t work set your wife/husband or boy/girlfriend in front of the screen and maybe I can explain the reason or at least my view.

When I heard the opening chords to the Scorpions – Rock You Like a Hurricane, I knew I wanted to make that sound. The sound of cranked Marshall amps grabbed me by the heart and I’m not if it still doesn’t have a hold on it. I mowed yards that summer and saved up $200 dollars and went to the mall and I picked out a blonde Peavy T-15 guitar with an amp built into the case. I need to remember all that push mowing I did just to have the opportunity to capture that sound. I was fourteen. I don’t think I even had my first real kiss yet (No Janet, I won’t mention your name here) ***snicker***. It wasn’t girls, fame, drugs, or millions that started me playing. It was so simple. It was the sound that actually moved me.

My sister was dating Greg Ozier at the time. To me Greg is the king of all bass players. I feel like he can always play the sounds in his head. He lives two houses away now and I’m still his biggest fan. He showed me a power chord and a Black Sabbath album and let me take it from there. I had never heard of TAB, CDs were brand new and nobody had one, the Internet was decades away. I rewound the tape over and over. Greg showed me how to make my amp overdrive, and I was on my way! Then I got bored with it and put it under my bed.

I turned 16 and a friend had a drum set and could get a hold of a bass. We made Doug Evans play bass by default. He’s one of my favourite bass players in the world now. I was blessed by having people to play with who actually had talent. He learned the same time I did. Rod Plunket on drums. We were roadies, for free, for the band Encounter and they let us use their gear and guitars, plus a place to play them. We bugged the living hell out of Garrie Carlen, the lead guitarist for Encounter. Asking him a million dumb questions. Telling them they should be playing Motley Crue instead of Brian Adams. We were cocky SOBs for never having played anything except Paranoid and Wipe Out.

We met a guy named Merv Schrock who could sing. Merv, Rod, and Doug are still my closest friends. That little crappy band made best friends of us all. We actually got pretty good. We played a few shows… for free. Merv got a call from a popular band and quit. George Ozier, Greg’s brother had just moved into the area, and started playing guitar for Encounter. He was recovering from a divorce. We were beer drinking hoodlums, unlike Encounter who all had girlfriends and lives. Now George was hanging with us and he could play and sing. He taught us ALL our parts and we had a band. Bootleg. I was a bootleg tape lover. The tapes always sounded crappy and that was kind of a little joke that no one ever got.
Bootleg played a lot of gigs. Rod took off over a woman who didn’t understand that we wanted to make a certain sound. We went through some drummers but we weren’t very good so we just kind of quit playing.

So now I’m an OK guitarist with no band and no one lining up to play with a guy who was for all purposes a rhythm guitarist who couldn’t sing. I’ll tell the rest of my story in Pt2. Lets talk about the points boys and girls.

1. It was a sound or a riff that made me want to be a musician.
2. I learned that girls like guys who play guitar. They don’t like guys who play crappy guitar in a crappy band. It was years before getting girls just because you were in a really good band. They are there though. A definite plus.
3. There is a feeling. A release of endorphins when you are playing even the simplest of music together. When it’s good there is nothing but waves of sound that you just float on. You become totally in the moment. It makes you feel as good as any buzz I’ve ever had. Like all things, it needs to be handled with moderation. If you become addicted to that feeling … you become a musician.

My neighbour stopped in last week. I was watching a concert video of Frank Zappa. He sings karaoke, but doesn’t sing any other time. The Zappa Band was totally in the moment. They were on top of their game. Smiling, moving, eyes closed, having a ball playing some of the most difficult music ever written. He asked me “Does it do something to you when you are playing?” I’d never thought of it but I answered “Yeah I guess it does.”

All your feelings are released through your guitar. Anger, love, hate. It may just be in my own mind but I’m getting it out. I suffer from Clinical Depression and have had it for over twenty years. Even when I was so sick that I couldn’t hold a day job, I could play. For that moment I was standing next to band mates I trusted and I was safe and I was releasing my frustration and sadness through playing, leaving only feeling good. When you can get that feeling across to an audience they will return it. They will scream, yell, smile, and sing to you. They’ll tell you that you are great and want to do what it is that you do. To someone wanting to eat a bullet sometimes that’s all it took to keep you going till the next show. On a side note, my medication is working 100% and for the first time in twenty years I feel fuckin’ great! Those dark days are in the distance now.

I was told by my shrink that artists often deal with depression. I guess we wear our hearts on our sleeves and that’s where we pull from to be creative. It’s a bitch to write a woman a love song if you can’t imagine loving her. Anger and angst in the young. It’s what they feel strongest about, and their music reflects it. Anger and angst in the old is called Steve Earle. So take it easy on us. We are a fragile bunch of misfits who work their entire life around creating that feeling. It’s like chasing the dragon. Addiction can be a bitch.

I started with the Scorpions but from that tree I’ve learned to love a multiple styles, some more than others. This is what I’m into today as I write this. At this moment this is how a genuinely feel. I don’t understand the language but he must have been feeling it the day he wrote it. I wish I had written it. That would win the girl. Now wouldn’t it.

You have downloaded my CD right? I need the money.

About Strip Club Bouncer

Under employed and needing work, I take a job as a security man (bouncer) at a seedy little strip club. This is my story

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