Friday, February 08, 2008

Hate: Not Having any Musical Ability

You know how some people can sing and play the piano or guitar or cello or flute or the sousaphone or even the cow bell? And it sounds like music? You know - those people that actually have a right side of their brain? Yeah, well, I'm not one of them and it kind of sucks. I couldn't sing my way out of a paper bag. I couldn't carry a tune if it had a handle. I can't play the spoons, let alone a sousaphone! So I'm kind of jealous of people who can actually make music that doesn't sound like a cat being strangled. Not that I dislike the sound of a cat being strangled but it just doesn't have the same appeal as a good Eddie Van Halen guitar solo.

Mind you, it's not for lack of trying. My mom used to give me piano lessons when I was a wee lad. She would knock on the door pretending to be the teacher coming to the house (she was a little out there sometimes) and I can still picture the red book of beginner lessons that she would "bring" with her to the lesson. She'd try to teach me middle C and sharps and flats and stuff and it just didn't sink in. I was more fascinated with the cool metronome thing - it made better music than I ever did! Anyway, I'm clearly scarred emotionally by this experience with my mother and someday when the police psychologist is trying to talk me down from the ledge it will all make sense.

But my mom refused to give up on me and forced me into band starting in the 4th grade. I knew there was no way I could tackle anything more melodic than a tambourine but, get this, I couldn't even master the drums! Now, in 4th grade band, the drummer isn't exactly wailing away on a drum kit a la Tommy Lee so for me to suck at just keeping time on a bass drum is pretty frickin' pathetic! And so, like any true champion, I quit. Somewhere, Pavarotti breathed a sigh of relief that some dumb kid in America wasn't fouling the world of music.

My last effort to create any music was to purchase a harmonica. How hard can it be to play a harmonica?! One of the reasons that rock and rollers give for joining a band in the first place is to get babes. I'm all for gettin' babes so imagine the chicks I could get by whipping out my trusty harmonica while sitting around the campfire! Turns out that the harmonica makes one note by blowing and a different note by sucking. Who knew? So, because the chicks prefer actual music than just miscellanous notes strung together and, considering that I hate camping I wasn't hanging around campfires any too often, the harmonica did little to increase the number of notches in my bedpost. The only blowing and sucking going on was by me and it was only adding to the noise pollution in the world. Bugger!

Thus, I am frustrated that I can't get on stage and play the opening guitar riff from Satisfaction. Look how sweet Keith is looking in the pic above! Who wouldn't want to look like that? I'm forced to limit my screaming/singing/air guitaring/drumming to the confines of my car where no one can get hurt. I used to sing a little bit of The Doors to my youngest to try to get him to sleep but now that his eardrum is fully developed he tells me to just read a Dora the Explorer book instead. Just because my daughter can play Three Blind Mice on the recorder, she thinks she can tell me to stop singing Radar Love! If she's not careful, I'll bust out my harmonica and "play" Amazing Grace and show her just how awful I can be! Damn ingrates!

I know that you are thinking that I could tackle the whole music thing as an adult instead of a snot-nosed kid. You're thinking that music lessons as an adult might be more productive than music lessons as a kid, right? I would be more patient. I would understand the theory and not just remember that my right index finger has to go on the key in the middle of the keyboard. I could be like Grandma Moses and take up music as an adult instead of trying to be like Mozart who wrote symphonies at age five. Sure I would. And monkeys would fly out of my butt.

So instead of actually creating real live music, I must fantasize about standing on stage with 50,000 adoring fans waiting for me to lay down some righteous tunes with my guitar/phallic symbol. I'll throw in a few windmills like Pete Townsend, maybe sidle up to the lead singer like Little Steven does with Bruce Springsteen and to top it off, I'll light my guitar on fire like Jimi Hendrix! The place will erupt with awe and admiration of my musical genius! How does he do it?! Good looks AND musical ability! I'd love to give him obscene amounts of money to play at my private party honoring the invention of the bikini where he will, no doubt, be surrounded by hordes of bikini-clad babes!

Or I'll just continue to be a middle-management corporate suck-ass with no musical ability. Either one. Sigh...


Renaissance Girl said...

I hear you, John. I've always felt like I got passed by on the musical talent front. I mean, I can get by on a number of instruments, especially if there are a LOT of other people playing, but I've never been able to get my hands to do what I hear in my head. You should totally take lessons in something: and when you get burnt out, just imagine the babe-hordes and fire yourself back up.

Brian Atkinson said...

So I do have musical ability, but it's pretty mediocre. I actually can play the harmonica, and saxophone pretty well, and I've heard that one of those is desirable. Although, I didn't pick those up for the purpose of becoming babe-worthy. I also play electric bass a bit, which is the "ugly friend" of the rock band world. Unless of course you are Sting. I've been told I have a nice singing voice, but it's not anything that's going to create a rain of underwear on a stage.

It's like I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but I'm not sure if it's the proverbial wall of groupies with their lighters and cell phones, or a train.

So what's worse, no musical ability or mediocre musical ability?

John said...

brian, don't forget Flea (Red Hot Chilli Peppers) as a killer bass player. i bet he gets his share of babe-age.

as far as whether mediocre talent is better than no talent at all? 'tis better to have loved and lost then never to have loved at all!

holding up a cell phone just isn't the same as a lighter, is it?!!

The Smoking Monkey from Stuckeys said...

Your lack of musical ability is directly attributable to your having offended the music gods in high schoool by repeatedly referring to those who didn't puss-out after 6th grade as "bad fags."

Band dudes, like me and Russ, used to score tons of hot babes at summer band camp. Like, you know, Hollie and others like her. Never saw any flute players use it as a sort of insertion, however, ala American Pie.

Come to think of it, in that same "American Pie" vein, you, Jonno, are a band-fag, but just never had the talent to stay in the band.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

I'm a frustrated rock star too. I can air guitar like a mofo, but my real guitar playing is sucky. I can strum away, but I can't change from one chord to the next. Frustrating . . .

Curly Glamour Girlie said...

Don't you fret. I'm a (pseudo) professional musician (hey, I get paid for it - the IRS sees me as such) and I still rue that I:

a) Didn't major in music in college
b) Never took piano
c) Didn't practice more as a kid

So, even those of us who do have "talent" still have musical regrets.