Monday, June 26, 2006

I Feel Fine

I've made money, in varying, modest piles, playing four different instruments at one time or another. I never learned to play any of them properly. Funny that; the topic of playing them properly never came up -- it was rock music. I've been paid to show up and own the instruments occasionally. It ain't rocket science.

My older brother can play properly. He's a scholar, and a performer, and a teacher. That's the correct formulation for any endeavour, by the way: learn, do, teach.

Anyway, I told him, a long time ago, that I wanted to learn to play the guitar. He said fine, and plopped The Compleat Beatles down in front of me. It's two very heavy books of sheet music of all the Beatles' songs. It's in there, he said; just learn it.

I remember how he had painstakingly learned to play Beatles and Stones and assorted pop songs in our parents' living room by implacably picking up and dropping the needle on the scratchy records and listening to little bits of it over and over and over, and pecking them out on his guitar. And then he would perform them with his friends and get girls mooning over him like a Beatle.

He was eight years older than me, and I got interesting looks from some of my teachers in high school, of the female eight-years-older-than-me variety: You're Garrett's brother? He didn't... ahem -- er, mention me, did he?

I got away with murder, I'm tellin' ya.

Well, he'd figured it all out a long time ago, the hard way, and so could point you right to the right place, right away. And he's right, of course, the distillation of the american country blues and pop song and the british music hall ballad is all in there. The Beatles dug it all out of there for you.

All that's left is for you to go and get it.

Lennon flubs the lyrics halfway through. Like it matters.


Ruth Anne Adams said...

I remember trying to learn how to improvise on my saxophone during my freshman year in high school.

That's too late.

I'm teaching my kids the 8 bar blues; the inevitable key change in country music; that it's ok to get up and dance; or sing at the top of their lungs. I think I have a headstart with the girls. For weeks and weeks, before I could nurse them or hold them much, I would sing to them.

They know their theme songs. It quiets Annie when I sing. She sings the sweetest "Somewhere beyond the sea." And she's not even 3.

I love Elvis, too, because my husband does.

Pastor_Jeff said...

Why is Ringo the only one smiling? Are the other guys taking this too seriously? Crack a smile, willya? It's supposed to be fun.

This reminds me of some great homiletical advice from a very gifted preacher: Don't focus on getting the message out of you; think about getting it into them.

In other words, you can get yourself so wrapped up in trying to "get it right" than you lose freedom, spirit and spontaneity. You become stiff, afraid and joyless. Much like I am on downhill skis.

Loosen up! Relax! Smile! You're supposed to be making people happy, not impressing them with your technical skills.

vw: ifiwmzy - iffy whimsy

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Loosen up! Relax! Smile! You're supposed to be making people happy, not impressing them with your technical skills.

Pastor Jeff: That advice also works for lovemaking.

SippicanCottage said...

I think you guys are missing it.

Watch it again. Lennon botches the lyric, or perhaps it's Harrison and Mac, and Lennon is slghtly wrongfooted for a moment. But then, watch his face. He glances into the TV camera that's shoved right in his face and raises his eyebrows real quick. It's a lark, and they are riding the whole thing like a wave, not swimming.

There's real interaction among them, and I found it fascinating to watch it. I've seen those mannerisms a million times when things are not quite right, but no one but the band really notices.

My three year old watched this song for a hour today.

Pastor_Jeff said...

Ruth Anne - LOL! And true, too. And your husband is right about Elvis. Listen to the man.

Sippican - I know what you mean. Something slips but the guys are good enough to cover and only the professionals or insiders pick it up. I saw the knowing raised eyebrow glance.

Lennon still doesn't look like he's enjoying it. Maybe they'd played the song too much and were tired of it. Maybe they were being "cool." But it just didn't connect with me on a happy/fun/lightheated pop song level.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Hey, Sip:
You think your youngest might need a date for prom in, oh, say, 14 years? I know a coupla redheads he could take!

But only if he's got a screamin' axe.

Or if his hammer rings.

Pastor_Jeff said...

Linked to and digressed from here.

vw: fneodal. Mother's "little helper"?

SippicanCottage said...

Ruth Anne- I pencilled the little troll's daytimer for 2020.

He's also available for parties, bar mitzvahs, public hangings, heavy lifting, pest control, crowd control, mission control, and crack-back block tutoring as well.