Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Trip to the Art Museum

So! I went to the art museum...In downtown DC.

And so did everyone else in the free world. Man, there were a lotta people there.
Of course, I can't go anywhere and just look at something. As you all know, I'm always trying to relate things to music. Here's a few things I learned while around some top notch works by dead people.

1. If you ever meet Jesus, don't tell any dumb blond jokes around him. You might insult him (at least according to most of the paintings of him.)

2. You never, EVER want to go back in a time machine.

3. I feel better about my bad hair days...Seems like they had a lot of 'em back then.

4. All disciplines have their own version of theory. We musicians learn about it, and painters use their own rules as well. If you get a chance, visit one of these places with an artist, or someone who knows about art. You might get some cool ideas for music. It's neat to visit a "cousin" of music theory....Art theory!

5. George Washington needed some hair gel.

6. Revolutions are good. Not exactly the war thing, but in art, and in music. I saw paintings from old stodgy people, to abstract splashes of color. If everyone had fit their vision to what the guy before him had done, we'd still have paintings of....George washington (but with no hair gel!)

The same goes for music. If we were bound by the rules of classical music theory, there wouldn't be blues, and there certainly wouldn't be Ozzy.

So keep that in mind, especially when you write a song, or invent something new on the guitar. If it sounds good to you, IT IS GOOD.

It doesn't matter what anyone else says.

Learn from everyone, and especially look up to the best in the field: Stevie Ray Vaughan for blues, Eddie Van Halen for rock, Monet for painting stuff, Andy Warhol for when you need to be reminded what a soup can looks like.....but not Van Gogh for ear training! GAAAA!

If you get a chance, look to everything for inspiration: In nature, in graffiti, in the east wing of the National Gallery of Art. It's all there, and most of it is free. So wake up, put that video game down, and start paying attention!

Friday, May 4, 2007

The center of the universe?

"I went to this concert...."
"I've got a neat car......"
I I I !

A lotta folks out there, and each one of us the middle of the story we tell. Each individual the
center of the world. The world certainly spins around a lot of people - it's a wonder it spins at all.

*I* first had this idea planted in my mind during an SAT test. The verbal section
had this really neat excerpt for a book, talking about how we all think that we're the leading
actor/actress on the stage of life. A rather err....Good point, especially when you think about
how we're really NOT. If you disagree, consider your importance next time you're in a traffic jam.
"I need to get over a lane." Yep, you, and ten thousand other "I's", all stuck on I-95 north.

I love to take life lessons and apply them to a musical situation. More often than not, music is an excellent mirror.

Us guitarists have the bad reputation of being too loud. Hey, more of us in the monitors, right?

If we zoom out a bit, and see the band as the big picture, and not our personal goals, we take a big step in the right direction of becoming a musician, and not just a guy or girl who plays guitar.

And this doesn't mean being timid, and turning down. If you can honestly say that the big picture needs more guitar, turn it up! But do look at that picture, first.

I've been yelled at before by bandleaders because I was too quiet. (That's probably a first in guitar playing history.) I guess I was putting my personal goals (not totally bombing onstage) in front of the big picture...Making some music!

So try this at your next gig, or even dinner with your family.

Instead of viewing yourself as the main story line, try picturing yourself as one of many actors on a stage. And then - what's the play about? Making you important? Or having fun, and making some great music? In fact, a sense of relief may be felt when you "decentralize" your world, and view your true place in the cosmos....


Crank it up!

- PM

PS. Try this in life, too.