Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Corporate man

It's official!

I'm now a Liability Limited Company! Woohoo! I am now "Rock God Music, LLC." Nice.

It's shaping up to be a great 2008. I will be adding an instructional part to my website,, and for my local clients, things are really gonna rock with the new guitar club!

But now, back to philosophy and learning.

I went up to DC the other night. I got jumped, and some black guy soul!

Let me explain...

A client of mine, Doc, and his wife Sherry, gave me a very generous Christmas present. They bought me tickets to see the Trans Siberian Orchestra!

Wow, what a show. If you've never seen TSO before, you owe it to yourself to go next year. They're a rock band, plus a classical string section, plus grade A singers. They play classical Christmas tunes with a rock spin. Set in an arena, with superb lighting and pyrotechnics, their show is not to be missed. They rock!

Well, they had this soul singer. He sang an incredible rendition of "Hark, the Herald." It took my breath, and soul, away. So that's what I mean when I say I got jumped.

I'm not quite sure how he did it. And if we examine all the greats, it's very hard to pinpoint.

All of your favorites can probably be matched in skill by the goofs down at the local guitar shop. Walk through the guitar department on a Saturday afternoon, and you'll see guys who can play as fast as Eddie, weave lines like Wes, and cry like Stevie.

But they still don't sound like 'em. We can deduce that technique alone isn't the defining factor.
And neither is ear, or theory, for that matter.

So what is it? Well, I don't know for sure, but I think two factors have a great deal to do with it.

and Communication.

would be the story we want to tell. The heartbreak, the suffering, the joy, the anger, we wish to convey.

Communication would be the means to do so. This is our technique, our command of the musical language. For I think it is a language, and we need to be able to "talk" to communicate.

Intention, in my book, is the most important. I think players like some of the less technically able greats fall into this category. Take someone like Muddy Waters, an undisputed master of the blues genre. He certainly didn't have the chops of Steve Vai, but man, his intention was there, and that shone through with an unquenchable fire.

Communication without intention yields the fluff found at guitar shops on Saturday afternoons.
But Communication with intention creates guitar heroes. This is why I consider it important to practice and feel.

A great debate rages around the chops vs. soul question. I think you can have both.

In other words, drawing a parallel to the English language, Charles Dickens, a shredder of the paper, certainly doesn't lack for feeling. But I use big words, and I certainly am no Dickens!
And on the other side, a few lines scribbled from the trenches of war can be just as poignant as any of the great works.

The good news is: I think Intention and Communication are two very separate skills. Practice your arpeggios, and really start to care about life.

Have a story to tell, and the ability to tell it.

Rock on!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You've hit on an important note. It reminds of my high school vocal coach somewhat... "Do it again! This time with FEELING!" haha But you're right. Putting yourself into something is what makes it exceptional.
I really enjoy reading your blog. Congrats on the LLC status and best wishes for the Holiday and New Year.