Reflections (on playing guitar)

by Stefmanovic

I wrote a really long entry, reflecting this very subject, last night. A bug made it all go away, it left me really bugged and frustrated. I tried to find and kill one of the many mice in the building, but I think they sensed my feelings of frustration and simply hid. Smart creatures…

Now I’m gonna give it another shot! (woohoo) So whilst the content will be the same, the context has slightly changed (no worries, nobody cares about context anyways!)

Metallica’s Master of Puppets is blasting through my earplugs. It’s this live version from the late 1980s when James Hetfield was still getting drunk the whole time. Yesterday it was blasting through my laptop speakers, partly because I’m too poor to buy decent speakers and because I had the house to myself. Having the house to oneself in this case putting on music other peoplewould normally not appreciate. I was cooking under the influence of Henry Rollins’ angst filled lyrics, he used to be (and still is) such a motivational trainer. Speaking about feelings ‘n stuff whilst being all boogie woogie!

But yeah, coming back to Metallica. I yell the first few lines of the song, pretending to be a true metalhead who knows all the Metallica lyrics (totally ignoring the fact that true metal heads probably listen to all sorts of crappy obscure bands to make themselves sound more interesting). In reality I only the intro and those parts in which Hetfield yells “master, master” (which I’m imagining to be “mustard, mustard”). What I really love about the song though is the rhythm guitar.

Now we’re at the heart of the topic: playing guitar. Whilst we’re all very impressed with fast guitar solos, I really love the rhythm guitar in trash metal. In my little mind it’s one of the most badass things, even though in real life it’s probably rather pathetic. Kind of like those guitar guys who think they’re really evil playing those single string riffs whilst just being completely dorky.

Then there are of course the guitar solos. Guitar players love guitar solos, it’s the moment in which they can act all badass and imagine themselves to be the greatest heroes ever. There is a strange belief amongst guitarists: they think that people (read: girls) will be impressed by these guitar solos and will get aroused by it (perhaps under the assumption that playing guitar in such a way means that they can also fi… get the drift!). However, a guitar solo longer than lets say 20 seconds is boring. 20 seconds is probably already too long (another reason why guitar solos should not be compared to sex).

Me myself have never been that good at playing guitar solos. Mostly because I lacked the discipline to practise it, but also because my musical tastes during my early guitar years was mainly music that didn’t include guitar solos. Just detuned the fucker with almost an entire octave, then bend over and play that same chord over and over again. Then pulling some weird faces, imagining that if people would see you, they would think you’re some sort of badass (what a horrible phase that was).

It seems that at the end of the day it has always been about entertaining the masses. Maybe that’s why I always ended up playing in bands who were more into ‘the show’ than into ‘the music’, be it Grow Up & Die, JUGEND, or Allochtoontje Lager. For the foreigners amongst us, ‘allochtoon’ forms part of Dutch racial theory, people are biologically/geographically divided into ‘autochtonen’ (Dutch born and descent) and ‘allochtonen’ (the rest).

So yeah, guitars huh? I remember last time we played a gig it was quite hilarious as well. A lot of stuff went wrong (which is normal for a gig I guess) but as always we were imagining ourselves to be badass performers who can cause the audience to go all mental and start a riot. In reality it was more akin to: “No…I’m at this Allochtoontje Lager concert. […] Yeah, I know…funny name right? […] Nah, they’re just doing that ‘nigger song’ now in which they want us to say ‘nigger’. […] Yeah, I know… Lets meet up at Rotown!”

Yup! I kind of lost the point of this story, meaning it’s verbal diarrhea. Nothing new there…