When I was about ten I took guitar lessons for a few weeks at a music store in Whittier, CA. I’ve forgotten a lot over the years, but for some reason I can still recall details about Whitwood Music.
Checking out brass and woodwind instruments in velvet lined cases. Renting the clarinet I played in the school band during 6th grade. Attempting to master guitar chords upstairs and down the hall with other kids about my age. My guitar teacher: a cute young Japanese hippie wearing flowing scarfs and tie-die, teaching us to play Kumbaya.
After class I’d go home and learn songs from old Beatles and Creedence Clearwater albums, playing them over and over again while sitting alone in my room. But then, well, I grew up. But for some reason, even though I ignored it, that guitar followed me to the apartments of my youth, and ended up at the house that eventually became my home.
In life, why do we lose some things along the way, while others stick with us? I’ve never became an accomplished, or even a good guitar player (that my friends takes practice!) nor have I ever learned to sing. In fact I’ve been made fun of for my singing by those I loved (that’s another story). Whatever you do in this crazy fucked up world, don’t make fun of someone trying to sing. Or dance.
Anyway, I don’t know why I keep trying to teach myself to sing. I’m not getting any better. Maybe it’s just to show I can. My dad joined a barber shop quartet after he retired from the Los Angeles Times. None of us ever even knew that he wanted to sing. Maybe it had always been a dream of his, who knows? He’s been gone awhile now, but perhaps he’s why I keep singing. Or maybe it’s because every time I pick up a guitar and strum a few chords, my brain takes a sharp left turn and sends me to a place…well a place that’s not of this world. I cant explain it. And it’s not because I find solace there, or want to be a rock star.
So, with that in mind, I picked up the guitar this morning and recorded a song into my phone. I’m not saying it’s good. I’m not saying I can sing. I guess maybe it’s just my way of letting go of a few ghosts that have been hanging around lately. And you know what? From where I sit, were all gonna be gone in the wink of an eye anyway, so you may as well put your shit out there. Cause if you don’t, well…you got nothing to talk about in the locker room!