I’m a guitarist. A player of the six string Gitfiddle. It wasn’t always so…
In primary school I started to learn the guitar. My teacher was a piano player, she was old, and even though she could be nice, she used to like hitting my hands with a small wooden ruler when I got the fingering wrong. That used to happen a lot. I now have large beefy fingers, and in part, blame her for the condition.
My next teacher was an American chap. Nice bloke, crap teacher. He was a folky as well. I was heavily into Status Quo, Suzie Quattro, Led Zeppelin and AC/DC at the time. ‘Hang Down Your Head Tom Dooley’ was not on my list of things I wanted to play.
A few years later, in a different town, I picked up my old guitar and started fiddling round with it. I fiddled with it long enough to convince my parents to let me try again. Off to the ‘Guitar Workshop’ we went.
The store sat next to the old Trades and Labour council building, across the road from one of the most violent pubs in Gladstone. I was dropped off by my father and my new teacher, a visiting yachtie down on his luck, named Frank (aka Frank the Hippy), said, “What sort of music do you like to play man?” The first time I had actually been asked!
The two big hits of the day were, Mull of Kintyre, and Surfin’ USA (the Leif Garret version… yeah, yeah ok, it seemed a lot cooler back then to my 10y.o ears) Frank grinned, “Let me teach you a little tune that you might like,” he said. I was introduced to ‘the sound’ that made Chuck Berry, Status Quo and every other Oz pub band famous. Frank called it ‘Rockin’ On’, but I’ve also since heard it described as 12 bar blues. I was rapt. I was stoked. I had bleeding fingers by the second day and didn’t care!
Frank taught me two songs a week for nearly 3 months, then he managed to repair his yacht and sailed out of my life. John, the bloke who owned the store took over. John was an excellent teacher, but we didn’t ‘click’. I wish I’d stayed longer now, because as I struggle to learn lead guitar I can’t help but think what level I’d be playing at now if I’d persisted.
Probably in a band, on the road, divorced several times, nurturing an out of control drug / alcohol habit, and trying to get out of a destructive relationship with a manager who is constantly ripping me off… you never know do you?
Was in a band once. If we’d spent more time tightening our sound, and less time trying to kill eachother then we might have gone places. We lacked vision, we lacked the right gear, we lacked licences to get us to venues where we lacked the right age to be allowed entry. Most of all we lacked the necessary social graces to just simply put up with eachother and just play.
But I’ve been thinking lately, maybe we’re ready to try it again, because it’s been ages since I’ve put my foot through a bass drum.
Is the world ready for us…