Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Musing about Music

Music has been following me around again; it does this from time to time.

I've been telling it for several years now that I just don't have time for it any more, and that's true. And besides, there are so many other forms of expression that I'm so much better at creating ... despite having played the piano during my formative years and taking up guitar around age 13 and continuing to play on and off for the interceding thirty-some-odd years, despite being in two bands and writing a lot of songs and sometimes performing in front of other people ... well, I'm just not really very good. I have a great stage presence, but my guitarwork is sloppy, my singing voice is peculiarly low and remarkably limited in range, and my general repetoire is pretty restricted; I'd rather free-form a mess of my own than practice and actually master someone else's material. And we all know, after all, that it pays to focus on the things we're good at. For me, that's video and photography and video installation and hyper-intellectual theorizing about art.

But then there's the enjoyment thing. I enjoy music. I like noodling around with my Lake Placid Blue Fender Stratocaster and picking out stuff on my Ovation acoustic electric, I get excited when I've been playing enough for those little calluses on my fingers to remember themselves and start to re-emerge. I like trying to pick out riffs from songs I like, I like creating riffs of my own. I even like the physical trappings of music--my little Fender practice amp and my fat, heavy steel-reinforced Ovation hard shell guitar case are just purely wonderful objects.

And now I'm obsessed with the pink "Hello Kitty" guitar at Target.

It's a Fender, nominally ... one of the cheap Mexican-made Squires, so you know the sound will not exactly rock the Casbah. But by the same token, it could turn out to be very funky. I like funky, funky works for me. Funky hides a multitude of sins, and most of my artwork has a funky edge to it. During art school, some of my rather more, er, rigid classmates were continually turning up their noses at my 3-D work, muttering about refinement, until one night a teacher silenced them forever by announcing forcefully, "It's not a lack of refinement, it's funky. It's a style." (Thank you, Jeremy!)

I'm pretending that my obsession has to do with the fact that this is just a tremendous, odd, peculiar, spectacular OBJECT, that it appeals to my strong appreciation of the truly bizarre. But in fact, I suspect it's more about music sneaking close to me again, trying to whisper into my ear about how much fun it would be to put together a band for my next birthday-that-ends-in-a-zero, which is three years away.

I admit I'm considering it seriously ... both the band and the Hello Kitty guitar. Woe is me ... and those of you whom I will probably soon start pressuring to play in said band. You have three years to think about it. Everybody start ... now.

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